I'd like to feature a few recipes on one of those super cheap, super healthy ingredients, black beans. I always buy my black beans dried, by the one or two pound bag. You can soak and cook these with very little effort, and it will make a ton of usable protein. Use some, then freeze the rest into meal size portions.
A few meal ideas for black beans? Black beans and rice, burritos, black bean salad, black bean dip, nachos, soup, enchiladas...the possibilities are endless! I also routinely replace black beans for the ground beef in any type of Mexican-ish casserole. Think through your favorites, and try to sub in these nutritional super-heroes. You'll save $ and calories.
Seasoned Black Beans
1 lb. dried black beans
2-3 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. crushed bay leaf or 2 bay leaves
2 tsp. garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tsp. cumin
Wash and sort your black beans in the evening. Look for any stones or dirt chunks disguising themselves as beans. Throw the beans in your crockpot and cover with water. The water should come 2-3" above the beans. Let it soak overnight without turning the crockpot on. In the morning, turn the crockpot on to low. I always prefer to season the beans at this point, adding all other ingredients. You can also cook them up plainly and season them to taste after they are cooked. Cook on low 10-12 hours, or high 4 hours, low 4 hours. These can also be cooked on the stove to package directions.
One bag makes plenty of beans for multiple meals. First one to try...black beans and rice. Cook up some white rice, brown rice, or Spanish rice to serve the beans on. Add cheddar or Mexican cheese, a little salsa or homemade pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole. Served with a salad this is a fresh, low salt, low calorie, healthy, cheap meal.