Grocery Budget Helps:

What to Do With 25 Pounds of Beans?
Crystal Miller

I love being frugal and keeping close tabs on my grocery budget and eating beans is one way I keep things in check. I was inspired to write about how to use a bag of beans when a woman on my message board said she purchased 25#ís of pinto beans and was wanting some ideas on how to use them.

Beans are an excellent source of protein. They are not a complete protein however and need to be coupled with brown rice, cornmeal (as in cornbread or tortillas or tortillas chips, etc), cheese, or meat to get the most benefit from them.

I am not a vegetarian as I donít believe it to be a healthy way to eat, however I do advocate eating smaller amounts of meat if you are trying to live on a tight budget. Meat can be looked at as flavoring instead of the main course. If you are a vegetarian you will find that many of the bean recipes I share adapt nicely to that way of eating.

Many people know that beans are a good quality food, they have some idea what to do with them but when faced with a bulk bag of them (after all buying them in bulk is how you get the best deal) they are perhaps short on ideas as to what to do with them.

Depending on your family size 25#ís of beans may last you a long time or maybe a real long time.. ~smile~. Beans, after they are cooked, can quadruple in size. So keep that in mind. If you have a small family, think small amounts with the beans, conversely it you have a big family, thing bigger amounts.

Before I get into the nitty gritty I want to say a few things about cooking beans. Beans donít have to be soaked. I know for many people soaking beans is one extra step that is easily forgotten. For years I never soaked beans. I simply measured out what I needed, added water and salt and let them cook. In my constant quest for improving my familyís nutrition I came across a fantastic book, Nourishing Traditions (the author is Sally Fallon). It is a fascinating, information filled book and well worth purchasing if you are serious about improving your familyís health. In reading this book I learned about something called Ďphytic acidí. Phytic acid is naturally found in all grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of minerals in your body. To neutralize phytic acid (it will also make them easier to digest) you need to soak your grains and beans. I now soak my grains and beans as much as possible. Sometimes I forget and donít do this but this is a new step for me and I am learning to make new habits. Soaking grains and beans also increases their nutritional benefit. If you would like to read more about this (and other nutritional information) then I highly recommend Sally Fallonís book Nourishing Traditions.

If you have not purchased your beans yet you may be wondering what the best type of bean to purchase is. If your budget is tight, going out and buying several types of beans may not be a choice for you. If I was going to try and work with just one type of bean it would have to be the pinto bean. They are a mild tasting bean that will adapt well to a variety of uses. Plus pinto beans can usually be easy to find in 25# bags. I know locally Costco sells them and so do several grocery stores in my area. Most of my recipes are based on using pinto beans, but other types of beans such as red beans and black beans will work. I would not use navy beans for these recipes. I never use kidney beans (and therefore have not tested them in my recipes) because I just donít personally like them. They are too large and donít convert well to some recipes, however if you like them, you can try and see how they work for the following recipes.

Beans work wonderfully as a meat stretcher. You can add cooked beans to cooked hamburger to make it go farther. You can then add this to just about any type of recipe calling for cooked hamburger: tacos, spaghetti, soups, etc.

Here is what you do: the evening before you need the beans, put 2 cups of beans in a pan and cover with lots of water. Leave to soak. The next day dump the water out and cover the beans again with water and add 2t of salt. Cook beans for 2 to 4 hours or until they are soft.

Now cook up 1 pound of hamburger (add onion or any other spices you want). When the hamburger is cooked add 2 to 3 cups cooked beans. You can heat this up and even mash the beans if you want to.

If you are going to use the mixture for tacos then add 3 to 4T taco seasoning and a little water and let this simmer.

If you are using it for spaghetti sauce, prepare your sauce, add the meat/bean mix and season your sauce. Serve over whole wheat pasta.

If using in a soup then make the soup according to your recipe and add the meat/bean mix when the recipe calls for hamburger.

You can also divide this into meal size portions and freeze it. Beans freeze beautifully.

Other Bean Helps

Here are some bean recipes that you can incorporate into your daily diet:

Refried Beans make an easy side dish or a great filling for burritos. Use the leftover refried beans the next night to make Refried Bean Soup.

Refried Beans
Double this recipe if you want to have enough leftover for soup or for freezing.

Refried Bean Soup

Here is another recipe that would lend itself well to a few different types of beans, including pinto beans.

Red Beans and Rice

Chili and Chili Bean Soup is another great bean meal. I traditionally make this with small red beans. But I have made chili with pintos and with black beans.

Italian Pinto Beans  My kids say Italian Pinto Beans reminds them of pizza.. it is a yummy dish!

Ranch Beans  Makes a good main dish when you add hamburger to it or a good side dish 

Yummy Pinto Beans

Pork Chops and Pintos

Crystalís Bean Burgers

Sloppy Joes

As you can see beans are very versatile and can give you a large amount of nutritional value at the same time being easy on your grocery budget!


If you are looking for bean recipes (more than 40 delicious bean recipes using basic healthy ingredients), helpful tutorials (several step by step picture tutorials) as well as bean cooking and nutritional information you may be interested in my new eBook:

Cooking With Beans!

You can read more information about this eBook HERE

The cost of this ebook is $8.00 and is an instant download after purchasing through Paypal.

 Buy Now

Homestead Kitchen


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