Earlier this month I received an email from eCollegeFinder informing me that my little blog was nominated for a Top Foodie Blog award! Exciting! As a working, full time doctoral student and wife to a hungry husband, I definitely feel I have a few tips to offer fellow busy students on a budget.
One recipe I would submit to anyone who has had enough ramen to last a lifetime is my cheap and easy chili. This recipe serves up extra cost savings due to its use of dried beans. Using dried versus canned beans can save quite a bit and all you have to do is soak them overnight in a pot of water and you are ready to go!
The next morning they will be all plump and ready to put in your crock pot where they will simmer all day and morph into something delicious and healthy. And, who doesn’t love coming home from a busy day of classes and lectures to a yummy smelling kitchen?
Cheap and Easy chili- basic, ‘Texas’ style chili. Place your pre-soaked beans ($1.50) with a 32 oz. can of crushed tomatos ($1.70) and half a box of broth or stock of choice (approx. $2-3).
Cost savings tip: Pick up staples that have a long shelf life in bulk when they are on sale. I stocked up on this organic broth recently at TJ’s sale.
Place everything in the crock pot along with your seasonings- chili powder, paprika, garlic, 1 chopped onion, salt and pepper. I also added a chopped zucchini from my garden (free) to add a little more nutrition. Turn on low and let it cook all day.
When you get home scoop out a bowl of warm chili. I served mine on a bed of multigrain spaghetti with a sprinkling of shredded cheese. This made enough for my husband and I until we were stuffed and there was plenty left over.
Cheap and Easy Chili Take Two- Indian Chili
Add some Indian spices- garam masala, curry, tumeric, and coriander to your beans and reheat.
This time I served it up on a bed of couscous ($2.20/box) and some crumbled feta ($3.99/pound at Village Market). You can use dried lentils or chickpeas, too!
Yum and yum!
You can eat well with little time and money! It just takes some planning ahead and creativity. Pick up a crock pot if you don’t have one-check out your local Goodwill or Salvation Army for a cheap one. They are total time savers and the possibilities of what you can make with them are endless!
Cheap and Easy Chili
1 bag of dried beans (I used white beans)
1 32 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 box of broth or stock of choice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper (for heat), salt and pepper
Pre-soak beans overnight. Place all ingredients in crockpot, turn on low and let cook for 6-8 hours. Taste chili and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve with pasta, cheese, chopped onion, or sour cream.