Stretch your dollar with flavorful rice and beans

Every Sunday I cook up a few dishes for lunch throughout the week. It takes a few hours and a little planning, but saves my sanity and figure by providing nutritious dishes during my busy workday. This week I was inspired by dry beans in my pantry. A quick peek in the vegetable drawer of the fridge and there you go, this dish was born.

Simple, yet delicious.

To me, simplicity is the best part of comfort food. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy to be flavorful. This recipe serves four and can be made for less than $10. If this were mid-summer, it would be much cheaper given that I have raised garden beds in my back yard. Tomatoes, peppers and veggies are plentiful during the summer and always taste better than anything in the grocery store. If you don’t grow a garden, you can always pick up fresh veggies from roadside stands or farmers’ markets. Odds are the produce will have just come from the fields just hours before you paid for it.

In addition to veggies, beans are inexpensive, go a long way and can be added to lots of dishes–soups, quesadillas, salads, etc. With the leftover beans from this Sunday, I added them to a Southwest salad of greens, onions, grilled chicken and corn with crispy tortilla strips. I urge you to try this recipe and be creative with the extra beans in some new dishes of your own! I’d love to hear what you whip up.

Melissa’s Rice and Beans

  • 2 cups dry black beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 package salt pork (near the pork in the meat aisle)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 5 cups chicken stock

Add the beans, water, salt pork and seasonings to a stock pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until beans are soft. In the meantime, add the rice and chicken stock to another pot and simmer for 45 minutes or so until all the stock is absorbed. In a serving dish, layer the rice, beans and vegetables.

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  1. #1 by Joy Mayer on February 22, 2011 - 10:39 am

    I’ve had terrible luck with dried beans — what’s your secret? This weekend, I soaked a bag of red beans overnight in water, and they were still crunchy and kind of odd. I put ‘em in the crockpot for the day just to soften them up.

    • #2 by thesouthernepicurean on February 22, 2011 - 12:48 pm

      Joy, thank you for your question. My mom used to soak them overnight as well, but I am much too impatient for that. I cook them on the stovetop from dry to finish on a medium heat for an hour or so, until they are soft but not splitting. Obviously, if you use the entire bag at once you’ll need to cook them longer. Keep trying and let me know how they turn out.

  2. #3 by Dee on February 22, 2011 - 10:46 am

    I actually had the pleasure of tasting this dish and all I can say is, “Scrumptious!” Now that I have the recipe, I will definitely be making this for my family to eat.

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