Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Week of (Healthy) Bare-Bones Meals

It's day 3 in my week of bare-bones meals. I want to take a minute to talk to you about something I see a lot of people do that wastes quite a large percentage of money. So here's today's frugal tip:

Frugal Tip #3: Learn to buy, cook, and use dried beans.

Now, hold on. I can hear the groans already. But you're looking to cut your grocery dollar, aren't you? Then why is it that you keep spending 75% MORE on the same foods? Dried beans average $1 per pound. One pound of dried beans is equal to four cans of beans. One can of beans costs around $1. So why are you paying $4 for the same food you could be paying $1 for?

What? You don't want to heat up your house, you say? Worried about energy use, you say? Dump them in your slow cooker, cover with lots of water, and let them cook overnight while you sleep. No kitchen heat, less energy. Big savings.

Oh, and guess what! Beans cooked from dry taste so much better than canned beans. It's true. Not only are you wasting your money, you're also hindering your recipes. Yup. Try it. Cook your beans from dry.

On to today's meal plan:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar
Lunch: Chicken Soup from leftover chicken carcass (SAVE the rest of the chicken for tomorrow's meal, though)
Dinner: Mexican Pizzas (recipe follows)

Mexican Pizza
Serves 4

What You Need:
  • 8 corn tortillas (make them yourself if you have a press)
  • 2 cups cooked, rinsed, and drained beans (any type will do -- I used small red beans)
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 2 to 4 peppers (whatever's on sale or cheapest -- I used bell and sweet banana peppers from my garden) 
  • 1/2 a large onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 green onion, chopped
How it's Done:
  1. Cook your beans. Save half for another recipe. Of the remaining two cups, place 1/2 cup in a food processor or blender with 1/4 cup water and puree to make "refried" beans. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and peppers and tomato. Stir until the vegetables are soft. Add chili powder and remove from heat.
  3. Heat the other 2 Tbsp oil in a separate skillet. Fry the tortillas, cooking 30 seconds per side. Remove to drain.
  4. Assemble the pizzas like this: place a tortilla on a plate. Spread with some refried beans. Top with a second tortilla. Spoon the bean & pepper mix on top. Sprinkle with cheese and green onion. Serve right away.


Johanna GGG said...

this pizza looks wonderful - I love cooking my own beans but confess I have become quite addicted to buying the tinned sort lately - it does save me time - though I think the idea is sometimes as much a barrier as it is not that time consuming once I start

LouAnne said...

YUM!! Those look amazing! We always cook dry beans around here and make homemade re-fried bean mix by grinding our pintos to a powder (with my grain mill), then seasoning and reconstituting by boiling in water. It's fabulous without all the fat! :-) Thanks for the recipe. I need to get a tortilla press for corn tortillas. I just do wheat with my rolling pin.

Keli said...

yum!!! that looks great, I'd love to add it to my menu plan this week, but hubby is insisting a break from beans. I've been trying to stretch the budget and have been putting beans in a lot of things lately. He's not a fan. :) Maybe I'll make them for me and something else for him!

M @ Betty Crapper said...

I'm not a huge bean fan, but you are definitely right to promote making beans from scratch instead of using canned beans. All it takes is a little planning and you end up with a tastier product. The added bonus is the cost savings.

April said...

Yum! In Chicago they call these Tostadas. I haven't had one since I moved back from there 11 years ago! Thanks for reminding me about this tasty recipe, I'll be adding it to my menu soon.

Kit said...

Yummo! I fixed these tonight. They were a hit with my crew. The only change I'll make next time will be to add some cumin in when I cook the veggies. This was my first time making beans from dry. I used my crock pot. Easy peasy!

Michelle said...

Way to go, Kit! =D

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