A delicious breakfast that will save you money | Food and cooking

JOHN BANNON for the Lee Montana papers

We are all watching the prices of everything go up, including food. We pay more for almost everything these days, and it’s often seen when the cashier hits the “total” button at the end of the grocery store. Some products get smaller while charging the same price, but we’re not fooled.

This isn’t an economics column, so I’m not going to lay out some list of inflation cures for world markets. But I can give you some advice when it comes to the prices you pay to put food on your table.

The first tip is to plan more meals before the week starts. Expensive food decisions are made for convenience and when you are most desperate. And if you don’t plan properly, you’ll often end up throwing out expired produce and other ingredients, leading to unnecessary food waste.

The second tip is to make larger batches of food and freeze them for later. Buying in bulk can lead to lower prices in the long run if you figure out ways to use all the ingredients. You can also save yourself a lot of headaches on busy weeknights by having freezer meals ready to go.

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The third tip is to make more food from scratch, which includes everything from regular meals to snacks. It is known that ready-made snacks can have a high price because we eat them when we are desperate, when we are hungry and when we do not have time.

One such snack that has gained popularity in the last 10 years is the crispy chickpea. They come in bags and are sold at almost every grocery store in a variety of flavors as a protein-rich alternative to things like potato chips.

If you look at the price for what you pay for these pouches, the markup is huge! You can make them yourself at home for a quarter of the price, know exactly what’s in your food, and customize the flavors and spices to your taste buds. And I’m always a fan of using a Montana ingredient that grows in abundance in the big sky country.

I have two flavor options for you listed below – a combination of lemon and fresh thyme and a chili and lime combination that has a discretionary kick of heat. Once you’re familiar with the cooking method, you can adjust the flavors using your own taster—customizing these snacks in ways that tick all the right boxes for you.

Recipe for crispy chickpeas

¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper

For lemon and herbs: 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon red pepper and 3 sprigs fresh thyme

For chili and lime: 1 lime, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, and optional ½ tsp cayenne

Take one cup of dried chickpeas and soak them overnight in three cups of water. In the morning, drain the water and place the hydrated chickpeas in a medium saucepan with about 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let them cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat but allow to cool in liquid.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees on convection. Drain the chickpeas after they have cooled and spread out on paper towels to remove all the extraneous water.

For the Lemon Thyme Chickpeas recipe, place chickpeas in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules, and 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper.

For the Chili Lime Chickpeas recipe, place the chickpeas in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules, and 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper, 1 l chili powder, ½ tsp. cumin and ½ teaspoon cayenne if you want to turn up the heat.

Toss well to coat each chickpea with the oil and spices. Line a tray with baking paper and spread the chickpeas on the tray in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and shake the chickpeas around to spread their surface. You can also choose to sprinkle a little more salt at this point. Place them back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Take them out and shuffle them again.

For the lemon and thyme recipe, zest a whole lemon and tear off the thyme leaves and spread over the top of the chickpeas. For the chili lime recipe, zest a whole lime over the top of the chickpeas. Turn off the oven and put the chickpeas back in as the residual heat continues to cook them for about an hour. Store all extras in an airtight container for up to a week.

John Bennion was born in Montana, born and raised in Billings. Outside of his day job as an attorney, you can find John experimenting in the kitchen and developing recipes that often include a Montana ingredient or story. John posts on Instagram as Intermediate Chef (@intermediatechef) and lives in Clancy, Montana.

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