I have been on a crazy mission to save money. I am literally trying to save up as much money as possible before April of next year because I've got some serious plans. I'll divulge these plans at a later date, because right now I'm still very much in the planning phase (and it may or may not involve the state in the picture to the left).
Anywho, one of the main things I spend money on (other than school and gas) is food. I admit I'm a foodie. Food is a hobby for me and people tend to spend money on their hobbies. But, since I'm aiming to be so tight with money that I squeak when I walk, I'm clamping down on my food budget. Any alotted monies I don't spend on food at the end of the month goes back into my savings, to NOT BE TOUCHED until April of next year. Whew!
This recipe is a very good example of food on a budget. The seitan was homemade. I made one very large batch here and then froze it into three 16-oz. portions. Seitan freezes very well. Upon thawing, there isn't any change in texture or taste. Homemade seitan saves a bunch of money. I would never pay for it in a store. Also, chipotle chiles freeze very well. You usually get quite a bit of use out of one small can because most recipes only use 1-2 chiles at a time. I place them in a freezer proof container and dig them out when I need them. They also chop better when frozen, in case you were curious... The mushrooms were bought in bulk, because not only does that save money it keeps me from buying any Styrofoam. I abhor that stuff. The tomatoes and tomato paste were bought at Big Lots. Stuff like spices and liquid smoke last a long time, so I always have them on hand and dried beans are a God-send. About $3 bought me about 3 pounds of beans. That makes many meals. Vegan Worcestershire can often be found next to the regular Worcestershire, so there's no need to buy expensive health food store brands. The only item on this list that's expensive is my maple syrup, so I mostly use it for pancakes and recipes that call for amounts less than 1/4 cup. For most baking, unless I want the specific maple flavor, I'll use other sweeteners or even reduce the sugar or add in natural sweeteners like no-sugar-added applesauce. I'ts plenty sweet and not that expensive (plus... you can eat it for a snack... lol).
As a side note... Big Lots... I LOVE that place. From now on, I'm going to start my grocery shopping there. Seriously. Tomato paste $0.25. Canned tomatoes... Well, I'd tell you the price if I remembered. Lol. They always have canned beans there too, often organic, for lower prices than regular grocery stores. They even have stuff like whole wheat pastas (sometimes alternative grain and gluten-free), nuts (like Wonderful in-shell roasted pistachios for $3.50), cereals (often organic), and aseptic containers of soymilk. Just this past week I found my one of my favorite flavors of ClifBars (Maple Nut) for $0.70 each. That's more than $0.75 off the regular price per bar. I stocked up! They also have weekly specials. Last week's included jars of Nutella... If you have one, check it out!
Click here for a Big Lots store locater.
Hearty Seitan Chili:
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 Tb. minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
1-2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced (about 1-2 Tb. minced chili plus about 1/2 tsp. adobo sauce)-
1 1/2 c. baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
3 c. homemade seitan, chopped (or pulsed in a food processor)
1 (15 oz) can petite diced OR crushed tomatoes
1/2 a small can tomato paste
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 - 1 tsp. liquid smoke (depending on how much you like it)
1 c. dried black beans
1 c. dried kidney beans
1 c. dried pinto beans
1 c. carrots, chopped
2 Tb. low-sodium tamari
1 Tb. vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tb. real maple syrup
1. In a large Dutch oven, combine all the dried beans, sort and pick through them, then add plenty of water to cover and allow them to soak 8 hours or overnight.
2. The next morning, drain the beans, add fresh water (up to about one inch over the beans) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, saute the onions in a skillet sprayed with some nonstick over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Add the garlic, minced chipotle chili, mushrooms, and seitan. Saute another five minutes or so. This is mostly to get the seitan a little browned and crumbly. Add the smoked paprika, chili powder, celery salt, and cumin and saute until fragrant, about 1-2 more minutes. Set aside.
4. Once the beans are done, drain off most of the cooking liquid. I only kept enough to just cover the beans and it was the perfect amount. Once drained, add the sauteed seitan mixture, as well as the can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, liquid smoke, carrots, tamari, Worcestershire sauce, and maple syrup. Give it all a nice, big stir.
5. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes or until the carrots are done. Enjoy with crackers or cornbread!
I was gonna make some cornbread to eat with this, but I ran out of time. If I decide to make some, I'll definitely post the recipe. For some reason, I can never remember to put my cornbread recipe on here! Also, just in case you'd like to know, this chili has 24 grams of protein and only 1.5 grams of fat per each one-cup serving!