Vegetable Chili - ©

A Low Cost, High Satisfaction Family Supper

We’re all looking for a healthy, flavourful, nutrient rich supper that everyone in the family will love. One that won’t break the bank. Look no further than the universal favourite: Chili con Carne! Think it’s expensive? Think again!

Cook Chili - © crossfit626.comClassic Slow Cooker Chili: Add corn and/or garnish with cheese
if you wish –
but I don’t consider them an absolute necessity.

I surprise even myself sometimes. Thinking it would be great to cook up a big pot of Chili for a change, I looked up all the ingredients for a simple but classic Chili. And I was shocked to see how little a big batch that would feed a crowd would cost.

The grocery list rundown

1  x  Navy Beans (canned) $1.49 / 540 ml  – or –

1  x  Kidney Beans (canned) $1.99 / 540 ml

1  x  Diced Tomatoes (canned) $1.99 / 796 ml

1  x  Onion $0.29 / 100g  =  $0.60 total

1  x  Green Pepper $0.63 / 100 g  =  $1.26 total

1  x  Jalapeño $0.55 each

1  x  Ground Beef $3.99 / lb. – 450 g

The total at the cash register

The total cost of he most basic ingredients (using Navy Beans rather than more expensive Kidney beans) comes to just $11.35. And that makes a big crock potful that will serve 6 hungry diners.

You can add bread of some sort on the side. Tortillas come immediately to mind. It may seem odd at first thought, but I’ve also found crusty French or Italian bread is great for sopping up the sauce. Allow $3.00 for that, if you indulge.

What you do

Just place all ingredients in the pot – after dicing the Jalapeños fine and the Onion and Green Pepper medium – and allow to simmer for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. Be sure to add Chili Powder to taste about an hour before serving. You probably have some in your pantry already, so I haven’t included it on the shopping list. Be sure to taste for salt.

You’ll know the Chili is done when the liquid has formed an opaque, slightly thick sauce. Cook it longer for a thicker sauce.

Serve piping hot as is, or over plain white rice. A generous pot of rice adds just $1.25 to your grocery bill. Adding the rice gives you a compete nutritive protein, in company with the beans. No need for the meat component if you want to leave out the ground beef and go vegetarian! And bring the cost of your Chili pot down to just $7.36!

Of course, if you feel extravagant, you can add a small can of sweet corn kernels (drained). They’ll bring colour, flavour and interest to the mix. A 341 ml standard can is just $1.79 this week.


Shop the sales. ‘Nuff said.

Stick to canned or frozen veggies. Both have very long shelf lives and are very nutritious, since they’re canned or flash frozen at the height of their ripeness and freshness.

Why include meat at all?

I know. Meat is expensive. But for me, it’s a big part of the Chili experience. Ground Beef is often on sale as a meat department loss leader. Savings are often available between sales by buying ‘Family’ or ‘Club’ packs. Freeze it in smallish packets – say, 1 lb. each.

And I’ve always felt a little meat adds an additional dimension to the flavour!

The breakdown

Lets say you’re serving 6. And you’re serving rice as recommended. That’s a total of $12.55 / 6 = $2.10 per serving with meat. And you save a lot more going vegetarian: $7.36 / 6 = $1.23 per serving! Try to find another healthy, delicious, filling meal for that price!

~ Maggie J.