Almost every day this question is asked in our office; “What are you having for dinner tonight?”. I love this ritual because it happens near the end of the day and has become the signal for the end of the day. We all turn our chairs to the center of the room and discuss what we’re having, what we’re thinking about making, or what we should make based on what we have at home. It’s great to have ideas thrown out there when we have hit that “dinner wall”, where our minds are completely blank as to what to cook.
This little tossing around of ideas came in quite handy this past week. I was feeling a little under the weather and had no idea what to make for the next few days and almost zero creativity or motivation to get me through the task. Fortunately, one of my co-workers mentioned she had made chili the previous night. Chili! Of course! So easy and healthy.
So, I stopped at the farmer’s market after work, luckily just down the street because I wanted to put as little time and effort as possible into this and driving too far would have killed me (not really but I’m allowed to be dramatic). I grabbed an onion, some ground beef, and a few banana peppers. I’ve never had banana peppers in chili, but it couldn’t be bad, right?
I cooked up the ground beef in a pot, threw in the chopped onion and peppers, added some great northern beans, canned tomatoes, and tomato sauce and boom. Dinner is served! I love meals that are easy and nutritious (obviously, who doesn’t?) and this one certainly is.
1 yellow onion: $1
3 yellow and green banana peppers: $3
1lb grass fed beef: $7.99
1 can organic diced tomatoes: $1.69
1 can organic tomato sauce: $1.78
1 can organic northern beans: $1.29
Seasoning already on hand
Total cost: $16.75
Cost per helping: We were able to get about 5 helpings out of it for dinner and smaller servings for lunch the next day with a salad = $3.35
Like other meals I make, the grass feed beef is going to be the most expensive, in this case it was nearly half the cost of the entire recipe and it could be much cheaper if you don’t adhere to those guidelines. However, it is important to me to support farmers that provide clean meat to consumers as well as a humane environment (their natural diet) to the animals on their farm, so I'm willing to pay the price!
Or would it be meat based tomato sauce? Either way works for me!
Even though I love buying and using fresh and clean ingredients, I don't much care for cooking all that much. I really just care about the eating. That's why I always pick recipes with few ingredients and easy preparation. Luckily there are a bunch of super easy recipes to follow and this is one. I am also very much a "try it and see" cook so I hardly measure anything out when I cook (baking is another story, of course).
I have to give credit to Max Lugavere and his book Genius Foods because although this is not exactly like what he lists in the recipe section of his book, it's based off of that.
Like I said in the previous budget post the food I bought will last my boyfriend and I until the next weekend. It's so simple and delicious. It uses ground beef, tomato sauce, onions, seasoning and I served it with cauliflower rice and sauteed kale and green beans. The ground beef was by far the most expensive ingredient. We used 2 lbs to feed two people for at least 5 days, that's .2 lbs of meat per person. Combining the other ingredients from my grocery list (not including what I already had on hand which was one can tomato sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper) that comes to $2.86 per person per day for 5 days for dinner.