Making a Meal from a Can of Beans

I love beans. Dried, green, canned, prepared fresh, baked, in soups or as a side. They are cheap, they grow everywhere and they store really well.  I keep quite a lot of dried beans in my pantry, but as a working mom, I keep a supply of canned beans as well.  When other dinner plans fall through, or life gets in the way of proper planning, (you know, that simple step of soaking the dry beans the night before) it’s so nice to open a can of beans and put together a meal in 20 minutes.

I love how cheap beans are, especially bulk dried beans and home canned green beans. I enjoy challenging myself to make family meals for 2$ or 3$, and beans are great for those.

Bean Burritos – I love mexican food, and bean burritos emphasize everything I love most about it.  Homemade tortillas are super easy to make, but store bought ones are cheap and tasty too.  Dice an onion and some peppers (sweet or hot) and saute in a pan with your oil of choice.  When the veggies are close to your preferred softness, drain the beans, and pour them into the pan.  Add herbs, I recommend a mix of cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper and salt.  Take off the heat when the beans are warmed through. Spread on warm tortillas, with shredded fresh veggies if you’ve got them and some cheese.

Beans and Rice – I NEVER get tired of beans and rice, I don’t know what it is about that combination, but I love it.  We store rice by the 40 pound bag.  I can make enough rice to feed the family and only use 15 cents worth of rice.  When the rice is done, I dump in the drained can of beans.  Again, I usually grab kidney or black beans.  Salt to taste, add some powdered garlic, oregano and cumin to taste.   If you’ve got it, a bit of cooked meat will go a long way with this dish.  Beef smoked sausage, left over chicken or turkey, even shrimp.  Keep warming until everything is nice and hot.

Baked Beans – My mother in law gifted us with a bean crock.  I had never baked beans in a crock until she gave it to us, but I’m a solid convert.  Brown sugar, molasses, some diced onion and bacon all baked in the oven.  Mmmm.  I usually make 2 cans worth, they’re so good. 

Green Beans and Potatoes – 1 Quart of green beans, add a diced onion and garlic clove and 4 – 7 potatoes (depending on size and caloric needs.)  Add water if you need more liquid to cover the potatoes.  Simmer till the potatoes are soft.  Herbs can be added depending on what’s fresh. Basil, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary and Garlic have all gone over well in my house.

Hopefully you’re all eating lots of food this weekend, traditional dishes full of meaning and love.  I always think that the bean meals help make the feasts all that more special.  If you’ve got a favorite bean meal, do share!  I know I’ll be needing new ones to try this coming year. :-D

Happy Holidays, enjoy the lengthening days.

– Calamity Jane