Eats on the Cheaps: Quinoa

Hello, fellow cheapsters!  Anyone else enduring some crazy winter stormage?  I went running in shorts it was so nice Friday and am now buried in ice and snow!  What is wrong with you Kansas?!?!?!

This week…I can’t say I 100% reached my goals.  We went over $30, didn’t eat enough quinoa, and one of my recipes totally flopped.  But on the positive, we got some bulk stuff from Costco to get us ahead for future weeks and did come up with an AMAZING chili recipe!

Money spent:
Costco: $157
Wal-Mart: $53

*For those of you just tuning in, please note this is a budget for SEVEN PEOPLE (three families) and we bought a lot in bulk (not something you would need to do if just shopping for one or two).  Check out last week’s Eats on the Cheaps endeavor here.

Sarah and I also each spent $11 each eating lunch at Whole Foods and $16 each buying some random, probably unnecessary, awesomeness from WF (Meg: raspberry habanero preserves, several power bars, and green powder (look for my review later this week!), Sarah: fresh ground cashew butter, preserves of some sort, cacao nibs, and green powder).

I ALSO spent $27 at Dillon’s because B requested more enchiladas – I have lots frozen now!

Overall: budget busted a bit.  I will NOT be wasting any money this week and am working all three nights this weekend to make up for my grocery habits.  Yes, I feel the need to justify my foodie addiction to you…

 

Menu

Breakfasts: Fruit smoothies, oatmeal, toast with almond butter, or green juice

Lunches:
Leftovers
Veggie burgers with salad or barbecue PopChips
Buddha Bowls (check it – QUINOA for lunch. Win.)
Taco salad
Grilled chicken rice wraps

Dinners:
Falafel salad
Sweet potato and black bean chili with quinoa corn cakes
Mediterranean Spinach and Chickpea Patty sandwiches (new product by Veggie Patch – not on their site yet)
Grilled chicken spinach salad
Mexican Baked Potatoes
Italian Paninis with salad
Chicken sausage with Quinoa Polenta

Extras:
Banana Bread (attempt two after last week’s pitiful showing that transformed into awesome french toast!)
Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Granola Bars
Carrots and Celery
Apples
Extra smoothie stuff
Popcorn

 

Recipes

I only have one recipe for you this week!  I would have had the recipe for Quinoa Corn Cakes, but in my head they were this amazing corn-bready-flavorful concoction and in actuality they were a sticky, just-okay mess.  I think I went a little too far in trying to include quinoa – why add it to cornbread?  It’s a lot of extra work with not much return.  Silly me.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

3 medium sweet potatoes, baked, cooled, and cubed
2 cans black beans
1 can chili beans
1 packet chili seasoning
2/3 cup water
1 small can green chiles
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro

Optional:
1/2 small can chipotle sauce (exclude if you aren’t a spicy person – it definitely adds some heat!)
1/2 bottle dark beer (the beer adds an awesome depth of flavor but also intensifies the heaviness of this dish – if going for a lighter flavor, exclude)

Combine all ingredients except beer, sweet potatoes, and cilantro.  Cook in Crockpot on high for up to two hours or in stock pan on stove over medium-low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally.  Stir in beer, sweet potatoes, and cilantro.  Cook for an additional ten minutes.  Serve alone or with cheese or sour cream!

 

The rest of the meals are pretty self-explanatory.  Quinoa was added to all salads, served as the base for our Buddha Bowls, and comprised a protein-rich addition to polenta.  It’s an awesome thing to cook a couple of batches of on Sunday and have in the refrigerator all week for breakfast (eat just like oatmeal) or quick and easy lunch and dinners!

I am already starting next week’s grocery list – I want to go UNDER our budget and simplify, simplify, simplify.  Any cheap, healthy recipe ideas?  Let me know!

I’m out to brave the snoepocalypse.  Stay safe and warm if you’re in this storm’s path and enchanted cooking, all!

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