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I was in a wedding this past weekend. One of the bridesmaids mentioned that she’s started making one of our house recipes after learning it from the groom. It made me think about how much I love our house recipes, and how so many more people should know about them.

They are the ultimate budget recipes, carefully honed over several years to yield the most nutrition for the lowest price. Each one contains a good balance of protein to carbohydrates, and each one can feed a person for less than a dollar. Filling, nutritious, flavorful and extremely inexpensive, they are the belong in every miser’s cookbook.

All of these recipes will feed two people and can be made in 15 minutes tops. All of them can also be improvised upon by adding sauted vegetables: Onions, garlic, celery, green pepper, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, squash, corn or really anything else you happen to have laying around. If fresh produce is too expensive, use a bag of those frozen mixed chopped veggies from the grocery store. Adding spices is always a good idea, too. I usually add some variation of cumin, coriander, curry and whatever else I feel like adding on a whim from the cabinet.

Also, all of these are exponentially improved by adding as much Sriracha as you can possibly stand.

Spicy Peanut Rice

This recipe is similar to Thai Spicy Peanut Chicken… minus the chicken and expensive specialty ingredients like galanga or fish oil.

1 c. rice
4 spoonfuls of peanut butter (crunchy and natural are best)
Hot sauce to taste (preferably Sriracha)

Cook the rice in a saucepan. When the rice is about 2 minutes from being done, spoon the peanut butter over the top of it, so that it starts to melt. When it’s finished, pour about twice as much hot sauce as you can bear over it (the fatty protein of the peanut butter takes a lot of the edge off of it). Mix thoroughly and enjoy.

Beanie Mac

This is the essential Ashram House recipe. It is our brainchild and our staple. True, it’s a bit non-traditional, but it is sooooo good. Don’t knock ’til you try it.

1 box of macaroni and cheese (preferably Annie’s shells, don’t ever buy Kraft)
1 can of black beans
Splash of milk

Cook the macaroni shells. While they cook, mix the cheese powder with the milk until it’s creamy. Drain most of the liquid from the can of black beans. Heat over a skillet until hot. When cooked, drain the shells and add the cheese. Then add the beans and mix.

Beans and Rice

Our first budget recipe. Simplistic and good, it leaves plenty of room for improvization.

1 c. of rice
1 can of black beans

Cook the rice. Drain most of the liquid from the can of black beans. Heat over a skillet until hot. Spoon over the rice.