I'm a Frugal Gluten-Free Girl
One of the hard things about following a gluten-free diet is not just finding food to eat, it’s finding food that I can afford. When bread costs $7 a loaf and the fear of contaminated grain belts has me reaching for oats processed in special facilities, I tend to shy away from the easy-to-eat foods like pb&j, if for nothing else than to be a little more easy on my wallet.
Luckily, the crock pot is a great tool for the gluten-free grad student, athlete, or all-around busy person. Not only can I make relatively cheap food with high leftover potential, it’s typically food that requires little prep work and chef-like maintenance. As an added bonus, I can also make many things in the crock pot wheat-free.
Since it’s fall, and fall usually implies warm, hearty soups and stews, I thought I’d share my super-easy chili recipe.
One thing I love about a cool fall day is the way chili smells as it simmers all day long. Just add a few cans of tomatoes and beans to a pound of cooked beef and you’ve got yourself an easy, all-day-cookin’ meal. Here’s my super easy recipe:
1 lb ground round [$3.49]
2 cans diced tomatoes [$1.98 for 2]
2 cans kidney beans [$1.98 for 2; one light and one dark can of beans makes the chili look more festive]
1 green pepper [$2.50 for an organic one]
1 sweet onion [$0.50]
Dice the onion and green pepper and cook on the stovetop with the ground round. Once the meat is cooked through, add to the crock pot and throw in the tomatoes and beans. Add ~1/2 tbsp of salt and pepper each, stir, and cover. If you are feeling adventurous, add a few squares of dark chocolate or a spoonful of cocoa powder to make it mole-esque. Let simmer on low all day.
Total cost: $10.45 for five humangous servings
What goes great with chili? Biscuits, of course. My mom bought a box of gluten free Bisquick mix when I was home a few weeks ago and made an apple pie from it. It was quite a delicious dessert, too. Although it was more like a crumb cake than a deep-dish apple pie, I marveled at the idea of having Bisquick once again. Luckily, the gluten free version of Bisquick is just as easy as the regular gluten-full kind (and, dare I say, just as tasty?):
Blend 1/3c butter into the dry Bisquick mix with a fork (or a pastry blender if you are that sophisticated) until little pea-sized balls form. Then, add 2/3c milk and 3 eggs, mix well. It doesn’t matter if you add the milk first, then the eggs, or both milk and eggs together. Just make sure you mix it well.
I like my biscuits more in the shape of the ones from Bob Evans, so I put them in a muffin pan. You can also spoon them onto a cookie sheet for a smaller, portion-controlled size biscuit. Who am I kidding, though? I know I will eat at least a quarter of the biscuits in one sitting. Bake at 400F until the tops brown. One box of Bisquick makes 11 normal sized biscuits or 6 mega-sized muffins, whichever you prefer. The larger ones have more calories and cost about a buck apiece.