This is a guest post by Nurseb911 who is the owner and author of Triaging My Way To Financial Success. His blog provides information on a number of topics that benefit new and experienced investors by using a common sense approach to investing. His site focuses on value and dividend based investing with perspectives from his consulting and health care experiences to offer respected insights from a number of complimenting disciplines.

Need a Recipe for a Recession?

The value and importance of spreading a dollar around the kitchen table is something that many families are struggling to do on a daily basis. As a Registered Nurse I meet people on a daily basis who are less fortunate than me and as frugal as my saving skills are at finding deals there are those in our society who leave me in the dust by making something out of nothing.

I want to share a recipe I developed with the help of a young mother whose daughter has Diabetes Mellitus (Type I). My girlfriend & I are very active in the diabetes community with the Canadian Diabetes Association and frequently help at various functions for adults and young children. People with diabetes actually have one of the best diets for any individual and stand as incredible role models for a society that enjoys living large on fast processed food with an abundance of added refined sugars.

Want to lose weight? Eat a diabetic diet complimented with exercise and I think many people will be surprised just how easy losing weight really is!

One community activity I was involved in was to develop a meal that fed 12 people for $20 and teach a cooking class for a group of low-income families to show the nutritional benefits of affordable meals available at any discount grocery store. Meal preparation needed to be less than 30 minutes and something that could be easily frozen and reheated for future convenience. With the help of a resourceful young mother together we created a recipe that was nutritious, cost effective and easy to prepare.

During a time of recent economic difficulties and at a time of year when many struggle to feed a growing number of people Frugal Trader has been kind enough to let me share with his readers a recipe that anyone on a tight budget can benefit from.

Protein Packed Chilli

Slow Cooker ChiliAnimal protein (meat, milk, eggs & cheese) is one of the most expensive items on any frugal shopper’s grocery list and is usually last on a list of priorities for feeding a family on a tight budget. Beans offer a meaningful replacement for animal protein, are low in fat, high in fibre and easy to incorporate into many recipes.

Protein Packed Chilli is a recipe that any individual can add their own personal preferences into for desired flavour, texture or to add other ingredients. This recipe can be scaled up for large events such as family get-togethers, large parties or holiday events. Today I’m going to provide instructions on making a dinner for four and freezing leftovers for another meal.


(Beans…lots of beans!! The following items are beans I use for this recipe that can be easily substituted for others based on personal preference and can often be purchased for under $0.75 per can!)

  • Romano Beans: single 540 mL can
  • Black Beans: single 540 mL can
  • Kidney Beans single 540 mL can (White or Red)
  • Lentils: single 540 mL can
  • Chick Peas: single 540 mL can
  • Beans in Tomato Sauce: single 800 mL can
  • Diced Tomatoes: single 800 mL can
  • Carrots: 2 large or 3 medium diced/shredded
  • Sweet Pepper: single green, yellow or red diced
  • Onion: single medium, diced
  • Garlic: three cloves, diced
  • Tomato Juice: 2 cups
  • BBQ Sauce (optional): ¼ cup
  • Meat (optional): 1 pound (lean ground beef or pork, diced chicken, sausage or shredded tofu)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Drain each can of Romano, Kidney, Chick Peas, Lentils and Black beans by themselves into a colander and rinse thoroughly with cool water to wash off any salt solution (used as a preservative).
  2. Pour each can after drained into a large mixing bowl (or two medium bowls) followed by the beans in tomato sauce. Drain diced tomatoes into colander and add to mixture.
  3. In a large frying pan or sauce pan add 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and add vegetables. Saute vegetables for 2-3 minutes and add meat until thoroughly cooked.
  4. Add to bean mixture. Pour in tomato juice and BBQ sauce and stir until mixed. Add additional flavouring for personal preference.
  5. Portion what you won’t need into freezable containers to cook at a later time. Place the remainder of the chilli into a slow-cooker and set for an afternoon (or 4-6 hours) on high. You can also cook in the oven covered in Corning Ware with lid at 350 F for 90 minutes if slow-cooker is unavailable.

Liked this recipe? How about Chocolate Bean Brownies?

Ask Frugal Trader to invite me back and I’ll share another Recession Recipe for those with a sweet tooth!

If you’re interested in seeing what else Nurseb911 has to say, you can visit his blog: Triaging My Way To Financial Success.

photo credit: Kadeeae


  1. Traciatim on December 18, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Rather than 1lb of lean/extra lean ground beef, try going with 0.5lb of medium ground beef and then a near equal amount of TVP prepared with the beef so that it absorbs the beefy flavour. TVP is super cheap at bulk stores, high in protein, and extremely low in fat. We’ve been using it in a 50/50 mix for a while now in almost anything that ground beef can be used for so you still get that dead cow taste, something I’m just not willing to give up. Mmmmm, carbonized mammal flesh.

    TVP is great in things like Tacos, Spaghetti Sauces, Chillies, Burgers (pre-make the TVP, don’t just mash the crumbly bits in the burger), Meat Loaf, Lasagna, On Pizza, on Nacho’s . . . .

  2. Nurseb911 on December 18, 2008 at 9:36 am

    FT – Thanks for allowing me to guest post on your blog over this busy time of year! Does html have a superscript? 350 degrees F in the oven for the cooking temperature – small typo on my part.

    Traciatim – Good suggestion. For readers who aren’t familiar with TVP it stands for: “texturized vegetable protein”

  3. FrugalTrader on December 18, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Hey Nurse911, thanks for the awesome recipe and for the explanation of what TVP is.

    I also fixed the typo!

  4. Ian on December 18, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Try buying dried beans at the bulk store. Much cheaper than canned ones with less sodium!

  5. DAvid on December 18, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    If this shows, you can have Superscript or Subscripts on this blog. The codes would be sup and sub.

    [edit] Guess not!

  6. Sarlock on December 18, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    It’s a regular monthly tradition at our house to make a big pot of chili and freeze it up for meals in the coming weeks. It also doubles as a great spaghetti sauce! Ian makes a great point, dried beans are much cheaper and while they take a little longer to process (soak them the night before) they cut down on the cost and the salt.

  7. amrit on December 19, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Thank you for the recipe. Please bring her back!

  8. Greg on December 19, 2008 at 12:36 am

    I notice that your chili recipe doesn’t have any chili powder in it. Is it not supposed to have chili powder?

  9. Nurseb911 on December 19, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Sarlock – great point since most chilis can be easily froze for pre-heating at another meal.

    Ian – yes dried beans are a much better and lower source of sodium. In the recipe I mention rinsing the beans well, but they’ll still have a higher salt content than dried beans.

    Amrit – (I’m a guy ;)…haha)

    Greg – you can certainly add chili powder, hot sauce or chili peppers if you like your chili with a touch of warmth to it. This is a basic chili template for most people as others I’ve given the recipe to will add or delete various elements they have preferences for. I myself add some kick while others go the suicide route with A LOT of heat.

  10. debbie on January 1, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Great basic chili recipe-Now you have my interest for the brownies

  11. Lucas on January 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    I made this recipe last night and the directions were very easy to follow and easily to customize to my family’s taste. The kids weren’t a huge fan of the kidney beans or the other “weird beans” but the taste test passed with flying colors!

  12. LakeTown on February 28, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    I love recipes! I am definitely intrigued by the brownies.
    Yes, meat and milk is very expensive, but here is a tip. Real Canadian Superstore in my town (don’t know about other Loblaws companies) reduce perishable products 50% 3 days before their expiry now. Products are often reduced at night, so shopping just before closing lets me grab all the newly reduced items. I put the meat in the freezer as soon as I get home, and it still should be fine for atleast 3 more days if I want to cook it the next night for dinner.
    Also, our 1 big expenditure is organic whole milk for our toddler son, about $10/4L. But same thing, it is marked down 50% 3 days before the expiry, I put it in the freezer and take out one bag at a time. He drinks almost a bag in a day so it is always still used before it’s shelf life. At that price it is cheaper than non-organic whole milk.

  13. cashback cards on December 23, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    This is a great idea and recipe! I just wish you could have posted in both units not just liters…haha sorry that’s just my personal thoughts. But, I probably should just learn to use more universal terms.

    This not only sounds delicious, but healthy as well. I will be looking forward to seeing more of the great frugal recipes around your site!

  14. Ray on August 3, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    I would love to see more Frugal Recipes in the future if possible.

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