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.)
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:
- Chop and saute onion with garlic in EVOO.
- Rinse off beans.
- Add beans, broth, tomatoes and basil. Heat until the soup is hot all the way through.
- 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.