In these financially stricken times, it pays to revive some of those housewifely skills of yesteryear. Depending upon your weekly food budget, it may be that with a little resourcefulness, deception and cunning, you can stretch the pennies a little further, as well as indirectly stretch the diet.
When we first arrived in the States we went to a chilli cookout. It was quite an extraordinary experience for the naïve and uninitiated. Whilst the variety was quite daunting, the main ingredients consisted of pure ground beef, chilli beans, [very few in number] and chilli in a variety of different forms. If you take a standard dish of chilli you might be surprised to find out just how much you can add to the recipe without reducing the flavour. Oddly enough, you may also find that you increase the nutritional benefits of the recipe.
1. A cupful of lentils will blend in without a trace, and add fibre surreptitiously.
2. Similarly, unlikely as it may seem, a cupful of rolled oats are barely noticeable, introduce a hithertofore unknown food substance to the wary and you may help reduce cholesterol a smidge.
3. Finely diced carrots are inoffensive to most. For the few who do find them offensive, try carrot puree instead.
4. If you usually add onions to your recipe, try doubling the amount,
5. Similarly with the chilli beans. If you have a bean counter in your family, then puree the additional quantity of beans that you plan to add, to foil their accuracy.
6. Consider adding side dishes to the main course such as baked potatoes, freshly baked bread or a bowl of brown rice.
7. These additions are filling in themselves, which may mean that you halve the consumption of the chilli itself, which can then be frozen for another meal at another time.
8. Add more liquid, water or tomato juice to make it more of a soupy consistency.
9. Add any left over vegetables from previous meals. A cupful here or there is hardly detectible, especially if it is mashed first. If you use a particularly distinctive flavoured vegetable such as parsnips, add a tablespoonful of pickle or chutney to further confuse the taste buds into co-operation.
10. Now is the time to break the mould if you have people who do not eat fruit. A cupful of apple puree or mashed bananas adds a tangy sweetness that masks the ingredients but may just get past the fruit bat sentries.
11. This would be a good time to introduce salad or other vegetables that your family hates, because with a bit of luck their taste buds will be numb from the chilli.
12. Of course if you double the amount of chilli you can be safe in the knowledge that no-one will eat what you have produced. This may appear to be a saving in the short term, but in the long term, hungry tummies have to be filled.
13. Do not on any account add a cupful of bran fibre. Although the health benefits are unchallenged, the fall out can be dire. Any pennies saved, will need to be expended upon further quantities of toilet paper, and that my fine friend is what is known in the trade as a ‘false economy.’
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