Beans, Beans, Beans: Our First E2S Reader Contest!

As I explained yesterday, we’re sharing our favorite crock pot meals with you this week.  And guess what? You readers get to be part of next month’s theme week!

As homemakers in single income families, Anna and I have both seen the benefit of providing meals with inexpensive protein sources like beans.  When my husband and I were first married, our food budget was $28/week, which meant we only had meat twice a week, and we ate a lot of beans and rice.  For just $1, I could make a meal that would feed us both and give us a couple days of leftovers.  Unfortunately, my kids haven’t been as keen on beans, so I’ve gotten away from many of our super cheap menu ideas.  Anna and I both need new ideas for beans and rice meals, so we’ve cooked up (pun intended) an idea to inspire us and you readers with new menu ideas.

We’re hosting the first ever E2S Reader Contest, asking YOU to submit your favorite kid-friendly beans-based recipe!

submit your favorite beans recipe for a chance to winI will be making all of your submissions and taste testing them with my own kids.  Winner gets her choice of one of my favorite motherhood books (Loving the Little Years, Fit to Burst, The Mission of Motherhood, or A Mother’s Heart).

Here are my criteria:

1) Kid friendly.  The winning dish has be something that all four of my children will eat.  If my four will eat it, it should work for most of our readers’ kiddos.

2) Prominently feature beans.  It does not need to be vegetarian, but any accompanying meat or other proteins should not be the star.

3) Fairly inexpensive.  Since the goal of increasing bean dishes in our menu rotation is mostly for financial reasons, having a dish that costs more than $4/serving probably defeats the purpose.  And the ingredients should be fairly easy to find, or you’ll need to tell us how to find the rare ones.

I think that’s it!  I’d be happy to see recipes with any kind of bean–dried or canned, red, white, black, garbanzo, pinto, or whatever.  If you only cook with gluten-free, dairy-free, organic, non-GMO food, that’s fine, but I don’t care and will probably use whatever conventional ingredients are on sale that week.  Make a note if a specific brand is absolutely essential to the recipe.  The only allergy we have in my household is my husband’s peanut allergy, so if you have a recipe that heavily features peanuts or peanut butter, know that I will have to substitute cashews or sunflower seed butter.

To enter our contest, just leave your recipe (or recipes, if you have several good ones) here in the comments.  (If you’ve already posted it on your own personal blog, or if you’ve found your favorite bean recipe elsewhere on the web, feel free to leave the link instead of re-typing the whole thing.  It needn’t be original, but it’s always polite to acknowledge the original source!)

Contest closes June 30!  We’ll feature the winning recipe(s) in July, and I’ll contact the winner directly about claiming her prize.  No one is paying us to sponsor this giveaway; I just figure a great kid-friendly beans-based recipe is worth the price of a book.

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19 Responses to Beans, Beans, Beans: Our First E2S Reader Contest!

  1. KC says:

    I don’t have to be in the contest, but just an idea for you:

    I often skip the chicken in this and just load it with black beans (and sometimes rice if I have it cooked and ready). I also never really follow this exactly anymore–I just toss in more beans and corn and tomatoes and spices until it looks and tastes about right. I use whatever chicken stock I have on hand or bullion. Add some cheese, sour cream, and corn chips and everyone gobbles it up. Cilantro and avacado when I’ve recently been to the store. It freezes just fine which is another bonus!

  2. Donna Johnson says:

    Black Bean Quesadillas
    Great for kids who might not like the look of beans. Not sure, but that might be an issue for some. There are lots of versions of this, and it can be adapted in many ways, including per the preferences of individual children. Each child could build his own. I almost always have cans of a variety of beans in the cupboard, whole grain tortillas in the freezer, and cheese in the fridge.

  3. Kate B. says:

    How fun! I just made this recipe last night and my son (3 1/2) ate it just fine so hopefully it will be a hit with your kids. My husband finds it hearty enough, but you could obviously add ground beef or chicken to it.

    Super Stuffed Tortillas from Simply in Season Cookbook (summer section)
    1-2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
    2 cups corn (I used canned, could use frozen or fresh)
    1-2 medium zucchini,
    1 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
    2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
    6 Tbsp. (or more — I estimate) of salsa, any kind
    Flour or corn tortillas
    Cheese, sour cream, avocado, etc. for toppings

    Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add the pepper and saute until crisp-tender. Add the corn, zucchini and cumin. Continue to saute until all vegetables are tender, but not browned. Add the black beans, broth and salsa. Cook until most of the excess moisture is gone. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, cilantro, etc. to taste. Serve in the tortillas with various toppings.
    Enjoy! I’ll be checking back to find more recipes. 🙂

  4. Sandy Pryor says:

    I was never a bean lover growing up and hated all things dried beans, so I was super surprised to find that I enjoyed this no-meat bean soup recipe of a dear friend, and even more pleased when my ham and bean soup loving husband realized that he liked it just fine without the meat.

    I keep the bean mix on hand mostly year-round. I just buy a bag of each kind, dump it all in a bowl, mix it all up (kids love this part and it looks so pretty!), then store it in a jar. I’ve never kept track, but I would guess I could make this recipe at least 3 times from one big “bag dump”.


    1/2 C of each (dried) – black beans, white beans (great northern), split peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils, black-eyed peas. (3.5 C total)

    Quick soak first: boil in 3x their volume of water for 10 min., then cover, turn off heat, and let soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse. Dump beans in crockpot.

    Add to soaked, rinsed beans in crockpot:

    1/2 C chopped onion
    1/4 C parsley flakes
    1 tsp. garlic powder
    1 tsp. basil
    2 bay leaves (I usually use just 1)
    6 veg. bouillon cubes (can used chicken)
    8 C water

    Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours.

    That’s it! Makes plenty with leftovers. We enjoy with cornbread and lots of butter!

  5. Sarah Hope says:

    We love cooking with beans! So frugal. Here is a great non-conventional bean recipe. Even most bean-haters will not detect the beans in it! The recipe says blending the sauce is optional, but I highly recommend it. If you want you can add a cup of cooked chicken or shrimp to the final product (makes it almost like a chicken or shrimp Alfredo), but not necessary.
    Pasta with White Bean Sauce

  6. Anne says:

    I received the recipe from a friend years ago, but a mention online says it’s a Weight Watchers recipe. It could be bulked up with sausage, ham, or bacon, and you can easily change out some of the canned ingredients.

    Great Northern Beans and Hominy Soup
    3 cans great northern beans, undrained (or one large jar)
    1 can hominy, undrained
    1 can stewed tomatoes, undrained
    1 can bean with bacon soup
    1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
    1 can corn
    1 2/3 c. water
    2 bay leaves
    3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or 1 tbsp. dried cilantro
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

    Combine all ingredients except cheese in a large pot and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves. Serve topped with cheese. 8 servings.

  7. Hannah says:

    – Everyone raves about (very frugal) homemade Hummus (adjust quantities for taste and consistency): 2 cups (or more) cooked garbanzo beans (drain if using canned) or cooked lentils (it’s GREAT with plain brown lentils!), 1/2 c. olive oil, 1/2 c. tahini (sesame seed paste), 1/4 – 1/2 c. lemon juice, 1 – 6 crushed garlic cloves, salt, pepper, 1/2 c. add-in of choice if desired. Process in food processor, adding lemon juice, until it’s as thin or as thick as your family likes. Dip everything in it and enjoy!
    (Tahini is easy to buy on amazon or at your local health-type store. It’s very reasonable at ethnic grocery stores if there are any in your area.)

    – Once Mariel recommended: Baked Falafel (we liked it – being baked, it’s lower cal, and it saved a batch that fell apart when I tried to fry them!)

    – Robert’s and my very favorite: Cook’s Illustrated Black Bean Soup
    Skip the ham if you like – it’s lighter and just as tasty without. If you make your own beans, save and freeze bean broth to use as all or part of the broth and/or use crock pot rotisserie broth. A double batch is our go-to for parties (or feeding an orchestra) with a bunch of toppings – onions, queso fresco (like Mexican feta), cilantro, and avocado – you can feed a crowd for less than $20. (Use a 12-quart or larger pot for a double batch!).

    – For something very off the beaten track, try one of the many recipes made with chickpea flour. I’m just learning about these, but one I’ve tried for my gluten-free dad that we all liked was (Savory) Chickpea Flour Cake with Chard.
    (You can buy chickpea flour on amazon, at your local health food store, at many grocers, or at Bob’s Red Mill store online.)

    – If your family likes warm spice, one of my winter comfort food faves is Dhal Soup (Red Lentil Soup): Saute 2 crushed garlic cloves and 1 chopped onion in 2 T. butter until soft. Add 1/2 t. turmeric, 1 – 3 t. garam masala (Amazon, or fake it with cumin, coriander, and cinnamon), 1/4 – 1/2 t. powdered chili (spicy, opional), and 1 t. ground cumin and saute for a minute until you can smell the delicious spices. Add 2 14-oz. cans chopped tomatoes, 1 c. red lentils, 2 t. lemon juice, 2 1/2 c. vegetable or chicken stock, and a 15-oz. can of coconut milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 – 30 minutes, until red lentils are soft. Garnish with cilantro; serve over basmati rice or with pita bread if you like.

  8. Heather VT says:

    This is one of my favorites, although my family doesn’t like it unless I add meat. Browned chorizo sausage is a good option if you’d like to add meat.

    Black Beans & Rice Casserole

    4 c. cooked black beans, drained
    4 c. cooked brown rice
    1-2 onions, finely chopped
    1-2 green (or red) pepper, finely diced
    2-3 cloves of garlic
    2 T. soy sauce or tamari (or can sub. 1/2 – 1 t. salt)
    1-2 dashes of cayenne pepper
    1/2 t. ground cumin
    1 c. tomato puree or 1, 14oz can of petite diced tomatoes
    Fresh tomato(es), sliced
    2 c. cheese (farmers, colby jack, mozzarella, white cheddar, etc.), grated

    Combine first 9 ingredients and pour into greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 min (30 min if beans and rice were not room temperature prior to combining). Remove from oven and cover top with tomato slices, then shredded cheese. Return to oven for 10 min. or until cheese is melted. Can also finish under the broiler if you like the cheese browned and crispy.

    Freezes very well. Place unbaked rice/bean mixture in Ziploc bags. Thaw and bake as directed, topping with fresh tomato & cheese.

  9. Heather VT says:

    Quinoa & Black Beans
    (Similar to above recipe, but with quinoa instead of rice. Does not require baking, which is a plus in the summer! Makes a good side dish as well, and can also be served as a cold salad)

    1 t. olive oil
    1 onion, chopped
    3 cloves of garlic, minced
    3/4 c. uncooked quinoa*
    1 1/2 c. vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
    1 t. ground cumin
    1/4 t. cayenne pepper
    salt & pepper to taste (I usually use 1/2 t. salt & 1/4 t. black pepper)
    1 c. frozen corn kernals
    3 c. cooked black beans, drained (OR 2 15oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained)
    1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

    Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and saute until lightly browned.
    Stir in rinsed quinoa, broth/water, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 min. uncovered. Then cover, remove from heat and let sit for 15 min. The quinoa will absorb the liquid, but stay fluffy with this cooking method. Stir in corn and beans, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, just enough to warm everything through. Stir in chopped cilantro and serve.

    *Quinoa should be rinsed first to remove bitterness. I like to do this by covering it with cold water and stirring it every few minutes over a period of 15-20 min. Then drain in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water for 30 sec. before proceeding with cooking instructions for recipe.

  10. Heather VT says:

    Here’s a sweet & saucy bean recipe that is versatile enough to be served as baked beans or as a main dish w/ cornbread.

    Cowboy Beans
    (adapted from Crockpot 365)

    1 lbs. dry pinto beans, soaked, drained, and rinsed
    3-4 c. water
    15-16 oz diced tomatoes, or tomato puree
    1/2 lb. ground beef or turkey, browned and drained (omit, if you prefer)
    1-2 large apples, peeled, cored, & chopped
    2-3 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 t. Kosher salt
    1-2 dashes cayenne pepper
    1-2 dashes red pepper flakes, depending on spicy preferences
    1/4 c. brown sugar (I prefer dark, but light will work also)
    1 t. dry mustard
    1 T. paprika (I like to use smoked paprika, but regular is fine, too)
    1/2 t. ground cumin
    2 T Worcestershire sauce
    2 T. apple cider vinegar

    Soak beans at least 12 hours (24 preferred), rinse thoroughly. Place in a large (at least 5 qt.) crockpot and cover with water, using just enough to cover. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 4-6 hours. These should be thick and saucy, like baked beans. If too runny, add 2-4 T. of tomato paste to thicken. All ingredients can be added at the beginning and cooked on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours, but I find that the beans soften better when cooked alone for the first few hours. This can be easily doubled (it just barely fit in my crockpot). It can also be cooked in a large soup pot (8 qt) or in a pressure cooker if you don’t have a large enough crockpot.

  11. Elsa says:

    We love this very basic mujadara:

    I usually make it not-vegetarian by cooking the lentils and rice in chicken broth. Sometimes I add spices and herbs to taste – anything typical of Middle Eastern cuisine works well – but I like it plain too, as long as it has enough salt.

  12. Elsa says:

    Please consider the mujadara recipient contest entry, but I just thought of a thrown-together lunch I made the other day. This one is great in summer because it’s no-cook if you have leftover rice:

    1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    1 small (5-oz?) can of salmon (or tuna), drained and flaked
    Shredded fresh basil
    Splash of olive oil
    Splash of lemon juice
    Salt and pepper
    Stir together, heat in microwave or not, whatever. Serve over rice.

    That made about four smallish servings, and it might not appeal to everyone, depending on how you or the resident toddler feel about canned fish.

    • Emily says:

      I dislike fish, canned or otherwise, but the kids have eaten tuna at grandma’s. This might be a Daddy Dinner when I’m out sometime over dinner(?). And feel free to add more than one recipe! I’ll go back and make that clear in the post.

  13. Dani M. says:

    These black bean-spinach enchiladas are a favorite at our house:
    BUT I always make this enchilada sauce with it (instead of the one in that recipe):

  14. Charissa says:

    My little girls love this salad and my meat-loving hubby didn’t miss the meat! I served it along w/ watermelon and berries for a perfect summer dinner. The recipe is from the back of the red quinoa bag I happened to buy!

    1 cup uncooked quinoa
    1 (14oz) can Black Beans, drained&rinsed
    1 red pepper, chopped
    1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
    2 green onions, chopped
    1 cup fresh or canned corn
    1 avocado, chopped

    4-5 tbsp of fresh lime juice (juice from 2-3 small limes)
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp ground Cumin, or more to taste

    • Charissa says:

      I just realized I left the very helpful directions off =) Here you go – DIRECTIONS:
      Add 1 cup of quinoa to 2-2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a vigorous boil, and then reduce heat and cook until tender and water is absorbed. While quinoa is cooking, chop the veggies and prepare the dressing. Allow quinoa to cool after cooking, then fluff w/ a fork. Add the beans and veggies and toss well. Finally drizzle the dressing over the salad and add salt and pepper to taste. You can add a teaspoon or Tabasco and/or a small chili pepper to make a zesty version.

  15. Charissa says:

    I realize pizza that features black beans may sound strange, but it is delicious!

    From Annie’s Eats –

    Mexican Pizza
    Yield: 1 12 to 14-inch pizza
    Pizza dough
    1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    ½ tsp. cumin
    ¼ tsp. paprika
    ¼ tsp. cayenne
    3 tbsp. chicken broth, veggie broth or water
    3 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
    3 oz. shredded monterey jack cheese
    1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
    ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
    1/3 cup tomato, seeded and diced
    1/3 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
    3-4 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    To make the pizza, preheat the oven and a pizza stone at 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round. Lightly brush the perimeter of the dough with olive oil.

    Combine the black beans, cumin, paprika and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until ground into a paste. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the processor running, add the chicken broth through the feed tube until a smooth mixture is formed. Spread the bean puree onto the shaped pizza crust in an even layer (I used about ¾ of the puree). Layer evenly with the cheddar and monterey jack cheese. Sprinkle the jalapeño, red onion, tomato, corn and cilantro over the cheese layer. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

    Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

  16. J says:

    I know this contest is closed, but I think this recipe is too good not to share! My kids love it, especially my two-year-old.

    A few comments: I use black beans instead of kidney, and I normally use stock instead of water. I typically use dried beans, which requires adding some additional salt. Also, I like to sauté the spices with the onions for a bit to bring out their flavor. And, you don’t have to use big shells and bake them if you’re pressed for time. You can just load up the ingredients on regular-sized tortillas taco-style. We eat them with plain yogurt and salsa. They are SO GOOD, and vegetarian! 🙂

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