There is something to be said for simplicity nowadays. When everything is so needlessly complicated with too many bells and whistles. It can be a relief to have something like dinner be simple and painless. What’s more painless than a one dish recipe? I started a challenge on my channel, simply titled Rice Cooker Recipes. My first video in that series is not a coincidence and it marries into this recipe very well. In the first video, I share with you how simple and easy it is to cook dry beans in a rice cooker. Something I have been doing in my slow cooker taking up to 8 hrs in the past, now takes me less than a half hour
Dry beans are a cheap and healthy protein that can keep you full and energized for long periods of time. So I always try to eat them at least once a day. That’s just another reason why this recipe is so amazing. It’s chalk full of protein from the beans, and good vitamins and minerals from the veggies. All combined in delicious saucy goodness.
Rice Cooker Recipes – One Pot Mexican Inspired Rice
This rice is creamy because of the starches from the rice and the avocado. Depending on what salsa you choose the spice for the dish are blended into the dish through that. So definitely pick a salsa you know you love! This dish would be great with a spicy jalapeno based salsa (for those of us that LOVE spicy!) If you are more of a purist with your salsa though and choose homemade, or a less runny chunky version. You are likely to have a lack of smoothness through the rice.
I am so glad I got my rice cooker when I did. It has saved me time and time again in the kitchen. I have so many rice cooker recipes I can’t wait to share with you.
I have been learning and changing the way I do things so often in the last few years, that I am honestly surprised my husband is so calm about it. He is not a fan of change, and boy do I change things up sometimes. I’ve talked a little bit about my minimal waste attempts (I say attempts because I sometimes get off track). Now I am working on my own version of meal planning. For the month of February ( two weeks so far) rather than getting our monthly groceries as we have for many years, and then running out far too quickly, I have started planning our dinners and shopping accordingly. I am so excited by this change that I really wanted to share it with you.
The most difficult part of planning your meals is when you have indecisive people living together. Before meal planning It was such a chore every night to figure out what we were going to have for dinner. Now I am not saying the first week was easy because it most certainly wasn’t. However, now we plan it in advance on Friday evening and Saturday we grocery shop. Such a simple concept. This not only allows us to have meals in our fridge every day. It keeps us on budget and satisfied with food in the house all month long. That is honestly the best part. I love having fresh foods on hand all month long. It makes me deliriously happy.
Before Meal Planning
So, here it is. We get paid monthly. So ever since I can remember, we would go out on payday (because there was pretty much nothing left in the house by that point) and get massive amounts of groceries dependant on sales and the coupons I had. I was a stockpile junkie and a huge couponing addict.
The problem arose when we would get home and start realizing we could make this, but we’re missing that. Or we would have some meals, and I would have to improvise others. Other times, I would be so busy that we couldn’t decide till late, then I would be so frustrated that I wouldn’t want to cook, and we would just go out to eat. This was my life for the last few years, and I hated it. I still hate it. We overspent on food, which means no money to save away. Well, last month I finally had enough and changed the way we do things.
What I Have Learned From Meal Planning
Meal planning has really opened my eyes to how we were originally shopping. We would spend hours upon hours in many groceries stores, needlessly going up and down each aisle. Looking for things we forgot or things that looked like a good deal. Newsflash, if it’s not something you use that often, or you have never used. Even free is not a good deal. Space is still money, and so is time. Not only did this practice cost us money, but it cost us time as well. Something that should only take 2-3 hours at best, was taking us all day. Even then some days we wouldn’t be able to get everything, and we would have to go back yet another day. Wasting even more money.
Now I know exactly what I am getting at each store, and I plan out accordingly. This has saved us hours from our grocery shopping and a lot of stress. I now know what I am making every night, and I can decide if I want a bit extra for leftovers ie. lunch or not. I also always have leftover ingredients, and that helps with my other daily meals as well. This also allows for nothing to go bad in my fridge, pantry or cupboards. Which if you are a minimal waster like I am, is very important.
How To Meal Plan on ANY Budget
Every Friday, I spend my spare thoughts thinking up meals for the week. My husband and I sit down and decide what we want for meals that week. I know that he is not home two nights a week, so I use those nights to use up things that he might not like, that we already have on hand.
Once I have a meal plan all ready for the week, I scour the fliers for our area and make a list. My all-time favorite app to use is ReeBee. I can scour the fliers and easily make a shopping list, even including my own categories, which is a bonus if you have something you need and you can’t find it in the fliers, or you know where you get it, but don’t have that category naturally. This way everything is all on my phone, and I don’t have anything to worry about except making sure my battery is charged and ready to go.
When I have that list and anything else we might need… shampoo, toilet paper etc. Then on Saturday, we head out and do our shopping. My husband rarely comes in the stores with me (which is a good thing) all I have to do is grab my list for each store, and I work my way through it. I no longer go from aisle to aisle, I only get what I need and head to the cash. I can usually get each store done in about 20 mins (MAX) now. Which when you have multiple stores to go to, saves quite some time. The big time saver though is definitely my lists for each store. I can not recommend this time saver enough.
Another thing I find quite helpful is bringing my own cloth bags, and using them when I’m shopping. I know exactly how many bags I need for each store, and I bring them in accordingly. This is a constant reminder not to get anything extra because it probably won’t fit. It’s also nice not to always grab a giant cart. If you have a few things and bring a bag. You can carry them, and don’t need a cart. I also take this as an opportunity to easily place any fresh produce straight in the bag rather than using a toxic plastic bag, that I will bring home and throw out.
I also try to buy as much of my needs at bulk stations as a Bulk Barn. They now allow you to bring in your own bags or containers, allowing for less waste. Just makes sure to read their guidelines. As they have to comply with health and safety as well. So things like pasta, grains, herbs & spices etc. all come from the Bulk Barn for us. This is a great saving because we won’t be buying more than we need. We won’t have packaging to throw out, and we won’t have to worry about where to put it when we get home. All of our jars already have a designated spot in our home.
Meal Planning Takeaway
Now, doesn’t that sound so simple and easy? I swear it is. Once you get the hang of it (especially if you are like me and only shop once a month) it will become second nature. Once that happens, do me a favor and start expanding your recipe library. It does a whole lot of good not to have to worry about constantly repeating meals, and getting sick of them. For instance this week, we will be trying a veganized French Onion Soup. Something I used to make a fair amount that my husband absolutely adores. So wish me luck, because that’s Thursday’s dinner.
Something has to be said about dishes that are stick to your ribs filling. When the first signs of winter hit, outcome ALL of the root vegetables and plates of pasta. Much more than any other season. Spaghetti is one of those dishes you can either take your time with or be a quick fix when you are prepared. So today I want to share with you my favorite GO-TO budget-friendly spaghetti sauce recipe. It’s thick and chunky and incredibly filling. Even in smaller amounts.
Spaghetti is one of those dishes we had quite often in my families home. It’s a dish most picky eaters enjoy. So the fact that it is quick and simple is just a bonus! I can remember having this at least once a week while growing up. Although, it wasn’t my favorite back then. I find myself craving that comforting feeling you get from the dishes I grew up with and cherish. The recipes that bring back memories of home and family are always the best. As an Italian and food lover of the HIGHEST accord, I have no problem admitting that pretty much ALL of my memories both good and bad, can be associated with a dish of some sort. Spaghetti was just one of those recipes that were always familiar and consistent.
As I have grown older, I like to make it a little less primary. You won’t see me pouring a can of sauce on cooked noodles anytime soon. No way! I love flavor and texture. Which is why this budget-friendly spaghetti sauce is full of chunky goodness is so amazing. The great thing about this recipe is how easy it is to prep and cook. It’s one of those meals that you can prepare in large batches, freeze and use at a later date. Now, who doesn’t like that? In This meal will only cost you a few measly dollars, and the majority of the ingredients can be found cheaply at a grocery store, but also at dollar stores as well.
1 can diced tomatoes & half it's liquid (796mL/28 oz)
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried oregano
Black pepper and salt (optional) to taste
Add the oil, onion, and garlic into a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.
Stir in the diced tomatoes and increase the heat to med-high until a low boil occurs. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered, until most of the liquid cooks off. Watch closely, reducing heat if necessary and stirring often.
Stir in the dried thyme and oregano, salt and pepper, and nutritional yeast (optional but tasty). Continue cooking until thickened to your liking and then remove from heat.
Who says you can’t have delicious food on a vegan diet while broke? I have proven over and over again, that, that is not true. I strongly encourage you to try this recipe. No matter what kind of a day you have had, or how tired you are. This staple is sure to satisfy your pasta cravings.
Do you ever get a craving for one specific dish? then you have to have it all the time. That is exactly what happened when I just had to have couscous salad. all I know is I love couscous and I wanted to make a cold salad that is not only delicious but also healthy and vegan. so I came up with a very simple budget-friendly recipe that I am obsessed with and I think you will love.
To me, couscous salad represents summer and relaxation. It’s super simple to make and can last one meal, or you can prep it for meal planning in your week! It’s also super versatile if you want to add your own kick to it.
The first time I made this, I only knew I wanted a couscous salad. That was all. So I sorted through my end of month fridge finding anything I could, and that is how I came up with this fresh summer couscous salad!
The flavours in this salad are fresh and delicious. Sauteed peppers and onions give it a sweet and tender bite. While the cucumber parsley and tomato give it the fresh feeling that summer cooking requests! All in under 15 mins. that’s how quick and simple this recipe is.
You will NOT be sorry with this fresh summer couscous salad. It is everything simple and delicious that summer deserves. It’s also great after sitting in the fridge as well. So make it ahead of time and wow the family or the crowded BBQ. This recipe has yet to disappoint anyone I have ever fed it to. Which is why I am sharing it with you!
Shop all of my personal favourite brands needed for this recipe down below. I have used many different brands, however, these are my tried and true favourites.
There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of soup. No matter what time of the year. It’s healthy, detoxifying and DELICIOUS. The canned versions can be great when you’re in an absolute RUSH. But if you have ten to twenty minutes to spare, why not make some homemade soup! It’s super easy, really cheap, and ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. I make this soup in roughly 1-2 serving amounts, but it is so super easy to double, triple quadruple…whatever you want more! I just prefer it freshly made. It’s a personal choice you make when cooking right?.
With all the delicious elements needed for a filling meal. This Quick & Easy Veggie Kale Soup Recipe gives you tons of nutrients, not to mention it is easily done on the CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. See here in Canada (hopefully, in America you have the same) we have our Walmart’s starting/stopping food waste by having $1/$2 trolleys that get filled with produce. They shove those bags full, and really there is nothing wrong with the product at all. So I get HUGE bags of kale, green onions, and so many other things (have you heard of the time I got over 50 avocado’s, cauliflower and more for about 5-8$? That was so amazing!) that save us a boatload of money. We do this at many stores, and rarely buy full price!
Quick & Easy Veggie Kale Soup Recipe
So at 2 full servings, this Quick & Easy Veggie Kale Soup Recipe only costs a total of 60-80 CENTS….This is honestly the cheapest meal EVER! You can put more in, but I honestly love the simplicity of it and all of its flavors.
It’s honestly THAT simple. I have had this on my stove nearly every day for about a week or so. I can’t get enough of it! It’s so incredibly hearty and delicious. Sometimes I have it for lunch, and then think about it all day, and question whether or not to make it for dinner!? I admit though, I do get a bit obsessive when I find a delicious and healthy meal to make!
I love to cook. Absolutely LOVE.IT. So in honor of International Hot and Spicy Foods Day on January 16th, I thought it would be fun to share with you 5 of my favorite recipes that are hot and spicy. Do not fret dolls, I have you covered. They are also very budget-friendly for after holiday cooking. You should already have nearly all or majority of these ingredients in your pantry. Here are my top 5 budget-friendly hot & spicy dishes.
Before we begin, I would just like to state that none of these recipes are mine. photos and the links all go to their respective owners. This is merely a Roundup of some of my favorite recipes.
So in honor of hot and spicy day Just in time, Here are my top five budget-friendly hot and spicy dishes that I love.
I actually first had these when I was a kid, but obviously, they weren’t spicy. fast forward to college, and they were actually made for me spicy and I have been addicted ever Since. I love anything spicy. now and my household, my husband doesn’t like spicy as much as I do so I have had to tone it down a bit. but honestly spicier the better.
There is honestly nothing better than a delicious potato and delicious tomato song with a kick. I cannot recommend this super simple super delicious dish enough.
P.S. Instead of using the white wine. I have always used just malt vinegar. You don’t have white wine and don’t have it finances for it that is the way to go.But generally speaking, I think we all have a little bit of booze left over after the holidays especially if you hosted some parties.
Okay, I’m not going to lie. refried beans probably one of the worst things you could eat. But honestly, I love them typing rows I love them shipping ships until there are so many ways I use refried beans that I just had to test out this recipe when I found it. it is absolutely incredible the texture is amazing it’s so super simple. The best heart is, you literally set it and forget it. This My dolls is a slow cooker recipe page. The best kind of recipe out there.
This is basically translated to spaghetti with crushed red peppers, oil, and garlic. It’s super simple very quick to me but packs a huge punch. I love super simple recipe especially when I am exhausted and just want a quick bite to eat. this used to be a go to me when I was really struggling to get by.
Okay so most people know about it’s a basic delicious dip, that’s hard to get enough of. However, did you know that you can use it in so many other ways? I have used it as a sauce for my pasta is used in place of mayo in my table solids and my pasta salad I have also used it in place of mail as a spread on my sandwiches. it is such a versatile product but you can use it in so many ways. this spicy oil-free Mexican hummus is absolute to die for. It’s healthy, satisfying, and packs a GREAT kick!
Okay, so by now you probably figured out that I am kind of obsessed with potatoes. however, these are incredible on their own. I have had countless meals with just these potatoes since finding this recipe. I just can’t help but share them. They are absolutely delicious, crispy, and So easy to prepare. you could literally make these happen and be out the door in pretty much no time.
OK, dolls, so happy hot and spicy day on the 16th. That was my round up of delicious spicy budget-friendly vegan recipes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Give them a try, let me know what you think. Show the blogs I featured, some love as well! They are amazing at what they do. Check out some of my favorite spicy affairs down below!
We live in a very fast-paced Society, where we’re always on the run. There is always something going on, somewhere we need to be. When you are constantly on the Run fast-food’s sometimes your only option. So as a vegan this can be presumably very difficult. Most people assume that you won’t find vegan-friendly fast food options. I mean who would think that you can find something without animal products at McDonald’s or Taco Bell or Burger King I mean if you think about it, it’s kind of laughable, right?. WRONG.
That is why this will be a constantly evolving database of fast food restaurants and chains that have vegan options and just what those vegan options are. I have had the blessing of being a part of many amazing vegan groups on Facebook and other social media, thus allowing me to curate an amazing starter list of vegan-friendly fast food restaurants and what you can get there.
Mexican restaurants will be the easiest to order vegan through
Vegan-Friendly Fast Food – INTERNATIONAL
Fuel Bar – downtown Ottawa
Globally Local – Globally local has a grocery store, and due to a very talked about and infamous vegan “Big Mac” they now also have a fast food restaurant as well. You can find them in London Ontario.
-Lord of the Fries
McGinnis – has a separate menu for vegans
Moodley Manor – Batter Burgers
zizzi’s – pizza and pasta
Vegan-Friendly Fast Food List (This list encompasses the majority of North America)
– burrito bowl
– blueberry bagel
– they have almond milk
– Grand DD burritos hold the egg
– Dressing: vinaigrette, French dressing
– completely vegan
– completely vegan
– veggie sandwich
– regular crust and Daiya cheese
– vegan and gluten-free options
– veggie unwich minus cheese and sauce
– vegan cheese gluten free dough
– veggie slider
– sweet Thai sauce
– “Big Mac”
– hash brown nuggets
– side salad (no croutons or cheese)
– Dressings: balsamic dressing
Big Smoke Burger
– veggie burger in a lettuce wrap (there are no vegan buns)
You Need A Pita
Taco Bell has recently come out with a vegan guide on their website as well as advertise themselves very vegan-friendly. you can switch anything out and have it served with beans and chips which are potatoes you can also ask for things Fresco style which will replace all Berry with pico De Gayo.
– veg power bowl Fresco style add potatoes
– 7 layer burrito no cheese no sour cream
– black bean burritos no Dairy add onions
– hash browns
– French toast sticks
– Garden salad
– apple pie
At Chipotle you can get any of their products with sofritas instead of their needs options and that’s basically just gently fried tofu.
– baked potato plain
– apple slices
– Garden salad (ask for no cheese)
– Dressings: pomegranate vinaigrette, spicy Asian chili vinaigrette
– chips and salsa
– side salad
– apples or oranges
– veganize their wraps by removing all Dairy and meat products
– fries everywhere but U.S.
– crispy onions
– veggie Delight
-Dressings: vinaigrette, French
– french fries and sweet potato fries
– 8 layer veggie burrito (remove cheese and sour cream)
– vegan chili
– Teriyaki Bowl
– Buddha bowl
Mucho Burrito is actually very similar to Taco Bell and is pretty interchangeable from what I’ve seen.
– build your own burger with a veggie patty
Qdoba has the same style as Taco Bell and Mucho Burrito and can generally be ordered in the same fashion. I have heard that they also will make your food right in front of you which makes it a lot easier on questioning vegans. This allows the consumer to make sure that nothing gets into your meal that shouldn’t.
– bean burrito (ask for no cheese or sour cream)
– Garden side salad raspberry vinaigrette potato wedges Garden / harvest vegetable soup and rolls
– thin crust is vegan
– veggie burger
– Soul burger
– Nature burger
– onion rings
– green beans
– seasoned wedges
– Corn house
– side salad
– apple turnovers
I want to always be updating this list. For all of the new vegans coming in, and all of the vegan road trips, business trips etc. we all take! Let me know in the comments, what fast food restaurants you frequent, and what you get there!