Thrifty Thursday with a Meatless Meal!

Welcome  I don’t know about you, but grocery shopping can be quite stressful, especially when it comes to the final tally at the register.  We’re supposed to be trying to eat healthier, yet fresh produce is like gold, at least according to the price tags, and the freshest, leanest meats run up the grocery bill faster than any other item.  So how am I going to pull off a Thrifty Thursday meal this week?  We’re going meatless!

Food For Thought  I have made it a personal mission to reduce our grocery bills in the past couple years since leaving my career and paycheck behind.  I’m happy to say we have considerably reduced the amount we spend each month, not only at the supermarket, but we also have cut out a lot of take-out and restaurant meals.  Every one brown-bags their lunch.  I’ve even persuaded my hubby to cut back on his convenience store stops during the work day.  He eats cereal at home and prepares his own coffee to take in the car.

We also like to throw in some Thrifty Thursday meals.  I have a couple thrifty tricks up my sleeve today.  First, instead of going out to our favorite local Mexican restaurant, where they have the absolute best cilantro rice (!), we’ll be making a home version with my Avocado Cilantro Rice.  Second, we’re going meatless today, by making black beans the protein star of the meal.

Nutritionally speaking, beans are a low-fat protein source.  They also contain fiber, B vitamins, iron, folate, potassium, magnesium, and phytonutrients.  They’ve been shown to reduce cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and combat heart disease.  From a cost and time perspective, beans are a win-win, especially if using canned beans.  The one down-side of using canned beans is some brands are high in sodium, but a lot of brands now carry lower-sodium options.  And guess what?  Peas, string beans, and green beans count nutritionally in the bean category!  Who knew?

It is true that beans were once called “poor man’s meat” and often used as filler to stretch a small quantity of meat.  But now, not only for cost effectiveness, but also health benefits, we are being urged to eat more beans.  It is true that beans are the most healthy AND economical source of protein.  So why not swap out that package of meat for a package or can of beans for a Thrifty Thursday, Frugal Friday, or Meatless Monday?

Today’s Recipes

First up is my Avocado Cilantro Rice. I may never prepare rice another way again! This stuff is #Yummazing! We absolutely love the cilantro rice at our favorite local Mexican restaurant, but it’s “just” cilantro rice. I have added chopped avocado and diced jalapeno to the party. It’s. So. Good.

I’ll admit, though, avocados are not always that thrifty. But at Aldi, for the past two weeks, avocados have been 39 cents each! Bargain! They sell them really under-ripe, but I just have to set them out for a few days before use and we’re good to go. It’s totally worth it for that price!

Avocado Cilantro Rice (8 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 ripe avocados, chopped
  • 2 TBS fresh lime juice
  • 2 fresh jalapenos (use more or less, depending on taste), diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (use more or less, depending on taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Bring water to boil in large saucepan. Add rice and reduce heat to medium low and cover with lid. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand 10 minutes.

In large bowl, add avocado, lime juice, jalapenos, cilantro, and seasonings.

Once rice is cooked and cooled, add to bowl with avocado and cilantro. Mix well. Leftovers are delicious too!


Skillet Black Beans (6 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 cans low-sodium black beans, drained
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 TBS chili powder
  • 1/2 TBS olive oil

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add onions and cook until translucent.

Add black beans and chili powder. Stir and cook until heated through.

Serve skillet black beans and avocado cilantro rice with a lime wedge, if desired, for a quick (less than 45 minutes) and frugal dinner.

Bonus Recipe!

I just cannot bring myself to serve this meal without an additional serving of veggies or two. We like this Tossed Garden Salad with Olives and Avocados to accompany our meal. Extra veggies are never a bad thing.

Tossed Garden Salad with Olives and Avocados (8 servings)

Ingredients

  • Garden Salad Kit, such as Little Salad Bar Garden Salad Mix from Aldi, 12-oz
  • 1 cup peeled, chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh carrots
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 fresh lime, squeezed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

In large salad bowl, place garden salad kit, cucumber, radish, carrot, green onion, and black olives.

Top salad with sliced avocado. Sprinkle with lime juice, salt, pepper, and cumin.

Today’s Scriptures

There’s nothing wrong with being frugal or thrifty, being good stewards of what God has blessed us with, doing good for our families and others. But don’t take it from me. Read these scriptures instead.