Chili Baby! (Healthy, Budget-Friendly recipe)

Even though it is August, the evenings are starting to cool down and I already find myself looking for great cool-weather comfort foods!

I’m also really passionate about 3 things – making healthier meals, becoming a better cook and watching my budget!

Yesterday, I decided to combine all three and came up with a great Chili recipe that won’t bust out our waistlines or break the bank (AND – it tastes good too!). The key to the budget is also to buy the products on sale – I found some great sales this week and also bought the vegetables at the farmer’s market!

I think this recipe is a great one to use when entertaining guests because you can entertain on a budget, you can prepare it the night before (so no dinner party day stress!) and you can dress it up with some accompaniments I’ve mentioned below.

1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce (1.00)
1 tin Manwich sauce (1.00)
1 tin baked beans (.59)
1 large tin diced tomatoes (1.00)
1 tin mushrooms (.89)
1 tin kidney beans (1.00)
1 small zucchini (.50)
1 small green pepper (.50)
3 stalks celery (.25) – which I forgot to put in the photo (DUH!)
1 small onion (.10)
1 pound lean ground beef ($2.25)
Herbs and spices to taste (I tend to use what I have in my cupboard!)

Peel and dice onion. Clean and dice green pepper and zuchinni. Put all vegetables to one side.

In a large covered pot, combine spaghetti sauce and Manwich sauce.

Open and drain diced tomatoes and baked beans (drain these together into a cup or bowl to use as a reserve if needed). Add tomatoes and baked beans to other ingredients in the pot.

Open and drain mushrooms and kidney beans (discard this liquid). Add to other items in pot.

Add diced zucchini, celery and green peppers then put pot to one side.


In a frying pan, brown ground beef and onions. Add spices to flavour (personally, I chose to add seasoning salt). One beef and onions are browned, drain excess liquids.

Add ground beef/onion mixture to the other items in pot and stir.

Add herbs and spices to taste.


Simmer on medium heat for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. If you discover that the sauce is too thick, use some of the reserve liquid to thin out the sauce.

Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight (I like making chili the night before I plan to serve it as makes the flavours more complex).


Can be served with grated cheese on top, with breadrolls and/or over baby spinach.

Serves 12 – 14 (based on approximately 1 cup per serving).

Total cost: approximately $9.00 or $0.75 per serving (based on 12 servings)!

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4 Responses to Chili Baby! (Healthy, Budget-Friendly recipe)

  1. blueviolet says:

    I like the idea of doing it over baby spinach!

  2. Kathleen Blom says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe

  3. Sarah p says:

    Mmmm chili, perfect food for this weather! I never though to add the Manwich sauce…I think that’ll make a nice addition. Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  4. Anne Taylor says:

    Yum! Chili is a staple in our house! We try to fill it up with lots of mushrooms, peppers and sometimes chick peas!

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