The cheapest meal I make: Black beans and tortillas

IMG_2034Ready for a recipe that’s not really a recipe? = )

I get to learn as a seminary wife to be very creative with our meal planning/grocery shopping. Meat can be expensive… but, I really love meat. My challenge is to find meals that are meatless that we I will still enjoy.

Here is an idea for one that I have come to love and even crave. My husband loves it (he’s much easier to please than me) and my girls eat it pretty well, too. I’ve included here the ingredients, long instructions, how much it costs, time sequence, and short instructions.

Ingredients:

Instant tortilla mix

Bag of black beans

Can of diced tomatoes with green chiles

Salt, to taste

Long instructions:

It all started with an amazing discovery at Walmart: instant tortilla mix.

All you have to do is add water, knead for five minutes, let it rise for fifteen minutes, and roll out your tortillas to cook on a griddle. They are delicious.

Now for the black beans. I buy a bag of store brand dry black beans. On nights that we eat them for dinner, I start cooking them around lunch time because I cannot stand anything but soft beans. I follow the instructions on the bag for the quick soak (boil 1-2 minutes, then cover, remove from heat, and let stand about 1-1 1/2 hours).

After the beans have soaked, they will need drained and rinsed.

(I just realized that I’m giving you the directions from the back of the bag and acting like I came up with it. No credit here! Just lettin’ you know how easy it is. = )

Cover the beans again with water and bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer and cover. From there, I let them cook as long as I can… at least an hour, but preferably two or three.

I wait to add the salt until the last twenty minutes or so.

Then I add a can of store brand diced tomatoes with green chiles and give it a few more minutes to heat through.

Serve with the tortillas and YUM!!

*Note: my girlies don’t care for the diced tomatoes and chiles, so I just dish theirs out before I add in the goodness. Someday they’re taste buds will grow up and then we’ll have to share. = (

Cost:

If I did the math for one meal, I would guess it’s around $2.75? And that serves six (two adults and four kids) with a bowl leftover.

If you take into account how much you have to pay up front for all the ingredients (which does make a difference sometimes) I would look at it like this: $3.38 for the tortilla mix, $2 for the black beans, and $.77 for the tomatoes. Just over six dollars. If you bought another bag of beans and three more cans of tomatoes, this would make at least four meals (for a family our size), and bring the total cost to $10.50 which divided by 4 is approximately… somebody help me because I’m over my head in arithmetic now… $2.61?? (thanks for the help) Not too bad.

We eat this meal about every two weeks, and I actually look forward to it when I see it on the menu.

Time Sequence:

Here’s how the time sequence goes, at least in my house.

1:00 Boil beans for two minutes, cover, remove from heat and let soak

2:30 Rinse beans, boil again, reduce heat, cover and let simmer

@4:30 Begin making tortillas

5:00 Add salt to beans

5:20 Dish out girlies bowls (this helps them cool as well); Add diced tomatoes with chiles

5:30 Serve!

*Plan for a good 4-5 hours for the beans total, and 45 min. for the tortillas. This might sound long, but there is a lot of dead time in there where I can play with the girls, clean up the kitchen, fold laundry, etc. I love days when I make this meal; to me, it requires very little effort.

Short instructions:

-Prepare black beans and tortillas according to package directions.

-Add salt to beans during the last twenty minutes of cooking time.

-Add the can of diced tomatoes with green chiles and allow a few more minutes for them to heat through.

Let me know if you try it! What is the cheapest meal you make? Thanks, as always, for reading… have a lovely day.

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