Cheap Super Foods: Lentils

Cost per serving: 18 cents!

Lentils cost anywhere from $1.25 to $1.50 per pound and provide aproximately 7 servings loaded with incredible nutrients.

1 cup of lentils includes:

  • 18 grams protein
  • 15 grams of fiber
  • 3.5 grams sugar
  • less than 1 gram fat
  • 358 milligrams folate (90 percent DV)
  • 1 milligram manganese (49 percent DV)
  • 6.6 milligrams iron (37 percent DV)
  • 356 milligrams phosphorus (36 percent DV)
  • 0.5 milligrams copper (25 percent DV)
  • 0.5 milligrams thiamine (22 percent DV)
  • 731 milligrams potassium (21 percent DV)
  • 71 milligrams magnesium (18 percent DV)
  • 0.4 milligrams vitamin B6 (18 percent DV)
  • 2.5 milligrams zinc (17 percent DV)
  • 1.3 milligrams vitamin B5/ pantothenic acid (13 percent DV)

Nutritional Information taken from

Cookin lentils with and Instant Pot they become surprisingly easy to cook as well. I like to saute some onion and garlic in my instant pot, put lentils in the pot, cover them with water and 2 teaspoons of bouillon and then cook for 15 minutes on manual mode with a natural pressure release for 10 more minutes. Now you have lentils ready for nearly any recipe you’d like to make.

My Top 3 Tried and True Lentil Recipes:

    1. Lentil Shepherds Pie ( I like to add Worcestershire sauce to this recipe for flavor in place of soy sauce and put french sliced green beans on top)

    2. Lentil-Stuffed Zucchini Boats (Make sure you use a flavorful pasta sauce!

If you’re low on zuchinni make my Wrecked Zucchini Boats with some tips from the slideshow below:

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3. 5 minute Red Lentil Curry ( I use brown lentils, beef or chicken bouillon, red curry paste and add pineapple and add other veggies like carrots and broccoli for extra flavor)

All three of the recipes above have been put into my cooking rotation as Matt and I have continued to work towards eating more plant based proteins. Meatless or low meat meals can be delicious. I hope you enjoy trying these out!

Got Extra Veggies? Make Veggie Chicken Soup

Veggie Chicken Soup

  • Cost per serving: .70¢
  • Cost per batch: $7.09
  • Servings: 10 servings


  • 1/4 C purple onion diced
  • 1 t minced garlic or 2 cloves of fresh diced garlic
  •  2 T. olive olive oil
  •  2 cubes Knorr Chicken Flavor Bouillon (or 1 cube for every cup of water if you are using traditional bouillon cubes)
  • 5  C water
  • 3 medium sized red potatoes (peels on)
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 medium sized zuchini (peels on)
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach (optional)
  • Any other veggies, celery, squash, pumpkin, bell peppers, etc.
  • 1 frozen chicken breast
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prep Time: aprox. 30 minutes


  1. Saute your onions until transparent (2-3 minutes). I reccomend doing this in your instant pot or in the soup pan you’ll be putting the rest of your ingredients into. If you have celery to put into your soup, saute it with your onions.
  2. Add the garlic to the onion and saute for 1 minute then turn the Instant Pot to the warming mode or if using a stove turn off your burner.
  3. Put in your 2 bouillon cubes and 5 cups of water.
  4.  Turn your Instant Pot back onto saute or the burner on your stove to medium and let the broth heat up while you gather and chop your veggies.
  5. Add all veggies listed above and more if you’d like–except the spinach!
  6. Add your frozen chicken breast into the soup to boil. I like to do this to avoid needlessly creating extra dirty dishes–especially since we don’t have a ton of cookware here in our hotel. But you could thaw and then cook the chicken however you like before adding it to the soup.
  7. Let your soup boil for about 10-15 minutes depending on how cruchy you like your veggies.
  8. Fish out the chicken breast with tongs or a large spoon and dice it or shred it with a fork and then put it back into the soup.
  9. Throw in the two handfuls of spinach right before you are about to serve the soup.
  10.  Add salt and pepper as needed.
  11. Switch the instant pot setting back to hold warm.

I can’t say enough about minced garlic! You can buy it in small jars in the store and it lasts forever. Or you can buy it fresh and mince it. It adds a ton of flavor to food and lasts for a long time in the fridge. It was one of a few ingredients  I bought to cook with in our hotel over the two months we’ve been here. I use it with meat, veggies, and in fresh salsa all of the time. I use the brand shown above and have seen it at almost every grocery store I’ve been too. Consider picking some up.

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Eggless Banana Bread for a Toaster Oven or Instant Pot

Instructions for cooking this bread in an Instant Pot included below!

Cost: 33 cents per serving

$2.60 per loaf/cake

With only a few more weeks left in our hotel room, I’m trying to get through as many of my remaining ingredients as I can. I have a lot of pantry type items left and I hate wasting food. I also have two lovely spotty brown bananas, so in an effort to use up some ingredients this recipe was born. It doesn’t contain any animal products because I was out of one important staple, eggs. However, thanks to the almonds in it every derving has 5 grams of protein!

Since I don’t have loaf pans here in my room I used my 7″ cheesecake pan.  My finished product was incredibly moist, saturated-fat free, and full of protien and fiber from the almonds, whole wheat, and oats. Enjoy!

Eggless Banana Bread Recipe

2 medium sized ripe bananas

1/3 C Canola or vegetable oil

1 T maple syrup

1/2 C almond or cow’s milk

1 t vanilla

1/2 C sugar

1/4 C finely chopped almonds (mine were salted)

1 C whole wheat flour

1/2 C oats

1/2 C almond or cow’s milk

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

2 t. apple cider vinegar

Banana smashed up by the beaters
Banana smashed up by the beaters

Beat the two bananas until most lumps are gone. Add the veggie oil, syrup, and vanilla, milk and apple cider vinegar. Add all dry ingredients. Beat until all ingredients are combined.

banana bread mixture
The mixture after all ingredients have been added

Pour mixture into a 7′ round cake/cheesecake pan or a bread loaf pan. Cook for 20-25 minutes in a toast over or for about 35 min. in an oven,  or until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted into the bread.

If you’d like extra moist bread, cook your bread in an Instant Pot for 15 minutes,  and then wait 10 minutes for a natural pressure release. I cooked mine on the cake setting but if you don’t have a newer instant pot, the manual mode will work as well

*If using a toaster oven- Cook the bread for 10 minutes on bake and then 10 more on the 350 degree toasting option until completely cooked through.

Enjoy this moist and healthier version of banana bread!


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Four Ingredient Instant Pot Pumpkin Cornbread

It’s time for some fall flavor and since I don’t have access to an oven I wanted to experiment with making cornbread in my Instant Pot, but not just any cornbread, pumpkin cornbread. But I am living in a hotel, so I didn’t especially want to invest in more spices which I would wastefully not be able to finish before the end of our stay, so pumkin pie filling came to my rescue. I picked it up by mistake, thinking it was just pumkin, but I’m so glad I did! This filling has all the pumpkin pie seasonings already mixed in making this recipe simpler than ever!

Four Ingredient Instant Pot Pumpkin Cornbread Recipe:

  • 1 package Jiffy Cornbread Mix

  • 1/3 C almond or cow’s milk

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 C + 2 T Pumpkin Pie Filling

jiffy cornbread mix box

  • Combine ingredients listed above
  • Mix well
  • Pour into greased 7″ cheesecake pan
  • Make a tin foil sling like the one shown below. This sling makes it easy to pull your cornbread from the pot after it’s done


  • Put your metal trivet into the steel inner pot
  • Pour in 1 cup of water and use your sling to lower your cornbread into the pot and onto your metal trivet
  • Leave the sling in the pot and fold it down to ensure it won’t get in the way of your seal when you close the lid.
  • Close the lid and turn the pressure release handle (on the top of your pot) to “sealing
  • Press the “Manual” button on front of the Instant Pot
  • Adjust the cook time using the +/- buttons on the front and set it to 15 minutes

It takes aproximately 10 minutes to pressurize, then your 15 minute cook time will begin. The Instant Pot will beep when the cook time is complete.

  • Allow the cake to rest in the pot for 10 minutes while the steam slowly escapes. This is called a Natural Pressure Release (NPR).
  • After 10 minutes, do a quick pressure release (QPR) by switching the presssure release valve to venting, letting the steam pour out until the grey float valve drops, letting you know the lid is safe to open


pumkin cornbread
moist and dense pumkin cornbread

I based this recipe on two great recipes I found online. Check them out:

  1. Jiffy Pumkin Cornbread
  2. Perfect Semi-homemade Cornbread


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