Saturday, February 2, 2013

Penny pinching chili

I've been on my own for just under a month now and I've already learned some good lessons, so I figured I would share.
1) When you're live alone like I do cook once, eat all week. I've been making a pot of soup or a casserole on the weekend and eating it all week. It makes life easier and keeps me from eating junk for dinner.
2) sale flyers are your friend. I've been basing what I eat for a week around whats on sale. I made chili tonight because almost everything I needed for it was on sale.
3) Your freezer is your friend. Last week I had some milk that was about to go bad and I wanted to use it to make pancakes but I can't eat a whole batch of pancakes by myself. So I made them, wrapped them in plastic warp, and froze them in Tupperware. Now I can wake up in the mornings and have a quick breakfast.

My last tip would be find ways to stretch your food, whether its by taking a gallon of whole milk and cutting it with powdered milk and water to make two gallons or if it's adding breadcrumbs to macaroni and cheese to make it more filling. There are lots of ways to make your food go farther, while still making it tasty. Today's recipe is a perfect example. I adapted the Pioneer Woman's chili to make it a little more affordable by replacing half of the meat with couscous. The couscous has a similar texture to ground meat but it only costs about a dollar where even the cheapest of ground meat would be at least $3. 

Penny pinching chili

1 lb. ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken, pork, whatever you like)
2 cloves garlic minced
3/4 cup plain couscous
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cupim
1/2 tsp cayanne pepper
2 Tbsp chili powder
8 oz can tomato sauce (plus 1 can of water)
1 can tomatoes and green chilies
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn

In a large pot or dutch oven brown the meat with the crushed garlic. I a medium sauce pan with a lid bring the water to a boil with the butter, add the couscous to the water. Remove pot from heat, cover let sit for five minutes.
After five minuets fluff couscous with a fork, add to the browned meat, add spices and tomato sauce to meat and couscous.
Turn head to low. Allow the mixture to cook for a hour, stirring every 15 minuets.
After a hour add the tomatoes and chilies, the beans, and the corn. Cook for another 10 minuets.
Serve with grated cheddar and sour cream.