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Fatty, filling bean dishes?

My fiance and I are on an extremely limited food budget (we live off $100/month each for food, which I stretch significantly and can make into a well-rounded diet, but it's hard). I want to make more of our dishes based on non-meat sources, because meat is expensive and we could afford a lot more fresh vegetables and fruits if we could. However, he is allergic to eggs (he can have them in small quantities mixed with other things, but not as a main protein source) and nuts (violently), and we cannot afford really nice cheeses, just simple cheddar and other cheap ones and pre-shredded packed cheeses. This leaves beans. We love curries, so I tried a lot of bean curries, but he has an extremely fast metabolism and they don't fill him up, and he has a crash later on when he's starving and nothing helps. I've also tried things like bean burritos and Spanish rice, with some success, but while he'll eat it he will tend to crash without some kind of cheese as well. My best luck has been dishes that incorporate milk, sour cream, cheese, or yogurt-- some kind of animal protein-- or beef or chicken stock. He really needs some fat EVERY meal-- his metabolism is so fast and he needs to gain about 20 lbs.

So I need ideas for bean dishes that
-don't mean a lot of new spices-- I have common spices and curry spices like cumin, turmeric, ginger, chili, and coriander
-are fatty but nutritious, not just beans and cheese or something-- we need a significant bang for our buck
-taste good, and aren't bland
-contain inexpensive ingredients for the NE area in winter

I will add that while skill is not a limitation (I can cook almost anything correctly from a recipe and adjust as needed for my available tools) ingredients and time definitely are. I don't have hours and hours to cook, I have to work. Of course, he can cook easy things (he has basic skills, but struggles with many steps and complicated techniques) so "mix together and leave in a crock pot/stove-pot and stir" recipes are okay for him to cook as well.

I just can't find ANYTHING about high-fat foods these days! It's all low-fat. I've been using my grandmother's ancient cookbook because in the 1940s getting enough fat was actually a concern!

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  1. I'm thinking cassoulet-type dishes. Beans, fat, protein, and yum. If you like, I can source some recipes for you?

        1. try oatmeal cookies. plenty of butter, mind. And go sign up at costco. 2ppl here, living on around $100 a month, and their prices on mozarella and big cans of beans can't be beat.
          If he's still hungry, try more oatmeal cookies. they're great for workdays.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chowrin

            No Costco here but we have a BJ's membership. Quality isn't as good but it saves us a lot-- unfortunately our fridge isn't good enough to buy things that require refridgeration in bulk. But they don't have the big bean cans-- I buy dried beans in bags at a local Asian grocery.

          2. >...we cannot afford really nice cheeses, just simple cheddar and other cheap ones and >pre-shredded packed cheeses.

            If you buy a halfway decent box grater & blocks of cheese you'll save even more. From what I've heard the pre-grated stuff gets moldy a lot quicker too.


            1. +1 for shopping at Costco - or Sam's, or BJ's or whatever warehouse club you have near you. these places will really give you the most for your money, and the membership fee pays for itself in no time.

              will he eat cottage cheese? it's one of the slowest-digesting protein sources thanks to the high proportion of casein, and should keep him full longer than yogurt will. speaking of casein, you might also want to get some casein protein powder that he can mix up into a shake/smoothie to fill himself up and slow down digestion. you can find great prices on good powders online.

              beans play well with pork products, so look for soup or stew recipes that call for cheaper cuts like pork shoulder...and bulk up the dishes with brown or wild rice, or oats - the additional fiber will increase his satiety.

              also look for recipes for curries and caribbean bean & rice dishes that are made with coconut milk.

              and finally, i DO NOT want to turn this into a discussion about health or medical issues, but i just have to say that if he's that underweight and burns up energy the way you describe, i hope he's been checked out by a doctor - specifically an endocrinologist - to ensure that he doesn't have a potentially serious metabolic imbalance.

              4 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Oh, don't worry. We had him checked out again and again for EVERYTHING. All we know is his gut doesn't absorb very much protein from food, but he tested negative for everything the doctor and about 4 consults could think of. His mother also has a very fast metabolism, though better than his. He's extremely fidgetty and active all the time, which might affect things too.

                I don't eat pork, but I was thinking about asking the meat counter at the supermarket if they sell just pieces of pork fat scraps to cut up and mix with beans and slow-cook them. I do cook with coconut milk, but didn't know it was fatty. Good point.

                Cottage cheese is one of his least favorite textures, but good idea on protein powder. I'll have to get some.

                1. re: Basiorana

                  okay, i'm glad he's gotten the all-clear from the docs - it's unusual for someone who's not Lance Armstrong to be torching calories like that!

                  blend the cottage cheese for him to make it smooth. that should take care of the texture issue, and it's a really versatile ingredient. the other option is homemade ricotta, which is cheaper and tastier than store-bough, and stupid easy to make. you can just hit either one with an immersion blender if you have one; if not, a hand mixer or regular blender will do the trick too.

                  as far as the protein powder goes, just make sure you're getting him either pure casein, or a blend like egg & milk that contains casein - he'll digest whey protein or pure egg protein too quickly.

                  and yes, coconut milk is super-high in fat, so keep feeding it to him! it's really too bad you're in the NE, because avocado would be ideal for him.

                  1. re: Basiorana

                    Definitely ask the meat counter at the supermarket for pork scraps. Lots of times they'll sell "leftovers" like that really cheap- and they may even just give it to you.

                    I was also going to suggest a bean chili. Since you mentioned you cook your own beans, use all the extras and make a big pot of chili. It's a good way to stretch ground beef too. A friend of mine makes a vegetarian bean chili and cooks the ground beef separately and uses it as a "topping." That may be something to think about...

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      We can get bacon "ends" here in Texas - Wagon Wheel brand, I think - it's like a 3lb box of bacon that didn't make the cut for packaging as slices and is fantastic for seasoning beans or lentils, stews/soups, and some of the pieces are just too big and gorgeous not to cook as, well, bacon. And always, always save any bacon grease you have leftover if you cook up the pieces for seasoning later.

                2. I don't know about you but where I live (NC) butter is outrageously priced and the price for a gallon of milk is more than a gallon of gas. Also most unseasonally grown vegetables are high priced so it's cheaper here to buy meat than veggies if you can believe it. Oils, particularly olive oil may be cheaper to buy rather than butter and would be healthier.

                  I suggest supplementing your beans with small amounts of meat/protein. I love pork and love to use parts not normally featured as standout ingredients in many parts of the U.S. but are very popular in other cultures like pigs feet/ears/tails, neck bones, etc. Also consider turkey necks/wings/legs and frequent your fish market to see what they have on special. Many times, fish markets bring in certain species not regional to your area for a couple of dollars a pound. I got a huge pompano this summer for less than $5.00 that my son & I consumed like pigs, that's how good it was and could have easily fed four. My first time eating it and according to the fishmonger, this fish is common to FLA and it's not a fish he normally carries. Granted, it was summer but my point is to make friends with your fish guy and check back with him once a week or so to see what he has on special. See if he'll save the heads and bones from any large fish for you which you can use in soup. Many times, if you buy fish regularly, you may get these for free. On another note, the grocery store in my area had 2 lb packages of frozen skinless boneless flounder and trout for $4.99 pak. I scooped up three for the freezer. Okay frozen fish is not as good as fresh BUT if you doctor them up and try to be creative, they'll serve the purpose. There are a few threads on chowhound about how to stretch a dollar and eat pretty good without a lot of money. I know you didn't ask for advice but I offered it anyway.

                  So, one of my favorite bean dishes is to make cakes...black bean, pinto, black eyed peas, etc. I usually use canned because of convenience for these but dried & cooked can be used. I saute chopped onion, garlic, fresh celery leaves, carrot, whatever I have on hand; add to a bowl with rinsed & drained beans of choice. Mash 1/2 of the beans & leave the rest whole. Sometimes I'll add cooked & drained chorizo, ham, cheese, whatever kind of bits & pieces of meat/fish/veggies I want to use up along with seasonings, maybe some bread crumbs in the mix and maybe an egg to bind if it needs it. Make these into thick cakes, pat in panko and brown in oil in a skillet then put in oven to warm through. I serve with a salsa and maybe some fresh oven baked tortilla chips and a salad and it's so so good. Cheap & filling.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Cherylptw

                    Meat, fresh vegetables, etc are very expensive. Milk is okay. I mostly cook with margarine, not butter, because butter adds up too fast.

                    I'll have to ask the butcher if he keeps the chicken and turkey parts (not an area where offal is in high demand, but he might save them for me). I do buy frozen tilapia (plain, but cheap and absorbs other flavors), ground beef, and chicken tenders. We eat beef about once a week, fish once, chicken three times and cheese-based dishes once or twice, but I'm trying to make up the rest of the meals.

                    Thanks for all the ideas. If I could stretch some meat that normally would be one meal into 2 or 3 by mixing it with beans, that might save some cash.

                    1. re: Basiorana

                      price out your budget. substitute chicken thighs for chicken breasts. buy chickens whole, and they'll save you a LOT of money. use chicken soup for a protein for a meal. You seem like you eat much more meat than I do.

                      Tried pizza? maybe with a bit of cheap sausage on top...

                      1. re: Chowrin

                        We do eat a lot of meat, but that's because of his energy crashes every time I try to make a non-meat meal. Because he needs so much fat and can't absorb protein well, plus I can't make egg dishes (super cheap BUT allergy) I spend so much of our budget on meat that there's little for everything else. That's why I need ideas on how to make non-meat dishes fatty enough for him.

                        I used to make pizza but it takes soooo long for the dough to rise, even if I make it ahead and freeze it, and my awful fridge won't keep yeast very well. I was spending about $5/month just on yeast with a lot of waste and I decided it would be cheaper and easier to just use rice, homemade pasta, and the free day old bread and bagels I get from my job.

                        1. re: Basiorana

                          pizza dough should be rising overnight in the fridge. remember to warm up the water ;-) also, sourdough pizza is fun!

                          non-meat dishes fatty enough for him? nothing easier, darlin'. hell, salads were designed to make eating olive oil tasty! Try some day-old bakery bread with garlic and olive oil. drench it good.

                          3 tbsp of oil per cup of white rice should make something with more fat than carbs.

                          And when all else fails, have him eat oil straight. not kidding.

                          If he's not in a place where crashing will KILL him or others, get him to suck it up via strategically placed snacks (like a tablespoon of oil). he may be shaky for a while, but it won't be all day...

                      2. re: Basiorana

                        I don't know where you shop but I never see chicken tenders for less than $1.99/# and regularly see chicken livers, thighs, drumsticks, leg quarters, and whole chickens for half that. Beef liver is about the same. Turkey is even less. Ground beef is expensive. You can grind your own boneless chuck (about $2 on sale) in a food processor or a hand-crank grinder (cheap new, even cheaper from a thrift shop/tag sale)and have better quality meat for less. It sounds like you could economize by making different choices - you mention buying dry beans because the store doesn't have large cans. Cans are NEVER the economical choice and most people prefer the flavor and texture of dishes made with cooked dry beans. If you are not already planning your meals based on the weekly supermarket sale flyers, get into the habit. Make a shopping list but be prepared to improvise once you check out the mark-down sections in produce, meat, deli, and bakery aisles.

                        1. re: Basiorana

                          Since you already shop at BJ's, I'm sure they have a meat section...places like these (Sam's, Costco, etc) usually offer good prices on what I call random meat parts like I've mentioned if you buy family paks. When I lived in NY, the meat prices at the butchr's were always higher than the regular grocery store meat section. You might consider buying all of your meat at either the grocer's or look into any ethnic market; their prices are usually way lower for things like meat, fish, seasonings, dry goods etc. I'm like many on this board in that I'm a bargin shopper and I only buy things on sale, especially large cuts of meat that you can make several meals from. Wait to buy chickens on sale then buy a bunch and break them down...cut off the breasts, thighs and legs to use in separate meals. In the end, it'll be cheaper than those chicken tenders. If you're in NY or similar area with a meat warehouse, perhaps you have friends that would like to split the cost of a case of meat with you so that you'll both save money.

                          Pizza dough rises in an hour or less. I make it up and freeze in balls. It's a great way to stretch your money by making stromboli, bread sticks, stuffed pizzas, etc. with leftover bits & pieces. One last thing; if you're looking to add fat, save the fat from your cooked meats. Use it to cook other foods in that you'll use. I read that you don't eat pork, but if your fiance does, get some bacon ends (I buy 3 lbs for about four dollars) and render down to add to his food.

                          1. re: Basiorana

                            chicken tenders?? we spend $100 per week at least- on groceries and I can't afford chicken tenders. i only buy whole chickens and go from there. you actually eat a lot of meat for your budget.

                        2. Something that doesn't have beans but might meet your requirements: Tuna Casserole.

                          1. as a vegan friend pointed out once, a grain and a legume creates a complete-ish protein, so augment the beans with rice. and remember so-called "poor people" food is often high in fiber (greens stewed with hocks dressed in vinegar, cornbread, etc. ) I had to spend a few months a while back cutting every darn corner I could find. I wasn't terribly happy, but... I
                            still ate ok. fresh garlic and onions were my splurge ingredients.

                            and as Cherylptw mentions, there have been more than a few threads in the last months on cooking under extreme budget limits.

                            if you can blow the 6-8 bucks on a chicken you can get at least 3 meals for 2 out of that and have a carcass to reduce for stock.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: hill food

                              WE have rice with most meals, since it's very cheap. The problem is the fat. I used to buy whole roasters and make stock when I shopped at Costco but now I have to wait until they're marked down, they're much more expensive at the supermarket than the same weight in tenders.

                            2. I would be cooking giant cuts of cheap meat and adding a bit of that to the beans. Pork shoulder is dirt cheap and big. Cook it low and slow in the oven, freeze what you can't use up during the week, and add that to some rice and beans with seasonings. Delicious and cheap. Using meat as a condiment more than the star of the show stretches the budget and adds fat and protein to the meal.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: mels

                                Thanks, that's a good idea. The whole "meat is the main event" idea is so common it honestly never occurred to me to just use to supplement the beans instead.

                                1. re: Basiorana

                                  ayup. also, know what veggies got tons o' fat. Like popcorn. Grab up a truckload of oil, and some beans will have you feeling full most of the time.

                                  1. re: Basiorana

                                    old fashioned cornbread (see the argumentative savory side of the thread)

                                2. navy beans...start with minced onion, celery, and carrot in a little oil...add the beans and water or broth, canned tomatoes, garlic,black pepper a little fennel seed (toasted), and, if you can swing it, some chunks of ham or sausage and, again optional, a splash of white wine to brighten it up. Even without meat it is good. I think the key is the fennel.

                                  Also black beans with garlic, cloves, allspice, and a few strips of pepper. For fat, add ham or salt pork if you like, but IMHO it is better without.

                                  Try tossing a mix of root vegetables, squashes, onions, etc. in some oil and herbs, salt, and pepper, and roasting them. Add chunks of sausage if you like.

                                  These are all trued and true things we ate when we were in school and still like.

                                  One really weird one I made up that is actually not bad...dice a bunch of crunchy things...carrots, celery, onions, peppers, apples, etc. Add a can of tomato sauce, some grated jack cheese, a couple of spoons of honey, and a handful of alfalfa sprouts...mix and heat. I added nuts (and raisins) but they are not necessary,

                                  Also, a stir fry of french fry sized pieces of potatoes (start them first; they take the longest), onions, bell peppers, and hot dogs with a sauce of soy and ketchup.

                                  1. Are nuts OK? They are mostly very highh fat - including the previously mentioned coconut - and don't forget peanut butter. A spicy stew of beans in a coconut peanut sauce would make me put on weight just looking at it.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Peg

                                      The OP clearly stated that the fiance is seriously allergic to nuts.

                                      I second the warehouse club suggestion. As regards cheese, you'll save money by grating your own. Remember that the more processing and handling is involved in producing a food product, the more it costs. Check the deli ends when you shop. I save a lot at Market Basket in suburban Boston by buying packages of cheese ends and meat ends (sandwiches, mac&cheese, chef's salad) and also use meat ends for soups, stews, and stroganoff. Whole chickens and big cuts of pork on sale are under $1/#, which is cheaper than many vegetables.

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        I think the reason I can buy the shredded cheese so cheap is that it's actually such horrible quality that if I saw it as a block I would recoil... the shredded cheese we buy is the "blend mixes" that you have to use quickly or they start to exude oil. We usually buy blocks of the cheap cheddar but now that you mention it, my mother used to buy meat ends from the deli all the time. I haven't seen them at my Hannaford's but I suspect that Shaw's and Market Basket will have them.

                                        1. re: Basiorana

                                          Perhaps you can ask the deli guys at the market if they'll sell you the ends of the cheese for a reduced price? If it's not enough to slice and sell.. they may just want to get rid of what's left over.

                                        2. re: greygarious

                                          Oops - note to self - re-read the OP after reading through the thread and posting drivel!

                                        3. re: Peg

                                          Peanuts and coconut, yes. I have made peanut stews and sauces but not the one you mentioned, I'll have to try that. Tree nuts, though, he's deathly allergic to-- too bad, because they're very good for fat.

                                        4. Black beans in particular have a wonderful hearty, meaty flavor. Cuban black beans are fab.

                                          You may already be using lots of hummus, but if not, a bag of dried chickpeas simmered in the crockpot, drained and cooled, can be a cheap source of protein and fat. Any hummus recipe will do. I generally use much less tahini (the expensive parameter) than most recipes suggest, so a bit cheaper that way. Plus, tahini freezes well so it doesn't have to get fuzzy in the fridge.

                                          I do check out the "expires-today" meat section in my supermarket. Sometimes there's a worthwhile grab there.

                                          Your sweetie may be one of those folks who need multiple meals/frequent snacks, and to carry something with him. Cheese + fruit; yogurt + carrots; granola + jerky; etc. My husband has this problem and it's been a bit of work to teach him to recognize his body's signals pre-crash.

                                          1. Would you enjoy/woudl it be helpful to make your own ricotta and fill pasta shells? It's super easy and inexpensive. You could just throw on some tomato sauce. http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/home...

                                            1. What kind of Indian beans did your SO eat that were not filling.

                                              Dishes like rajma, daal makhni, and maash daal fry are known to be very heavy and filling and slow to digest. I usually make these dishes light at home. However, they can be made very rich by not holding back in oil or butter when cooking, and in the case of rajma and daal makhni, garnishing with cream. The washed (hulled) maash daal and a few other daals can also be soaked and ground into a batter that is dropped as dumplings in hot oil. The dumplings can be served in yoghurt sauce or a tomato gravy. Garbanzo and black eyed pea are also heavy.

                                              Always take these lentils with rice or bread to increase the filling quality of the meal.

                                              Another simple, filling, and cheap dish to try out would be kichri which is rice and lentils cooked together. This can be made in varying ways, from a from a thinner gruel, to a porridge texture, to almost like a mushy lentil pilaf. It can be seasoned lightly or seasoned at a high level depending on the recipe. Do have a google.

                                              1. Peppers stuffed with beans, rice and little meat, tomatoes, and a sprinkle of cheese. Enchiladas with beans, cheese, vegetables, served with rice. Quesadillas. Easy to make and use up just a little bit of leftover meat.

                                                I'm a huge supporter of buying big pieces of meat when they are on sale. The less the meat is processed (skinned, boned, 1 cut of meat) the less expensive it is generally.

                                                1. I make rice by cooking it in oil first till opaque, then adding the liquid and salt. It's a technique used in South America kitchens, and it's also the jumping off point for Indian biryani. That would add a little fat to your diet. The biryani would add a lot of fat I think.

                                                  We cook black beans all the time (mirepoix + onion and garlic sweated in oil, dried beans, stock, s&p, ham bone) and the rice is perfect with it (complete protein, and lots of flavor).

                                                  You might try sourdough breads also: it's free, and some say it reduces the glycemic index for breads. Also whole grain breads (whole wheat or rye) are slower to digest.

                                                  1. I had quinoa for the first time the other night and I ADORE it! And a great source of protein. Here's a recipe I just found for it with black beans:

                                                    Our daughter fixed it with canned tomatoes, some olives and feta. Seems like, hot or cold, the skies the limit on this.


                                                    22 Replies
                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Second C Oliver's suggestion. I came back to suggest quinoa. It cooks very quickly, is inexpensive, has protein.

                                                      Gives a different texture then rice. We use it for stir fry, make it into a salad (in place of rice salad), add it to soups. Yum.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        I make a quinoa salad with black beans, corn, parsley, and a tahini dressing. It's got fat and protein and it makes a delicious lunch over some green salad. Quiona isn't always cheap though...

                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                          No but compared to other high protein foods, i.e., meat, it's good. And there are bulk and TJs products. Curious - where's the fat in yours? The dressing?

                                                          @OP: when you say "fat" are you really saying "protein"?

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            I guess it depends where you would shop for it. I've seen it for a great price in Costco but I've also seen it for $$$ in supermarkets.

                                                            The fat comes from the tahini and the olive oil in the dressing. I like the dressing more tart/lemony, but it's also really good with lots of tahini in it.

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              Lentils have almost twice the protein of quinoa. And they taste like something on their own. Quinoa is like edamame, not much flavor on it's own.

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                I love lentils, esp. the expensive ones :)

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  I'm the opposite- LOVE lentils but the cheap ones!!

                                                                  Had recently at a dinner party a dish of black lentils with arugula and truffle oil. The dish was ok, but I would much prefer a bowl of red lentil soup.

                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                    Well, my limited experience with truffle oil wasn't the best. But I buy these great Umbrian lentils and they never get mushy. But they're about $5/bag.

                                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                                    I haven't been able to find the black lentils (beluga) locally, so we mostly eat the regular ones and the green ones (dupuy?). (It's not important enough to order them online).

                                                                    A couple if years ago I started adding lentils to soup instead of noodles, potatoes and/or barley.

                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                              Quinoa has more protein than other grains (yes, technically it isn't a grain), but compared to meat, beans and soy products isn't an economical main protein source.

                                                              1. re: enbell

                                                                Hey, enbell. So you're saying that per serving quinoa costs more than meat? Shit :) At least it's fat free.

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  not per serving, but per calorie? I can see it. [Edit: i am totally wrong on this. my hatte I shall be eating... ;-) triple the calories per weight of pasta. dayum.]

                                                                  Don't forget about PIE! Not one of the custardy ones (too sugary), but a good cherry or apple pie. That's stick to your bones food, and Designed to keep you full (and warm!) overnight!

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    So you're saying that per serving quinoa costs more than meat?
                                                                    no way.

                                                                    Costco sells 4# bags of Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa for a little over $9...it works out to around 15 cents per ounce...since a serving of uncooked quinoa is 1.5 ounces, you're paying less than 25 cents for a serving of quinoa!

                                                                    oh, and c, i can't believe you've never had quinoa before - i'm glad you finally tried it. there are so many possibilities...

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      True, but I was think more in terms of protein. To get an equal amount of protein from quinoa that one could get from a meat or bean serving, I assumed it was less efficient. Hey I'd love to be wrong though...

                                                                      1. re: enbell

                                                                        strictly in terms of protein, yes. but you're also getting fiber - which you don't get from meat - and that helps with satiety as well. even if you just supplement the quinoa with an ounce or two of animal protein, you're probably still ahead of the game $-wise.

                                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        ghg, my comfot level with CH is good enough now that I can admit that :) I've eaten it three times in three days :) I'm looking forward to it.

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          Great savory, but also sweet (mix in honey or agave)!

                                                                          1. re: enbell

                                                                            add some fruit & yogurt, and you've got breakfast :)

                                                                          2. re: c oliver

                                                                            oh it's not about "admitting" anything, i'm just surprised you never had the urge or opportunity to try it before...particularly because many of us talk about it so often.

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              Until two days ago, I thought it was pronounced "qui-noah" :) One of those things that always popped up but I never paid much attention to. Any warm breakfast use of?

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                of course! quinoa porridge. cook the quinoa in a 50/50 combo of water & milk or all milk, add whatever sweeteners and spices you like, stir in some fresh or dried fruit, and dig in.

                                                                                if you Google "quinoa porridge" or "breakfast quinoa" you'll get tons of hits.

                                                                  2. It's the right time of year for this filling, cheap bean dish: Hoppin' John.

                                                                    1. My first thought would be fry, fry, fry.

                                                                      Fried tortillas
                                                                      Fried bread (soft, or croutons)
                                                                      Fritters (can use a different binder besides egg)
                                                                      Fried veggies
                                                                      Falafel (a 2 pound bag of chickpeas makes a truckload)
                                                                      Fried polenta
                                                                      Fried slices of meat (good in mac and cheese)

                                                                      I second the hummus suggestion (it will hold a lot of oil without tasting gross) and the suggestion that you throw a big hunk of meat in the crockpot. You will not only get the meat, but the layer of animal fat on top that you can use in your beans. If you puree the soup, bean soup should hold a lot of oil too. Can you get mushrooms cheaply? Those drink oil. You can make pesto with vegetable oil, most any green leafy thing, and any nut or seed (I like toasted squash seeds. Is he allergic to those too?) My Ratio cookbook tells me that you can make mayo with just a little bit of egg yolk (instructions say mix 1 yolk, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp water, 2 tsp lemon juice. Measure a cup of oil. While steadily whisking, add a few drops oil to the mixture, then a few more, then pour in the rest in a steady stream). Also, if you sweat garlic and onions in a bunch of vegetable oil, you can put the oil in the fridge, and it'll taste good enough to drizzle over most anything. Don't forget to check out the meats at that Asian grocery. You might find really cheap pork belly or something.

                                                                      1. Black bean chilaquile is really good - you could do a lot of the prep the night before:
                                                                        It's supposed to be low in fat, but it asks for baked tortilla chips. I imagine if you use the non-baked type that would boost the fat content (aren't tortilla chips the same as corn chips? Because corn chips are pretty high in fat


                                                                        This one is a great standby because it's quick and simple and many people have most of the ingredients in their pantry already.
                                                                        Cavatappi with sun dried tomatoes and Cannellini beans
                                                                        You could add a bit more olive oil. In fact, I use the oil that the sun dried tomatoes came in - more flavour. Someone in the comments suggested adding cream instead of the parmesan. That would add some more fat too (and I think it would be yum - though haven't tried it myself yet
                                                                        )The only thing I do differently is that I don't put nearly as much of the pasta water into it as the recipe says.

                                                                        Oh, and what about nachos? Super quick, easy, fattening and cheap!

                                                                        1. I admit to not reading through the entire thread so please excuse any annoying repetition. Has anyone discussed refried beans, which hold tons of fat, esp when made traditionally with lard.
                                                                          And +1 for quinoa!

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: magiesmom

                                                                            The only fat my refried beans have is a little oil to saute the onions and garlic and maybe a little oil spray used when reheating them.

                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                              That is a lightened version for modern tastes. They originally ( according to older cookbooks I have) were made with much more fat.

                                                                          2. This is not a fatty bean suggestion, but perhaps you have considered using sunflower nut butter? I don't know if that is also allergenic to your fiance, but it is calorie-dense and there are brands (e.g. SunButter) that are processed in peanut and tree nut free facilities.

                                                                            I've seen it typically range about $3-$5/16 oz jar (it does go on sale on Amazon, but not sure if investing in several jars at a time works financially) , but it's easy enough to make a sandwich from time to time, or to use it in all the places that you'd want to use peanut butter (e.g. African Peanut stew is the first recipe that popped into my head, until a split second later I remembered the nut allergy. :)

                                                                            Good luck!

                                                                            1. Cassoulet type dish, substituting browned chicken parts for the duck confit. You can use whatever pork-products you have handy - sausages, chunks of browned pork shoulder, or unsmoked hocks.

                                                                              I'm actually making cassoulet style dish this weekend, using cannelini beans, chicken, and unsmoked hocks. That cuts down the cost and the fat. Throw in a few carrots for added nutrition, a couple onions and garlic cloves for base flavor, and rosemary and thyme for brightness, and that should be a tasty, nutritious, and low cost dish.

                                                                              1. Is 'fat' really the solution here?
                                                                                Or does he just need high protein?

                                                                                1. After fully re-reading the OP and the replies (something I should do more often....) I am confused a little if the issue is one with fat or protein. The OP seems to say her BF does a poor job absorbing protein (that was in a reply from the OP). That is a different issue than not being able to get enough calories, or "crashing". Unless there is something physiologically wrong (which the OP assures there isn't), getting enough calories from fat or protein has nothing to do with a "crashing" issue. In fact, under most circumstances, calories from fat are re-packaged as fat - and thus used as fuel in the long haul or in cases of moderate exercise. When the OP talks about "crashes", that tends to be a glycogen/glucose issue - glucose spikes immediately after a meal, followed by glucose lows a couple hours later, which leads to drowsiness. Also, hydration issues can cause crashes.

                                                                                  The point is, under those circumstances, taking in an extra 2000 calories a day won't matter. In other words, it might not be an issue of the number of calories, but what those calories consist of.

                                                                                  Another potential issue is with saturated fat. Again, not meaning to sound like the nutrition police, but getting scrap pork to cut up into a dish to supply enough calories shouldn't be needed. Seriously - that's a tactic used by Arctic Explorers when they need 6000+ calories per day, and in those cases, it's for a limited amount of time. There are serious health consequences to digesting a few hundred calories of animal fat per day.

                                                                                  I don't mean to get too technical here, but there are 2 process in protein "digestion" - the first is the actual digestion, the second is absorption. Assuming that amino acid transporters are normal, and thus absorption is normal, the issue would be with digestion - the actual breaking down of the proteins from chunk-o-meat to amino acids. A fix is to eat "simpler" proteins. Large chunks of meat are difficult to digest. There are other forms of protein that are much easier to digest, because they are already smaller in form. The simplest solution - though more expensive - is a protein powder. If BF can't digest that with close to 100% efficiency, there's something wrong.

                                                                                  The bean issue - perhaps the problem with beans is the high fiber load, which does tend to speed digestion, which in turn lowers efficiency. That's one of the reasons high fiber diets are good for dieters. Pork shoulder, whole chickens, and whole turkeys are good, relatively cheap sources of protein. Chicken tenders are probably the most expensive way of buying chicken.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                    "The bean issue - perhaps the problem with beans is the high fiber load, which does tend to speed digestion, which in turn lowers efficiency. "
                                                                                    not quite. *insoluble* fiber speeds digestion. but soluble fiber - the primary type found in beans - actually slows digestion and nutrient absorption.

                                                                                    anyway, we're getting way too off-topic here, which is what always happens with this type of thread!

                                                                                  2. Just the other night I roasted tomatoes for about 50 minutes at 375 with thyme, salt & Pepper. Then I browned chicken sausage in a skillet, tossed in the tomatoes, 2 cans of cannellini beans and a splash of white wine. Sauteed everything and served it up. It was so simple and really, really tasty. I'm also married to a man with a crazy fast metabolism and this filled us both up. I haven't yet posted the recipe on my blog (next week), but can send you the full shebang ahead of time if you want it.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Feastonthcheap

                                                                                      Has anyone mentioned powdered milk? That can go into so many things and gives a good boost of protein.

                                                                                    2. How about a thermos of Cream of Wheat or other type of porridge. Some other dishes that come to mind are dishes my grandmother used to make as she had many mouths to feed with little resources. Chorizo with refried beans wrapped in a flour tortilla? Chorizo and fried potatoes? Arroz con pollo (baked chicken in rice with a tomato sauce/chicken broth ... augment with bell peppers, onions, whatever you have on hand) I live in the southwest and we make a hearty stew of pork, green or red chile, and hominy. You might also consider looking at some Amish or Mennonite cookbooks since they offer filling recipes with minimal cost . Best of luck ... he's lucky to have such a great partner to take care of him!

                                                                                      1. Supermarkets sell bags of dried large lima beans, which are white and when cooked, turn out to be what is sold in cans as butter beans, NOT the smaller, grassier, pale green bean we think of as lima beans. The large ones, when prepared, have a taste and texture that is hard to distinguish from steamed potato. I make "fauxtato" salad - mayo, onion, celery style, and German potato salad style. If you don't count the cost of energy for the longer cooking time, they are cheaper than potatoes, and better nutritionally.

                                                                                        1. I don't think OP ever replied to whether it's protein that is needed rather than fat. Don't quite understand if it's the latter.

                                                                                          1. Looks like there's lots of great suggestions on here already! Have fèves au lard (baked beans) or refried beans been mentioned yet? They both look easy to make, especially in a slow cooker.

                                                                                            Quebecois fèves au lard

                                                                                            Refried beans

                                                                                            1. Save up your bacon grease and use it to fry up cooked beans. You can also use it for fried rice with veggies.

                                                                                              1. The whole cook with pork scraps and bacon grease idea is really your bet bet for packing in calories. Also- doing seasoned beans over a lot of coarse polenta is a good way to pack in calories and stomach filling cheaply. Lundberg short grained brown rice (in the 25 lb sacks) has been really cheap the last two times we bought it (2-3 times a year) Healthy, filling, takes time to digest.

                                                                                                1. Portuguese kale and bean soup (a hearty soup or casserole with or without sausage). You can find recipes on CH, epicurious, http://www.food.com, etc.

                                                                                                  1. British junk food and so delicious: a can of hot pork & beans poured over a slice of hot buttered whole wheat toast. Have a pickle on the side. If you add a mug of hot tea the whole thing is called a Bean Tea.