Cheap Eats: Two for One

So since I’m on this recipe kick, I thought I’d keep going on in the same vein ad naseum.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

But everyone can use recipes for cheap (yet real and wholesome!) meals, right?

Part I: Potato Broccoli Cheese Soup

I cheated on this one. I had a Tetra pak of Potato-Leak soup on hand (organic, natch).  I chopped two potatoes, cut up about a cup and a half of broccoli heads, added the potatoes into the soup till they were soft and then added the brocc till it was just tender.

Puree half the soup in a blender and stir in a cup or two of shredded cheese of your choice (just make sure it is at least rBGH-free. Kroger brand cheese is, even if it is from factory farms :S  But raw cheese and cheese from happy pastured cows is expensive…one exception: Tillamook is a decent price and since their cheese is made from cows in OREGON then OF COURSE they are happy.  Seriously, who wouldn’t be? But I digress.)

Final step: serve.  Miles loved this; therefore I will be making this again, but probably from scratch, which takes just a tad longer and involves broth but its not too much more time intensive.

Part II: Chicken Tortilla Soup

So I have this fabulously outrageously delicious recipe for white chili which also happens to be fairly time-intesive…but this is not that recipe. It just TASTES like it.

The original recipe is here.  This is my modification:

1.5 cups chicken from my free-range hen I got at the farm (I haven’t been able to buy bulk meats yet; hence, the parsimonious parcelling out of meat and heavily veggie-based recipes because individual pastured meat is expensive).
Olive oil
1 tsp garlic (or MORE)
1 tsp cumin
29 oz broth (I used veggie)
1 – 1.5 cups white beans (soaked and pre-cooked)
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp lemon juice (oops, I forgot this tonight but it turned out equally fine)
1/2 – 1 cup shredded white cheese

Saute chicken (if not cooked) and onion in oil.  Add garlic and fry a little more. Add spices and mix.  Add broth and beans and let simmer till warmed through.

Add in shredded cheese and heat till cheese is stirred through.

Top with extra cheese, sour cream, guacamole, avocado, broken up corn chips, whatever your little heart desires.

This is super-yum, seriously.


Cheap Eats: Again with the Every day Easy Cheap Eats

You know what would make this really rock?


Too bad my camera is on the fritz.

So you’re just going to have to trust me that this recipe is good AND cheap.  And it’s from the Every Day Easy Cheap Eats book that I wrote from last time.

Now up:  Chickpeas with Spinach

Yummy AND good for you!

Stuff you need:

3 tsbsp olive oil or butter
1 thick slice of crusty bread in small pieces ( I used some bread crumbs I had already had frozen)
1 lb 10 oz leaf spinach (or frozen chopped is even better, just make sure it is thawed and drained)
8.5 oz chickpeas (if using dried–cheaper AND healthier–soaked in 1 cup water + 1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar overnight then boiled till tender)
2 garlic cloves (or more!) chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin (ground)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp sherry vinegar (I didn’t have any of this and it turned out fine)

How to:

1.  Fry the bread or bread crumbs in oil until crisp.  Lift out and reserve.
2.  Squeeze out rest of liquid from spinach.
3. Saute garlic in more oil, add in spinach and cook till warm. Add chickpeas and spices then stir in friend bread crumbs.
4. Add vinegar + 2 tbsp water and cook till everything is warm.

Serve!  Easy peasy!

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Cheap Eats

Every since reading the book Real Food by Nina Planck several years ago, my view of food has been totally changed.

Wholesome fats, meat, and eggs from pastured animals raised the way God intended, soaked and/or sprouted grains, homemade when i can do it, unprocessed, local, sustainably raised products and raw and/or fermented foods, these have all become our diet now.

Of course, this has increased our food bill and my time in the kitchen has also increased, but with all the reading I have been doing, it’s become more important than ever to me to stretch our dollars into covering nutrient-dense, wholesome quality foods and avoiding the cheap, processed, nutrient-poor foods that are so  much more readily available in our country even if that means going without certain things, like pastured meats, and relying more on organically grown veggies (yes, I know “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean much but for the produce that carries high chemical residue loads [follow this link to figure out where to spend your organic dollars and where to skip it], it does mean avoiding all that crap) and dishes made from those.

This has become more of an issue now that Baby 2 is on the way and having 2 cars with high mileage, we’re looking into replacing at least mine.  And of course with the savings account hit hard with selling our house last year and all those last-minute, high-ticket fix-its that needed doing and moving house not once but twice, the dollars we bring in now are more important to save than before.  I’ve been balking at the idea of buying substandard food but have decided to view groceries as a challenge instead of an obstacle.

Lots of my recipes contain meat, however, and so I’m searching for delicious alternatives to that pricey commodity (altho, this very morning I am getting a second-hand deep freeze chest delivered that I found on Craigslist for a good price meaning…you guessed it…I can now look into saving up for the big bulk pastured meat expenditure).

I’ve decided to start posting the recipes I find that you might be interested in. My main priorities are cheap but clean and, of course, delicious and flavorful.  Lots of cheap eats cookbooks seem to rely heavily on factory farmed meat and BPA-lined canned soups but I will be eschewing those.  There’s no sense in saving a few dollars only to be eating food that could possibly cause cancer or disrupt your endocrines.

So I’m leading off this Cheap Eats section with a review of the Corn Chowder from the DK published book Everyday Easy Cheap Eats that I got from the library.  it was GOOD.

Sweet Corn Chowder


2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely  chopped
Salt and pepper for seasoning
6-8 med potatoes (I only had 3 so that’s what I used.  They were organic since potatoes, as a tuber/root vegetable carry high chemical residue), cut into bite sized pieces
24 oz corn (I used frozen organic)
5 c. vegetable stock (I only had 4 cups on hand)
handful finely chopped parsley (I usually buy a bunch and freeze what ever is left to use later)
1/4 c cream (it says optional in the recipe but since when is cream optional???)

1. Saute onions in oil, till soft. Add salt and pepper to tase, add potatoes and cook 5 minutes
2. Add corn and stock, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are done. Stir in parsley; reseason if necessary
3. Stir in cream and serve

This made quite a few servings (also a bonus), was fairly cheap and was relatively fast and easy as well as healthy.

The corn was $3.20, the potatoes $1.50, broth $2.59 so for about 8 bucks it made 8 servings or so (that’s what the book says it makes), which is $1 a serving and that’s using organic ingredients. I don’t think you can beat that.

I hope to blog more about my food changes but if you are interested, you can head over to my friend Emily’s blog since she does a fabulous job of detailing the kinds of food that are also going on in my kitchen as well.  There’s lots of other sites out there related to Nourishing Traditions and I’ll try to add some of the links I use over to the side.

Meanwhile, with the cooler weather coming, the gardening activity ratcheting down and diaper sewing to look forward to, I am hoping to add blogging back into the mix 🙂