Monday, December 29, 2008

beans, beans....

After Cliff had CABG surgery, I changed a lot of things about the way I cook. I looked for ways to reduce salt and use smaller portions of meat. I started using lots of bean and rice recipes; I have at least half-a-dozen such recipes that are standbys in my kitchen these days. Not only are these dishes good for us, but they're cheap; and most of the ones I use are quick and easy to make.

All these recipes call for canned beans: black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans. I'd pour the beans into a colander and rinse off the liquid to get rid of some of the salt. I can find sodium-free canned tomatoes for a reasonable price, but not beans.

But my trash can was filling up with cans; lots of cans.

So I decided to buy dry beans, cook them in quantity, and bag them in quart freezer bags... since I can't find pint bags.

A one-pound bag of dry beans costs $1.18, and makes the equivalent of four cans of cooked beans that cost 75 cents per can. So there's quite a bit of savings there, I get rid of the salt completely, and the trash doesn't fill up so quickly.

It's working out great for me, bargain biddy that I am.

Here are a couple of my favorite easy dishes:



* 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tablespoons olive oil or cooking oil
* 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can canned Mexican style stewed tomatoes
* 1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
* 2 cups hot cooked brown rice or long grain rice
* 1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)

In a medium saucepan cook 1/2 cup onion and garlic in hot oil till tender but not brown.

Carefully stir in the drained beans, undrained tomatoes, and ground red pepper.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

To serve, mound rice on individual plates; make a well in the centers.

Spoon black bean mixture into centers.

If desired, sprinkle with chopped onion.




* 1 15-ounce can black, garbanzo, or kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I use black or kidney)
* 1 14-1/2-ounce can stewed tomatoes, cut up
* 2 cups loose-pack frozen mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots, corn)
* 3/4 cup quick-cooking brown rice, uncooked (I use instant)
* 1 cup water (only use 3/4 c. water if you are using instant brown rice)
* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or dillweed, crushed (I use thyme)
* Several dashes bottled hot pepper sauce (optional) (I use 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper)
* 1 10-3/4 ounce can condensed tomato soup
* 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted (I use 1/4 cup)
* 1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese (2 ounces) (I use cheddar)


In a large skillet stir together beans, undrained tomatoes, vegetables, water, uncooked rice, thyme or dillweed, and, if desired, hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 12 to 14 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in soup; heat through.

Before serving, stir in almonds and sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional Info:

*This recipe is somewhere in-between 6-8 pts per serving.

Nutritional facts per serving (from
calories: 369, total fat: 11g, saturated fat: 2g, cholesterol: 8mg, sodium: 972mg, carbohydrate: 57g, fiber: 1g, protein: 19g, vitamin C: 81%, calcium: 21%, iron: 23%

Nutritonal facts per serving (from BHG Vegetarian Cookbook)
354 calories, 19 g. protein, 57 g. carbs, 10 g. fat (2 g. saturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 1,244 mg sodium, 917 mg potassium

Nutritional facts per serving (from my own calculations)
358 calories, 8 g. fat, 8 g. fiber


Anonymous said...

Hi Donna, I love your blog. I live in St. Louis now, but I grew up in a small town in the Missouri Ozarks. I wonder when you cook those black beans, what portion do you freeze in each bag that is equal to one can of beans. Do you measure one or two cups or just eye ball into four portions after cooking and draining? That is a great idea and I want to try it! Thanks for sharing your lovely blog with us. Karen

Leilani Lee said...

Alright Anonymous.... what town? Donna... if you have a good thermos, you can boil the beans for 2 minutes on the stove, add beans and boiling water to the thermos, and let it sit overnight. Some varieties of beans (pintos, great northerns) will be cooked by morning. Saves on energy.

Donna said...

Anonymous, once the beans are cooked I measure 2 cups for each bag. If I come up a little short in one bag, I even them up by taking a little out of the others.

What part of the Ozarks did you grow up in? Ozarks covers a big area; my husband's family hails from Versailles Mo, and he has lots of aunts and cousins there.

BlueRidge Boomer said...

My hubby had GBP surgery almost four years ago....his favorite is blackeyed pea salad....
3 cans of BE peas...drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 c olices...chopped
1 sm can of mushrooms...chopped
1 sm red onion...chopped
add Itailian salad dressing to taste...
always have a bowl in the refrig...great for quick meals or snacks

Absolutely Feisty said...

wooo I may be trying that first one.. yum yum

Candice said...

I love beans in the crockpot. I usually add Healthy Choice sausage to it and serve over a little bit of rice.

Dutch said...

These recipes sound great. I am looking to use more beans and cut down on the high price of meat. Thanks

Kelly said...

I like to cook the dried beans too. Like you say, no salt to worry about and I add spices to boost the flavor without the salt. Works for me, and like you said, its cheaper, and cheaper is always better. ;) Kelly