Please help: need recipes that are healthy; not expensive and not too hard :) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 04-03-2012, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there...I am not a very good cook.  LOL. Lets just say that straight out.  I can make a pretty good meatloaf and lasagna and things like that but nothing complicated.  I also am trying to get us to eat a lot more healthy foods(lots more things involving fruit; veggies; whole grains)but unfortunately we don't have lots to spend so I also need frugal recipes.  Please also give me the recipes because it will make it much easier for me to follow.  LOL.   We are not vegetarian or vegan but I am open to those recipes as well.  No allergies except for shellfish, my mom is deathly allergic.  Sorry to make it so complicated and thanks sooo much!! Oh, one more thing...any meals will do...breakfast; lunch; dinner; snack; healthy or non healthy desserts. 

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#2 of 23 Old 04-03-2012, 11:21 AM
 
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Minestrone is popular with my family- even my vegetable hating dd loves it.  http://www.food.com/recipe/Copycat-Olive-Garden-Minestrone-Soup-by-Todd-Wilbur-77585

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#3 of 23 Old 04-03-2012, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks onlyzombiecat!! That sounds yummy!!

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#4 of 23 Old 04-03-2012, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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They say you can use red wine but that it's up to you...do you use it?  I want to make it your way.

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#5 of 23 Old 04-03-2012, 03:13 PM
 
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www.exclusivelyfood.com is my favourite recipe site. I've made lots of their recipes and never had a bad one.

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#6 of 23 Old 04-03-2012, 08:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dr.Worm View Post

They say you can use red wine but that it's up to you...do you use it?  I want to make it your way.



I don't bother with the red wine. I'm sure the soup is tasty with it added but it is very good without it too and probably more frugal.

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#7 of 23 Old 04-09-2012, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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www.exclusivelyfood.com is my favourite recipe site. I've made lots of their recipes and never had a bad one.

Thanks katelove! I will check it out!
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#8 of 23 Old 04-09-2012, 07:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't bother with the red wine. I'm sure the soup is tasty with it added but it is very good without it too and probably more frugal.



That's what I was hoping you would say.  I don't really have the dough to get red wine lol.  Thanks!

 

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#9 of 23 Old 04-26-2012, 01:08 AM
 
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Keep it simple

 

You can base a meal around a certain theme, or staple.

 

Bread Meal  in summer

   - Whole wheat bread & maybe baguette

  -  Everyone can choose different things to eat with it (peanut butter, jam, butter, cream cheese, dif cheeses, hummus)

 - Have with a simple green salad - oil & vinegar are fine dressings if you have nothing else

 

Bread meal in winter

   - Whole wheat bread & maybe baguette w/ butter or cream cheese

  - Some sort of soup w/ lots of veggies (chicken soup + veggies? Borscht? Beef and Barley?)

 

Rice + Veggie + protein

 - Steam your rice

 - cook your veggie (stir frying w/ garlic is an easy quick method)

 - cook your protein (tofu? eggs? chicken? pork?)

 

Pasta + sauce + veggie

 Pasta of your choice (spaghetti, rotini, etc.?) + sauce 

      For sauces I do two types - red, from canned tomatoes or else just some jarred sauce fancied up w/ a bit of meat and my own spice)

 or, white sauce, usually w/ cheese melted in

   Veggie - can be salad, can be stir fried greens, can be cut up carrots if you don't feel like cooking more

 

Potatoes + veggie + protein

  Boiled, mashed, or baked - add your own toppings; or make gravy w/ left-over meat. My kids are often happy to have mashed potatoes + chicken gravy + veggies for dinner.  There's milk in the mash and in the gravy and they drink some as well, so I think they get enough protein. 

 

Hope this gives you some ideas.

 

 

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#10 of 23 Old 04-26-2012, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skreader View Post

Keep it simple

 

You can base a meal around a certain theme, or staple.

 

Bread Meal  in summer

   - Whole wheat bread & maybe baguette

  -  Everyone can choose different things to eat with it (peanut butter, jam, butter, cream cheese, dif cheeses, hummus)

 - Have with a simple green salad - oil & vinegar are fine dressings if you have nothing else

 

Bread meal in winter

   - Whole wheat bread & maybe baguette w/ butter or cream cheese

  - Some sort of soup w/ lots of veggies (chicken soup + veggies? Borscht? Beef and Barley?)

 

Rice + Veggie + protein

 - Steam your rice

 - cook your veggie (stir frying w/ garlic is an easy quick method)

 - cook your protein (tofu? eggs? chicken? pork?)

 

Pasta + sauce + veggie

 Pasta of your choice (spaghetti, rotini, etc.?) + sauce 

      For sauces I do two types - red, from canned tomatoes or else just some jarred sauce fancied up w/ a bit of meat and my own spice)

 or, white sauce, usually w/ cheese melted in

   Veggie - can be salad, can be stir fried greens, can be cut up carrots if you don't feel like cooking more

 

Potatoes + veggie + protein

  Boiled, mashed, or baked - add your own toppings; or make gravy w/ left-over meat. My kids are often happy to have mashed potatoes + chicken gravy + veggies for dinner.  There's milk in the mash and in the gravy and they drink some as well, so I think they get enough protein. 

 

Hope this gives you some ideas.

 

 

 

Thank you!  Those ideas sound delicious :)

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#11 of 23 Old 04-26-2012, 10:22 AM
 
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One thing I've been doing to cut down on grocery bills and reduce the amount of meat in our diet (DH feels the need to have meat with lunch and supper because of how he was raised, I am happy to go without) is to use recipes that have bits of meet in them as opposed to cutting pieces of meat per person.  So that way I can really stretch a chicken to last pretty much a whole week!  Some favorites would be:

 

Quesadilla: Saute together lots of onion, some garlic, bell peppers, other veggies (I often add mushrooms because they have a meaty texture and I'll sneak in other things I need to use up before they go bad, such as zucchini).  Once the veggies start to get soft, dump in some salsa.  Then add in some cut up chicken (could also use left over beef or sub in black beans and not use meat at all).  When the chicken and salsa are heated through, spread some of the mixture on a flour tortilla (I've started making my own with the recipe from MDC "Peggy's Kitchen" and then freezing a batch with wax paper between each tortilla so I can just take out what I need).  Top with grated chedder cheese, and then another tortilla.  Bake on a cookie sheet in the oven until the cheese is melted and the tortillas crisp up.  Cut into pieces and serve with salsa, sour cream, and quacamole (I buy avocado on sale, do a big batch of quac, and freeze it in smaller batches). One quesadilla is enough for 2 people, if you add enough filling.  I usually serve with a green salad.

 

Fried Rice:  Saute together your choice of veggies (cabbage, bell pepers, blanched brocolli, snow peas, carrots, etc.).  Add eitehr home made or store bought stirfry sauce (I usually just make it up as I go, throw in some fish sauce, some soy sauce, maybe some brown sugar, maybe some chili sauce).  Cut up pieces of left over meat into small bits (pork works well) Cook your choice of rice (brown, black, regular).  Fry the rice in with the veggies and meat.  A few mins before it is all done, crack in an egg or two and mix it into the rice/veggie/meat mixture.

 

Thai Rice Bowls:  Super easy to make-ahead by cutting up your veggies the night before.  Thinly slice up veggies of your choice (red onion, green onion, bell peppers, carrot, cabbage, etc.).  Cook your choice of rice.  Prepare thai curry sauce (very easy, just buy the curry paste (I buy it in a 2 cup tub at Superstore, it keeps for a long time) by taking approx 1 - 2 tbsp of curry paste (red or green, your choice) and "blooming" it in a heated pan.  Add some stock (chix or veg) if you have it (I make stock with chicken carcasses after I've used up the meat, then freeze some of it in ice cube trays so I have "cubes" of stock to use) and stir in with the paste.  Once incorporated, stir in a can of coconut milk.  Simmer for a few mins to thicken.  Then, spoon rice into bowls, allow everyone to choose their own veggies, and spoon sauce over top.  Optional: top with chopped up peanuts or cashews.  Optional: Saute veggies instead of serving raw.  Optional: Serve with meat such as prawns or chicken.

 

Phili Cheese Melts:  (Ok, I am sure these are not authentic, this is my "Canadian" version)  Great use for dry, left over roast beef!!  Best if you have some of the jus from the roast.  Saute together bell peppers, onions, mushrooms with some type of seasoning of your choice (I often use a bbq dry rub for seasoning).  Add in jus from the roast and scrape the bottom of the pan to get off the brown bits.  Add some bbq or other sauce if you want, and mix in with the veggies.  Once veggies are soft, throw thinly sliced beef on top of the veggies.  Don't mix it in, leave it sitting on top.  Put the lid on the pan and steam the beef until it's heated through (this will soften it a lot!  My MIL can't cook a roast to save her life, and this saves her dry as a brick beef!)  Put a slice or two of beef onto a half a sub bun (or kaiser, etc).  Spoon some of the pepper mixture over top.  Top with a slice of cheese (chedder, mozza, etc.).  Bake in the oven at a high temp (375F ish) until cheese melts.  Serve with a veggie soup or a salad.

 

For all these dishes the veggies can be prepared ahead and for the quesadilla and the cheese melts I often even cook the pepper mixture the night before for a quick work day supper when I get home.

 

Other cheap, healthy favorites:

 

Borcht - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/borscht-recipe2/index.html  Serve with a grilled cheese sandwhich or the like

 

Chili (I make mine up as I go, so don't have a recipe, but there are about a million online)

 

Cabbage Roll Casserole (will post the recipe later, it's at home)

 

Homemade Maccaronii casserole with spinich (again, no recipe but there are tons online.  Essentially find one with a beshmel based sauce that looks good to you and before you pour the cheese sauce over the noodles, dump in a big big pile of fresh spinich and let it cook into the sauce for a few mins, until the leaves start to wilt, then pour over the noodles and mix in, bake in the oven as usual).  Usually served with sausages and green salad.

 

 

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#12 of 23 Old 05-22-2012, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nstewart View Post

One thing I've been doing to cut down on grocery bills and reduce the amount of meat in our diet (DH feels the need to have meat with lunch and supper because of how he was raised, I am happy to go without) is to use recipes that have bits of meet in them as opposed to cutting pieces of meat per person.  So that way I can really stretch a chicken to last pretty much a whole week!  Some favorites would be:

 

Quesadilla: Saute together lots of onion, some garlic, bell peppers, other veggies (I often add mushrooms because they have a meaty texture and I'll sneak in other things I need to use up before they go bad, such as zucchini).  Once the veggies start to get soft, dump in some salsa.  Then add in some cut up chicken (could also use left over beef or sub in black beans and not use meat at all).  When the chicken and salsa are heated through, spread some of the mixture on a flour tortilla (I've started making my own with the recipe from MDC "Peggy's Kitchen" and then freezing a batch with wax paper between each tortilla so I can just take out what I need).  Top with grated chedder cheese, and then another tortilla.  Bake on a cookie sheet in the oven until the cheese is melted and the tortillas crisp up.  Cut into pieces and serve with salsa, sour cream, and quacamole (I buy avocado on sale, do a big batch of quac, and freeze it in smaller batches). One quesadilla is enough for 2 people, if you add enough filling.  I usually serve with a green salad.

 

Fried Rice:  Saute together your choice of veggies (cabbage, bell pepers, blanched brocolli, snow peas, carrots, etc.).  Add eitehr home made or store bought stirfry sauce (I usually just make it up as I go, throw in some fish sauce, some soy sauce, maybe some brown sugar, maybe some chili sauce).  Cut up pieces of left over meat into small bits (pork works well) Cook your choice of rice (brown, black, regular).  Fry the rice in with the veggies and meat.  A few mins before it is all done, crack in an egg or two and mix it into the rice/veggie/meat mixture.

 

Thai Rice Bowls:  Super easy to make-ahead by cutting up your veggies the night before.  Thinly slice up veggies of your choice (red onion, green onion, bell peppers, carrot, cabbage, etc.).  Cook your choice of rice.  Prepare thai curry sauce (very easy, just buy the curry paste (I buy it in a 2 cup tub at Superstore, it keeps for a long time) by taking approx 1 - 2 tbsp of curry paste (red or green, your choice) and "blooming" it in a heated pan.  Add some stock (chix or veg) if you have it (I make stock with chicken carcasses after I've used up the meat, then freeze some of it in ice cube trays so I have "cubes" of stock to use) and stir in with the paste.  Once incorporated, stir in a can of coconut milk.  Simmer for a few mins to thicken.  Then, spoon rice into bowls, allow everyone to choose their own veggies, and spoon sauce over top.  Optional: top with chopped up peanuts or cashews.  Optional: Saute veggies instead of serving raw.  Optional: Serve with meat such as prawns or chicken.

 

Phili Cheese Melts:  (Ok, I am sure these are not authentic, this is my "Canadian" version)  Great use for dry, left over roast beef!!  Best if you have some of the jus from the roast.  Saute together bell peppers, onions, mushrooms with some type of seasoning of your choice (I often use a bbq dry rub for seasoning).  Add in jus from the roast and scrape the bottom of the pan to get off the brown bits.  Add some bbq or other sauce if you want, and mix in with the veggies.  Once veggies are soft, throw thinly sliced beef on top of the veggies.  Don't mix it in, leave it sitting on top.  Put the lid on the pan and steam the beef until it's heated through (this will soften it a lot!  My MIL can't cook a roast to save her life, and this saves her dry as a brick beef!)  Put a slice or two of beef onto a half a sub bun (or kaiser, etc).  Spoon some of the pepper mixture over top.  Top with a slice of cheese (chedder, mozza, etc.).  Bake in the oven at a high temp (375F ish) until cheese melts.  Serve with a veggie soup or a salad.

 

For all these dishes the veggies can be prepared ahead and for the quesadilla and the cheese melts I often even cook the pepper mixture the night before for a quick work day supper when I get home.

 

Other cheap, healthy favorites:

 

Borcht - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/borscht-recipe2/index.html  Serve with a grilled cheese sandwhich or the like

 

Chili (I make mine up as I go, so don't have a recipe, but there are about a million online)

 

Cabbage Roll Casserole (will post the recipe later, it's at home)

 

Homemade Maccaronii casserole with spinich (again, no recipe but there are tons online.  Essentially find one with a beshmel based sauce that looks good to you and before you pour the cheese sauce over the noodles, dump in a big big pile of fresh spinich and let it cook into the sauce for a few mins, until the leaves start to wilt, then pour over the noodles and mix in, bake in the oven as usual).  Usually served with sausages and green salad.

 

 

Thanks nstewart!! Those recipes sound YUM!!! Could you please give me your guac recipe too?  Sorry to be greedy lol.

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#13 of 23 Old 05-29-2012, 05:41 PM
 
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#14 of 23 Old 05-29-2012, 05:50 PM
 
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Quinoa salad. My favourite version (at the moment) consists of (these amounts are for a big batch):

 

3-4 leaves chopped kale,

1/3-1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/3-1/2 yellow pepper, finely chopped

1 medium/large carrot, grated

1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped onion

Somewhere around a tsp of finely chopped ginger

1-2 cloves finely chopped garlic

 

Sometimes, I throw in a few tiny florets of broccoli (torn down to only 2-3 buds each), or a little bit of chopped celery

 

I dress it with 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil, blended with 2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice, with a pinch each of ground coriander and curry powder (actually, I use more coriander than curry powder, but that's a matter of personal taste).

 

I take it to our homelearning meeting. I also make up big batches when we're really busy, so I have it handy to grab for lunch. It keeps me going really well. (Reactions here are mixed, though. My husband likes it quite well, and my oldest son will eat it. The kids all refuse to touch it.)


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#15 of 23 Old 05-29-2012, 06:35 PM
 
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We do a lot of Mexican food bc that's what hubby grew up on. Some easy ones are

 

Refried Beans:

 

Cook pinto beans until easily mashed with fingers (on the stove maybe 3 hrs, in the crock overnight with PLENTY water and a little salt)

Melt some sort of grease in a sauce pan, honestly a little bacon grease is best but butter or something else would work too.

Add beans, more beans than soup, boil.

Mash with potato masher, fork, or I use a pastry blender. Leave a little chunkiness.

Add salt to taste and if you didn't use butter already, add about a tablespoon per 3 or 4 cups of beans.

Can add a small or part can of chilis if you want. Or salsa, cheese, whatever you like. Or nothing, which I normally do.

Cook down on LOW for about 5 min or so until thicker.

 

Taquitoes

 

(Not sure that's even spelled right???)

 

There's a lot of variations, here's one I've tried, then one I am planning to try this week actually.

 

Fry a couple potatoes you've cubed (smaller than dice) until done. I use a small amount of either butter or EVOO or a combo.

Whisk some eggs and milk in a separate bowl.

When potatoes are golden, reduce heat a few minutes to cool the pan so you don't burn the eggs.

Dump in the eggs and scramble over the potatoes.

Serve with tortillas, salsa, hot sauce, or whatever.

Can cook in some breakfast meats, ham, chicken, sausage, chorizo, etc before adding eggs.  Make sure it's cooked through before adding the eggs though.

 

 

HAVEN'T TRIED YET

 

Tear up some left over chicken (or beef) and place in a skillet. Warm through and shred.

Dump in a can of chilis or some salsa, whatever looks good.

Heat up some corn tortillas to soften them.

Place some of the meat mix into the tortilla and roll tightly but not too tightly. Can insert a toothpick to hold together or place in a small pan to freeze. Never done the freezer method, but should work too.

Fry in a small amount of oil until golden. If frozen first, be careful not to splatter ice on you. Put the seam side down and pack the pan semi tight.

 

Drain on paper towels.

 

 

 

AND, it's hard to mess food up on the grill if you watch it doesn't burn. :) You can YouTube just about anything for tips.  Once you learn the basics, you can turn just about any recipe healthier and still not sacrifice taste.


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#16 of 23 Old 07-13-2012, 11:29 AM
 
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this is a good thread!

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#17 of 23 Old 07-19-2012, 09:47 AM
 
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oh these sound yummy!!

 

http://www.glutenfreeandlovingit.com/2012/03/easy-potato-soup.html  this is tasty. I added all purpose seasoning, salt, pepper, mild cheddar cheese, local potatoes, cooked bacon.

 

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/1405 this was delicious! I used gluten free all purpose flour.

 

http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2010/11/11/slow-cooked-meatballs/  these are so good. I used Muir Glen Italian Herbs sauce, Lauras Lean ground beef, organic Italian seasonings, GF bread crumbs leftover from Japanese Milk Bread. I used 1T ground flax mixed with 3T water and simmered until gel like. That replaced my egg and they didn't fall apart! Can be made cheaper.


 

 

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#18 of 23 Old 02-25-2013, 02:53 PM
 
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Great ideas here!

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#19 of 23 Old 03-07-2013, 12:08 PM
 
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Hi Dr. Worm!

 

I personally love plain oatmeal with fresh berries (theyre in season now!). Its not super exciting, but it keeps you full is RIDICULOUSLY cheap and helps you keep your diet pretty clean :)
 


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#20 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 08:24 PM
 
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Variations on rice and beans are filling and cheap. There are tons of ethnic (for lack of a better word) styles out there on the internet. My mom always made the following - don't know what ethnic category it falls into, if any. Kind of an Americanized version, I guess. =)
She would fry some bacon (don't know how much - probably as much or little as you want - or leave it out), then remove the bacon when it's done to your liking & fry 1/2 to 1 whole onion, diced, in the leftover grease. (I like onion, so I use the larger amount.) Remove the onion with a slotted spoon when it's softened. Add 1 tablespoon flour to the remaining bacon grease and stir it in til it's brown and bubbly. Then add the bacon & onion back along with 1 can of kidney beans & their liquid & water to = 1 cup of liquid. (so when you drain the beans from the can, put the colander/strainer over a bowl or liquid measuring cup, then add however much water it takes to bring it up to 1 cup). Stir in 1/8 tsp. chili powder, some minced garlic (1 tsp.-ish), 1 tablespoon dried parsley, and salt & pepper to taste. (If you use the bacon, you shouldn't need too much salt.) Stir it all together and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, then serve over cooked rice. My mom always used white, but you can use whatever you have.
I myself am vegetarian, so I don't use the bacon, just put some oil in a pan to saute the onions, and then add a little more oil before I do the flour and the rest. I also use cooked dried beans, which I've usually done in advance in bigger batches and then store in the freezer. I think I use about 1.5-2 cups cooked. (dried beans take up less space to store and cost less than canned - I use my pressure cooker to do them. I don't soak them, rinse them & pick out any shriveled beans, put them in the pressure cooker w/ plenty of water, then cook them for 30 minutes after it hits the high pressure [? I have a chart that tells me how long for different beans, but I don't have it in front of me to make sure of the time]. easy & fast!) It's a pretty forgiving recipe - I don't really measure the amounts of the spices anymore, just eyeball them. It's comfort food for me, and if you don't use bacon, really inexpensive. My husband is not a vegetarian, and says it's much better with bacon in it (and I agree, but still really good w/o). But you could always use just a little bit of bacon to add a bit of that flavor w/o breaking the budget.

We also love homemade hummus w/ pita bread and veggies (carrots, tomatoes, peppers, whatever you like) to dip. I make hummus from cooked dried chickpeas too. Mash 'em up in the food processor (or blender) with garlic cloves (we use a lot, but use however much you like; we like it!) and some of the cooking liquid from the beans. Add cumin, tahini, and salt, and maybe some olive oil to get the consistency you want; I usually just add more liquid from the beans, or lemon joice. (Tahini is costly - I actually just bought some sesame seeds in bulk, b/c tahini looks fairly easy to make from scratch, and the tahini around here is expensive! Figure making it myself will make it about 1/2 the cost...). Again, I eyeball it at this point; but you can find lots of recipes out there, and you can taste as you go to adjust the seasonings and texture. We serve it with some olive oil drizzled on top & then some paprika sprinkled on top of that. It is also pretty filling, and my 2.5 year old likes it as much as we do.
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#21 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 08:32 PM
 
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Oh, and I second the idea of Mexican food... you can do a lot of variations on that - tacos, burritos, fajitas, that don't take lots of time to make, use lots of veggies - and you can use meat or not as you choose. (I always think that meat is a really expensive thing to buy a lot of!). I use refried beans as a protein in all of those things, and top with lettuce, fresh pico de gallo or store bought salsa, guacamole, cheese, olives, sour cream. In our house, our Mexican nights are flexible - whatever we have on hand or need to use up. Lately I make my own refried beans too (b/c they're easier than I realized!), but you can clearly use the canned ones. 

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#22 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 10:04 PM
 
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You asked about a guacamole recipe. I live in Tucson so the stuff flows like water here. I make mine by squashing ripe avocados then mixing in a good tasting jarred salsa. (We buy Trader Joe's chunky salsa.) I add a bit of salsa, stir, taste, and add more salsa until it tastes right. My husband, on the other hand, dumps in a bunch of salsa and stirs. He always adds more salsa than I do. Either way it tastes great.


Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#23 of 23 Old 04-13-2013, 02:25 PM
 
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I did a take on the taquitos today. Fry the potatoes in a little EVOO, salt n pepper, onion and garlic. Also had a tiny bell pepper I threw in. When it was all golden, I tossed in some diced (sandwich) slices of ham & topped with some left over cheese that was hogging up fridge space. Hubby are with tortillas and loved it.

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