Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Poor Man's Diet

Beans and rice, rice and beans...these are the staples of a frugal diet. There are so many different, tasty ways to prepare them too! Dave Ramsey recommends that anyone working their way out of debt eat beans and rice as often as humanly possible! Of course, the best way to stretch that food budget is to refuse to buy chips, soda, snack crackers and other processed junk. Then you can buy more spices, veggies, meat and fruit. We try not to consume starches too often, but a big pot of beans once or twice a week is a good budget stretcher. Here are a couple of my favorite recipes.

Red Beans and Rice

1/2 pound dried kidney beans, rinsed

1/2 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed

4 cups water

4 cups chicken broth

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 bay leaves

1 quart home-canned tomatoes with liquid

1 jar (4 ounces) canned peppers, drained

1 large green pepper, chopped

1 large sweet red pepper, chopped

1 large onion, chopped (I used 1 Tbsp dried minced onion)

1 cup chopped celery (I didn't have any, so I used 1 tsp celery salt)

1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley (I used 1 Tbsp dried)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt (I used less since I used celery salt)

1 tablespoon vinegar (I used the vinegar I pickled the peppers in)

Hot cooked rice (I used 2 cups dry rice...should have used 3)

Place beans in a Dutch oven with water. Bring to a boil; simmer 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans. Return to Dutch oven with broth, garlic and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/4 hours. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 1 hour or until beans and vegetables are tender and gravy is thick. Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice. This dish keeps well. Yield: 12 servings.

Faith's Pintos

Sort and wash two pounds of dry pinto beans (or about 4 1/2 C.)

Cover with 4 quarts filtered water then add:

6 TBS butter
2 TBS. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more or less depending on the heat you want)
4 tsp. salt

Cook on high for at least 7 hours or until beans are tender.

Chili Con Elote

6 Tbsp red palm oil (use olive or canola if you haven't red palm oil, but red palm is wonderful tasting and very good for you!)

1 chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 or 2 green peppers, seeded and chopped (I used 1)

4 cups chicken stock or broth

2 cups chopped tomatoes

2 cups corn (fresh or frozen)

8 cups cooked pinto beans (begin with 4 c. dried) or use well-rinsed canned beans if you like.

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. salt

2 tsp. oregano

Saute onion and garlic in the oil. Add green pepper and saute 2-3 minutes more. Add chicken stock or broth, the tomatoes, and the corn. Mash two cups of the beans, then add them, the whole beans and the seasonings to the pot. Bring to a boil, then bring down to a simmer. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Slim Down Your Food Bills

As the economy slows and more folks begin to suffer the natural consequences of our increased government regulation and taxation, the food budget is often the first place families tighten the belt. One of my favorite resources for good-for-you, basic recipes is "More With Less" by Doris Janzen Longacre. I swap out fresh milk for the dry called for in some recipes and NEVER use soybeans or soy flour, but otherwise, the recipes are wholesome. Who knows, using this book often may even lead to weight loss! Cutting out expensive processed 'food' can be nothing but good!

Another book in a similar vein is Simply in Season, I don't have a copy, yet, but have heard good things about it. The book I go to for seasonal vegetable recipes is The Victory Garden Cookbook. Whatever strange veggie I bring home from the farmer's market can be cooked up with this book. It's all-inclusive! It even includes advice about growing your own garden.

Another of my go-to's is "Family Feasts for $75 a Week or Less". Mrs. Ostyn feeds her family of 12 with these real life, healthy, basic recipes. I love that the recipes are based on things that have been tried and found true! You can visit her blog at Owlhaven. I wanna be like her when I grow up!

The World's Healthiest Foods is a great value. I bought it at Costco for about $20. This a full nutrition course along with a cookbook. It's a major work and should be on everyone's shelf, and pulled out often! I use it for school, for recipes and for learning new cooking methods. Do ignore the inclusion of soy as a healthy food. I'm sure the author will repent in due time.