Since my hunny Chris went on Unemployment last month, stretching the food budget has become a very high priority. This can be made challenging by the dietary restrictions imposed by our food allergies, and the fact that I insist on certain things being organic/hormone free. I feel a little embarrassed to write any of this, for some reason, even though I know many of my readers are in the exact same position (feeling less-than-financially-solvent, allergic to foods, devoted to eating organic). I think that many of us fear being judged for our food preferences/choices- certainly many people in the older generations don't understand why those of us who don't have a lot of money would buy organic.
For me, there is no argument- to start with, the taste of (fresh) organic food is almost always so much better than non-organic. I am obsessed with good food and that alone would probably sway me. Also, there is mounting evidence (although the big food lobbyists keep it out of headline news) that pesticides, hormone residue, and other toxins contribute to diseases such as cancer. I have had so many cancer scares in my family in this past year (not bloggable material, to protect everyone's privacy, but obviously something that has deeply affected me) that I refuse to mess around in this arena.
(Now I don't buy everything organic, don't get me wrong. I just make choices on a spectrum of what concerns me most. I will find a breakdown of which fruits and veggies are safe to buy in non-organic form and put that up in a later post.)
In efforts to eat how we want to, and still afford it, we are having to get creative, and think of foods that don't cost a lot, fill you up, go a long way, and taste good. Enter today's recipe, which involves sweet potatoes and black beans! The contrast of the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and the tang of the salsa, cheese, and sour cream is what makes this taste so good; and the fiber of the beans, the protein and fat of the cheese, and the starch of the sweet potatoes is what fills you up. Sweet potatoes, beans, and tortillas are always cheap, and we can find hormone-free sour cream and cheese at our local Rainbow Grocery (a close-out grocery store).
(I am not into "exact" measurements, but if you need them, here is a similar recipe on another website)
1 can Black beans
two large sweet potatoes
herbs, spices, garlic, and onions to taste
any kind of cheese that is sharp/tangy- jack, cheddar, even feta
*You can make more black beans and sweet potatoes if you want- this works great as leftovers and will keep for several days in the fridge. You can also substitute pinto beans for the black beans.*
Cook up your onions/garlic/spices with some oil or butter in a big saucepan or pot.
Shred/grate the sweet potatoes with a grater or food processor, put them in the pot when the onions/garlic are translucent, add a little water, and cook until the sweet potatoes are soft (just about 5-10 minutes if they are grated small).
Heat beans in a separate pot.
I like to heat my tortillas in a big saucepan, grating the cheese on them as I do, so it gets all melty and yummy.
Put it all together and serve with a generous helping of sour cream and salsa (we don't eat salsa, so imagine it here):