Tag Archives: chili

Weekly Eating 8/7/17

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Monday:

Breakfast – Cherry Vanilla Protein Smoothie. What you see is what went in the blender, except I used frozen already-pitted cherries. The fresh ones were for snacking all week. ¬†ūüôā

Lunch – chili with edamame and grapes. Organic frozen edamame are my favorite, because I love them (covered in sea salt of course) and they count as a green vegetable with any meal!

Dinner – one pan rosemary chicken and potatoes with zucchini. I speared chunks of chicken onto the rosemary stems, and sprinkled the leaves all over about 4 cubed potatoes. 2 zucchini got diced into spears, and the whole thing covered in foil and popped in the oven at 400 for about 35 minutes. It was so delicious, and really easy cleanup!

Snack – banana pudding y’all! We made some from scratch, and it was gooooooooood! We used ginger snaps instead of vanilla wafers, and I had no idea pudding is actually so easy! Tasty, and dangerous…

Tuesday:

Breakfast – smoothie! The rest of yesterdays (I made a double batch, and put the rest in the refrigerator)

Lunch – Chili with edamame and grapes. Yes this week is pretty boring, but I had SO MUCH chili left over from last week. Rather than freeze it I decided that was just what I was eating this week. It’s easy, super healthy, and super cheap.

Dinner Р macaroni & cheese, not even healthified, just something that was quick and easy to throw together, plus we had several types of cheese in the refrigerator that needed using. I sprinkled it with paprika to look fancy.

Wednesday:

Breakfast Р2 hard boiled eggs & a homemade pretzel chocolate peanut butter granola bar

Lunch – chili mac n cheese, just leftover chili and leftover mac n cheese mixed together. But oh em gee it is SO GOOD.

Dinner – gyros! Hubs made this one, since his favorite food of all time is a burrito. He loves other cuisines’ takes on burritos too, like enchiladas, sushi burritos, or schwarma. Or gyros. Mmmmm.

Snack – handful of pretzels and M&Ms

Thursday 

Breakfast – a piece of blueberry pie left from last weekend’s party

Lunch – tasty pasta

Dinner – broiled chicken breast, potato salad & kale. I tried cooking the kale in lemon juice until soft, but I think I let it go too long. It got this dark olive green color, and was barely edible. Next time I think I’ll just stick with kale chips!

Friday

Breakfast – granola bar & 2 hard boiled egg whites. Yes sometimes I get boring and repeat meals, what of it?! Plus, boiling a dozen eggs at the start of the week and making large batches of things like granola bars gives us plenty of quick protein filled breakfast and snacking options. So necessary at 6:30 am.

Lunch – chili mac n cheese = finally finished both the chili and the mac n cheese! Yes!

Dinner – Chipotle! I had been hard core craving this for almost 2 weeks, and finally caved. C’est la vie, I don’t regret it. Plus, I get a burrito bowl, and they always pack that container full. I put part of it into my own tortilla when I get home, and that way I turn one bowl into 2-3 meals! That’s like $3 per meal. Aw yessss.

The Weekend

This weekend is pretty relaxed, just going to Saturday morning rooftop yoga, and the Durham Farmers Market. We planned to explore some towns near us perhaps, and do some organizing at home. Maybe some video games… by maybe I mean definitely.

Total: $89.35

My goal is to keep this number under $100 all the time, and eventually get down to $75/week for food.

Lessons Learned

This was a good week, some things at our jobs were finally calming down and assorted outstanding items were done, so stress levels decreased overall. Always a nice feeling. Plus using up leftovers, even if it means repeat meals, is a top 10 frugal strategy.

On the flip side, I didn’t make a meal plan this week, so the meals were figured out the day of usually… and we also went out to eat twice, which is not our norm. ¬†It is what nudged the week’s cost up, as groceries alone were only about $30. But it felt much more special exactly because it is a rare event!

How about you guys, did you have a great week or a learning week?

Weekly Eating – 7/31

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Excuse me while I have an existential crisis real quick…

{OMG WHAT ITS AUGUST!? It was January like 2 seconds ago, we just moved to a new state, started a new job, had no furniture but an air mattress and knew not a darn soul… now we’ve been here TEN WHOLE MONTHS and have, like, a real adult home?!? And friends?? WHOA. Pretty sure this is where I should insert “hashtag blessed” or something..}

Okay, thanks for hanging in there readers, on to the deets of this week’s noms!

I had made a big ol’ pot of crockpot chili on Sunday night, which is one of my favorite things to do. I take all the kinds of dried beans in the house, and soak them in water overnight. In the morning, I pour out the water, refill it, and add the extra tomato juice, veggies, meat, and spices. Then you just let it rock and roll all day.

It is insanely cheap, because dried beans. It is also insanely versatile, use up the ends and bits of whatever, lentils, bell peppers, onions, black beans. So it is a little different every time. This became lunches several days, kept the work-from-home hubs from starving, and also chili cheese dogs and chili baked potatoes! <3

Monday:

Breakfast – bagel with almond butter & apple. This has become one of my favorite to-go breakfasts, so fast and easy, yet healthy!

Lunch – stuffed poblano peppers from last week’s food swap

Dinner – eggplant parm & pasta. I have tried multiple times, I just cannot like eggplant! This saddens me, because it is so good for you, and people very often want to give it away. But I just cannot.

Snack – white bean rosemary hummus with raw veggies. Y’all, if you have not tried this yet you are missing out! Get out the blender, go read the recipe right now, and make it!

Tuesday:

Breakfast – 2 egg veggie omelet. Had some onions, peppers, and mushrooms so I stir fried them and wrapped them in eggs!

Lunch – tuna noodle casserole. This is giving it a bit more credit than I probably should. I just took some leftover cooked pasta salad that already had bits of peppers and onion and mayo, and added a can of tuna to it to give it protein. Then I called that lunch!

Dinner Рbaked blue cheese & spinach chicken rolls with oven-roasted potato wedges & garlic aioli. Sounds super fancy, I know, but honestly it is literally 3 ingredients! Just thin chicken breasts, a pinch of blue cheese and handful of spinach, roll up and secure with cooking twine or toothpicks and bake!

The garlic aioli is 1-2 garlic cloves diced small, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, and 1/2 cup mayonnaise, mixed well. This is an excellent dip for chicken and potato wedges. Feel free to pull out this recipe anytime you need to impress someone but have seriously 5 minutes to focus on making the food.

Oh, and I also got a little crafty this week! I had seen a YouTube video for a bathing suit wrap that’s almost no-sew, and just had to try it. Of course, I didn’t get to it in time for the beach last weekend, but that’s ok.

It really was so easy! Just cut it to the right width to wrap around you, cut arm holes, and braid 3 strips of fabric for the shoulder straps. The straps were the only sewing part, and it took like 10 minutes total! I can’t wait to go somewhere that I can use it!

Wednesday:

Breakfast – homemade pretzel PB choc chip granola bars using THIS RECIPE from Tiffany @ Don’t Waste the Crumbs

This recipe was so easy to follow, and I LOVE pretzels, so how could it possibly go wrong? Well, I think using JIF added more oil than it needed, what with the extra coconut oil, so it was pretty greasy… but the flavor was out of this world delish, so this recipe is a keeper! I will definitely tweak it and make these again.

Lunch – crock pot turkey chili, I brought in a big enough container that I could only finish half! Good thing we have work refrigerators

Dinner – slow cooker pulled beef sandwiches with steamed broccoli and pinto beans. I literally just stuck a pound of beef roast in the crock pot before work, came home and shredded it. Could not ask for a simpler, but seriously tasty, dinner!

Snack –¬†white bean hummus with raw veggies

Thursday 

Breakfast – pepper & onion omelet for me, cherry vanilla smoothie for the man. I think we’ve found a new favorite! 1/2 cup frozen cherries, 1/2 cup cherry juice, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder. It is GOOD!

Lunch – the rest of the turkey chili & more white bean hummus! See how making big batches of things early in the week can mean less work the rest of the week?

Dinner – turkey burritos! Because burritos are the kings of food.

I also had a great batch-prep night because this is when I went grocery shopping for the weekend parties (see below). I cooked up like 6 pounds of ground turkey and beef and packed it in 1lb zip locks to freeze, got a great deal on marked-down overripe bananas that I froze to make smoothies and bread in the future, and washed and cut up and bagged grapes, cherries, and strawberries for snacks.

Friday

Breakfast – vanilla Greek yogurt with strawberries, chia seeds, & walnuts. I made a grave error at the store, and grabbed flavored Greek rather than plain. I do make my own yogurt, but haven’t mastered the making it thicker like Greek yogurt part. So I got some for the hubs to put on burritos… oops. Well, now we will have smoothies and yogurt for breakfasts.

Lunch – Beef & veggie leftover soup. I took my small crock pot to work, and used up the little bit of leftover pulled beef, beans, broccoli, and some kale. I added a bit of barley, and let it go on my desk all morning. The office smelled great, and I had a cheap hot lunch!

Dinner – One pan roasted chicken, potatoes, and cauliflower with a side salad. I know this dinner is so “white” i.e. not much color. And also, not stir fry. But the below mentioned cheap chickens were around, so I roasted one, and Kroger also had a 5lb bag of potatoes for 0.99, so…

Hence the side salad, for at least a little greenery in our diet.

Snack – granola bar nomnomnom

The Weekend

Saturday is a neighborhood potluck, for which I plan on making some potato salad and ham sandwiches. I also got whole chicken on sale this week for 0.79 / pound!! Can you even believe it! Yeah I stocked my freezer, as you’ll see below in the total…

And then Sunday we are hosting¬† a wine tasting by Unique Pairings! I’m super pumped because it means an excuse to eat all the cheese and sweets and try lots of wines! This also helped to inflate the food budget a little, but totally worth. I adore hosting parties.

Total: $177.86

My goal is to keep this number under $100 all the time, and eventually get down to $75/week for food.

Lessons Learned

Uh, yeah, so we overshot by $100. BUT. As noted above, we are going to 2 different parties this weekend, and most of the extra food was for appetizers/foods to share. Also, as hosts, we will frequently wind up with tons of leftover food, which will likely feature in a lot of next week’s meals.

Plus, SEVENTY NINE CENTS A POUND for chicken!! Come on. Tell me you wouldn’t buy like ten if you had the freezer space for that. A lot of this was stocking up on good sales, so that in future weeks we won’t have to spend as much on meats/etc.

How about you guys, did you have a great week or a learning week?

Three Bean Vegan Chili

 

Chili is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. It couldn’t be easier to put together, just throw all the ingredients in a crock pot and let it do the heavy lifting while you go to work, school, travel, write, hike, shop, whatever you do all day. Then come home to a hot, delicious, healthy meal that makes the whole house smell divine.

This is seriously the most perfect cold-weather dinner of all time.

White Bean Chicken Chili is definitely on my top ten for Crock Pot meals, but since I’ve been on a bit of a vegan kick lately, I wanted to make a chili with no meat or animal products that was equally delicious and satisfying. And that’s exactly what I did, and you can too!

Don’t tell those you serve that it’s vegan, and they likely won’t even know.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes (with green chilis if you want kick)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can white cannellini beans
  • 4 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder

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Step 1: Open all the cans, and pour directly into the crock pot. Leave the tomato juice, but if you want to drain and rinse the beans to cut down on extra sodium, you totally can.

IMG_7583

Step 2: Cook in crock pot on low 6-8 hours, or high 2-4 hours. That’s it! Other addition you could make: chickpeas, really any other type of bean, crushed garlic, diced onion, carrots, celery, bell peppers, hot peppers, tomato juice, tomato sauce,¬†hot sauce…¬†¬† IMG_7587

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I made a batch of corn bread using Jiffy mix and a can of corn to serve with the chili. Yes, the carnivore had to add a handful of cheese, but progress is progress. Baby steps.

Since this makes a crap-ton of chili, some ideas to use up the remainder include chili cheese dogs, chili mac n cheese, and topping baked potatoes with a scoop for a filling meal or snack.

 

Three Bean Vegan Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 can diced tomatoes (with green chilis if you want kick)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can white cannellini beans
  • 4 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder

Instructions

  1. Open all the cans, and pour directly into the crock pot. Leave the tomato juice, but if you want to drain and rinse the beans to cut down on extra sodium, you totally can.
  2. Cook in crock pot on low 6-8 hours, or high 2-4 hours. That's it! Other addition you could make: chickpeas, really any other type of bean, crushed garlic, diced onion, carrots, celery, bell peppers, hot peppers, tomato juice, tomato sauce, hot sauce...
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http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegan/three-bean-vegan-chili/

Blender chili

 

I know, the title of the post has you doubtful already. But stick with me, this will be the healthiest chili your husband/kids/friends/you ever ate without knowing it!

One of my all-time favorite ways to sneak healthy veggies into foods without detection is by juicing or blending them. This removes the physical give-away chunks that usually trigger the “ew” factor. You can get people to eat all kinds of yummies if they don’t know it’s there! I won’t tell if you don’t.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey (omit for vegetarians)
  • 1 can diced tomato
  • 2 cans kidney beans (or any kind)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 cup leafy greens; spinach or kale
  • 1-2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp garlic salt
  • 6 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • Sriracha to taste

Step 1: In a large pan, cut up the celery and carrots. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. You will blend these once cooked.

Step 2: Brown the ground beef or turkey if using. Drain the excess fat.
Step 3: Once the carrots are soft when poked with a fork (9-15 minutes) strain and add the carrots, celery, leafy greens, and one can of beans to a blender. Blend on high until completely liquid. This preserves the vitamins as well as fiber content from your veggies while masking the flavors. Add more water if needed while blending.
Step 4: Add the other whole can of beans to the meat, along with the diced tomatoes (best with green chilies for extra heat!) and the tomato sauce.
Step 5: Add in the veggie-licious paste and mix well. Sprinkle on the spices, mix, and taste test. Add more of whatever is needed to please the palate.
And there you have it! Super nutrient-packed chili that will still taste great and stick to your ribs. Delicious served with hot fresh cornbread, or over spaghetti like cincinnati chili.

Chili cheese dogs

Well, now I am all moved in to a new apartment, and ready for a new semester. I will do my best to keep up with posting between teaching a different class, juggling 3 jobs and school, and as always trying my hand at anything and everything in the kitchen.

Now that the weather has taken a turn for the colder, it’s time to shelve the hazy¬†days of summer and start enjoying one of the few benefits of fall/winter: chili, soups and stews! Most people gain a little weight over winter not only because it is too cold to run outside (because that IS the only reason we aren’t out there training for a 5K right?) but also because winter is stick-to-your-ribs type food to warm us up. Comfort food at its best.

And what better as a comfort food than chili? There are a million ways to tweak a basic chili to make the recipe your own, and I will put my own personal version up soon. However, I will first tell you what poor college kids do with left over chili: slather hot dogs with it!

The best way to fancy up an all-American winter treat:
2 hot dogs
1 cup of chili
1/4 cup (or more) shredded cheese
2 buns or pieces of bread

Step 1: Cut the hot dogs long ways, but not all the way through, so it’s like a hinge. Put them in a pan and cook about 4 minutes on each side, till they just turn brown where they touch the pan.

Step 2: Put the dogs on the bread or buns. You can also toast the bread/buns first in the pan. Pour the chili on top, and top with shredded cheese of your choice. You can make the chili yourself or buy a side from a fast food place. Relish, diced onion, or jalapenos optional.