Frugal Recipes: Easy Chili

Every Friday there is a new frugal recipe. The rule is that all recipes need to cost less than $1 a serving. Browse through all previous recipes. Learn more about how meals for $1/serving can dramatically reduce your grocery bill. Share your frugal recipe by emailing smartfamilyfinance(at)gmail(dot)com.

Our eldest caught me trying to photograph the chili and immediately made life difficult by trying to eat it, if that tells you anything about its popularity in the SmartFamilyFinance household. It is easy. It is probably fairly healthy. It feeds a small army (serves 10). Inspired by my grandmother’s recipe:

Ingredients:

1 Green Pepper $.90

2 Onions $.40

1 lb Ground Beef $1.99

1 Can Crushed Tomatoes (16 oz) $.99

4 Cans of Beans, drained (we use kidney and black beans) $3.00 *Note: if you want to blow this high-budget item out of the water, soak 2 cups of beans in 10 cups cold water overnight, rinse and drain. $.75!

2 Tbsp Chili Powder $.10

1 Tbsp Cumin $.05

1 Tbsp Paprika (Hungarian) $.05

1 Tbsp Taco Seasoning  $.05

Cost with canned beans: $.75/serving

Cost with dry beans: $.53/serving

A little bit of honesty: I have no idea exactly how much of the spices I put in. I pour them straight into the pot until it “looks right” and tastes good. Measuring spoons create dishes, and I don’t like dishes. It is probably a fairly close estimate, but always season to taste.

Chop the pepper and onions. In a large pot, brown the ground beef with the pepper and onions over medium-high heat. Drain the beef. Add the can of tomatoes and spices; stir. Add the beans. Simmer, covered, on low heat until you are ready to eat. Or, if everyone is ravenous, “simmer” (really more like boil) on medium heat until the beans are heated through- about 10 minutes. If you feel like splurging (on both money and calories), garnish with cheese and light sour cream. This recipe also tastes great with added corn, chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped canned whole tomatoes, and probably many other things you have lurking in the pantry or refrigerator.

Need it to stretch even further? Serve it over rice, wrapped in tortillas with lettuce and tomato, or over salad with tortilla chips.

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