The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License,
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License,

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Beautiful Beans Bonanza: Yummy, Filling, Money-Saving Recipes for Beans... Soups, Stews, Salads

By Vicki McClure Davidson


Believe it or not, there are thousands of varieties of inexpensive beans from which to choose to make frugal meals - loaded with nutrients and fiber, beans can dramatically lower your grocery bill | Image: Carlos Porto /
Believe it or not, there are thousands of varieties of inexpensive beans from which to choose to make frugal meals - loaded with nutrients and fiber, beans can dramatically lower your grocery bill | Image: Carlos Porto /


Food prices continue to skyrocket, and for many families, grocery shopping has become a horrific financial nightmare. As of 2013, more families in America were receiving government-issued, taxpayer-funded food stamps than had ever received them in all the nation's history.

Ground beef has gone up 24 percent since January 2009, and bacon has gone up 22 percent in the same period. Ice cream has jumped 19 percent, and the list goes on and on. With no end in sight to rising gasoline costs, food costs will continue to climb because of the rising costs to harvest, transport, and process fruit and vegetable crops, meats, dairy products, and other food items.

You can't dial back the clock to the more affordable, pre-2008 food prices. However, there are ways for you to battle the food jungle, saving money while maintaining nutritional health. There are so many bargain foods out there that will slash your family's dinner bills. Frugal food shopping is key during these horrible economic times.

I'm talkin' about BEANS. Yes, beans.

Beans should be at the top of your food shopping list. They're incredibly nourishing, filling, versatile, tasty, and cheap. Make several side or main dishes a week with beans, and you'll save a ton of money. They may not be perceived as glamourous eating, but the variety is astounding — there are more than 4,000 cultivars of beans and seed pods on record in just the United States, many more in other countries.

Vegetarians have embraced the nutritional values of beans for ages. One cup of cooked beans provides between 9 and 13 grams of fiber, as well as moderate to high amounts of protein, complex carbohydrates, folate, potassium, and iron. Naturally, nutritional values vary depending on the type of bean. Likewise, calorie and carb counts are high for some, low for others.

The protein in beans is incomplete, but when combined with rice, corn, nuts, or other grains, becomes a complete protein source. I recently learned that new studies indicate that the beans and the grains don't need to be eaten at the same meal to create a complete protein. If you eat a serving of beans for lunch and have rice or corn with dinner, you've got yourself a complete protein. The food combination can be spread over a two-day period.

There is disagreement on when to salt dried beans during the cooking process. I usually salt them at the beginning. Others disagree, believing the salt will toughen them, so I'll leave it up to you. Be careful salting at the beginning of the cooking process, though, if you're going to greatly reduce the liquid. You could end up with beans that are too salty.

Don't add acidic ingredients like tomatoes until dried beans are done softening. The acid toughens the beans, and while they will eventually soften, it will take forever. If you're using canned beans, they've already been cooked, so it isn't an issue.


Beans Recipe Directory

Big Pasta and Bean Salad

Salsa Cruda
Pot of Black Beans (video demo) Refried Beans... Two Versions (video demo)
Creamy Barbecue Beans Galician Garbanzo Soup
Pea and Broad Bean Risotto (video demo) West African Beans & Rice
Ham and Navy Bean Soup Cannellini Bean Salad with Roasted Vine Tomatoes (video demo)
Fresh String Beans with Pine Nuts Stir-fry (video demo) Hoppin' John
Three-Bean Casserole Green Beans with Sour Cream and Bacon
Black Beans and Rice Simple Baked Beans (video demo)
Green Peppers Stuffed with Beans and Grains Edamame Hummus (video demo)
Green Beans with Tomato and Feta Lentil Barley Chili
Italian Mozzarella Salad Indonesian Tempeh with Green Beans and Crushed Peanuts
Black Bean & Barley Salad  


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Big Pasta and Bean Salad | Photo credit: TRY-FOODS INTERNATIONAL
Big Pasta and Bean Salad | Photo credit: TRY-FOODS INTERNATIONAL

Big Pasta and Bean Salad

Original source: Try-Foods International


This gorgeous pasta and bean salad recipe is perfect for a church potluck, casual dinner party, TV sports-watching gathering, or picnic potluck — it will serve a small army. Cut the quantities in half for a regular family meal, if necessary, or just be thrilled with any leftovers to serve for another meal.


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain.

In a large bowl, toss together pasta, kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), green beans, cucumbers, Italian salad dressing, and undrained artichoke hearts (include marinade).

Stir in cheese and salami. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours.

Serves 20.


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Pot of Black Beans

Chef Keith Snow shows in the video demo below how to make an easy pot of black beans that is low in sodium. His recipe includes the addition of sofrito. "Sofrito" refers to a classic Latino seasoning blend that is used often in Cuban, South American, Spanish, and other Latin American dishes. It is a combination of aromatic ingredients, usually including onions, peppers, garlic, and tomatoes, which have been cut into small pieces and slowly sautéed or braised in cooking oil (lard is often used for Caribbean dishes). Sofrito is used as a base for beans, soups, stews, rices, and other dishes.

This recipe for sofrito is provided by Doña at There is also a recipe posted on Chef Snow's website for sofrito, but it's available to members only.

FYI: Black beans are also called black turtle beans, turtle beans, Mexican black beans, and/or tampico beans — they're natural cholesterol reducers and because of eight different flavonoids in their black coating, are a great anti-oxidant. Black beans are also very low in saturated fat and in addition to their fiber, provide a good source of protein, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.

Sofrito recipe from Doña:

We all know "Sofrito" is the base for all Latino dishes. Likewise, every culture prepares it differently. My mother's recipe is the Puerto Rican way that I would not change for the world. I personally add my Sofrito to everything from beans, rice, soups, stews, you name it!



Preparation: The easiest part!

Wash, peel, seed, and finely chop everything. Put in a blender or food processor and purée. Store in a glass jar covered tightly in the refrigerator and use every time you make a Spanish dish. (My mother recommends to wrap the jar in a paper bag because it insulates it better, protecting its flavor.)

Pot of Black Beans, with Chef Keith Snow


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Creamy Barbecue Beans

Original source: Real Women of Philadelphia

The Real Women of Philadelphia website is chockful of amazing recipes that use Philadelphia Cream Cheese. This extremely simple and thrifty recipe for Creamy Barbecue Beans is the creation of Joni Hilton.

Whether for a summer picnic or a cold wintry dinner, this unusual BBQ beans dish with cream cheese should be a huge hit with kids and adults alike.


Creamy Barbecue Beans Recipe

Barbecued beans have been a picnic staple, a summer holiday staple, a potluck staple, and the standard side dish whenever ribs or chicken are served — why not switch it up and make it just a notch richer by adding cream cheese? Now you've got a side dish that truly stands out from the rest, and will keep folks coming back for more!


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon. Drain bacon on paper towels. Cook onion in bacon drippings until transparent.

In a large pot over medium heat, stir cooked onion with brown sugar, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and cream cheese, until cheese melts and brown sugar dissolves.

Crumble bacon and add to pot. Stir in beans, undrained. Simmer 30 minutes over low heat and serve. Easy and delicious!

Yield: 16 servings.


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Pea and Broad Bean Risotto

This risotto recipe with broad beans and peas is so easy and such healthy eating, I'll be making it for my family real soon.

As Olivia says in the cooking video demo, this is "ultimate peasant food."


Olivia's Kitchen - Pea and Broad Bean Risotto


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Ham and Navy Bean Soup

Original source: Pat Keene,

One of my favorite frugal soups (and one of my top comfort foods) during the winter is white bean or navy bean soup. This soup recipe uses a ham bone, which adds alot of meaty flavor and additional comfort. Navy beans or small white beans can cook a long time and still retain their shape, making them an excellent choice for long-simmered soups.

Navy beans are inexpensive, fat free, and have high quality protein content, folate, vitamin B1, ferulic acid, p-coumaric acid, copper, magnesium, and iron. Because of its high fiber content, the navy bean helps lower cholesterol and prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after meals, making it an excellent food for people who have diabetes, insulin resistance, or hypoglycemia. The navy bean also has a high saponin content. Saponins exhibit antibacterial and antifungal activity and can inhibit cancer cell growth. A bit of trivia: the small, white navy bean got its popular name because it was a staple food of the United States Navy during the early 1900's. It's also called a pea bean or haricot — navy bean varieties include Great Northern beans, Rainy River, Robust, Michelite, and Sanilac.


Place rinsed beans into a large stock pot. Add water and bring to a boil. Boil gently for 2 minutes; remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.

Add ham bone, cubed ham, onion, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until beans are soft. Occasionally skim service of soup while it is cooking.

Add carrots and celery, cook until tender. Remove ham bone, scrape any meat from bone and place back into soup and serve.

Serves 8.


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Fresh String Beans with Pine Nuts Stir-fry

This stove-top stir-fry side dish of fresh string beans with toasted pine nuts is quick and easy, as shown in the video demo below.

The toasted pine nuts add a fabulous dimension of flavor and crunch to the green beans.

Fresh String Beans with Pine Nuts Stir-fry


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Three-Bean Casserole

Original source: Jane Bone, Taste of Home website

Jane wrote this about the dish at Taste of Home:

"This recipe came from a family reunion of mostly Mennonites. It is over 30 years old," Jane Bone shares from Cape Coral, Florida. "You can choose different beans, according to your family's tastes, but keep the pork and beans as a base. I often take a big pot of these to large gatherings or pitch-in-suppers, and everyone enjoys them."


In a large nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. In the drippings, sauté green pepper and onion until tender.

Combine the beans in a large bowl. Gently stir in pepper mixture and bacon. Stir in the ketchup, pimientos, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard until combined.

Transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350 deg. F for 50-60 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield: 9 servings.


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Black Beans and Rice | Photo credit: TRY-FOODS INTERNATIONAL
Black Beans and Rice | Photo credit: TRY-FOODS INTERNATIONAL

Black Beans and Rice

Original source: Try-Foods International


The tasty combination of black beans, with all their amazing health properties, and rice makes this dish a cheap, complete source of protein. Perfect for strained family food budgets — it can be the main dish or side, and leftovers are easily warmed up the next day. Add a bit of water or additional chicken broth when reheating for a second showing, since the rice may have absorbed all the moisture.



Sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic in oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add chicken broth, black beans, and tomatoes. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add rice, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer over low heat 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Top with fresh cilantro and serve.

Note: It's not necessary to wash rice before cooking. When rice is cooked, fluff with a fork to allow steam to escape and to separate the grains.

Serves 6.


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Green Peppers Stuffed with Beans and Grains

Original source: Fast Vegetarian Feasts


This healthful vegetarian bean dish is made from two different recipes. The first recipe is for making pressure-cooked black beans and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye), which can then be used eaten as a main or side dish or used in many recipes. Wheat berries or whole rye can be substituted for the triticale. While brown rice or other grains can also be substituted, they cook much faster than the beans, and will become mushy if pressure-cooked for the same amount of time as the beans.

As another alternative method for using brown rice or other grains instead of triticale, they can be almost fully cooked separately and added to the black beans at the end of its cooking process. Cover and let the rice or other grains absorb the excess hot liquid.

The second recipe uses the cooked black beans and triticale as the stuffing for the baked green peppers.


Ingredients and Directions for Pressure-Cooked Black Beans and Triticale

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker and add the onion and half the garlic. Sauté until the onion is tender, then add the beans, triticale, remaining garlic, and the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and bring to 15 pounds pressure. Turn heat to medium and cook 60 minutes.

Remove from the heat and run under cold water for several minutes. Remove the gauge, and when all the steam has escaped, remove the lid. Add salt to taste, adjust the garlic, and heat through.

This beans/grains dish freezes well and will last several days in the refrigerator.

Ingredients and Directions for Green Peppers Stuffed with Beans and Grains


Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Oil a deep baking dish.

Pour off the liquid from the beans and retain.

Remove the tops from the green peppers by cutting straight across the tops just below the point they being to curve in. Carefully remove the seeds and membranes with your fingers and discard. Chop the tops, minus the stems, into small dice and stir into the cooked beans and grains. Add the optional cilantro and stir well.

Fill the peppers with as much of the beans and grains as they will hold. Moisten each portion of filling with about 2 tablespoons of the liquid from the beans and grains. Top with the grated cheese or the blended tofu sauce.

Place the peppers in the oiled baking dish and cover.

Bake 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how soft you wish the peppers to be. Serve hot.

Serves 4.


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Green Beans with Tomato and Feta
Originally published in Good Food Magazine, March 1988.



Heat oven to 425 deg F. Heat oil and garlic in large skillet over medium heat, 1 minute. Add beans and tomatoes, stirring to coat with oil. Add salt to taste (optional).

Cover skillet and cook until beans are crisp-tender, about 13 minutes.

Transfer bean mixture to 2-quart casserole and stir in feta. Bake until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

Serve hot.


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Italian Mozzarella Salad
Originally published in Better Homes and Gardens 365 Last-Minute Meals, 2007.


A vibrant, easy, inexpensive salad that uses two varieties of beans with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, green onions, and cucumbers. Refreshingly Italian, a fabulous salad to make for summer meals, church potlucks, or picnics.



In a large bowl, combine beans, cucumber, tomato, and green onion.

Add salad dressing; toss lightly to coat.

Cut cheese into thin slices; gently toss into bean mixture. Serve.

Serves 4.


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Salsa Cruda

Original source: The Red Cat Cookbook, 2006.

Salsa cruda literally means "raw sauce" and this is a highly adaptable condiment to have in your repertoire. It's delicious with just about any grilled fish or poultry, and you can vary it to include diced, grilled vegetables such as fennel or peppers, or diced avocado for creaminess.



Put all of the ingredients in a bowl, gently toss, cover, and let rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes about 4-1/2 cups salsa crudo.


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Refried Beans... Two Versions

The next two video demos show how to make your own refried beans at home. The first uses canned beans, the second uses dried beans — both recipes and their methods are easy, but obviously, using dried beans will take much longer to prepare. Per YouTube cook/videographer Praxxus55712 in the second video, he wrote that he had deliberately omitted garlic from the video demo because he was concerned that many people don't like garlic. Uh, not in MY house... ha ha. So, feel free to mince up a few cloves of garlic and add it to your batch of homemade refried beans, if you so choose.

Single Dad Recipes - Refried Beans


Easy DELICIOUS Refried Beans Made from Scratch


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Galician Garbanzo Soup | Photo credit: Ruthie Hansen, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Galician Garbanzo Soup | Photo credit: Ruthie Hansen, Flickr, Creative Commons

Galician Garbanzo Soup

Original source: Ruthie Hansen, Flickr

This recipe and photo are also featured on Fab Food Friday Fotos of the Frugal Café blog. Photographer/cook Ruthie Hansen provided this wonderful recipe and commentary for making this thrift-minded, nourishing soup:

"I found this recipe in another of the Moosewood cookbooks — The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. I like bean soups and soups with exotic seasonings, so I thought I might like this one. I cooked it, and I like it. It's got a lot of flavors going on, but I think that's a good thing."


Galician Garbanzo Soup Recipe


Purée 2/3 of the garbanzos in a blender with plenty of water. Set the rest of the cooked garbanzos aside.

Sautée onion, 1/2 the garlic, the potato, carrot, and celery in olive oil in the bottom of your soup pot for about 10 minutes.

Add the garbanzo purée and the seasonings. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes.

Add remaining garlic, peas, tomato, vinegar. Simmer about 5 minutes. Eat.

Serves 8.

Additional note from Ruthie: In the picture, there is rosemary used as a garnish. However, after I took the picture, I ate the soup and the rosemary did not taste very good in there. If you want to garnish, try something else: toasted cumin seeds, yogurt, parsley, etc.


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West African Beans & Rice

Original source: bayoucritter aka. angela,



In skillet, add oil, onion, and garlic. Cook on medium heat, stirring often. When onion is lightly browned, add tomato paste.

Stir constantly until the paste has "separated" and is a deep burgundy/brown color. Be careful not to let it burn! Takes about 10 - 15 minutes.

Stir in bean "juice." Then, add the beans, salt, and 1 cup of the water.

Let simmer about 10 min, stir occasionally.

When mixture begins to thicken, stir in cayenne pepper (to taste) and continue to simmer until you have a thick, velvety "sauce."

Use remaining water to adjust consistency to your liking.

Serve over cooked white rice.

Serves 6-8.


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Cannellini Bean Salad with Roasted Vine Tomatoes

This cannellini bean salad with roasted vine tomatoes is so easy and "unmessy" to make, you could wear a prom dress while making it! In May 2010, chef David Leite demonstrated on the WTNH TV program Connecticut Style how quick and easy this healthy bean salad is to make. Leite is a Portuguese American food writer and is the publisher and editor-in-chief of the two-time James Beard Award-winning website, Leite's Culinaria.


Cannellini Bean Salad with Roasted Vine Tomatoes, with Chef David Leite


Here's Chef Leite's written recipe for the cannellini salad, from the WTNH website:

Tomatoes grow on bushes, not vines, yet we call tomatoes sold on the stem "vine tomatoes," probably because they look vaguely like a bunch of grapes. Roasted on their stems, they keep that just-picked look on the plate.

Cannellini Bean Salad with Roasted Vine Tomatoes


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the beans, onion, garlic, parsley, and tapenade in a large bowl and stir gently. Dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice and add to the beans. Stir in about 2 tablespoons olive oil and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, arrange the tomato "vines" (or the smaller tomatoes) in a single layer on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until the tomato skins are lightly blistered, 6 to 8 minutes. Let stand at room temperature.

To serve, spread the bean salad over serving plates, add a "vine" of tomatoes to each plate, and spoon over any remaining bean dressing and tomato roasting juices. Dress liberally with more olive oil.

Variations: Make it into a more substantial course by adding flakes of blackened salmon, roasted cod, sautéed mullet, grilled monkfish, or the like.


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Hoppin' John

Original source: Elise, Simply Recipes

Hoppin' John — flavorful black-eyed peas with rice and onions — is a classic favorite in the South, and is eaten on New Year's Day (sometimes immediately with friends after the stroke of midnight, with a glass of champagne) to bring in good luck in the new year.

It's a thrifty, robust American dish that has African/French/Caribbean roots, bursting with earthy flavors. Hoppin' John is traditionally eaten with collard or turnip greens and perhaps a side of cornbread.

There are scores of variations on how to make it. Some people cook the black-eyed peas and rice together in one pot, while others prefer to simmer them separately and serve them as two companion dishes. For vegetarians, meatless versions are preferred. No matter to me... I've never met a bowl of Hoppin' John that I didn't love — I even love eating it cold, straight from the fridge. For more terrific recipes, photos, and historical info about Hoppin' John, visit this Frugal Café Blog post here.

Dried beans can be quite persnickety. Be aware that the cooking times of the dried black-eyed peas in this recipe can vary. They could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to cook to tenderness, depending on their age, where they were grown, even the water you're using. Don't increase the heat for the black-eyed peas to speed up the cooking process. Simmering is best. When you cook black-eyed peas or other dried beans slowly, the broth becomes very thick and rich and legumes are more tender.

FYI: Chopped or diced onion, celery, and green pepper cooked together in butter or oil are often referred to the culinary term "the holy trinity." This compatible and delicious tri-combination of vegetables is used often in Cajun and Louisiana Creole cooking, forming the base of many delicious and cheap stews, soups, sauces, and stir-fries.

Hoppin' John Recipe


If you are using bacon, cut it into small pieces and cook it slowly in a medium pot over medium-low heat. If you are using a ham hock, heat the oil in the pot. Once the bacon is crispy (or the oil is hot), increase the heat to medium-high and add the diced celery, onion, and green pepper and sauté until they begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir well, and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add the black-eyed peas, bay leaf, thyme, and Cajun seasoning and cover with 4 cups of water. If you are using the ham hock, add it to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes to an hour, or longer if needed, until the peas are tender (not mushy).

While the black-eyed peas are cooking, cook the rice separately according to package instructions.

When the peas are tender, strain out the remaining cooking water. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste the peas for salt and add more if needed. If using a ham hock, remove it from the pot, pull off the meat, and return the meat to the pot.

Serve the dish either by placing a ladle-full of black-eyed peas over steamed rice, or by mixing the two together in a large bowl. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve with collard greens, kale, beet, or turnip greens.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish, or 2-4 as a main dish.


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Green Beans with Sour Cream and Bacon

Original source: Southern Food Recipes

Green beans and onions, cooked with sour cream and bacon in a creamy sauce... what's not to love?


Green Beans with Sour Cream and Bacon Recipe


Drain cooked green beans, reserving 1 cup liquid; keep beans warm in serving dish. In a saucepan, sauté onion in butter; stir in flour.

With the saucepan over low heat, gradually stir bean liquid into the flour and butter mixture. Stir in sugar, vinegar, and chopped parsley. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened.

Add sour cream. Pour sauce over beans and top with crumbled bacon.

Serves 6 to 8.


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Simple Baked Beans

Check out additional recipes and frugal cooking ideas at Gramma Willi's In this video demo below, Gramma Willi shows her recipe for a simple baked bean dish with dried navy beans. On her cheap cooking blog, she offers many other culinary ideas and recipes for making tasty meals to feed her family of four for less than 5 dollars. Frugalicious!

A side serving of cornbread accompanying this thrifty baked navy bean dish makes this a hearty, complete source of protein.


Simple Baked Beans Recipe - Gramma Willi's Rough Times Cooking


Here's the text of ingredients from the cooking video demo:


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Edamame Hummus

This easy Woman's Day hummus recipe, demonstrated in the video below, substitutes traditional chickpeas (garbanzo beans) with edamame, which are unripened soy beans. Often served in the pod, this recipe uses shelled edamame.

Nutritionally, edamame is low-fat, low-cholesterol, and low-sodium, and is an excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, potassium, manganese, riboflavin, copper, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

Edamame Hummus, Woman's Day Kitchen Bytes, with Jackie Plant


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Lentil Barley Chili

Lentil Barley Chili | Photo credit: Kyle Mahan, Flickr, Creative Commons

Recipe previously posted at Frugal Café Blog Zone.

A perfect dish on a cold, wintry night—the recipe, which serves 12, was provided by photographer/cook Kyle Mahan, who wrote the following:

Another incredible recipe from heidi swanson. This was amazing and made mostly from things that cost $1 a pound in the bulk section.




In a large stockpot pot over medium heat add the olive oil, onion, and shallots. When the onions soften up and get a bit translucent, add the garlic, ginger, chili powder, and cumin. Stir well and cook for a minute of so, until everything gets quite fragrant.

Stir in the serrano pepper and chipotle pepper, tomatoes, and 8 cups of the broth. Now add the chickpeas, lentils, barley/farro, and bulgur—stirring between each addition. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer. Take a taste of the broth a few minutes into the simmer—you can make adjustments for salt here— if you're using water in place of broth, you can add a teaspoon of salt for starters and add more later if needed.

Simmer away for about 35 to 45 minutes or until the lentils and grains are cooked through. You will likely need to add the rest of the water, a cup at a time, if the chili thickens up too much. Before serving do your final adjustments - add more chipotle, salt, or whatever you think it needs and enjoy!

I love this chili with a bit of feta or goat cheese on top and a big drizzle of olive oil, but I listed off a few other topping ideas up above.

A huge pot of chili - serves 12 or more.


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Indonesian Tempeh with Green Beans and Crushed Peanuts

Indonesian Tempeh with Green Beans and Crushed Peanuts | Photo credit: Megabeth, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved


Recipe previously posted at Frugal Café Blog Zone.


Recipe for this vegetarian Indonesian Tempeh with Green Beans and Crushed Peanuts dish is also posted on Megabeth's awesome website, Veggin'. Original recipe provided by Vegetarian Times, July/August 2009.


Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tempeh and sear 3 minutes on each side.

Add 1/2 cup water and 4-1/2 teaspoons soy sauce. Cook tempeh 5 minutes more, until all liquid has been absorbed, turning occasionally.

Transfer to plate, and cool until easy to handle. Crumble tempeh by hand until no large chunks remain.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in wok over high heat. Add green beans; stir-fry 4 minutes or until beginning to brown.

Add 3 tablespoons water, and simmer beans 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Add coconut milk, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots (if using), peanut butter, garlic, brown sugar, chile-garlic sauce, ground cloves, remaining 4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, and crumbled tempeh; stir-fry 2 minutes.

Serves 4-6.


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Black Bean & Barley Salad

Recipe is also posted at Quality Health.



Bring water to a boil in a heavy pot. Add barley and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 35-40 minutes until water has evaporated and barley is tender. Remove from heat.

Transfer barley to a cookie sheet. Spread barley out to cool briefly. While barley is cooking, combine next 7 ingredients and salt to taste in a salad bowl.

Cover and refrigerate until barley is cooled. Combine remaining ingredients, except lettuce, in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until emulsified. Set aside.

Transfer cooled barley to bean and vegetable mixture. Toss. Add dressing and toss again. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Serves 4.


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The Truth about Tomatoes
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Fab Food Friday Fotos and Recipes: Sweet & Sour Chicken, Chickpeas & Baby Spinach, Frosted Donuts, Orzo Salad, Fishball Soup, A Perfect Red Apple, Sausage Skillet, Frugal Recipes, & More


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