SECRETS SERVED: Spend Smart Eat Smart

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Iowa State University Extension and Outreach aims to help all Iowa citizens. One way they are doing this is through the Spend Smart Eat Smart program.

This segment usually brings you recipes from some of the best chefs in the area but first you have to source your ingredients.

ISU’s Peggy Martin says there are several things you should follow to decipher a bargain when grocery shopping:

  • Check the unit price. Value size isn’t always the best option
  • Buy what you need, not what you want
  • Buying in bulk may just be a waste, those 10 for $10 deals may go unused
  • Remember, it’s only a good deal if you actually consume it
  • Try store brands
  • Research suggests shoppers with lists spend more than list-free consumers
  • Supermarkets often price non-food items 20-40% higher
  • Finally, watch for scan errors. They cost US consumers $2.5 billion a year in overcharges

You can find more tips and recipe ideas on their website. Here is one idea that costs about 50 cents per serving:

Garbanzo Bean Soup


  • 1/2 onion (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 can (15.5 ounce) low sodium garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup sliced carrots (about 12-15 baby carrots)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pasta (rotini, shells, etc.)
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced (about 1-2 cups sliced)


  1. Wash, peel, and chop onion. Peel and mince garlic cloves.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and garlic, and cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes. 
  3. Add broth, tomatoes, and water to saucepan. Stir in garbanzo beans, carrots, and seasonings.
  4. Cook on medium high heat about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in pasta and zucchini. Reduce heat to medium low. 
  6. Simmer about 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
  7. Serve immediately or refrigerate.



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