Quick, Convenient and Frugal

Since starting our local, seasonal kick I haven’t had many luxuries when it comes time for getting dinner on the table pronto and frugal isn’t necessarily something I’ve been able to be. I haven’t gone over what we used to spend but I certainly haven’t been spending way less either.

I was so excited tonight when I sat down to eat my delicious black bean burger and realized how much the entire dinner actually cost to make. And even more excited when I realized I could make up a huge batch of these bad boys to freeze and later grill or fry in a flash. And then the possibilities of some adaptations for a quick and easy breakfast or lunch box fare made me more excited yet.

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Of course it would have tasted even better with a slice of Skagit Ranch bacon on top but I had just used up the last of my pre-cooked bacon making bacon and cheddar scones for breakfast.

Delicious? Yum! Quick and Easy? You bet! Frugal? This whole meal for 4 cost me less then $3 to prepare and if our chickens were laying eggs yet it would have only cost me $1.24. For a family of four. Crazy, isn’t it?

Here’s the low-down:

  • 3 cups cooked organic black beans from Azure Standard, used about 70 cents worth
  • 4 local organic eggs $1.67, if ours with feed would have cost $0.37
  • 4 Tablespoons full of grated Tillamook cheddar cheese about $0.17
  • Other ingredients were from the garden, spice rack or stale bread heels
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, one for frying and one in the mix I didn’t include the cost of but it couldn’t be more then pennies

I adapted the recipe from Heidi’s lentil bean burgers to include black beans, celery, scallions, cumin, chili pepper and roasted garlic. The buns were left over from our vacation, otherwise I would have used homemade pita bread or foccacia bread buns, both of which cost next to nothing to make when you buy the grain in 25 pound bags and grind it yourself.

The side fixings were grilled corn on the cob, cherry tomatoes and jalapeno from my own garden with a sprinkling of chili powder and salt and a splash of sherry wine vinegar to round out the meal.

With their high protein content from the beans & eggs you could easily adapt these to breakfast patties by using breakfast sausage seasonings. I’m sure my soon to be kindergartener would love to find these in his lunch as well – a great finger food (minus the bun and fixings) that can go a few hours without refrigeration. I’m already racking my brain for lunch ideas for him that don’t include nuts (Seattle Public School rules) or lunch meat since there is none that’s local and organic that I know of. This fits the bill perfectly!

Before cooking these are really mushy so you couldn’t pop them in a toaster oven or on a barbecue but by cooking them up and freezing them you have a great soy-free and incredibly frugal version of veggie burgers at your disposal. Finally – some fast slow food in the freezer!

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4 Responses to Quick, Convenient and Frugal

  1. This entire meal looks delicious and makes sustainable eating look like a fabulous walk in the park. Nice post!

  2. Sounds delicious!!! I recently found a veggie burger recipe that we adore: http://www.recipezaar.com/Black-Eyed-Pea-Burgers-111177
    we eat them without a bun with a little salsa and sr cream . . . mmmmm!

  3. I love black eyed peas – I just need to find some local ones and then I’ve printed that out to try! Thanks so much for the recipe. I’m trying to incorporate more legumes into our diet now that I’m finding more local ones. They are a great frugal and earth-friendly alternative to all the grass fed meat we’ve been eating!

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