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:
SPICY BLACK BEANS AND RICE
* 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.
HEARTY RICE SKILLET
HEARTY RICE SKILLET
* 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.
*This recipe is somewhere in-between 6-8 pts per serving.
Nutritional facts per serving (from bhg.com)
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