Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The beans are nutritious and do take the family budget

Housewives crave free time, away from the kitchen and the desk, but also want to compliment the family with dishes tasty, nutritious and of course cheap.

Can I have it all at once?

We must look at both sides of the coin, said Margaret Johns, a specialist in nutrition and family matters and consumer Cooperative Extension, University of California. On the one hand, the Department of Agriculture estimates that U.S. food prices will increase between 2.5 and 3.5 percent this year. But on the other hand, Johns emphasizes that it is important to remember that there is a powerful word of six letters that will help families save money, eat less nutritious food and cooking. This is the bean.

Beans and legumes offer a wealth of nutrients, promote good heart health and, especially, are very cheap. There are all a variety of beans and legumes can be cooked in many different dishes. Can also be used in many ways, either as the main dish, a salad and even dessert. (See recipes below.)

"Besides being an excellent source of protein, beans and other grains are low in fat, high in fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals," says Johns.

Moreover, most beans contain only 2 to 3 percent fat and no cholesterol, and, last but not least, also help lower blood cholesterol because they are rich in fiber. Most beans contain 20 percent protein and are rich in complex carbohydrates (or starch) plus are fortified with iron and B vitamins

Johns offers tips for saving money at the supermarket:

  • Get used to eating beans and legumes at least once or twice a week.
  • Cook your own beans and grains instead of buying canned and save more.
  • If cooking a large pot of beans, you can freeze and use later in different dishes.

A delicious dish made of beans can have only four ingredients, as shown in some of these recipes easy to prepare and nutritious:

Chili 3 cans

1 can (14 ½ oz) of whole grain corn
1 can (14 ½ oz) diced tomatoes (you can use Mexican style tomatoes with chiles)
1 can (14 ½ oz) of beans or two cups of cooked beans (pinto, red or any other that is to your taste)
Chili powder to taste

Mix all ingredients, heat and serve. For added flavor, you can add onions and peppers.

Style Eggs Mexicali

6 to 8 eggs
2 cups of sauce, either store bought or homemade
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, red, black or otherwise) or two cups of cooked beans
¼ cup grated cheese

Heat the sauce and beans in a skillet over medium heat until boiling.

Break the eggs into a bowl and add one at a time. Cover the pan and let cook until eggs are firm, about 6 minutes.

Then, sprinkle the eggs with the grated cheese. Re-cover the pan and cook until cheese is melted. Serve with rice and tortillas.

Lentils with smoked turkey leg

1 pound lentils, rinsed
2 bay leaves
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped or sliced carrots
1 large smoked turkey leg

Place all ingredients in a pot, cover with water and cook until lentils are cooked. Remove the cooked turkey leg and remove the meat. Chop the meat and add to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving. This dish can be prepared in a slow cooker.

Sweet bean

2 / 3 cup canned milk
1 ½ cups miniature chocolate or clouds
1 ½ cups pinto beans, drained
1 teaspoon vanilla
1? cups of sugar
½ cup nuts
1 ½ cups chocolate chips

Combine sugar and milk in a saucepan and cook until it boils for 5 minutes, whisking constantly ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until chocolates are melted, then pour into buttered pan. Let cool and cut into squares.

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