It’s easy to eat on the cheap when you have time to make everything from scratch. But what about saving money during super busy times? I’m sure all of your are expecting my answer to this one – use your pantry and your slow cooker! Get your to-do list done while your healthy dinner is cooking itself.
You can make dinner with wholesome ingredients you have right in your pantry and you don’t have to be in the kitchen the entire time while it cooks. That’s why I love slow cookers so much.
This recipe is nutritious, inexpensive, and the whole family will love the familiar Mexican flavor. It’s also a perfect way to introduce people to quinoa. Make this as spicy or mild as you like it. You can always serve some hot sauce on the side for those who like it extra spicy.
This is a flexible and forgiving recipe. I like to add the quinoa about an hour before serving so it doesn’t get mushy. Also it gives me time to take the dog for a walk. Some people hate adding ingredients to the slow cooker when they get home. If that’s you, go ahead and add it in the beginning with an extra cup or two of water and make a soup out of it.
Don’t have black beans? Any other bean pre-cooked bean will work and so will dried lentils. With dried lentils you’ll need to use about 1/2 cup and add at least 1 extra cup of water. If you are out of quinoa use rice. You’ll still add it at the end, but expect to add at least another 30 minutes to your cooking time.
This is a great base recipe and the variations you can make from it are endless. Use tempeh instead of beans and Cajun seasoning in place of chili powder to make a jambalaya. Add in any root veggies at the beginning of cooking and you can add any quick cooking veggies like greens, peas, broccoli in the last 30 minutes.
Making up your own variations are a great way to give your spice drawer a workout. Fresh herbs are starting to show up in gardens so make sure to give those a try too.