Tag Archives: Crock pot

Weekly Eating – 10/29/18

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!

 

Last weekend’s Halloween party was a blast! I bet you can’t guess correctly what both of our costumes were.

halloween costumes

It was nice enough that we could all hang out outside and play cornhole and beer pong and enjoy the bonfire. And the trick or treat shots were a hit! We did three rounds, and used almost all of them. Yes, I came up with 50 different liquids. They included everything from juiced celery to tequila to bean cooking water. And people were really good at guessing correctly!

trick or treat shots

I also had time on Sunday to whip up a batch of homemade mayo, and some hemp milk since we ran out of almond. Uhhh sidenote, how did she get all the milks to stay clear?? Am I the only one, every time I make any plant milk (almond, coconut, hemp, cashew, rice, oat…) it separates in like 0.4 seconds. I swear I do filter it… maybe I need cheesecloth. But then the yield is lower.  🙁

Monday:

Breakfast – sad bowl of cocoa puffs… I’ve been less inspired about breakfasts lately. Normally I turn to warm oatmeal when fall rolls around but that isn’t sounding so great. I may need to try intermittent fasting as a double win…

Lunch – big warm bowl of leftover white bean & barley soup

white bean and barley soup

Dinner – Some ravioli I defrosted with corn on the cob, microwaved broccoli and cauliflower, and a big salad with toasted pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and homemade apple cider dressing

ravioli and tons of veggies

Tuesday:

Breakfast – it is not possible to take a good picture of oatmeal. It had peaches in it though.

Lunch – Rest of the barley soup & a salad

white bean and barley soup

Dinner – Tuna salad puffs! Throwback Tuesday, to 2014.

tuna salad puffs with guac

Wednesday (Halloween!):

Breakfast – a breakfast boo-rito

egg and potato boo rito

Lunch – potluck at work!

halloween potluck

Dinner – more Booritos! (we didn’t want to stand in line at Chipotle)

halloween boo-rito

Thursday:

Breakfast – coffee and tangerines

coffee and tangerine

Lunch – leftover bowl: potatoes and cauliflower and stuffed mushrooms from the party

bowl of leftovers

Dinner – the rest of the empty the refrigerator Dal

finishing the Dal

Friday:

Breakfast – golden grahams with hemp milk

golden grahams and crockpot of pumpkin chili

Lunch – Pumpkin chili when we get to the cabin!

Dinner – I think we are grilling brats tonight

The Weekend

This weekend we are going up to a friend’s family cabin in the mountains!! I can’t tell you how excited we are. We got to go last year, and it is such a blast. There will be almost a dozen people, which may be cramped, but it will be such a great opportunity for community. It is miles away from civilization, so it is perfectly silent and pitch black at night.

the cabin

Watching the sun rise over the lake, with steam coming off the water, kayaking into the middle and laying back to look up at the stars… I can’t wait to totally relax and refresh. We all take turns cooking, plus people bring crafting projects like knitting, and there are games galore from ping pong and frisbee to board and cards.

I’ll be bringing the crock pot full of pumpkin chili, along with the fixings for tacos and lentil sloppy joes. A build your own taco bar is always filling and fun. And for the lentil sloppy joes, I stuffed all the ingredients into a near empty pasta sauce jar. Just dump into a pan and simmer for 40 minutes!

jar full of lentil tacos

Food Total: $52.50 + 49.58

Weekly Produce Box = Grape Tomatoes, Broccoli Bunch, Potatoes- Yukon Butter Gold , Red Onion (1), Lettuce – Field Grown Romaine (1), Navel Orange (1), Green Beans

Then I also added on quite a few things: kale, pears, persimmons (because there’s a persimmon tree I’ve spotted near me; I want to know if I like them before risking my neck climbing it to pick some), and I also went for it and ordered a pound of ground chicken and some tenders from Joyce Farms in Winston-Salem, NC.

fall produce box

I’m hankering for some white chicken chili, and when we eat meat now, I want it to be sourced very carefully.  The chickens on this farm were not crammed into cages with their beaks cut off, fed a diet of antibiotics and ‘vegetarian’ corn (chickens are not vegetarians, by the way). I know these chickens lived as chickens were meant to live, out in the grass, happily foraging for seeds and bugs.

And I stopped by HT for some sale items, organic potatoes, tons of yogurt since we were out, and more cabin things.

Lessons Learned

Leftovers are the best, worst thing. They are awesome to have, for when you just don’t feel like cooking, or don’t have the time. And I’ve been not feeling like it often lately. Which is great, because we also really needed to finish up all the things from the party and clear out the fridge since we will be gone all weekend.

But sometimes leftovers keep getting left, because you don’t really want to eat them again. Then there’s the “should I throw it out” struggle, because we both hate food waste. So sometimes, leftovers can be quite unfortunate. We both just powered through a few times just so we didn’t toss it. It’s always a lesson, sometimes that lesson is ‘don’t make that again’.

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Crock Pot Chocolate Chili

 

As we roll into the autumn months and the days get shorter and colder, we crave comfort foods. There’s nothing I like more than coming home to a house that smells amazing with a crock pot full of dinner bubbling away! It’s low work, high reward.

This is a chili recipe I decided to try based on what was in my refrigerator. We had some Hershey’s dark chocolate sauce from the sun-dae bar for the eclipse, so I got a little crazy! And you know what? It turned out great! Sometimes, the experiment that is cooking goes well. I’m glad this was one of those days.

This makes enough for 4-5 healthy sized servings. You can change up the types of beans, adding 4 or 5 kinds or using all one kind. If you drain them first, the chili will be thicker, but you can just open the cans and dump them in.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can cannelini beans
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup chocolate sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2-4 tbsp hot sauce (optional!)
  • 1/2 cup coffee or dark beer

Step 1: Open and drain all your beans, and dump into the crock pot. In a blender, add one whole can of tomatoes, the onion, and the garlic, and pulse. This breaks it up into smaller pieces, and the longer you blend the more juice-like it becomes. Add to the crock pot.

Step 2: Brown the ground beef or turkey. Drain off excess fat, and add to the pot.

Step 3: Add the coffee, chili powder, and chocolate sauce, and any other spices you want. I used some red hot sauce, but you can use ancho chilies, jalapenos, cayenne powder, whatever you like. Or leave the spice out completely. Cook on high 1-2 hours or low at least 4 hours up to 12 hours.

The best thing about chili is that it gets better over time! Leftovers the next day have more time to meld flavors and usually it tastes even spicier. We throw a tablespoon or two of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream in to cut the heat. You can also top with shredded cheese, diced green onion, avocados…

Chili makes a great topping for chili cheese dogs and chili stuffed baked potatoes too! Oh, and it freezes beautifully! What are you waiting for? Get some chili cooking right now.

 

Crock Pot Chocolate Chili

Yield: 5

Crock Pot Chocolate Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can cannelini beans
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup chocolate sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2-4 tbsp hot sauce (optional!)
  • 1/2 cup coffee or dark beer

Instructions

  1. Open and drain all your beans, and dump into the crock pot. In a blender, add one whole can of tomatoes, the onion, and the garlic, and pulse. Add to the crock pot.
  2. Brown the ground beef or turkey. Drain off excess fat, and add to the pot. 
  3. Add the coffee, chili powder, and chocolate sauce, and any other spices you want.
  4. Cook on high 1-2 hours or low at least 4 hours up to 12 hours. 
Powered by Zip Recipes
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/comfort-food/crock-pot-chocolate-chili/

Easiest Ever Crockpot Sweet and Sour Meatballs

 

Sometimes you need to bring a dish to a potluck or birthday party. Or there’s a big game on and you’re hosting. Or maybe you just want to try something different for dinner, but don’t have the energy or time for something complicated.

Allow me to help!

This recipe for sweet and sour meatballs is a longtime classic in my family. There are only three ingredients, though one of them may be surprising to you. Trust me, the finished product is delicious!

Using a slow cooker makes this as simple as: pour, mix, turn on. Done.

Three ingredients sweet and sour meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar cocktail sauce
  • 1 bag mini meatballs
  • 1 ~12oz jar jelly (grape or blackberry work best)

Optional: You could add some vinegar for more tang, or some cayenne or other red pepper for a bigger bite.

sweet and sour crock pot meatballs

Step 1: Pour the meatballs in the crock pot. I poured them in right from frozen and it works just fine.

Step 2: Pour in the cocktail sauce & jam, and mix well. Turn to low for at least 4 hours, up to 12 hours.

sweet & sour meatballs in a slow cooker

You could serve these on buns, or with toothpicks, or on skewers like a kebab. The flavor is surprisingly complex for just two ingredients!

 

Save

Save

How to: Cook Dried Beans in a Slow Cooker

 

One of my all-time-favorite money-saving appliances is the handy dandy slow cooker. It is amazing at taking tough (cheap) cuts of meats and slow cooking them to tasty perfection. It is great for making wicked frugal soups and stews. It makes dinner a breeze on crazy weeknights, keeping me from just ordering a pizza or take out. And it allows me to make staple items, like beans, for literally pennies per serving.

Beans aren’t usually listed on “top 10s” of superfoods, but I think they should be. There are so many kinds, black, pinto, navy, chickpea, green… And they are a fantastic source of protein for a very pocketbook-friendly price, I can usually find them about $1 per pound. And since beans plump when you cook them, you get much more than one pound out of that bag. If you find a good sale or buy in bulk, that price drops even lower. You can’t beat that in a can!

However, you also can’t beat the convenience of canned beans. Just sitting on a shelf, ready and waiting for a taco Tuesday or a last-minute decision to make minestrone. All you need is a can opener and you’re in business.

But you’re paying a premium for that convenience.

Someone else took the time to soak and cook dried beans ahead of time, and stick them in that can. They also may have chemicals or preservatives or flavorings or way too much sodium in the can. When you cook your own, you are in control of all these things.

So here’s the big secret: You can cook your own dried beans at home, with just a few minutes of effort, and have delicious beans ready to toss into whatever any time! For, like, a dollar!

Enter the slow cooker.

crock pot black beans with nori

Almost every Saturday, I toss a half pound or a pound of either black, navy, chickpeas, or pintos into a slow cooker with water to cover them, and let them soak overnight. Then on Sunday, I change the water and add some spices and let it simmer all day. The finished product gets canned, separated by cup into individual bags and frozen, or put in the refrigerator for use that week.

That way I have a stock of frozen beans ready at a moment’s notice, and fresh beans for recipes whenever I want! Hello, black bean and egg burritos, white chicken chili, tortilla soup, or red beans and rice anytime.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound beans
  • Water to cover
  • ~2tbsp vinegar (any kind)
  • Spices recommended: 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp fennel seed, onion, chili powder, or oregano. Choose 1-2 you like and see what happens
  • Optional: 1 strip of seaweed

Step 1: Cover your beans with water, and let soak 6 hours or overnight. Drain, and cover again. Cook on high for about 4-6 hours, or low for 8-10.

Slow cooker pinto beans canned

Step 2: You can keep the cooking liquid, or discard, up to you. I usually keep it, especially when canning or freezing the beans, and then drain just before using in recipes.

The beautiful thing is that now you have this super-cheap base to use to make your own refried beans, hummus, (did you know you can make hummus with black beans too!), vegetarian burger patties, or you can can them for later. (By the way, do use a pressure canner, or keep them in the refrigerator. We don’t want botulism now do we?)

 

Slow cooker dried beans

Slow cooker dried beans

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beans
  • Water to cover
  • ~2tbsp vinegar (any kind)
  • Spices recommended: 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp fennel seed, onion, chili powder, or oregano. Choose 1-2 you like and see what happens
  • Optional: 1 strip of seaweed

Instructions

  1. Cover your beans with water, and let soak 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain, and cover again.
  3. Cook on high for about 4-6 hours, or low for 8-10.
  4. You can keep the cooking liquid, or discard, up to you. I usually keep it, especially when canning or freezing the beans, and then drain just before using in recipes.
Powered by Zip Recipes
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegan/how-to-cook-dried-beans-in-a-slow-cooker/

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Slow Cooker Enchilada Casserole

 

Slow cookers are such a blessing to a busy cook! Whether you don’t like cooking, don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, are feeding just one or an army, slow cookers can make healthy, quick meals a snap. With a small amount of planning, you can have dinner ready and cooking in 10 minutes or less before you run out the door, and come home to a hot, home-cooked meal at the end of the day.

Enchiladas are a favorite in my house, because they are customizable, economical, and delicious! Tortillas are cheap, and can even be made at home, corn or flour, for pennies. You can use chicken, beef, or keep it vegetarian with tofu or beans. And beans are great money savers! Especially if you buy dried, and cook them at home (another thing slow cookers are great at!).

Slow cooker enchiladas

In this recipe, I used burrito-sized flour tortillas, because they happen to be the exact size of my slow cooker. You can use smaller corn tortillas and layer them, or even roll individual enchiladas and pile them up in the sauce. Whatever makes you happy!

20160929_073504

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (or diced whole tomatoes)
  • 1 cup frozen corn (or canned)
  • 1 can black and/or pinto beans, drained
  • 3-4 tortillas
  • 1 jar enchilada sauce
  • Shredded cheese to taste

20160929_073542

Step 1: Brown your ground meat in a frying pan, and drain. Add the pepper and onion, saute until softened. You can add any spices you like here, such as cumin, taco seasoning, chili powder…

20160929_074032

Step 2: Spray the crock pot with cooking spray, if you like. Line the bottom with a tortilla.  Layer on the meat, tomatoes, corn, and beans. Top with sauce, cheese, and another tortilla.

20160929_184954

Step 3: Continue layering 2-3 times, until the crock is full. Top with some more cheese, and the enchilada sauce.

20160929_185000

Step 4: Set to low for 4-6 hours, or high for 1-2 hours. A programmable crock pot is best to ensure you don’t burn it. Cut yourself a nice slice, and enjoy!

 

Sidenote: If you don’t have a slow cooker, or just want to try something different, do the same thing but in a pie pan or 8×8 pan. Layer all the ingredients, cover with foil, and then bake at 350 for 1 – 1.5 hours. Still an enchilada casserole! You can also then freeze this for re-heating easily later.

Ten Crock Pot Freezer Meals in 1 Hour

 

This post is about my newest addition to my Kindle offerings: “10 Crock Pot Freezer Meals”!  You can see for yourself at my Budget Epicurean Kindle Author page.  The eBook contains a complete      grocery list, with the items categorized in order to easily breeze in and out of the store in minutes, as well as ten of my best & most loved slow cooker recipes, including Cranberry Spiced Chicken,     Orange-Glazed Pork Chops, and White Bean Chicken Chili.  I even    added some handy, easy printables to label your bags, so you know what you have days or weeks later!

To watch the short video on how easy it is to shop for and assemble everything, check it out here!  Of course ALDI was the store I went to (I just love them for their focus on providing the best prices over flashy ads or in store perks).  I had my list in hand, and the total for everything that was going into these ten meals (minus just a few    pantry staples) was $87.  Given that each meal is made to serve 4, that is only $2.18 per meal!!

ALDI sale on black beans

Of course, you can substitute as needed, such as if you have a hatred of a specific type of bean, swap it for a different kind, or if you do not eat pork, use chicken or beef instead. Definitely the highlight of the trip was finding this little bonus deal: $0.35 for canned, organic,         reduced sodium black beans!!! Oh yeah, I bought 2 cases. That doesn’t count towards the meal totals…

The entire shopping trip took me probably about a half hour. And that is with writing down prices of things, and forcing my significant other, who was such a trooper, to take pictures and help me double check that I hadn’t forgotten anything.  🙂

IMG_1908 - Copy

http://www.amazon.com/Budget-Epicurean/e/B00KM8JR4U

As a reminder, you can purchase the nice printable ebook HERE.

Freezer Cooking Meal Ingredients on Table

First things first, I got everything organized.  This means putting all the ingredients for each recipe into a pile.  Some ingredients were used in multiple recipes, so I put those piles next to each other.  Then I cut out the labels, and taped them onto a bag.

Next, take a cutting board, and for each recipe that requires dicing, chop up the peppers, or onions, or whatever, and place the raw veggies in the corresponding bag.  It is best to get all that out of the way first.  I actually ended up wearing goggles, because the onions were so strong and stung my eyes so that I couldn’t see for all the watering they were doing!

Next, take a can opener, and open up all your cans.  Drain things like beans if you like, I didn’t even bother, just dumped the whole thing in there.  Pour the canned goods into the bags.  Any seasonings like chili powder or honey, pour those in next.  Finally, open the meats (if using) and add those to the bags last.  Be sure to keep meats separate otherwise so as to not cross-contaminate, and wash your hands after touching them.

Crock Pot Orange-Ginger Glazed Pork Chops Ingredients

Orange-Ginger Glazed Pork Chops

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Ingredients

BBQ Pulled Pork

Crock Pot 5 Bean Vegetarian Chili Ingredients

Crock Pot 5 Bean Vegetarian Chili

Crock Pot Classic Salsa Chicken

Salsa Chicken

Crock Pot Creamy Italian Chicken Ingredients

Creamy Italian Chicken

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup Ingredients

Tortilla Soup

Crock Pot Spiced Cranberry Chicken Ingredients

Spiced Cranberry Chicken

Crock Pot White Bean Chicken Chili Ingredients

White Bean Chicken Chili

IMG_1914 - Copy

Garlicky Sweet Lemon Chicken

IMG_1923 - Copy

Garlicky Sweet Lemon Chicken

IMG_1925 - Copy

Chicken Cacciatore

Once you have your bags filled, you can take them to your freezer.  Ideally, freeze them laying flat so that you save freezer space.  You can also put any of these recipes straight into the crock pot, as I did with the garlicky sweet lemon chicken.

The day before you plan to eat one of these meals, just take the bag from the freezer and put it into your refrigerator.  Preferably put the bag onto a plate or in a bowl, just in case it leaks or drips water as it thaws.  The next morning, pour the whole contents of the bag into your slow cooker and cook as instructed.  You can use each recipe’s suggestions, or serve with whatever you have handy.  And there you have it! Ten meals that serve 4, from cans to freezer to cooked!

IMG_1926 - Copy

Freezer meals assembled and ready to go!

 

You can purchase this list of ten slow cooker, freezer-approved recipes, plus a complete one-page shopping list, serving suggestions, and printable freezer bag labels on Amazon!

Just search “Budget Epicurean”. Or visit this link: http://goo.gl/VtfKOq

I’m hoping to expand these meal plan offerings soon to include a vegetarian option, diabetic meal plans, gluten-free meal plans, and more! Please let me know if you have any feedback, questions, or something else you want to see in the future in the comments below or by email at budgetepicurean (at) gmail (dot) com!

You can view the video of how easy the shopping & assembly is here:

 

Many many food bloggers and regular people alike love this method of cooking!  It is hard to overstate how much time, energy, and cash you can save by cooking this way.  If you’re already experienced with meal planning based on grocery store sales, or want to try coming up with your own recipes, here’s a great article from one of my favorite frugal sites, the Simple Dollar, fully explaining the process!

Slow Cooker Sausage & Kale Stew

 

Last week, a terrible thing occurred.

No it has nothing to do with upcoming elections. It wasn’t weather related. Everyone I know and love is just fine. (as far as I know.)

My Crock Pot broke.

It was in the sink with dirty dishes, and one thing lead to another, somehow in the mountain of dishes the crock got split right down the middle. The lovely workhorse of my kitchen, and it’s hardy ceramic bowl was now split in twain, to be used no more. I was heartbroken to say the least.

Any reader of the blog knows how in love with my slow cooker I am. This thing is amazing, making my life so much easier by preparing dozens, even hundreds, of slow cooked meals for me while I work or play or do whatever somewhere else. Then we come home to a house that smells amazing and a hot and healthy meal.

Though I will of course replace my crock as soon as humanly possible, I dedicate this post to the crock pot, as its last documented meal prior to fatal injury. May your crock last many years more.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head kale, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound sausage, cut in slices or ground
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • Optional: parmesan cheese and rustic whole grain bread

IMG_8984

Step 1: Rinse and tear the kale into pieces and place in the slow cooker. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add those. Open the white beans and either dump it all in or rinse them first then add to the crock pot. Add in the water or broth to your desired thickness.

IMG_8987

Step 2: Brown the sausage quickly in a frying pan, and add to the crock pot. At this point you can add any spices you want such as garlic, onion, paprika, rosemary, etc. Set on high for 4-5 hours or on low 6-8 hours and let it cook.

IMG_8988

Honestly, this really only needs heated through to be eaten, but the longer you let it stew the more the flavors meld and the broth thickens to become more stew-like and less soupy. Up to you how long you want/need to wait.

IMG_8989

This is amazing on its own, or you can serve it with some nice thick bread on the side. This makes plenty for about 4 servings, and you can of course double or halve it to your needs.

 

Slow Cooker Sausage & Kale Stew

Slow Cooker Sausage & Kale Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 head kale, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound sausage, cut in slices or ground
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • Optional: parmesan cheese and rustic whole grain bread

Instructions

  1. Rinse and tear the kale into pieces and place in the slow cooker. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add those. Open the white beans and either dump it all in or rinse them first then add to the crock pot. Add in the water or broth to your desired thickness.
  2. Brown the sausage quickly in a frying pan, and add to the crock pot. At this point you can add any spices you want such as garlic, onion, paprika, rosemary, etc. Set on low for 4-5 hours or 6-8 hours and let it cook.
  3. Honestly, this really only needs heated through to be eaten, but the longer you let it stew the more the flavors meld and the broth thickens to become more stew-like and less soupy. Up to you how long you want/need to wait.
Powered by Zip Recipes
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/comfort-food/slow-cooker-sausage-kale-stew/

 

Salsa Chicken Soup

 

Every once in a while, even those who most love cooking are just too tired or out of ideas to cook. That is the perfect time for me to pull out this little gem! I love recipes that are fast & frugal, and this one is both with the added benefit of being healthy as well.

Whether crunched for time, short on creativity, or you didn’t have time to run to the store so what you have on the shelves is what you’ve got for dinner, this recipe is bound to please. Especially if you do not like to cook any time, this recipe is perfect for you.

Simple: just open a few cans, dump into a pot, and dinner is simmering away. If reading isn’t your thing, and you’d rather see just how easy this is, you can check out the YouTube video, or scroll to the bottom of this post.

IMG_9202

Ingredients:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can corn
  • 2 cans any type of beans (I used balck and red)
  • Optional: 1 can chicken
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 gallon water
  • Optional: Chicken bouillon

IMG_9203

Step 1: Open the chicken, beans, & corn, and drain if you’d like. Rinse the beans to get rid of excess sodium. Honestly, I just throw all of it in the pot for flavor.

IMG_9204

Step 2: Pour the water and canned goods into a pot, not draining the diced tomatoes. I usually use diced tomatoes with green chilies because I like the extra spice. You could use regular tomatoes to tone it down, or dice up a jalapeno and throw it in or add hot sauce for even more spice.

IMG_9209

Step 3: Add in the salsa, stir it all around. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 20-30 minutes.

IMG_9215

This could also be made by throwing all the ingredients into a crock pot on low all day.

IMG_9217

Suggested toppings include shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips or torn tortillas, and sour cream.

If you choose, you can use cooked shredded chicken breast instead of canned. Or you could leave out the chicken for a hearty vegetarian soup, both ways are delicious.

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

IMG_7580

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

IMG_7586

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

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...
Powered by Zip Recipes
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegan/three-bean-vegan-chili/

Stuffed cabbage casserole – SNAP meal

 

This is the last of my posts of meals I made while doing the SNAP Challenge. You can look back to see recipes for Vegan Stuffed Green Bell Peppers, Turkey BLT, Turkey Frittata, and many more meal ideas. All these meals were made with about $28 for one week.

This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. One grandmother is Slovak & Hungarian and my other is Slovak & Polish, so this is a classic in my family. Usually made with ground beef, they can also be stuffed. I am usually too lazy to take the large amount of time to boil the cabbage until the leaves are soft, cool them down, carefully roll each little package, then cook.

I figure you’re just gonna cut them up into mush anyways. And I have still never figured out just what makes my grandmother’s cabbage rolls so mind-blowingly addicting. Maybe with a few decades more practice…

This recipe substitutes lentils for the ground beef, because let’s face it lentils are about $3 cheaper per pound. Everything else is pretty much the same. I also used turkey bacon rather than regular pork bacon because 1. it was on sale, and 2. it is healthier for your heart. All around, this meal is super cheap and also very healthy.

IMG_5280

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils, cooked
  • 1 cup rice, cooked
  • 1/2 small head of green cabbage, sliced
  • 1-2 cans tomato sauce (some people use 1 sauce and 1 paste)
  • 5 slices turkey bacon
  • Garlic salt to taste

IMG_5292

I made this in a crock pot on low for 6 hours, you can use a baking pan in the oven for 1 1/2 hours if you prefer.

IMG_5281

Step 1: Layer the sliced cabbage, lentils, rice, bacon and sauce. Sprinkle in as much garlic salt as you like. Top with some extra sauce and/or water and remaining cabbage.

IMG_5282

Step 2: Bake on low in a slow cooker for 4-6 hours, or at 350 in an oven for 90 minutes.

IMG_5291

This makes a HUGE batch, so be prepared to either freeze individual portions for later or feed a lot of people at once. Or just eat it five days in a row…

This entire pot of casserole, cost $1.76. I kid you not. I ended up with about six servings, making each serving $0.29.  Can’t really beat that.

 

 

**UPDATE: The SNAP Challenge is complete, with many lessons learned! All SNAP Meal Recipes listed below: