My 3-year-old son absolutely adores beans and rice. He would eat it for every meal if we let him and that wouldn’t really be so bad. I love beans and rice for a few reasons…

1. It’s a very inexpensive meal. Two cans of black beans (or dark red kidney beans) cost about $1.70 and a 10 oz. bag of yellow rice costs about $1.00 at most. Even with the cost of toppings ($.85 for sour cream, $1.99 for a bag of shredded cheddar cheese, which you  can save most of for another meal) it’s only $5.54. Of course I usually serve mine with a salad, but that only costs a few dollars to make. I can easily put this meal together for the three os for under $10 and still have leftovers for lunch the next day.

2. It’s very easy to make. Since the canned beans often come in sauce, I do not need to add much to them. I simply empty the cans into a sauce pan and warm them up for a few minutes. If I have I have some salsa in the fridge I add a couple of spoonfuls of it to the beans, as well as some Adobo seasoning. Other times I just add a little garlic powder and hot sauce, whatever I have on hand. Then I just follow the instructions for the rice; it takes 20 minutes to cook no matter how much you prepare. While the beans and rice are cooking, I put together a quick salad with a few slices of cucumber, chopped red onion and a few tomatoes–5 minutes tops. When the food is done cooking, just plop some beans on top of the rice and top with a dollop of sour cream, a splash of hot sauce and sprinkling of cheese.

3. It’s quite nutritional. Beans are high in fiber, protein and antioxidants. In fact, kidney beans (as well as pinto and red beans) are the highest antioxidant food, even more so than blueberries and cranberries. One cup of beans contains about 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber, without any saturated fat.  There’s no need to serve any meat with this meal. To find out more about the health benefits of beans check out this article on prevention.com. You’ll also find some other bean recipes.

So the next time you’re feeling the budget crunch and you’re not sure what to make for dinner, think beans and rice! You pick the beans (red, kidney, black, pinto, white, etc.) and the rice (white, yellow, brown) and you’ll have a satisfying meal on the table in no time!

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