Each week for 52 weeks, I’m sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.
We use a lot of beans around here; they’re inexpensive, they’re filling, and they’re nutritious. Pair them with rice and you have a complete protein.
I use beans to stretch our taco meat and as a base for many soups and other dishes we regularly eat. If you purchase dry beans in bulk, they are even more economical!
Some of Our Favorite Bean Recipes
- Freezer-Friendly Bean & Cheese Burritos
- Homemade Bean & Cheese Burritos
- World’s Easiest Homemade Crockpot Refried Beans
- Three-Bean Chili Chowder
- Brown Bag Burritos
How to Live on Beans & Rice for a Week
When I read Ruth’s post here on how to live on beans and rice for a week, I thought it’d be fun to try and come up with my own version. While we’ve never tried to just have beans and rice all week long, Ruth inspired me to come up with an almost-week-long beans and rice menu plan, too, using some of our favorite legume recipes.
Day One: Cook up a big ole’ pot of beans (I do mine like this. You can add in seasonings, onions, etc. if you prefer). I’d recommend cooking black beans, pinto beans, and chili beans. Mix equal parts of the beans and make chili (we like to add onions, diced tomatoes, tomato juice, spices, hot sauce, pickle juice, and anything else that strikes my fancy that evening! You can add some browned ground beef if you like.). Serve over brown rice with cheese and hot sauce.
Day Two: Take the leftover chili and make “haystacks”–set out bowls of chopped lettuce, tomatoes, corn chips, rice, cheese, sour cream, olives, and hot sauce. Let everyone pile things on and make up their own “haystack”.
Day Three: Mash up some of the black beans and pinto beans (you can make them refried like this, if you like) and mix with a little salsa and chopped chicken. Roll up in tortillas, sprinkle with cheese and heat through.
Day Four: Make pizza crust and top with mashed/refried beans, salsa or diced tomatoes, onions (if you like) and cheese. Bake. If you have leftover lettuce and tomatoes from Day Two, you could sprinkle them on top of the baked pizza. If you have any leftover chili, you could also make “Chili Pizza” using chili and tomatoes and cheese as the pizza topping.
Does someone in your family hate beans? Check out this post from Kelly on how to eat on a beans and rice budget when your husband hates beans.
How To Freeze Beans — From Janelle at Gluten-Freely Frugal
Did you know that could be done? I didn’t, until I read an article in Gluten Free Living Magazine about preparing beans.
I have greatly modified their recipe to due a much larger quantity, and have modified cook times. It is not terribly labor intensive, but spans a pretty long period of time while you’re doing other things, so pick a day you’ll be home for a few hours.
Here’s how to make Recipe-Ready Beans for your freezer:
1. Find a big pot. I use an enormous soup pot. Bring 9 quarts of water to a boil. Do not add salt; it keeps the beans from softening. Rinse six cups of beans in cold water. After the water has reached a boil, add the beans. Boil at a rolling boil for about 3 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and let the beans soak for an hour.
3. Return to the heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the beans are soft. It took mine about 2 hours (they were small black beans). Many things can affect how long it takes, including the type, the size, and the age. Older beans tend to take longer to soften.
4. When they are soft enough, package in 2-cup containers (that is the approximate size of a can, so it’s recipe -ready!) You can add some salt now if you want to, and leave them in their liquid.
Now, next time you have a recipe that calls for beans, you can easily thaw out a container from your freezer, at a fraction of the cost.
I ended up paying about $0.80 for 6 cups of dried black beans at the discount store (you could do any kind, though). I got six pints of beans out of this recipe, which equals about $0.13 per “can”.
What are your favorite ways to serve beans? I’d love to hear!
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