Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Triple Bean Soup Cost Breakdown

I find deep satisfaction in knowing how much a meal costs me. There are some great blogs out there that do this regularly, like 5dollardinners. I'm not necessarily trying to get my meals down to $5, but I do aim for inexpensive healthy meals. Today I'm breaking down the cost of my Triple Bean Soup, which is a good basic soup that you can make many simple modifications on for a whole new creation.

We use a good amount of kidney and black beans, so those I cook up myself from bags of dried beans. Anything else I need from time to time is purchased in a can. After I cook my beans I store them in the freezer in 2 cup increments, which is about how much you get when you purchase canned beans. (To be honest though there's been a lot of package shrinking lately, so with my method I think I'm actually getting more beans than if I used a can. Another bonus: canned beans often have salt added; home-cooked does not.)

Cost Breakdown:

1/2 onion -- 16 cents
1 T garlic -- 5 cents
1 T EVOO -- 10 cents
2 C kidney beans -- 66 cents
2 C black beans -- 66 cents
1 can of other beans -- 74 cents*
2 C chicken broth -- 63 cents
1 can diced tomatoes -- 49 cents
2 t basil -- 5 cents
1 dz scratch corn muffins -- $1

*This time around I used white kidney beans. Sometimes I use cannellini beans. It really depends on my mood when I go to make dinner.

Total cost: $4.54

Makes 6 servings, so that's 76 cents per serving. There are usually leftover muffins which are snacked on, but all dozen are included in the cost of the meal. Keep in mind that we are a 3-person family, so this is 2 meals for us.

How I make it:
  1. Chop and saute onion with garlic in EVOO.
  2. Rinse off beans.
  3. Add beans, broth, tomatoes and basil. Heat until the soup is hot all the way through.
  4. Serve with corn muffins on the side.

  • Use more or less onion and garlic depending on your family's preferences.
  • Vegetarian? Use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.
  • Not into vegetarian? Add some sliced kielbasa to the soup. On leftovers night I remembered that there were some chopped hot dogs needing to be used up, so I added those. It was a hit with the kid as hot dogs only come around once a month typically.
  • Play with your tomatoes! There are all kinds of tomatoes out there with seasonings. See if you'd prefer one of those in place of plain diced tomatoes.
  • If you need something green with your meal, add a side salad.
  • My daughter loves the basic soup simply topped with Romano or Parmesan cheese; so do I.

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