2/10/09

I Wish I Owned Stock in Rice & Beans!

“No Mom, don’t add the beans!” my daughter yelled from the dining room last week as I was adding a can of beans to our enchilada dinner.

“Can’t you just make meat enchiladas?!” she said.


Even though my kids are very grateful for the food set before them, and they eat anything I cook – they still are kids! (Speak their minds, right?)

I said, Abby, we’re going to be cooking with a lot more rice and beans this next year! No more complaining, girl!

A few months ago, with the tanking economy, we sat our children down to explain how our family needs to save money and make changes – in every area we can!

We’ve already made small changes
• cut the newspaper subscription
• cut the long-distance from our phone plan
• cut our “beloved” soccer channel (a very painful cut!)
• cut buying any frozen, processed food items
• cut gas use, by carpooling to sport events and birthday parties
• cut produce and herb costs, by growing our own

Think ahead
Every dish I prepare now, I’m thinking ahead to how I can stretch it out, using less meat and more rice or beans! Rice is cheap - and you can stock up on beans as they go on sale!

Double the quantity
Simple recipes like tacos, enchiladas, soups, quesadillas, wraps, even a scrambled egg dinner! Keep it simple, but double the quantity by adding rice or beans - or both!


Rice cooker - less than a minute
I’ve found by leaving my rice cooker out on the counter, I'm using it more. In less than a minute of preparation, my rice is cooking! Last night after dinner I cooked 2 cups of brown rice, planning ahead for tonight’s meal.

I have a new meatloaf recipe that I want to try this week. And guess what I’ll be adding to it?

Rice!


Are you like me - wishing that you had bought stock in rice and beans? I’d love to hear how you are stretching your meals out!

45 comments:

Sandy Toes said...

Oh how yummy! We always make rice in our tacos...they are yummy with rice! Those enchiladas look so very good!
-sandy toe

Sandy Toes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy said...

We're calling them Recessionista Recipes at our house. DH lost his job December 1st, and we are definitely on a frugal kick when it comes to food and menus right now. (and a lot of other things too.) Out of necessity, we are getting more creative and making things from scratch.

Just today DH "invented" our own version of pizza rolls (or Poor Man's Pizza as he calls it, LOL) that were bigger, healthier and more tasty than the processed ones you buy. Woo-hoo!

My hubby and I are finding a lot of satisfaction in taking care of and nuturing our little family this way in these hard times -- we feel that we are still living well; we don't feel deprived.

Life is good. Thanks for your great post.

Emily said...

Hi Sandy!

I am right with you... more focused than ever on nourishing food for my family on a budget. I have cut out: the little oatmeal packets and instead buy rolled and steel cut oats in bulk (often making an oatmeal bake, and this morning combining: oats, melted coconut oil, cinnamon, salt and wheat flour on top of chopped apples and blueberries - yummy bake!); microwave popcorn (pop it myself - add fun seasoning); no frozen/processed meals ... And I buy rice, beans, lentils in bulk. I like to make a big pot of beans on the weekend ...

I love the feeling after preparing a whole food, delicious meal for my family on a budget!

Mod Girl said...

I've always loved cooking with rice and beans... my kids don't love the beans so much so sometimes I puree them (the beans, not the kids!).

We're tightening the belt too. One big change we've made recently is cash-only grocery shopping. No more debit cards at the grocery store for us! I buy what we can afford with the cash in my envelope. This forces me to make wise and healthful grocery choices. And, yes, that means lots of rice and beans.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Yes, we eat a lot of rice and beans!!! Fortunately, we always have eaten that way and my son asks for beans. Tonight, we have guests and we are having a chicken dish. We feel all fancy!!

Definitely we are rethinking everything we do and buy and want to learn to live more frugally!

Hope your day is going well :-)

Our Green Nest said...

Yep, we do rice & beans (and veggies) every other week pretty much for dinners for the whole week...We have always loved it! Alot of times though we substitute quinoa for the rice which we love even more...plus it's a bit healthier for us!

Mujer Puertoriqueña said...

My grandather grow that as a young father in the Island, I wish I can do that here in TX. Is a Purtorican Daily thing. But I love my meat...we buy whole beaf, to save since a great friend have black angus. Yummo!

Marcy said...

Amen to that! :-)

It was great meeting you at the conference as well! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Marcy

Melanie said...

Sandy,
We are doing the same thing in trying to reduce our spending on food.
I am using my crockpot a lot more and serving left over dinner for lunch the next day. Tonight's menu: salmon patties, black eyed peas, hushpuppies. Also - this week I am experimenting with when we run out, we make do w/something else.
Melanie@Bella~Mella

Liz said...

Yep, we're doubling up on the rice/bean meals too. But oddly enough, I love them. And bring on the meatloaf! I love that too! :)

Org Junkie said...

I'm ashamed to admit it but I rarely cook rice. I'm just not a fan of it...blech. That's probably weird I know.

I lean more to potatoes for stretching, yum, yum :)

Culinarywannabe said...

My husband could live off rice, so he would be more than happy in your home! We are really trying to cut back on the meat we buy and eating "meatless" lunches and breakfasts. I also did away with the cereal when it topped $6 a box!! (we are in nyc and prices are insane!).

PollyS ( marypauline at stankus dot com) said...

Hi Sandy!
I have been frugal for so long that it's second nature. But, Money Saving Mom and Grocery Smarts are a life, umm, budget saver! Give 'em a try.
Take care!

Our Little Corner of Heaven said...

Your enchiladas look delicious, would you mind sharing your recipe? We have been making changes too, and it has been difficult with my lack of imagination:P I love your tips...please keep on sharing!

Christine said...

We are totally cutting our budget in the food department. A while ago I starting making all of our bread; I think we've purchased 4 loaves of bread in a year, only because I was in a pinch and hadn't made any. I make a roaster chicken (2 for one at the local store) stretch to 3 meals for our family of 6- one night of roast chicken and potatoes, one night of chicken casserole or a chicken pasta dish, and one night of chicken enchiladas or tacos...I'm thinking of cutting out boxed cereal and I think I could save at least $50 per month. I think the kids would freak, though!! ;)

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Hi girl - I think we just had this rice and beans conversation, didn't we? Yep....too funny...I will be having a similar post up soon. Pictures are done and everything. I JUST LOVE our rice and beans. :)

ValleyGirl said...

Haha, was it last year when there was the big ol' rice crisis? Well, I've got two HUGE bags (35 lbs EACH!!!) from the buying frenzy then, so I think we're good with rice for a long, LONG time yet!! I make a lot of bean and rice enchiladas, too. Yum, yum!

Donnetta said...

This reminded me that my rice cooker is in a cupboard somewhere. I believe you have inspired me to get it out and use it!

Now... to find some recipes...

Betts said...

We're doing better at eating leftovers either for lunches or a leftover night once a week. If there isn't enough of one meal for the three of us, we each get to pick which meal we want the leftovers from.

Tammy said...

I love your ideas!
I'm not personally a big fan of rice and beans, nor our my kids- but my husband sure is! He'd love your plan! :)
And really, they are healthy...

Sometimes I do make a big crock pot of home made soup...I need to do that more often!

My mom is old enough to remember growing up in the Depression...back then, moms did a whole lot of tricks to stretch the food budget!

Sorry it's been so long since I stopped by...life has been SO busy! :)
Blessings,
~Tammy

Kim said...

Sandy,

Besides saving money with the beans and rice, you are also eating healthier! Think of it as two great gains!

Thanks for sharing about Blissdom, it sounds like it was so inspiring!

Natalie said...

i do exactly that!!! sometimes we have bean soup. i also use cornmeal quite a lot. i cook it and serve it as a side dish (polenta) instead of potatoes. we eat "grits" for breakfast. it is very inexpensive and easy and the kids eat it! i don't use cans of beans though. i buy them in bulk dried and cook them myself in the crockpot and then freeze in 2 and 4 cup containers.

OKGardners said...

I will probably add more rice and beans to our menus, but I got something special today...

MY FIRST JAR OF BARNEY BUTTER! I am thrilled. Just as we brought in the box from UPS with the Barney products, the tornado sirens sounded and we had several tornadic storms pass through for the next few hours. Needless to say, I have not had time to try the Barney Butter yet, but I certainly will be! Can't wait to try it!

THANKS YOU again for your contest and all the fun things you post.

Betty in Tornado Alley, Oklahoma

Betsy said...

I've never been a fan of the prepackaged frozen foods...yucky taste and expensive! Cooking and baking from scratch is always tastier and cheaper! I also buy the store brand of most things. There have only been 2 things that I thought the name brand was worth the price!

We eat breakfast for dinner once in a while...eggs are a great budget stretcher! And someone mentioned popcorn....so much yummier than the microwave packets!

Giving up juice, pop and koolaid and sticking with water can really take a load off of the budget!

Making a weekly menu from what you already have in the house and then shopping only for what you need really helps, too. ...that and planning around the store sales.

OK...now I'm hungry for rice and beans! :)

granny f said...

I love it! My husband & I took Dave Ramsey's 'Financial Peace' course through our church, and he continually says to eat 'beans & rice, and rice & beans' to cut down on food costs and beat debt. We've definitely included them into our meals, too.

Kirstin said...

I have made some rice and bean burritos a few times and everyone seems to like it.

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Good idea and thank goodness we like them both! :)

Melissa Lewis - Off The Wall said...

We are totally going to be planting our own little vegetable and herb garden this Spring too!

MoziEsmé said...

I like that idea! We ate rice and beans by the ton in Mozambique - and are quite tired of them! (Most food was way overpriced there, except for rice & beans) I wish I had thought of just mixing them in with other recipes!

An Adventurer in the World said...

For a while there, rice was expensive (comparatively)! It seems to have calmed down a bit.

I oven-baked our rice last night, and over-cooked it on purpose to give it a golden, chewy crust. DELICIOUS! Our Spanish friends in NYC called that crust ... here goes a phonetic spelling, I have never seen the word: ... "pe-COW". (probably like the Latin root for 'sin', pecco?)

deb meyers

Grace said...

keep the rice--it just takes away the room in my belly meant for beans, beans, and more beans. :)

Jeanneoli said...

Good ideas to stretch our dollars. I love that your daughter was yelling from the other room to stop with the beans. I am having a huge giveaway...come on over.

Gray Matters said...

Just found your blog from all the Blissdom recaps - looking forward to reading through your archives and visiting often!

Jessica said...

I'd love the recipe for the enchilada dish you have pictured in this post. Looks yummy. And it would be great if you could give some specific ways to include rice into your meals. I would love to do that more as well. It really is a money saver as it fills tummies well!! Thanks!

An Accomplished Woman said...

Your food looks so good, we eat lots of rice and beans too. Especially bean type soups.

Loved meeting you and thank you for being so kind.

Anonymous said...

We have cut back on a lot of 'extras' also. Thanks for sharing ways your family is making smart choices.
~Amanda

LuLu said...

My children are not big meat eaters so I add black beans to almost everything... tonight I made burritos to strech our food and my 5 year old said please hold the beans... :)not so much a burrito now but i give in every once in a while. We cut netflix and changed trash service, cutting where we can. looking for more areas too.
LuLu

Kristi said...

I understand. Me? I wish my husband & I had bought stock in Pampers!! We have been buying diapers in our house for over 12 years :).

Elizabeth G. said...

Hi, Sandy!

Actually, I am really into storing enough food basics for my family of four to live on for a year (really), just in case. I use this as the basis for our weekly menus, rotating the basics by using up what I store and storing more of what I use.

A big part of this is rices (long grain brown, white basmatic,sushi rice) and beans (black, garbanzo, lentils,pinto, lima and black-eye peas). I store dried beans, soaking and cooking them (crock pot!) as needed. It's amazing how they can stretch a budget!

Blessings,
Elizabeth

emily said...

Fabulous post! Some really great ideas. AND I love your new circle button! Now I'm off to scour for beans and rice in my pantry :)

G. said...

I love rice and beans! We actually eat a lot of meatless meals...probably about 3 times a week. They consist of veggie soups, or a pasta dish with veggies, I also make a lentil dish that is very economical, and my kids love it. I use a ton of beans when I cook. I also buy dried beans, cook them and then I freeze them and take them out as I need them. The cost for 1 lb. of dried beans is around $1.00 depending on the kind, and makes a lot! Soups are another way I stretch the dollar. I make extra and freeze the rest for another meal or two. I also like making breakfast for dinner because I usually always have the ingredients I need on hand, so no xtra money there. I could go on...but, I won't. Sorry so long, I like talking about saving money! :)

Kathleen Grace said...

use coupons and websites like couponmom.com to save money and even get free and almost free items each week from our stores! Anything free that I can't use gets donated to the homeless shelter or used to help out other families that are experiencing unemployment or hard times.

Amber said...

We eat a lot of rice in my family, especially because my hubby is Asian. :) I'd never had a rice cooker until we got married, but now I love it so much! Rice cooker rice is so much better! And I love that it can make brown rice fluffier as well.

As for beans, I hate them! I've never liked them. I don't like the flavor or the texture of any variety of beans. I just can't bring myself to eat them. So, no beans in our house!

robeth said...

Lentils! Amazing nutritional value. They take on the flavor of any dish that you add them to. 16 oz bag for about 94 cents. They cook really quick (in about 15 minutes once the water is boiling.) If you like meat sauce on your pasta replace 1/2 the meat with cooked lentils; add it to your meatloaf (about 1 c. of cooked.) Great in veggie soup. They are small, and come in a variety of colors:red, green, yellow, brown.

Rice: my husband and I will be purchasing a rice cooker. Not in the budget at this time, but it will be in a few weeks. What brand/model would you recommend?