A few days ago I made a HUGE pot of black beans. We ate them for 5ish dinners in a row, still had tons for the freezer, shared meals with friends and family twice, and enjoyed the food. Here is how I made them, and what we ate:
How to make your beans:
(Ingredients are listed in bold so you can easily make a shopping list.)
Spread out hard black beans on a cookie sheet or two. Sort through for rocks (I found 3). Dump them into a large stock pot and cover with plenty of water. I filled the pot about 65% full with beans. Add a splash of vinegar (any type) and let soak overnight (or all day). After soaking drain off the water, rinse, and then cover with water again. Cook on the stove for a few hours with a few cloves of garlic (not bulbs), salt, some dried onion/fresh diced onion/ or onion soup mix, and some chilli powder (1-2 teaspoons). I like to give them enough flavor to be yummy, but not a ton so that they are mild enough to work in different types of dishes. Cook them until they are soft and tender, but not total mush. You want them to still stay relatively whole so that your dishes will have texture. Let them cool, and then put them in the fridge. If it looks like WAY more than your family will eat in the next few days portion them out and freeze them for future dishes. You can also blend them up a bit for something more like re-fried beans.
Meal 1) Beans and Rice Bowl
Put a few large spoonfuls of black beans over some yummy rice. For white we love the organic basmatti from Trader Joe’s. For brown we like organic jasmine from Azure Standard, or the sprouted brown rice from Azure Standard. We use a rice cooker, but you can make it without one as long as you make sure your rice is not over or under cooked. Add some shredded cheese (we like sharp cheddar) and veggies of choice. If you have any ground beef or ham left over it would be great in it, but these beans have lots of protein and can totally stand alone to make a yummy dinner.
Meal 2) Bean and Cheese Burritos
Use a slotted spoon to scoop out just the beans from the container and warm on stove. Put in a warm tortilla (for organic we get them at Natural Grocers, or Grocery Outlet is a good source for non-organic tortillas). Add cheese, salsa, and whatever else you have in your fridge.
Meal 3) Nachos
We warmed up some beans on the stove and added in some sharp cheddar cheese to make them a bit creamier. You could also in some salsa to make them zesty. We then spread out organic tortilla chips (we used blue corn for fun) on our Silpat mat on top of a cookie sheet and and melted cheese over them in the oven. Next, we spooned beans on top along with other toppings and they were so good. None of us were missing the meat and were satisfied.
Meal 4) Enchiladas
I rolled up beans and and a bit of sour cream into tortillas. Next I mixed Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce with a bit of milk and some Trader Joe’s onion soup mix and poured over the top. Last I sprinkled some grated Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese over the top. We sometimes also add in some high quality shredded beef cooked in the Crock Pot. Watch for mark-downs and then stock your freezer!
Along with some fruit and veggies as sides you will be good to go for at least 5 dinners with only having leftovers once. Fruits that are good prices right now are grapes, peaches, and berries (step away from the apples). Also, if your budget is really tight and you have frozen veggies stashed away, use them! They can be virtually as healthy as fresh if you cook them lightly (not using too much water). P.S. Costco also has HUGE bags of frozen organic veggies for cheap.
While we prefer to have a bit more variety, we were well fed and enjoyed saving money. Most of all this mom loved having meals that were easy to whip up each night! Now, excuse me while I go order another 25lb bag of black beans.
TIP-If your hubby is not into meatless dishes cook up a bit of ground beef at the beginning of the week. Then, you can add it to his dishes throughout the week.