Now that I'm in an internship, I've been cut back in hours. Being unwilling to eat things like ramen and generic Cheerios, I've decided to cook what I can from what's lying around (with the occasional foraging trip). It's Live Like A Student Time, but not really, because my college cafeteria had pretty good food, and it was all paid for, so maybe it's not at all like that.
Auntie Jo's What's On Sale Pretty Damn Good Black Bean Chili
three cans plain black beans (3/$1, sitting in cabinet)
one 28-oz can whole tomatoes (99 cents; the diced ones were 30 cents more)
about a half a bag of frozen corn I just had lying around
one medium onion, ditto
two poblano peppers (the big budget breaker at $1.29)
an appropriate amount of both cumin and chili pepper (at least two tablespoons of each. I have no idea what this costs per use, because I buy both in bulk from the Indian grocery)
however much cayenne pepper you want, if you want it.
Chop the onion and poblano pepper coarsely. Heat up a little oil in a pan large enough to hold two half-grown cats. Toss onion and peppers into the oil.
Saute over low heat until the onions are softening and the poblanos are an unnaturally bright green. (Do not be alarmed. They will not stay this color.)
Drain the tomato juice into a suitable container and chop up the tomatoes. Or use diced ones. Or just dump the whole can into the pan (once the onions have softened a bit) and use a potato masher or big fork or knife to squish them around and break them up.
Drain the beans into a colander and rinse them under cold running water until all the soaplike bubbles are gone. (This is an important step, as it will prevent you from making a huge pot of Auntie Jo's Gas Giant Black Bean Chili.) Dump said beans into the pot.
Dump in a half bag of corn, or maybe some carrots you've chopped up, or perhaps even a little squash (ew).
Dump in the appropriate amounts of chili and cumin. I tend to use about a two-part chili to three-part cumin ratio (Beloved Sis is garking right now), but then, I like lots of cumin.
Sprinkle on, or toss on, or shovel in, cayenne. Here again I am in the shovel-in school. Your mileage may vary.
Bring the whole kaboodle to a simmer and allow to continue to simmer for anywhere from 45 minutes (the absolute minimum) to five hours (about as long as you can go without scorching the mix or turning it into a solid). If you're simmering longer, add a little extra water now and then, and stir to keep from sticking.
Serve with cheese if you have it, sour cream if you've got that, or nothing. See? Pretty! And tasty! And filling and cheap!
Makes enough to serve one hungry nurse three meals and two hungry liberal Christians one meal each.