Here's how I make it: I boil a pound of small red beans until they are soft. Then, I add one 8 oz. can of tomato sauce and a packet of generic chili spice mix. I serve with homemade whole wheat biscuits and a salad.
Cost for a family of seven (everything is bought on extreme clearance, of course):
- 1 lb beans, $1
- 1 can tomato sauce $0.49
- packet of chili seasoning $0.50
- flour, baking soda, etc for biscuits $0.50
- salad stuff $1.00
Total: $3.49 for a filling, ecologically sensible, healthy, and easy meal.
Every mommy should have maybe twenty meals like this in her repertoire and stockpile the ingredients when they go on sale. Then, when said mommy is getting smacked upside the head with unexpected expenses, she can cut WAY back on the grocery budget without compromising health.
I serve one or two simple vegan dinners every week just to keep costs low and carbon footprints small. I've thought about writing a cookbook: Diet for a Small Budget. Or something cute like that.