In the interest of finding new recipes to use with my new crock pot slow cooker, I checked out a couple of books about slow cookery from my local library. I picked up Cooking Light Slow Cooker and Fix-it and Forget-it Lightly. Cooking Light Slow Cooker is a hardcover with full-page, glossy pictures of each recipe, which I really like. I also like that I was able to get both of these for FREE at my library. (Since I’m currently working in a library and studying for my Master’s degree in Library Science, don’t be surprised to hear me toot the horn of the public library from time to time!) I just have to be careful not to spill any gravy on them.
Last night I made a recipe from Cooking Light Slow Cooker - Red Beans and Rice. You can view the recipe online here.
I made just a few minor changes to this recipe. I found that the beans were pretty much cooked after only 3 hours on high, so I turned it down to low for the remaining two hours. The beans had a great texture, very creamy and bean-y. I also used some Oscar Meyer turkey sausage. I couldn’t find the Healthy Choice brand the recipe mentions, and the turkey sausage seemed to have wayyy less fat and saturated fat than anything else in the sausage department. The nutrition facts are available from www.thedailyplate.com. It also tasted delicious, and I would definitely buy it again. I used Uncle Ben’s instant brown rice instead of white rice for a little extra fiber and nutritiousness, and I splashed on a little Tobasco chipotle pepper sauce when this dinner made its way to my bowl. Oh, and in my excitement to eat, I forgot the sprinkle of green onions. I don’t think the dish suffered as a result. Aaron loved this dish, he raved about it the entire time we were eating and had two gigantic bowls of the stuff. I thought it was good, too, though enthusiasm like that was hard to match.
You can view the nutrtion informaton for this dish on the same page as the recipe. It’s got 413 calories, with only 5% of those coming from fat, and a whopping 10 grams of fiber. I looked up the Healthy Choice sausage that the recipe suggests, and found that it has a little less fat than the turkey sausage I used, but just by one gram of total fat and .5 grams more saturated fat. The dish is still very lean. I also added a gram or two of fiber by using brown rice instead of white.
This turned out to be a very cheap meal. I used $0.50 of dried red beans, $0.50 of green pepper, $0.25 of celery, $0.50 of red onion, $1.25 of turkey sausage, $1 of instant brown rice, and perhaps $0.50 for bay leaf, thyme, paprika, tobasco, garlic, and whatever else. The total cost of this dish, then, was about $4.50. Even though the recipe says it makes four servings, it looks more like five to me since we polished off three servings last night (due to Aaron’s great enjoyment of the dish and hunger from not bringing a lunch to work that day) and there looks to be plenty for lunch for both of us. Assuming there are only four servings, the cost per serving is about $1.13. If you get the five servings that I came up with, the cost is even better – just $0.90 per serving. Awesome. This is one of the cheapest meals on the blog so far, if not the cheapest.
What is the cheapest meal you make at home?