I can never seem to produce budget recipes at their advertised price; perhaps the cost of living in the Washington area makes it more of a challenge. (Published total for this one: $3.97, using home-cooked beans.) But this one-pot dish is inexpensive to make. More important, it’s a light, not-too-spicy kind of chili. There’s lots of spinach and just enough bacon to produce a smoky flavor.
Leftovers would be good for a Thermos lunch. You could make a double batch and freeze half.
Serve with warm French bread. Adapted from “The $5 Dinner Mom One-Dish Dinners Cookbook,” by Erin Chase (St. Martin’s Press, 2012).
Makes about 6 cups (4 servings)
4 strips uncooked bacon
30 ounces (2 cans) home-cooked or canned, no-salt-added kidney or pinto beans
12 ounces lean ground beef
15 ounces (1 can) no-salt-added crushed or diced tomatoes, such as Muir Glen Fire-Roasted brand
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder, preferably ancho
5 to 8 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 cup hot water
Freshly ground black pepper
Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels.
Place the bacon in a large, deep saute pan. Cook over medium heat until browned and crisp, then transfer to the paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
Meanwhile, if you’re using canned beans, rinse and drain them.
Add the ground beef to the pan; cook for a few minutes just until no trace of pink remains. Transfer to a colander to drain. Wipe out the pan and return it to medium heat. Return the ground beef to the pan.
Crumble the bacon into the pan, then add the tomatoes and their juices, the drained beans, onion powder, garlic powder and chili powder, stirring to incorporate. Increase the heat to medium-high; once the mixture comes to a boil, add the spinach (to taste) and the hot water. Stir until the spinach begins to wilt.
Return the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Divide among individual bowls; serve hot.
Nutrition ingredients are too varied for a meaningful analysis.