My dog, Lily, is spoiled. I know, no one is surprised. (P.S. Lily has a post all of her own tomorrow – be sure to check it out!).
Yesterday, Lily and I went on a mommy-daughter “field trip” to PetsMart (we referred to this as “Operation Get Away From Sick Daddy”). She got 2 new “babies” (this is what we call toys…who knows why), 3 bones, and a new chicken-flavored Nylabone. She loves it — she even sleeps with it tucked under her paw.
Now what if I told you that’s more than I spent on GROCERIES for 2 people, for an entire week? Believe it. The best and easiest way to cut costs at the grocery store?
Eat meat-free more often.
I generally buy my chicken from Trader Joe’s for $2.99/lb, but TJ’s is about 20 miles from my house. With the price of gas (!!), I haven’t been able to justify making that trip. I’ve also opted to make a concerted effort to include recipes that use really cheap proteins, like lentils.
Admittedly, lentils don’t make me swoon. To me, they can lack flavor and the texture can be a bit…grainy. But after RAVE reviews from my friend Kristen about these tacos, I knew I wanted to give them a try.
These lentils were seasoned perfectly and the texture was similar enough to meat, that even a meat-lover may get stooped with these (even with all 17.6 grams of fiber!)! Tacos are packed with flavor, and many different flavors at that, making them the perfect vehicle to not only try a new protein, but to experiment with new flavors and ingredients…even with picky, unadventurous eaters!
I also loved that this meal was ready in 30 minutes. While the lentils simmer away, you can prep all the other ingredients. These reheat great and are very inexpensive.
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed 1 Tbsp chili powder 2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp dried oregano 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth 2 cups lettuce, shredded 1 large tomato, diced 1 avocado, sliced 2/3 cup part-skim Cheddar cheese, shredded 2/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt 2/3 cup salsa 10 taco-sized tortillas (I used Ole flour tortillas)
In a nonstick sauce pan, heat oil until hot. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender.
Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin, and oregano; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Uncover; cook for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Mash lentils slightly.
To make the tacos, layer a scant 1/4 cup lentils into each of 8 tortillas. Top with a pinch of lettuce, spoonful of tomato, avocado slice, and 1 tablespoon of cheese, salsa, and Greek yogurt.
Yield: 5 servings (2 tacos each)
Nutrition Information (per serving): 425 calories; 11.2 g. fat; 10 mg. cholesterol; 799 mg. sodium; 59.2 g. carbohydrate; 17.6 g. fiber; 22.4 g. protein
Result: I love tacos, and these totally hit the spot. The lentils are the right texture to mimic meat and they’re seasoned so perfectly that you won’t miss meat for a second. Despite my skepticism, I do believe these were one of my favorite meals in a while – delicious! And simple! Because you can prep everything while the lentils simmer, this is a weekday meal that can be ready right at 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Money Matters: The most expensive ingredients is the salsa ($1.20), lentils ($1.19), avocado ($1), tortillas ($1.69 for 10) and the Greek yogurt ($1). Half an onion is ~$0.60, tomato ~$0.30, and lettuce ~$0.60. The total cost of the recipe comes to $8.71 and the cost per serving: $1.74.
My weekly menu is late this week…but that’s because I couldn’t decide on what to make!
Weekly Menu: March 4th – 8th
- Sunday: Green Chile Enchiladas
- Monday: Black Bean and Rice-Stuffed Peppers
- Tuesday: Foil-Baked Basil Pesto Salmon with roasted fingerling potatoes
- Wednesday: Creamy Chicken and Artichoke Pasta
- Thursday: leftovers
Have a great week!