Archive | Angela’s Cheap-Ass Dinners RSS for this section

Guest Columnist: Angela’s Cheap-Ass Dinners

My friend Angela knows how to make a mean meal on a few measly dollars, and wants to share her wisdom with you. She’ll be blogging her thrifty, sassy heart out here for us on occasion. Today she brings you: Taco Bowl. This tasty concoction will provide you with a snappy dinner for two and only set you back about $13. Total.

Taco bowls make me think of faux Mexican fast food, a la Taco Bell, or an out-of-touch Midwestern homemaker experimenting with Kraft cheeses and Velveeta. Taco bowls are not authentic Mexican food, and as a staunch supporter of my little neighborhood Mexican grocery store, I feel a bit like I’m letting its super-friendly employees down. But everyone knows the best food is usually a guilty pleasure, and this one happens to be both delicious and cheap. So here’s my recipe for a homemade taco bowl.

Perfect for cranky, crummy Monday nights.


1 small spanish onion – $0.30
2-3 cloves of garlic – $0.50
olive oil
Cumin powder – $2
2 cans black beans (Goya is best), drained and rinsed – $2
1 can vegetable or chicken stock – $1
1 tablespoon mole – $3/jar
Corn tortillas – $0.33
3 or 4 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
Your favorite salsa – $2
Cilantro – $1
Limes – $1

Makes 2-3 servings.

First, you must make the mole.  In a small pot, heat the 3 parts stock and 1 part mole paste on medium-low heat until the mole is totally dissolved. Taste, and go ahead and add more mole paste if you’d like.  In the meantime dice your onions and mince your garlic, and in a medium pot, sautee both in olive oil until the onions are soft and translucent.  Add as much cumin as you can stand (I love the stuff, so I used about 3 or 4 teaspoons), and let cook over low heat for about a minute.

Add the beans to your onion, garlic and cumin mixture, and stir so that the beans and onions are well mixed.  Add the mole, and stir again. Cover the beans and increase the heat to medium. Let it come to a bubbling boil, stir, cover, and then bring to a low simmer.  Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the beans are softened, increase the heat to medium and uncover it so that most of the excess liquid boils off, 15-20 minutes.  This will make the beans like a thick porridge and not soupy.

Next, heat the canola or vegetable oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat.  Tear your tortillas into 2-3 inch strips or triangles, and add to the oil.  Using tongs, flip the tortillas over so that both sides are a golden brown, and then place them on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.

By this time, your black beans should be thick and mushy, and your tortilla strips should be crispy.  Scoop a helping of the black beans into a bowl, add some tortilla strips on top, and garnish with cilantro, salsa and fresh lime juice.