Cost Breakdown of Frugal and Healthy Super Bowl Recipes: Part 3 of 3 - Live Like a Mensch
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Cost Breakdown of Frugal and Healthy Super Bowl Recipes: Part 3 of 3

We've already covered how to healthify and cheapify your Super Bowl dip and dessert, so today let's focus on the main event: a big ol' pot of chili.

I personally find there's nothing better than a warm and spicy bowl of chili on a cold day. And since chili that's simmered all day tends to be the best chili, it lends itself well to a Super Bowl party.

It is also the only recipe that I have actually created myself. Last year, I made a "let's use up everything in the pantry/freezer/refrigerator" pot of chili that was so good, I wrote down the ingredients and recipe so I could recreate it.

Apparently, throwing everything you've got a little something of into a pot of chili--including leftover tomato juice, the tail-end of a bag of frozen corn, and the two cans of black beans you've been saving for a rainy day--makes for an excellent chili. So let's break down the cost of this delicious bad boy:

  • 2 large onions, chopped

You can get a pound of onions for about $1.29. I always have onions in the house, so this would usually be free for me.

  • generous garlic

(Generous, because garlic makes me happy). This is generally about $1.60 per pound,but my kitchen is never without garlic, so it would (basically) be free for me.

  • Olive oil

This might be cheating, but since I ALWAYS have olive oil in the pantry, I'm not going to include this cost. (If you'd like to do your own calculations, I can generally get a 1.5 liter bottle for around $8.00--but enough olive oil to saute onions and garlic is a teeny tiny fraction of that).

  • 1 pound ground beef

I will often substitute lean ground turkey for the ground beef, and I always go for the leanest ground meat I can find. So this can often be the cost-breaker in the chili. Generally, I can get my ground beef or ground turkey for about $4.50 per pound

  • 2 jalapeno peppers
These are often priced around $1.79 per pound, but 2 peppers are only about a 1/4 of a pound. Let's say this is about $0.45 worth of peppers.
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chili ready tomatoes

I can usually find this for about $1.

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can plain diced tomatoes


  • 1-2 cups tomato juice

I can find a 46 ounce bottle of tomato juice for about $3. However, that does mean that I'm left with a bottle of tomato juice, and while J has been known to drink the stuff if there is no OJ about, it will often go bad in our house. This is why I always plan to make this chili recipe in the same week that I make a crock pot beef stew recipe that calls for another 3 cups of tomato juice. Then, I'll heat up the last six ounce of the juice one day for lunch and eat it with a grilled-cheese sandwich, and I haven't wasted a food product that we otherwise rarely eat. (Incidentally, I had tomato juice on hand when I first made this recipe because I had some leftover from making beef stew and hadn't planned for what I would do with the rest).

  •  6 ounces tomato paste

$0.50. (And I used the whole can because I get sick and tired of only being able to find cans of tomato paste and having recipes that call for a single teaspoon of teh stuff).

  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of black beans

 I can generally find cans for $0.60 each, so $1.20 total.

  • 1 cup frozen corn

I can get a bag of frozen corn for $1

  • oregano
  • chili powder
  • pepper
  • salt

We're going to call these free, since even cooks with minimalist spice cabinets have these four spices on hand.

Total:  $15.54

Cost per serving (eight): $1.95

For those keeping score at home, that means you can put together a Menschly Super Bowl party for just under $35: $10.60 for the Cowboy Caviar plus chips, $7.50 for three batches of the Healthy Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies, and $15.54 for the chili, equalling $33.64

Not a bad price for enough food to comfortably feed 8.

What are you planning on serving at your Super Bowl celebration?



haverwench said:

We've encountered the same problem with tomato paste, so we started measuring out 1-tablespoon portions into an ice cube tray, freezing it, and storing the cubes in a bag in the freezer. That way we can thaw just one tablespoon whenever a recipe calls for it.

We watched the Super Bowl with my parents this year. My dad made his usual pizza, mom made a big salad, my husband brought falafel and hummus and some celery sticks, and the other guests brought a lovely blueberry pie. Many hands make light food bills.

February 5, 2014 7:40 AM

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