So making my cheap and easy meal plan menus and recipes for the Food Stamp (SNAP) 30-Day Challenge, I present the first lunch meal I made for the first day of the challenge. I don’t really have a name for it or anything, so we’ll just go with what was included in the recipe. Of course, this is easily interchangeable with other forms of beans, but the white kidney beans are mild and go well with squash and onion.
The potatoes give some ‘heft’ to it, as do the beans, and the squash/spinach/onions gives us some veggie nutrition, then there’s the spices and the ‘sauce’ that the beans make. This can be served over rice or noodles if you want to add some starches to it, but I prefer not to and it really was filling enough without it.
- 2 cups prepared white kidney beans with their broth/sauce
- 1/4 white onion
- 1 small squash, chopped
- two small potatoes (or 6-8 fingerling potatoes), chopped
- 1/2 cup of loose packed spinach
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
So the beans can be made in a pot beforehand and stored in the fridge, making it easy to just scoop some out when you’re ready. This cuts down on the cooking time when you’re in a hurry. I have a tendency to at least consider my menu plans over the week and make up beans and grains (quinoa and coucous and rice and such) in advance so I can just grab it for dinner and heat it up. I have an amazing crock pot for cooking beans now and it works so well. Just toss the rinsed beans in, add water to cover them up plus a little bit more, then whatever spices or seasoning I want, turn it on, turn on the timer, and done. Careful on the salt, since the beans will absorb it up and it will get salter as the beans cook. You can always add more, but you can’t take away. If you don’t have a crock pot, there are directions on the bag of beans that shows how to cook them in a pot. It’s really quite easy, but years ago, when I was given a free bag of pinto beans from the food bank, I had never cooked with them before, and it was intimidating. Just don’t forget about them and basically make sure they always have plenty of water/broth to cover them, and you’ll do fine. If you don’t watch the water or forget about them, they’ll burn–and burnt bean smell takes forever to get out of your house–don’t ask me how I know!
The hard part about beans is that cooking them from dry means you have to plan for them. You can’t come home at 6 in the evening and expect to start beans for dinner. The best way to do it is to cook your beans up on a day off from work or a weekend afternoon and store them to use all during the week. Or you can cook the beans for the next night when you’re cooking that night’s dinner, and then store them. Whatever you decide, you do have to plan to cook them in advance and you’ll need a way to store them.
- 1. Put a little oil in a pan (about 1 tablespoon). I used a leftover small amount of butter, but olive oil or some other type of cooking oil is better for you and probably cheaper.
- 2. Chop squash, onions and potatoes into dices. Add potatoes to the oil and pan, start cooking over a medium heat.
- 3. Add spices to the oil & potatoes. Stir to coat the potatoes to the spices.
- 4. When the potatoes begin to soften and brown, add the onion, mix to coat. Cook until the onion is almost translucent, then add the squash. Cook until tender.
- 6. Grab a small handful of spinach, about 1/2 cup or so, and tear it into pieces and toss into the pan, stirring to mix it up.
- 7. Add the prepared beans and their broth to the pan and increase the heat.
- 8. Stir the beans in and mix everything up, continuing to heat until the beans ‘thicken’ a little and start to bubble. Turn the flame off and portion into bowls.
Makes four decent-sized portions.
Calories per serving: 412 approx. calories per serving–can reduce the calories by reducing the amount of oil used.
I’m keeping track of the fat, daily nutrition and everything else for a total for the day–one meal for the challenge won’t help any to determine if we’re getting enough nutrition throughout the day, so you can refer back to the post for this day for the total nutrition information.