Monday, April 7, 2014

MONEY - beans week

Mmmmm, beans.  Mmmm, beans again.  Mmmm, more beans.
Beans.  They're cheap.  They're easy.  They're yummy.  They're cheap.  They're the staple of our menu this week.  We are doing a beans week again... guess why... take a guess... go ahead... because, they're cheap!  It's all about saving the dinero.  This round is a little different from our "refugee week" that we did a while back.  The refugee ration week was inspired by this article, and we ate refried beans (with only salt as a seasoning) and homemade flatbread and tortillas for a week.  At that time we were partially doing it as a solidarity exercise to connect in a small way to refugees around the world, and partly because it was very cheap and we ran out of food money in our envelope (darn you, Dave Ramsey!!!).  Well, we ran out of grocery money (don't worry, just until next payday) and so we are doing a beans week again.  (Did you hear that?  Mmff, pinching pennies makes my tummy growl.)  This time our lineup is inspired by this pinterest post of this article which was inspired by this article!  (Whew, don't you love that?)  We had a leeeeetle more money than last time, so we were able to get some fresh veggies and make it a little more sophisticated.  Not that solidarity is unsophisticated.  Solidarity rocks!  Go solidarity!  Hmmm, I got off topic.  Anyway, here's our little "plan" with recipes where it applies.

Step one: dump a bag of beans (whatever beans you want, we use about a pound of black beans) into the crockpot with lots of water to cook on low for several hours or overnight.  Add water as needed.  When done, drain them and save however many cups for your chili.  Mash the rest and add taco seasoning to taste (I make my own - recipe here) and cilantro (I use dried but fresh is better)

Day 1: Chili and cornbread
Chili recipe (adapted from More With Less  - A World Community Cookbook "Mexican Chili Beans" recipe)
   couple cups of beans you made the day before
   some chopped onions (don't you like my measures?  good stuff)
   2 tsp salt
   1 tsp petter
   2 tsp chili powder
   1 tsp dried leaf oregano
   1/4 tsp cumin
   3/4 c tomato paste
   1 c tomato sauce (wanna know a secret?  for the last two ingredients I used a quart of canned diced tomatoes and a few squirts of ketchup!  I thought it was tasty!)
Dump all above ingredients into a pot and heat that sucker up to almost boiling, ok, boiling is fine, too.  Noms!

Cornbread recipe (this time taken straight from More With Less)
Preheat oven to 400°
Mix together:
   1c cornmeal
   1c flour
   4 tsp baking powder
   1/2 tsp salt
   2 Tbsp brown sugar
   1/2 c dry milk powder (optional) (I did use buttermilk powder)
Make a well and add:
   2 beaten eggs
   1c milk
   1/4 c oil or melted shortening
Stir until just smooth.  Pour onto a greased 9x9 pan and bake 25 minutes.

Day 2: Nachos!
We piled plates of tortilla chips with dollops of our mashed beans, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheese, sour cream, and homemade ranch dressing.

Day 3: Taco Pizza (<----- p="" s="" that="" today="">Pizza crust made from Bisquick (taken from Betty Crocker's Quick and Easy cookbook from the "Fajita Pizza" recipe)
   1 1/2 cup Original Bisquick stirred together with 1/3 cup very hot water and pressed into a greased circular pizza pan
topped with: refried beans, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, crunched up chips, and cheese. Baked in a 450° oven for 12 min

Day 4: Burritos
beans and rice and tortillas and ... lettuce and tomatoes and whatever else

Day 5: Chili Mac (not sure what this is going to be, but it's the plan anyways)

So there you have it - an incomplete blogpost about our beans week including shady kinda recipes!  I hope you are inspired to come up with your own version!

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