As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was interested in serving a meal for our party last night that wouldn't break my weekly food budget of $80. (I've easily spent over $100 for dinner parties in the past and when I throw a birthday extravaganza I spend over $400.) I am happy to report that the chili and cornbread were well received and my friends asked that I post the recipes here.
I was going to call the recipe I created "Thrifty Celebration" Chili because I like the word thrifty more than frugal but I learned this week that the word "thrifty" is derived from the Middle English "to thrive". The idea of thriving absolutely captures the tone I want to have while managing our household economy.
So I'll call my recipe "Thriving Celebration" Chili instead: To make this recipe very budget friendly I used 2 pounds of dried black beans that I soaked overnight and then cooked the next morning with 3 crushed garlic cloves. I thought it might be fun to figure out just what it cost to make this meal, so I did a little research and a little math and here is what I found:
2 pounds dried black beans = 1.78
peppers=.89/each, so $3.56 for 4
vegetable broth (I had some dried cubes in pantry, bought a long time ago) ~.10
chipotle chile (I used 1/3 of can in chili so 1.64 x 1/3)=.49
32 ou can of diced fired roasted tomatoes (organic)=$2.49
Total for chili= 8.96, or less than $1 per person - pretty cool - *and* we have leftovers that will make up at least another meal.
For Cornbread (both types)=
1 pound of corn meal (organic)=1.19
2 cups of buttermilk=.89
1 stick of butter=.50
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I had leftover puree in the freezer - from Christmas - and cleaning it out last week inspired the pumpkin cornbread muffins and I'm so glad it did because they were so tasty!)~.10
1/3 can chipotle=.49
(The cost of the cup of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and other spices are so negligible I'm not going to figure them out. Our eggs, of course, are a benefit of raising chickens.)
Total for 1 large pan of cornbread and 24 mini-muffins=3.17 (We also had leftovers of the cornbread.)
1 cup sour cream=.91
I also served tortilla chips, beer, and juice boxes from our pantry and brownies and blondies from our freezer. I wouldn't have served them if they had not been "on hand", so I'm not going to include them in the cost of this meal. Our friends brought salad, salsa and guacamole.
Grand total for hosting=13.04
This is the first time I have ever "broken down" the cost of a meal and I have to say I am surprised that it cost so little: In fact, I'm surprised and thrilled. So, if you'd like to create this meal for your friends and host your own "Thriving Celebration", here are some recipes:
"Thriving Celebration" Vegetarian Chipotle Chili
It should provide 6 servings. I doubled it for our party of 8 adults and 3 children (and removed some bean and veggie mixture for the kiddos before I added the spices) and we have plenty of yummy leftovers for another meal.
2 teaspoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespooon chopped chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
Cooked Black Beans (Either 1 pound dried, then prepared as above or according to package directions. If you are using canned you will probably need 4 cups, or 2 15 1/2 oz cans, drained.)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon salt
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell peppers to pan; saute 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add chili powder and garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add chipotle, beans ( I added mine with the cooking liquid), and tomatoes to pan; simmer 40 minutes or until thick. Stir in salt.
Top with whatever you like. We had sour cream, guacamole and salsa. Shredded cheddar cheese would also be nice.
Pumpkin Corn Mini-Muffins (A big hit with the little ones.)
Makes 24 mini-muffins or 12 standard muffins
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light molasses
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Grease 12 standard muffin tin or 24 mini-muffin.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the melted butter, egg, honey, molasses, buttermilk, and puree. Mix into the dry ingredients until just combined. Take care not to overmix. The batter will be lumpy.
4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling cups almost to the top. Bake until golden around the edges and a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes for the mini-muffins, 20 for the standard muffins. Let stand 10 minutes before turning them out to cool completely - or serve warm!
For the Chipotle Cornbread I used my standard recipe and added about 2 tablespoons of chopped chipotle to the wet mixture and baked in a pre-heated iron skillet.