Better Than Rice And Beans
|March 2, 2012||Posted by Ashley under Better Than Rice And Beans|
While my family was traveling through the lean years of trying to get our debt paid off, I was trying my best to keep us on a “rice and beans” grocery budget, while keeping us in optimal health, and tantalizing our taste buds.
Have you ever noticed that when you eat bland food day in and day out, you start thinking about going out to eat? Maybe this was my own personal struggle, but when I wasn’t doing a great job of creative cooking, I was tempted to pull the “I’m too tired to cook” card, just so we could go to Chipotle.
However, when I was mixing up our menu and trying new recipes, we were more than satisfied with my humble dinner offerings.
Explore Different Cultures Of Food For Low Prices And Maximum Flavor
It’s time to do some internet searches or break out the cookbooks. I have found Mexican and Asian cuisine to be some of the most flavorful, but also some of the most inexpensive food you can make. You will be at a slight disadvantage if you do not have asian and latin grocery stores in your area, but most grocery stores now have small ethnic food sections.
Lunches now cost pennies with flavorful options like jasmine rice or rice noodles with a drizzle of sesame oil and a bit of chicken. Or make a bean, rice and cheese burrito.
I have tweaked several Asian recipes to work well in my crockpot, and these are now all-time favorites, even now when our grocery budget is fatter than before.
Once a month I get my big pots out and cook up some dried beans, rice, and either a whole chicken or two pounds of ground beef. Mix it all together, add some salsa, cheese, and mexican spices. Spoon the mixture into flour tortillas and roll them up. We like to bake these in the oven for baked chimichangas, and they freeze really well. I triple what I make for one dinner and then freeze the rest for lunches, or for another dinner or two.
The key to avoiding bland budget foods is the spices. I buy all of my spices in bulk either from Costco, or from the Mexican section of my grocery store.
The main players are
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- chili powder
- soy sauce
- rice vinegar
- sesame oil
- fish sauce
- Chipotle Tabasco sauce
- salt and pepper
Another trick, if you have enough people in your house is to buy the basics in bulk. I buy the big bags of jasmine rice, either from Costco or my Asian market. Big 20 lb bags of beans cost me only eight dollars. A 25 lb bag of oats costs me $10.
If you have enough of the basics on hand, along with all of your seasonings, you will be able to throw together a tantalizing meal for your whole family for much less than a take-out meal for one would cost.