Dinner In Five

April 22, 2013

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About once a week I put “rice and beans” on our meal plan as one of our vegetarian meals. It’s one of my favorite weeknight dinners, especially enhanced with cheese, Greek yogurt and avocado. It’s also super easy to prepare – especially if you have a rice cooker or leftover rice on hand. There are tons of ways to morph this meal into something special – from nachos to layered bowls to tostadas. Obviously the “rice” changes into tortillas, chips, millet and beyond depending on my mood and our pantry.

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That’s what happened here.

I put a cup of millet into my rice cooker and it was ready in 30. Seasoned with some salt and cumin.

Then I poured a partially drained can of kidney beans and a whole can of fire roasted tomatoes into a sauce pan to heat along with a huge handful of baby spinach, 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapenos and about 1/2 tsp of this Southwest seasoning.

Once the spinach was cooked down and everything hot and bubbly, I layered the millet and beans in a bowl.

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And then topped with shredded sharp cheddar and Greek yogurt. The avocados were dearly missed!

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A dash of hot sauce finished off the dish.

Serves 3.

Karen, Matt and I loved this, especially that it was ready in 5 minutes flat!

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin April 22, 2013 at 8:09 am

Rice and beans has always been a favorite simple dish of mine too. I love scooping up the rice and beans with tortilla chips!

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2 Ali @ Peaches and Football April 22, 2013 at 8:11 am

I always love it when I am reminded about fabulous foods lurking in my cabinets that I need to pull out. I have millet and anything that can be whipped together in 5 minutes gets a hearty thumbs up from me! Since this is so similar to a chili but ready a lot sooner, I definitely need to try it out!

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3 Carly @ Snack Therapy April 22, 2013 at 8:20 am

Yum! My dad used to make this delicious coconut black bean + rice dish. We’d eat it with avocado, mango, and greek yogurt on top! It’s just so satisfying!

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4 KathEats April 22, 2013 at 8:31 am

YUM!

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5 Lindsey @ Pas de Deux April 22, 2013 at 8:37 am

Agreed–that sounds insanely delicious!! I have all the ingredients at home…this dinner might have to happen this week.

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6 char eats greens April 22, 2013 at 8:26 am

Love quick and easy meals! I need a rice cooker. I used to use my mom’s way back in the day and it just makes life so much easier!!

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7 Alyssa April 22, 2013 at 8:44 am

I love the idea of adding Greek yogurt! Sounds delicious!

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8 Jane @ Not Plain So Jane April 22, 2013 at 8:44 am

Seems like you really use your rice cooker. I’ve never thought about getting one before. Love rice +beans. It’s a complete protein!

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9 Susan H @ The Food Allergy Chronicles April 22, 2013 at 8:56 am

Mmmmm…beans are one of my favourites…perfect hot or cold. I would love that dish. :)

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10 Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl April 22, 2013 at 9:10 am

Looks simply delicious and I agree with you…avocado would have totally taken it to the next level! Have a happy week!

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11 Ashli - The Sweat Revolution April 22, 2013 at 9:11 am

As much as I enjoy making “labor intensive” meals, sometimes I just love being able to whip something up in 5 minutes! Rice and beans is a favorite in this house!

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12 Danielle April 22, 2013 at 9:22 am

Looks delicious! Quick question for you: Now that my 3 kids are all in school I’m considering going back to school and getting an RD. Afterwards, I’m hoping to find something in the field part-time (30 hrs or less/week) so I can keep a balance between work/family–is that realistic? Also, if I end up just getting the bachelor’s and taking the RD exam rather than getting the master’s, how does that affect my opportunities?

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13 KathEats April 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm

It is realistic, but it’s going to be one of those “work really hard now to pay off later” scenarios. For example, the internship is often 9 months of full time unpaid work, and that’s so hard when you have a family. But you can do it with light at the end of the tunnel! Just getting the bachelors and RD without masters shouldn’t limit you much at all unless you’re going into politics or education.

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14 Danielle April 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Thank you Kath! I appreciate your guidance!

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15 Sarah April 22, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Interesting! I’m curious about what sorts of jobs there might be for an RD in politics — I have a Bachelors in Political Science and have been thinking about a “next step” into nutrition. Perhaps I could have the best of both worlds!!

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16 Mango mom April 23, 2013 at 6:45 am

I went back to school to become an RD when my two children were in grade school and middle school. It was TOUGH (especially since I had been out of school for several years) but totally and completely worth every hardworking, late night studying minute. I also found it was great for my kids to see me working so hard on my school work — set an example– and they each later graduated high school as number 1 in their respective classes. I do think though that getting the MS degree is well worth it– I learned so much more at that level than I did at the undergraduate…but it depends on what you want to do when you get out. You can always try it as an RD and then go back for the MS or PhD later :-).

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17 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats April 22, 2013 at 9:25 am

I really need to be better about prepping food for the week, especially things like rice and beans! Although I was proud of myself this week for making a casserole from Hungry Hungry Hippie to eat throughout the week!

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18 sara @ fitcupcaker April 22, 2013 at 9:46 am

yum I love topping dishes with greek yogurt. Also I have been eating more beans lately. Im trying to get over the texture!

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19 Mary April 22, 2013 at 11:06 am

What kind of canned beans do you buy? I am always cautious because some brands contain color preservatives and sugar, so I buy dried beans… But I have never tried millet and would love to. Do you rinse it first like rice? Also, how long do you cook the millet? You say 30 but don’t specify seconds, mintutes? I am so dumb, you call this a five minute meal which I would love to make, but I can’t figure it out…

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20 KathEats April 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Most often Whole Foods brand. But also pick up store brand from Harris Teeter too. I’ve never seen a preservative or sugar in canned beans – with the exception of baked beans?

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21 Mary April 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Dark-Red-Kidney-Beans-15.5-oz/10534045#Ingredients.

The Walmart brand… And a lot of canned beans contain a preservative called EDTA. Dried beans are better value for folks who may not be able to afford to shop at the fancier stores or are limited by their location. I would think that as an RD you might want to sometimes mention these little things so that the people who don’t have the benefit of your location, education and income can find alternatives that not only contribute to healthy eating but fit into the average income.

While I was googling the beans, I googled cooking millet and see that it should be rinsed and takes approximately thirty minutes to cook.

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22 KathEats April 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I’m quite shocked by that label. HFCS too… As I mentioned, most store brands I have seen (from Harris Teeter to Food Lion) have simple ingredient lists. Dried beans are a great food option, but not everyone has the time or resources to cook them either.

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23 Karen April 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

I totally agree that dry beans should be the preference with occasional use of canned varieties. Regardless of whether the canned bean brand includes nasty/questionable additives, most of us should be screening for sodium – some brands do add unnecessary salt as a form of preservative and/or to amp up the flavor, including the brands that Kath cited. I’ve always used Eden Organic – a brand that has been well vetted. I’m not sure what “resources” to which Kath is referring – dry beans are approx. 1/3 the price of canned and you only need a stove and pot/water to cook. Also, don’t be put off by the time it takes to cook up a batch – simply soak a cup (or enough to last you the week) overnight or up to 24 hours in advance and simmer for approx. one (completely unattended) hour. This little bit of planning will become second nature to you in no time!

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24 jenn April 24, 2013 at 5:24 am

can you freeze dried beans after you cook them? Can you cook dried beans in a rice cooker?

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25 KathEats April 24, 2013 at 8:19 am

Yes and yes :) Although I’ve had trouble with beans bubbling out the top of my rice cooker :(

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26 Amanda, RD- The Nutritionist Reviews April 22, 2013 at 11:17 am

I love beans as well! It is an easy meal that is filling. I love using beans for vegetarian enchiladas with tons of veggies.

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27 Rachel @ Personality Crafts April 22, 2013 at 11:45 am

Love this! Yay for the rice cooker and for easy, simple, good-for-you meals. :)

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28 jillian April 22, 2013 at 11:49 am

love beans! I roasted chickpeas last night using this recipe: http://thechiclife.com/2010/08/who-needs-popcorn-when-you-have.html (sans cayenne pepper and chili), and they were DELICIOUS! I had some for a dinner side last night, and used them today as a salad topper! :)

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29 Christine April 22, 2013 at 11:57 am

I also LOVE beans as one of our weeknight vegetarian meals! My go to lately is a Mexican style sweet potato. I pile black beans onto a baked sweet potato (cooked in the microwave) w/ cheese, salsa and avocado. Its super filling and super good!

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30 Shel@PeachyPalate April 22, 2013 at 1:08 pm

My favourite sort of meals! I’d love to have a rice cooker to cook millet…my favourite grain but it can be a bit temperamental! Favourite quick meal in a bowl is millet with roasted chickpeas and pumpkin, tahini sauce, quick lemony avocado sauce, spinach or kale for good measure! :)

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31 Nina @ Too Hottie For That Body April 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm

My husband is a carnivor supreme (beef with a side of bacon) he would give you a dietician’s heart attack. But my daughter and I LOVE rice and beans. We just wait until he goes to the fire station to eat it :)

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32 Emanuelle April 22, 2013 at 4:19 pm

This looks delicious! Satisfied but not full!

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33 Kylie @ immaeatthat April 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm

ooohh I’ve never tired millet…but I need to! This recipe reminds me of a classy version of red beans & rice:))

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34 Gloria April 22, 2013 at 6:37 pm

I make rice and beans at least once a week, so good and cheap! It hurts my soul a little to see it made without garlic and onions, but I’ll try to expand my mind a little :-D

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35 razvan April 22, 2013 at 7:00 pm

look delicios…and healthy too

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36 Sarah (The Simple Dietitian) April 22, 2013 at 7:06 pm

This meal sounds totally fabulous! And totally up my alley. Definitely adding this to next week’s menu. :D

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37 Elise @ Expeditions of Elise April 22, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I absolutely LOVE this “rice-and-beans” concept: beans are one of my favorite proteins (flavor, texture, versatility, low cost and simplicity to name a few reasons why) but it’s very creative to swap out the “rice” for other grains or even chips! Such a fun and easy way to meal plan.

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38 Kristen @ Change of Pace April 23, 2013 at 5:12 am

That is SO simple! Those are my favorite kinds of meals. Just a mish-mosh of yummy things :)

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39 Lisa @bitesforbabies April 23, 2013 at 7:06 am

This looks delicious! I love black beans and rice…so simple yet so satisfying. I DO think I need to take a break from my beloved quinoa and try millet ;-)

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40 EllenCF April 23, 2013 at 8:18 am

I have been looking at rice cookers and have gotten too flummoxed to buy one .. What kind do you have and can you suggest a brand/model? I an single so I don’t need a large one.

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41 KathEats April 23, 2013 at 8:44 am

this is the brand I have and the one that everyone recommended to me: http://www.zojirushi.com/. But if you aren’t going to make big batches, I bet a smaller one from Target would probably fit the bill

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42 EllenCF April 23, 2013 at 10:36 am

Thank you!

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43 Amanda April 26, 2013 at 7:16 am

I have a Zojirushi too and love it! Question…what setting did you use for the millet? Quick cooking? And is the millet:water ratio the same as rice?

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44 KathEats April 26, 2013 at 8:33 am

I use quick cook, yes. I do 2:1 water to millet just like stove top.

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45 Karen April 23, 2013 at 9:51 am

Just a buyer beware note: This brand/model Kath has been touting has HORRIBLE directions for cooking anything but rice! So, if you want to cook other grains, beans, or use it in place of a slow cooker, be prepared to do a lot of experimenting. I found this process super frustrating, and more often than not, do my grain cooking the old fashioned way. You’d think that this popular (yes, imported) brand would heed customer complaints on this issue by now…

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46 Lisa April 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm

This looks so delicious and hearty! Dinner in 5 minutes makes me want to try this dish this week!

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47 colleen April 23, 2013 at 5:22 pm

I made this tonight using black beans and rice. What a fantastic meatless meal! This will definitely be added to the weekly rotation. Thank you!

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48 Liz @ iheartvegetables April 24, 2013 at 6:33 am

I LOVE super fast dinners! This sounds excellent!

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49 Indigo Mathewson April 29, 2013 at 3:38 am

Avocados for sure, but have you ever tried sprinkling cilantro on beans and rice? I like going to beans and rice for a cheap and easy veg meal, and cilantro adds a nice freshness :)

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