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Know Your Ingredients, Know Your Costs

Tag: vegetables

$0 Crockpot Vegetable Stock

$0 Crockpot Vegetable Stock

It’s true that not many things in life are free, but eating a diet full of delicious vegetables does give you access to free vegetable stock. Oh and I forget to mention, it will be hands down the most incredible vegetable stock you’ve ever tasted in your life. Why? Because not only it is made from your favorite vegetables, it’s served with the good feeling of knowing you did something to combat food waste today.

$1 and 30 Minutes Roasted Root Vegetables

$1 and 30 Minutes Roasted Root Vegetables

The purpose of this post is to free you from the belief that you need some expensive course or pre-packaged meal kit to learn how to cook! I’ll get right to it – for delicious roasted vegetables, all you need is some fresh vegetables, an oven and a little oil and salt. And 30 minutes. That’s it. You heard it here first – there is no one right, perfect way to roast vegetables. Because every vegetable is different. Everyone has different taste buds and people prefer different textures. Which is why cooking is awesome – it’s not about getting it right. It’s all about what works for you and the ingredients you have. What’s important is that with this template you start with some fresh root vegetables from the grocery store and 30 minutes later you have an undeniably healthy dinner or side dish!

$2 and 40 Minute Vegetable Soup Template

$2 and 40 Minute Vegetable Soup Template

Vegetable soup doesn’t get enough credit. Too often it’s only used as a get-well remedy instead of a dinner spotlight. This $2 and 40 Minute Soup recipe is here to change all that. Time to throw out those over-salted, super-liquidly, probably expired cans in your pantry and trade up to a vegetable soup you’ll crave as a main course every day of the week.

The recipe template is provided below along with some sample ingredient lists to get your creative juices flowing!

Ingredients (~8 Servings):

  • 4 lbs of organic fresh, frozen, or puréed vegetables
  • 4 cups of low sodium organic vegetable broth
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic (optional)
  • Healthy fat (1/2 of 14oz can of coconut milk or 1/4 cup of almond butter) (optional)
  • 1 TBSP grapeseed oil (or any oil of choice)
  • 2 TBSP of spices
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • Toppings (Anything you can think of – e.g. nuts/seeds, créme fraïche, cilantro, parsley, lemon, lime, more spices, etc.)

Tools:

  • Large pot
  • Immersion blender
  • Chefs Knife
  • Wooden or plastic spoon
  • Small bowl

Steps:

  1. Chop the onion and garlic and set aside. Chop the 4 lbs of vegetables into approximately 1″ sized pieces. If using frozen vegetables, steam in the microwave.
  2. Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot (~1TBSP) over medium-low heat (4 out of 10), add onion, garlic, and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions slightly brown and soften (~3 minutes).
  3. Add the chopped vegetables, vegetable broth, and healthy fat (if using) and bring to boil, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer (just like you’re making lentils) and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  5. Turn off the stovetop and use the immersion blender to liquefy the vegetable chunks to your desired consistency.
  6. Let cool in serving bowls for 10 minutes, decorate and enjoy!

Total time = 40 Minutes (20 to prep, 20 to cook)

Tips:

Step 1 – Haven’t started using frozen vegetables yet? Add quicker soup making as another reason you should be. Since they come washed and chopped, there’s even less work you need to do. My passion for frozen vegetables can be found here.

Step 2 – Don’t worry about the spices sticking to the bottom of the pan during this step. Once you add the broth and scrape the bottom of the pan a little it will all come right off. You’ll be left with a clean pot and easy clean up after dinner!

Step 3 – If adding a nut butter, you can mix it with some of the vegetable broth before adding to help it disperse evenly. If using coconut milk, just dump it on in. If adding coconut milk, stir to combine it into a smooth mixture before adding it the soup.

Step 5 – If you want a smooth purée, make sure to scrape the edges once or twice and then, when you think you’re done, blend for 30 more seconds!

Step 6 – The soup gets better and better as it cools. But the kitchen smells so good and usually I’m too hungry to wait. Putting the soup in smaller serving bowls helps decrease your cooling time but feel free to mix in an ice cube or two to get the delicious soup to your mouth faster!

Cost:

  • 4 lbs of organic fresh, frozen, or puréed vegetables ~ $9
  • 4 cups of low sodium organic vegetable broth ~ $2
  • 1 onion ~ $1
  • 6 cloves of garlic (optional) ~ $0.25
  • Healthy fat (1/2 of 14oz can of coconut milk or 1/4 cup of almond butter) (optional) ~ $1.75
  • 1 TBSP grapeseed oil (or any oil of choice) ~ $0.10
  • 2 TBSP of spices ~ $0.75
  • 1 tsp salt – negligible
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional) – negligible
  • Toppings ~ $1

Total Cost per Batch of Soup ~ $16

Cost per serving (~8 servings) ~ $2

Conclusion:

The reason that I’ve started to eat less meat isn’t because I like meat less, but because I like vegetables more. Homemade soup is a big reason why. I can take any vegetables I like, roughly chop and toss them in a pot with some spices and 20 minutes later – BOOM – incredibly flavorful and delicious soup. No flavor is off limits! Create your own off the template or follow one of the sample ingredients lists below!

As always, make informed food decisions. Know your ingredients, know your costs!

Ingredient Lists:

Sweet Potato-Carrot-Cauliflower Soup

  • 2 lbs of fresh sweet potato
  • 1 lb of fresh carrots
  • 1 lbs of organic frozen cauliflower
  • 4 cups of low sodium organic vegetable broth
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of almond butter
  • 1 TBSP grapeseed oil
  • 1 TBSP of sweet paprika
  • 1 TBSP of chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • Toppings – Chopped almonds/pecans, cilantro, lime

Carrot Sweet Potato

Coconut Cream of Broccoli-Cauliflower Soup

  • 2 lbs of organic frozen cauliflower
  • 2 lbs of organic frozen broccoli
  • 4 cups of low sodium organic vegetable broth
  • 1 white
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 of 14oz can of coconut milk or 1/4 cup of almond butter) (optional)
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP of ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • Toppings – Chopped almonds, green onion, cilantro, more coconut milk

Coconut Cauliflower Soup

$4.50 and 30 Minute Sweet Potato Hash

$4.50 and 30 Minute Sweet Potato Hash

Want to add another breakfast/brunch plate to your repertoire, but don’t want to have to learn any new cooking skills or buy any new tools?? I have got the recipe for you. $4.5 and 30 Minute Sweet Potato Hash. All you need is standard kitchen tools and all natural ingredients to create this colorful, delicious and healthy dish that will keep you full up while keeping your costs down.

$2 and 45 Minute Stirfry Template

$2 and 45 Minute Stirfry Template

Stirfry = The perfect busy week, meal prep dinner solution. All you need is one pot, some vegetables, and 45 minutes. Next stop, a delicious, vibrant and healthy dish that will brighten up your plate and your day!

$1.50 and 20 Minute Crispy Brussels Sprouts

$1.50 and 20 Minute Crispy Brussels Sprouts

I’m all for some great restaurant crispy Brussels sprouts but for $8-10 dollars an appetizer plate, it’s just not financially sustainable. There’s got to be a way to get these delicious vegetables on the plate every night without breaking the bank. Good thing you can pick up a pound at the grocery store for $2.50 and in 20 minutes you can recreate that restaurant experience for you and a friend in your own kitchen!

Ingredients (2-4 Servings):

  • 1 lb of Brussels sprouts (yes, this is really how it is spelled…)
  • 1 TBSP avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP of red wine vinegar (optional)

Tools:

  • 10″ Non-stick sauté pan
  • Medium-sized bowl
  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Spatula

Steps:

  1. Rinse and chop a sliver off of the bottom of each Brussels sprout. Then coat them in half or into quarters depending on your desired size.
  2. Put the Brussel sprouts in a bowl and toss in oil, salt until coated.
  3. Heat pan to med-high (~7 out of 10) on the stove top, add the Brussel sprouts, and spread them around the pan as evenly as possible.
  4. Cook the Brussel Sprouts for 10 minutes. Don’t touch them except to flip them around minute 4 and minute 7.
  5.  Transfer them back to prep bowl, toss with olive oil and vinegar and enjoy!

Total Time = 20 Minutes (10 minutes to prep, 10 minutes to cook)

Tips:

Step 2 – Some of the outer leaves might fall off when chopping the Brussel Sprouts. Make sure to add the leaves to the bowl. Cooking these leaves will make your final product extra crispy and delicious!

Step 3/4 – Not moving/stirring the Brussels Spouts is the key to getting those awesome brown mark you crave.  They come from the contact between the hot pan and the surface of the Brussels sprouts.

Step 5 – If desired, you can add the following at the first flip:

  • 1/2 onion (sweet, yellow, white, red or shallot)
  • 1/2 lb of mushrooms
  • 1 TBSP of sunflower seeds or Pumpkin seeds

Brussels Sprouts with Pumpkin Seeds

Cost:

  • 1 lb of Brussels sprouts ~ $2.50
  • 1 TBSP Avocado oil ~ $0.25
  • 1 TBSP olive oil ~ $10
  • 1 TBSP red wine vinegar ~ $0.15

Total cost for 1 lb of Brussel sprouts (2 servings) ~ $3

Total cost per serving: $1.50

Conclusion:

Next time you hear someone say, “you need to try [insert fancy restaurant name here]’s crispy Brussel sprouts”, you should respond “You need to try MY crispy Brussels sprouts.” Sure, they might be a little confused about your passion for your Brussels sprouts, but they’ll get over it after one bite! Especially if you serve them with one of the following recipes:

As always, make informed food decisions. Know your ingredients, know your costs!

Swordfish with Brussels Sprouts

$0.90 and 40 Minute Cauliflower Faux-tato Salad

$0.90 and 40 Minute Cauliflower Faux-tato Salad

Love potato salad, but trying to eat less white potatoes?? Cauliflower Faux-Potato Salad to the rescue!

$3 and 40 Minute Baked Asparagus

$3 and 40 Minute Baked Asparagus

Tender. Crispy. Delicious. Homemade. Asparagus? Yes, asparagus. Time to move that meat to the side of the plate and explore some new flavors! Especially since you’re rarely paying more than $2.50 for a pound!