Today we have another addition to our Health Dollar Menu! Katie from Kitchen Stewardship shares one of her families favorite meals…..all for under a dollar per serving. Thanks, Katie, for another great addition to our health dollar menu!
Versatile. Nourishing. Frugal.
People have been asking about my favorite meatless meals lately, and I always fall back on this one. I’ve often served it for company, always to rave reviews.
My father and husband appreciate it but often say, “It’d be better with meat.” Kudos to my mom for figuring out the perfect way to add meat and still keep it frugal!
Veggie Bean Burritos have lots of vegetable options and can be completed entirely on the stovetop or baked as a casserole, so they’re perfect for any season. It’s a great way to use up whatever might be in your fridge.
I have my favorite vegetable combination, so I tend to make them whenever organic mushrooms are on sale, especially when zucchini is in season at the same time. I always have green peppers frozen from the Farmer’s Market, and can often utilize frozen zucchini from summer’s bounty too.
Other vegetables I’ve been known to toss in:
- Spinach or kale
- Sweet potato or squash (frozen cubes) in the sauce
- Colored peppers
- Broccoli stems, chopped small
- Yes, I often end up with more than 2 ½ cups of veggies. Just toss in extra seasoning if you do the same. You really can’t go wrong here; these burritos are consistently tasty no matter what is stuffing them!
Veggie Bean Burritoes
1 small onion, chopped ($0.25)
1 clove garlic, crushed ($0.05)
1 small can green chiles OR chopped jalapenos ($0.25-$1.00)
½ T. chili powder
¼ c. tomato paste (freeze the rest for the next batch) ($0.20)
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. ground coriander
8 oz. can tomato sauce ($0.30)
1 c. water
[can sub 14 oz can tomatoes for sauce and paste.]
1 small onion, chopped ($0.25)
2 ½ c. chopped veggies (green pepper, frozen corn, zucchini, fresh mushrooms) I almost always end up with twice this much, so I double the recipe, and a single batch of sauce covers it all.
($0.25, $0.25, $0.50-1.00, $1.00)
2 cans black beans OR 3-4 cups cooked dry beans ($0.50-1.00)
½ c. water
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
(+ about $0.25 for all the spices? I’ve not priced these out yet…)
You’ll need 6-8 big tortillas for this one. (~$1.00)
To make sauce: sauté onion and garlic and ¼ c. water or olive oil 5 minutes. Add chiles and spices, stir and sauté a few minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients, mix well and simmer about 15 minutes. Set aside.
To make filling: sauté onion, green pepper, mushrooms in water for 5 minutes. Add other ingredients; sauté 10 more minutes.
You can just fill tortillas and eat smothered with sauce, or put a little sauce in the bottom of 9×13 pan, put the filling in tortillas, top with more sauce and cheese and bake 15-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Total Cost: $5-6.00, depending on where your veggies come from
Serves 8 adults at well under $1/serving.
Make it “with meat”: You can add ½ pound of grassfed beef to either the filling OR the sauce. That’s plenty to give it some bulk and flavor, and you only add ~$2 to the total cost, or 25-33 cents per person.
Potentially a meal in themselves, these burritos are huge. If you want an added side dish to complete the platter, consider adding Mexican beans and rice or, for a lower carb option, homemade refried beans. Both come in at under 20 cents a serving.
Making your own tortillas is the most frugal option while staying away from questionable ingredients in mainstream tortilla shells. Here’s my soaked recipe:
Start with: 2 cups white whole wheat flour ($0.40)
Cut in: 1/4 cup lard or coconut oil or butter (varies, $0.50?)
Fork in: 1/2 cup water w/1 Tbs whey or just 1/2 cup whey
After a 12-24 hour soak at room temperature, sprinkle the 1 tsp salt on and knead into dough. Knead thoroughly until smooth and flecked with air bubbles. Divide dough into 8-11 balls, depending on how big you want your tortillas. Roll as thin as possible on a lightly floured surface. Heat an ungreased griddle or cast iron pan very hot (400 degrees) and drop tortillas on it. Cook about 20 seconds, until lightly flecked with brown on one side, then flip until brown spots appear on the other side. Cook about 20 seconds, until lightly flecked with brown on one side, then flip until brown spots appear on the other side.Serve immediately or refrigerate (or freeze) in airtight container.
Total cost: <$1, or about 10 cents each
See Katie’s Homemade Whole Wheat Tortilla Recipe for photos, other flours and non-soaked versions.
When she is not covered in flour, Katie Kimball blogs at Kitchen Stewardship, where she encourages baby steps on the journey to best nutrition. Find lots of practical tips for balancing real food with family life, your budget and the environment as you take it one Monday Mission at a time.