Category Archives: Vegetarian

Black Beans and Rice

Let me start by saying that I have never liked black beans and rice. I had it a lot growing up. I always ate it dutifully without any complaining since my mom had taken the time and effort to make it. I tried to like it. Everyone else in my family LOVED it. I pretended that I liked it. I tried to convince myself that I liked it. None of it worked. I just don’t like black beans and rice. That was true until last night!!! I’ve been making dinners for 6 years now and this is the first black beans and rice recipe that I have ever liked. What makes it so different, you ask? The addition of canned tomatoes. Delish.

First cook some rice. Hopefully you have a rice cooker which makes it sooooo easy.

Next, you get out a frying pan and saute your chopped onions in some olive oil. I, as usual, used onion powder instead. Next, add your garlic powder and Italian seasoning. I added some salt, too and apparently forgot to put the onion powder in the picture. Next, add the canned tomatoes (undrained) and 2 cans of black beans (rinsed and drained). I didn’t have 2 cans of black beans so I just used 1 can of kidney beans and 1 can of black beans. It was still really yummy that way.

Saute this mixture for about 20 minutes on medium low heat.

When it is all cooked through, your rice should be done. You can serve this on top of cooked rice, or you can mix it all together before you serve it. I served it on top for everybody in our family, but we all just mixed it together before we ate it. Next time I’ll just mix it all together before I serve it.

There may or may not have been a few bites taken out of this before the picture was taken. 🙂 It was so good I couldn’t resist.

Black Beans and Rice, $3.05

2 C hot cooked rice ($ .50)

1/2 chopped onion ($ .50)

1-2 Tbsp olive oil ($ .25)

1 tsp. garlic powder ($ .10)

1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning ($. 10)

1 can petit diced tomatoes, garlic and herb flavor ($ .60)

2 cans black beans ($1)

Directions: Saute the onion in some olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Add the canned tomatoes and stir. Pour in the black beans. Saute about 20 minutes on medium low heat. Use a potato masher to mash a bit of the mix (2/3 whole, 1/3 mashed). Serve over cooked rice.

Tips to make this healthier: Serve with a vegetable side. Use brown rice instead of white rice.


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Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

What is buying in bulk? This can have two meanings depending on the circumstances. The first kind of buying in bulk usually involves a warehouse like Sam’s Club or Costco. These warehouse stores buy a TON of one kind of thing and get it for a cheaper price because they are buying so much. There is usually also less packaging because each package has a larger quantity. The savings are then passed to the buyer (you) because you must also buy a large amount of each item. Buying things from Costco that you use a lot is a great idea.

Another meaning of buying in bulk involves a little more work. This is can also be called “capitalizing on sales!” Make a list of food items that you use frequently. My list would include the following:


Spaghetti Sauce

Ground Beef


Cheese (block or shredded)

And so on…

Now, write how much each of these items typically is. If you know how much it generally is on sale, that’s even better. Write that price. Here’s my list:

Pasta – $ .88/lb.

Spaghetti Sauce – $1/jar

Ground Beef – $1.99/lb.

Chicken – $1.89/lb.

Cheese – $2.50/lb.

Butter – $2/lb.


Next, check the weekly ads for grocery stores in your area. If you have a Costco or Sam’s Club membership, check the prices whenever you are there. If you ever see any of your items for the same price or lower (you know it’s really good deal when it’s a lot lower than the price you wrote down) then buy a bunch. I typically like to buy enough for the next 2-6 months depending on how much space I have in my pantry/freezer. If you have a small house with very little food storage, don’t go overboard! You still need room for your other food. Just buy as much as you can fit.

If you have a huge pantry or a separate storage room, then feel free to buy more. Just make sure you are constantly rotating through all of your food. Whatever you put in first, should come out first. Even if you have a large storage room, still don’t go overboard. Never buy more than a 6 month supply. If you must have a 1 year supply, fine, but absolutely do not buy more than that. I don’t care how cheap it is. There is nothing worse than buying food at a great price, just to throw it out because it has gone bad.

This week I am going to buy some boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.39/lb. I’m pretty excited about it. Since we don’t have a lot of food storage room right now, I’m only going to get 10 lbs. If we had more room, I would buy more because the price is fantastic, but I know not to go overboard.

I feel a little silly even writing a recipe for today’s meal. It’s a classic that probably everyone knows how to make, but here it is anyway.

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, $3.05


1 can tomato soup ($1)

I can-full of water

8 slices of bread ($ .85)

4 slices of cheese ($1)

2 Tbsp butter ($ .20)


Make tomato soup according to directions on the can. (I always make tomato soup on the stove and use a wire whisk to mix it. This prevents icky lumps). Put 1 Tbsp. in a skillet. Use other Tbsp. of butter to butter each bread slice. Put two slices of cheese in between each two slices of bread. Grill sandwiches in skillet with melted butter. May cut each sandwich in half before serving with soup, if desired.

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