We’ve been making some changes in our home with regard to the food we eat over the past month. We’ve gone to drinking raw milk, eating only pastured eggs, grass-feed beef and cutting back on unnecessary snacks. There are many reasons for this choice and I will share more in the weeks to come as I journey this new frontier for our family.
But, one thing I have discovered is our food budget is being stretched – real food is more expensive. Instead of paying $2.98 for a gallon of milk, we are paying $9.99 for a gallon of raw milk. Eggs are no different – $4.69 for a dozen instead of $1.59. I have had to look for ways to reduce my food budget and one of those ways is to use more beans! Yep, that magical fruit!
I wanted to share with you two recipes I’ve been using and love. One is a recipe for Black Beans that I have adapted from eMeals and the other is for homemade refried beans. I’ve been making batches of these beans in the crock pot and then freezing them so I have a stock pile of ready made food available. They are easy to make, can be done during the day while I am doing other things and it saves us money, they taste better and are better for us!
I love my slow cooker, I purchased it last year and it is programmable, is larger than what I use to have, which makes double batches super easy and is dishwasher safe too
I’ve used these black beans for use in casseroles, enchiladas, tacos, chili and bean dip. They are a fantastic base and super easy. I typically make a double batch and then freeze them in quart size Ziploc bags.
1 lb dried black beans (I buy in bulk for $.95/lb)
2 ½ cups chicken stock
2 cups water
½ cup diced onion
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt (I use REAL salt)
1 can Rotel tomatoes (I get these on amazon, subscribe ‘n save for less than $1 a can, when I have my monthly order)
1 bay leaf
1 diced jalapeno pepper (optional)
Sort, rinse and drain beans. Place in slow cooker. Stir in chicken stock, water, onion, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, tomatoes, bay leaf and jalapeno. Cover and cook on LOW for 10 hours or until beans are tender.
Crock Pot ‘Refried’ Beans
2 lbs pinto beans (I buy in bulk for $.89/lb)
1 large onion, chopped
6 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1 Tablespoon salt
1 jalapeno, finely diced
10 cups water
Sort, rinse and drain beans. Place in slow cooker. Stir in onion, garlic, pepper, cumin, salt, water and jalapeno. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours and LOW for 2 hours.
Remove any extra liquid, but leave enough to mash into the desired consistency when the beans are mashed. Take a potato masher and mash until you get the desired consistency. Serve or let cool and freeze – I use quart size Ziploc bags.
These two recipes are so easy and will certainly help stretch your family food budget, regardless if you are making other changes to your eating habits. We are turning to more meatless main meals, and beans often are our “meat” substitute.
Do you use beans to stretch your family budget?