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Cheap and Easy Chili- Two Ways

29 Sep

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!

Bon Appetit!

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
garlic, 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.


Weekend Edition: End of Summer Veggie Casserole and Pizza

25 Sep

It’s been a crazy weekend.  Class all day on Saturday followed by studying and more studying but that didn’t keep me from squeezing in a little kitchen time.

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Butternut Squash, Spinach, Sage Gnocchi

22 Sep

For dinner this evening I needed something that was quick and easy.  I am exhausted after a full day of seeing Northwestern patients and an evening filled with work on one of several papers due and pages and pages of reading.  I’m pooped, ya’ll.

Luckily, I had a few items around the house to whip up a respectable meal thanks to a  little care package bearing fairy (ignore the balsamic, I didn’t use it).

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Apple Cheddar Soup

18 Sep

Fall is here.  The temperature continues to drop, the leaves are changing colors, and local Michigan apples are 49 cents a pound at the market.  As you dig out your sweaters and start up the fireplace for the first time of the season why don’t you make a pot of this apple cheddar soup?  Serve it up with a crusty loaf of whole grain sourdough!

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Zucchini Rice Gratin

3 Sep

I still have a kitchen full of zucchini.  If anyone wants any let me know!  I came across this recipe for zucchini and rice gratin that uses up a good amount in one easy dish.

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Zucchini Fries with Marinara Sauce

1 Sep

I officially have way more zucchini than we can possibly consume.  After doing very little over the summer my veggie patch has gone into overdrive producing femur sized zucchini, football cukes, and cherry tomatoes galore.

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

28 Aug

My hubby’s studio recital was this weekend and I wanted to whip up something sweet for the reception.  I have a ton of zucchini thanks to my veggie garden that decided to do nothing all summer and explode in late August so I decided to use some. If you put zucchini in a cake it’s healthy, right?

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