Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ranchero Beans and Rice

I debated whether or not to post this recipe.  Not because it's not a good one.  It is. . .

But it doesn't photograph well. . . . at all.  I tried taking a picture of it in the pan, in a bowl, on a plate. . . It just didn't look like I wanted it to look.

I think the recipe has merit, however, because it is very inexpensive, made easily with pantry/freezer items in under 10 minutes, and my kids said I could make it again.  That makes it a winner in my book.

When I started following different food/mom bloggers, it seemed that bean and rice recipes were flooding the pages as many of the writers were aiming to become more frugal and financially wise and follow the advice of Dave Ramsay of Financial Peace and the Total Money Makeover.  He advocates the use of cash to avoid debt, building up financial reserves so that you don't have to rely on credit, and living like no one else now so that you can live like no one else later.  He often uses the analogy that you eat beans and rice today so that you can enjoy steak tomorrow.

Well, I'm always looking for ways to be a good steward of all the gifts that God has given me. And it seems that every health article I read suggests increasing the servings of beans in your diet. So, I started looking around on sites for some bean and rice recipes.  I was not interested in making beans and rice a staple of our meals night after night, but I was interested in gathering a few recipes that I thought our family would enjoy.  I first read about this recipe last year on last winter.  Erin actually had a video of her making this dish.  I made it last year, but thought it needed a bit more tweaking to fit our tastes. 

I had the ham leftover from Christmas in the freezer and wanted to find a recipe that would make use of it when I did my menu planning.  The honeybaked ham gave this dish the sweetness that it needed. 

I also have bags of various kinds of beans in my freezer.  Once I got into using beans more regularly in our meals, I started buying them dried, soaking them overnight, and then cooking them in a large batch.  You can freeze the cooked beans in ziploc baggies in smaller amounts.  I find that I use beans more often if I have them readily available, and the cost is significantly less than canned beans. 

The Rotel tomatoes came from my pantry after a great sale last spring.  I think I got them for under 25 cents a piece with my coupon.  My kids like the "mild" version rather than the regular version, but if your family likes the heat, go for the real thing. 

Here's the recipe:

Ranchero Beans and Rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp chopped sweet onion
2 cups chopped ham
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can mild Rotel tomatoes
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1.  Drizzle the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
2.  Saute the onion in the olive oil for 2 minutes.
3.  Add the ham and saute for 1 minute.
4.  Add the beans and gently mix.
5.  Pour the can of tomatoes over the top and gently mix.
6.  Continue stirring until warmed through (about 5 minutes).
7.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and salt to taste. (if you use canned beans, you may not need to add any salt)

Serve over brown rice. (The brown rice gives it a sweetness to cut the hot of the Rotel tomatoes and it also gives the beans a nice texture.  I make my rice in a rice cooker, but it also tastes fine over Minute Rice if you need to speed up the prep time.)

We enjoyed our Ranchero Beans over rice with sides of mixed greens and a sweet vinaigrette, cantaloupe/strawberries/green grapes, and leftover beer bread.  Orange creamsicle popsicles were the perfect sweet ending to our family meal.

What's your favorite way to use beans and rice?


  1. I like the sound of this recipe...and the Dave Ramsay book. Also, my favorite way to use beans and rice is in a veggie burrito similar to what I would order from Chipotle.

    1. You'll be seeing the Chipotle inspired rice and beans burrito on our menu in the next couple of weeks as we like those, too. This Ranchero Beans and rice would make a good burrito filling, too.