Thrifty Friday — Cooking With Dry Beans (Copycat Vigo Black Beans & Rice)

Hello my friends, I have returned after a sabbatical. I know, you were waiting with bated breath for this very moment. I am both humbled and honored, etc etc. Hold the applause, please. And onto more useful things…

I have recently cultivated a habit of cooking with dry beans. This is partially in the name of frugality, and partially because it’s healthier–less salt, more fiber. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to soak your beans overnight, but that does mean it takes 4-6 hours worth of cook time on the stove or in the crockpot. I personally like to leave my beans in the crockpot with a few chunks of onion, a little salt, and enough water to cover them. I can forget about them completely until dinnertime. Additionally, I discovered this great resource regarding dry bean yields: Bean Yield Chart. (Skip to recipe for Copycat Vigo Black Beans and Rice.)

Now, not only did I previously used canned beans, but I also developed a taste for the more processed sorts that take about 10 minutes to cook. But I’m not about that life any more. (Ok, sometimes I am, but not today…) I began a quest earlier this week in search of a copycat recipe for this lovely, packaged Vigo black beans and rice. I seriously lived off of that stuff my last semester of college. Yet, as I read the nutrition information I see a whopping 40% of my daily recommended intake of salt shot to heck in one serving. Not worth the hypertension, folks. Alas, there were no copycat recipes available. Therefore, with a little guidance from this original recipe on food.com, I tweaked it to resemble my Vigo favourite.

blackbeansandrice
Copycat Vigo Black Beans and Rice
Makes: 6-8 servings
Takes: 3 hours & 15 minutes
Totals: $2.42, or $0.30-$0.40/serving

Ingredients:
1 lb black beans, dried ($1.72)
6 cups of water (freeish)
1/2 onion, chopped ($0.25)
1/2 cup olive oil ($0.20)
1 clove garlic, minced ($0.02)
2 bay leaves (about $0.04?)
1 tsp salt ($0.04)
2 cups cooked white rice ($0.15)

Directions:
Cover beans with water in large pot, boil for two minutes, then turn off the heat and leave it covered for an hour. (Time to walk the dog, empty the dishwasher, fold laundry, whoo-hoo!) Now, come back to your dinner prep and drain the beans. Cover again, this time with precisely six cups of water. Turn the burner back on so that can get back up to a boil and meanwhile…

Saute the chopped onion and garlic in another pan with just a dollop of olive oil. When the onions are soft and translucent, add that mixture to the beans, along with the rest of the ingredients. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it go for about two hours. You can cook your rice while you wait, and stir that in last. Tastiest, easiest recipe ever.

(Side note: For the sake of a little extra protein, we also halved this recipe for slow cooked balsamic chicken sans the canned tomatoes. It’s a great way to stretch your chicken allotment for the week. However, I have and will continue to eat just the beans and rice on their own!)

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