Sunday, November 9, 2014

A couple of frugal, healthy, one-pot meals

You really can't beat the simplicity of one-pot  meals.  Fewer dishes, fewer things to stir, piece of cake.

Last weekend my one-pot meal was black bean soup.  I flavored it with pork fat and stock leftover from a pork shoulder I'd cooked in the crockpot.  It was some pork from a local farmer, and expensive, so I didn't want to waste the leftover juices!

I opted for black bean soup because I have a 10 lb bag of black beans.  I've been working hard at losing weight, and have been cutting carbohydrates.  I've given up bread and pasta for November.  But I love beans, so I decided to make them a big part of my November diet.  I try to eat about 2 servings of carbohydrate foods per day (grains, beans, potatoes), more beans than anything.

I also happened to get a lot of chicken this week from Zaycon chicken, in addition to the chicken I already had from Trader Joe's.  So I've had to figure out a lot of chicken recipes.  I was thinking chicken and rice, and remembered a dish I made from the newspaper years ago that was ground beef, marinara sauce, mushrooms, and instant rice.  Oh how times have changed.  I decided to combine that recipe with my "one-pot pasta" concept using brown rice.

First, the soup.  This base of this soup came from The Pioneer Woman.  Because, google took me there.  I made mine in the pressure cooker because it was faster.

Black Bean Soup, adapted from The Pioneer Woman
1 lb dried black beans: 0.90
1 onion, diced: 0.50
2 peppers, chopped: 1.00 (one red, one yellow, farmer's market, smokin' hot deal!)
1 bunch cilantro: 1.00
3 stalks celery, chopped (because I had them): 0.20
3 cloves garlic, pressed: 0.15
1. 5 tsp each chili powder and cumin: 0.30
1 tsp salt
1 few tomatoes from my plant
2 pork fat: free (can use olive oil)
2-3 cups pork stock (use water or chicken stock): free
water: Your total liquid will be about 6 cups

Total: $4.05 for about 10 cups of soup, or $0.41 per cup

Soak the beans all day or overnight in water.  Drain.

Heat the fat in a pot.  Saute the onions, peppers, celery, and garlic until soft.  Add the beans, stock + water.  Bring to a boil, put lid on the pot, bring to pressure.  Cook at pressure for 9 minutes.  Remove from heat, allow pressure to release naturally.  Remove the lid.  Add the spices, salt, and tomatoes.  Continue to cook for 30 minutes to an hour.

At this point, I used the immersion blender for a few seconds to grind up some of the beans and make the sauce "thicker".

I served this with some cheese and diced avocado - and some bread for the boys who aren't giving up bread.

Chicken and vegetable marinara rice
1 onion, chopped: 0.50
2 peppers: 1.34 (no smoking deal this time)
2 cloves garlic, pressed: 0.10
1 package sliced mushrooms: 2.29
1 jar marinara: 1.79
1 cup water
1.5 lb frozen chicken tenders; 3.50
1 Tbsp olive oil: 0.40
3 cubes homemade pesto: 1.00
1.5 c. brown rice: 0.95
10 kalamata olives: 0.50
4 oz shredded mozzarella: 1.00
7 small tomatoes from my plant
salt and pepper to taste

Total: $12.97 for about 10 cups, or about $1.30 per cup.

Saute onions and mushrooms in olive oil until soft and mushrooms have given up much of their liquid.  I use my dutch oven.  Add peppers, garlic, pesto, and tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, until they start to soften.

Add marinara and water and bring to a boil.  Add rice and chicken tenders (yes, they can still be frozen).  Stir, put lid on pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until rice is fully cooked.  It took about an hour.  At that point the rice was well cooked and the chicken was fully cooked.  I used the spoon to cut the chicken into smaller pieces.

Add the olives and stir.  Top with shredded cheese, put lid back on pot to let it melt.  Serve!

I thought for sure that I took pictures of at least the soup, but no such luck.  Anyway, you guys don't read my blog for my photos.  They suck.

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