Sunday, December 01, 2013

$25 vegan dollar-store notes and frugalicious recipes :: ridiculously easy modular vegetable soup and pineapple pumpkin muffins

Comforting vegetable soup made with dollar-store fodder
I am still using up my first dollar-store haul which I purchased on November 12. Supplemented with my CSA veggies, I am astounded at how far my $25 expenditure has lasted – and I have had to freeze leftovers from just about every dish I've made [which I'll appreciate when I'm too tired to cook]. Although I am only cooking for one, the point is that regardless of your situation, if you shop carefully, read labels and are willing to instill some creativity into your cooking, it is possible to eat healthy, plant-based meals on a budget.
I made 1 dozen muffins and immediately froze 6 to avoid muffins-in-my-lunch-everyday burnout
I hope you enjoy these two dollar-store-inspired recipes, which also use a few pantry staples: Pathetically Easy Modular Vegetable Soup and Pineapple-Pumpkin Muffins. I'll share more recipes soon.

Pathetically Easy Modular Vegetable Soup [vegan, no added fat or oil]

Yes, those are frozen carrots and dollar store kidney beans
  • 1 medium to large onion, chopped
  • 10 cups of vegetable broth, bouillon or water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups mixed chopped fresh or frozen, soup-appropriate vegetables [I used my 16-oz California Blend bag of frozen veggies – cauliflower, carrots and broccoli]
  • 4 cups chopped greens of your choice, fresh or a 1 pound bag, frozen. [I used a fresh bunch of CSA share chard]
  • 1 potato or sweet potato, diced [and peeled, if not organic]
  • 1 15-oz can of your favorite beans [I used kidney beans]
  • 1 1/2 tsp of your favorite, soup-appropriate dried herbs [I used oregano, basil and thyme]
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Makes 8 servings

This recipe makes A LOT of soup. As with the muffins, I immediately froze some for lazy-day defrosting.
Throw everything into a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer partially covered for about an hour. Slow cooking allows the flavors to merge, so you can let it simmer even longer – just be sure to add more broth or water, if needed. Adjust seasonings.

If you want a heartier soup, after the soup is finished cooking, remove a cup or two with a ladle, let it cool to room temperature and carefully puree it in the blender. Return it to the pot and stir.

Pineapple-Pumpkin Muffins [Vegan]

Pumpkin and pineapple together make for Caribbean-centric muffins.
  • 1 1/4 cup flour [I used whole wheat]
  • 1 cup oatmeal [Instant oats, available in your friendly neighborhood dollar store]
  • 1 T baking powder
  • Up to 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of either cloves, nutmeg, allspice or dried ginger
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup oil1 tsp vanilla [Optional]
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup canned pineapple chunks, drained [reserve the juice for smoothies or drinking] You can also use fresh, of course

Makes 1 dozen muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 2 muffin tins.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in the wet ingredients, including pumpkin and pineapple, until just moistened. Do not overmix [unless you like tough muffins].

Pour batter into muffin tins and fill about 2/3. Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

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4 comments:

Andrea said...

The soup may be 'pathetically easy', but it sure looks good! I haven't tried the dollar store shopping challenge but I'm getting inspired

Amethystjean said...

I am so sad that our dollar store does not have real food and fridges and freezers. Plus with prices up to 3 dollars (sometimes more than other stores) it would not be a deal.

Anonymous said...

This is simple and fabulous, thanks for sharing your blog recipes.

Chris Zaccharia said...

This is a kind of Filipino food. I have tried this one, my filipino friend cooked exactly this kind of recipe for me. Very delicious! :)