Grains and Beans help stretch food dollars.
Years ago we started increasing our intake of whole grains and milling fresh flour at home. The health results have been only ONE of the benefits to this move. We also have realized a great amount of savings in the grocery bill. Now with food prices higher than ever, we are adding more dried beans to our diet as well with much the same great benefits.
Whole dried beans, like whole grains, store for far longer periods of time than most items in the pantry.
The beans are easily used to extend meat items such as these ideas:
1. Add soaked/cooked lentils to ground beef to make 'more' for lasagna or tacos.
2. Use in place of meat in soups
3. Cook and serve with a whole grain to make a healthy low fat protein.
4. Pinto beans and potatoes are a family favorite here for pennies.
5. Hummus (chick peas and/or white bean pure with seasoning) is a great replacement for mayo and meat in a sandwich or dip.
6. Minestrone Soup is mostly beans and quite hardy for the winter.
Easily used dried beans can be soaked overnight and cooked in a crock pot all day with seasoning. Also, they can be soaked, then drained and frozen (the ice crystals soften the bean) in zip lock baggies to use almost instantly!
Both whole grains and beans do also have the added bonus of extra fiber. This helps to create the 'satisfied' filled filling without all the fat and heaviness of many meats.
So in these leaner times - don't rule out beans along with grains. They truly can help stretch the food dollars!