I know I’m going to get my frugal license taken away for this, but the truth of the matter is I don’t really like leftovers. Sure, I’ll take last night’s dinner as a brown bag lunch the next day, but that’s pretty much it. I’m certainly not eating the same thing for dinner the next night, and forget about having it every night for a week.
However, when you are cooking for two adults and a toddler (who may, or may not eat whatever you’ve made, depending on some bizarre power struggle/whimsy/will of the gods), sometimes leftovers are unavoidable. Sometimes I foist them on my husband to take to work for lunch multiple days in a row; sometimes I strongly hint to my babysitter that she’s welcome to help herself to anything in that fridge, but sometimes these strategies don’t work, and I am forced to my last resort. No, not eating leftovers. I’m talking about the element of disguise.
See, even though I may not want to eat the same thing three days in one week, I am perfectly willing to eat three different things with the same base ingredients. Like these black beans three ways. I like beans and rice, and realize that many people eat it every day of their lives, but sadly, I am not one of those people. I can, however, eat beans and rice one day, and a quesadilla another day, and soup on a third day and be perfectly happy to do all three. Apparently I’m not too bright if I can trick myself this easily, but there you go. Thus we have — black beans three ways, or how to use up your leftovers without driving yourself crazy.
Day 1: Black Beans and Rice
This is a classic, a complete protein, and incredibly simple to prepare.
- 1 lb black beans
- 2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 T cumin
- Sour Cream
- Soak beans overnight.
- Drain, and add the beans to your crockpot with bell peppers, onions, garlic, chicken broth, a generous pinch of salt and cumin.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until beans are tender.
- Serve with rice, and garnish with cilantro and sour cream.
Day 2: Black Bean Quesadillas
After you’ve eaten black beans and rice, you want to move onto something with a little more chew and crunch. Cheese quesadillas topped with black beans for additional fiber and protein are given a fresh taste with the additional of pico de gallo and a cabbage slaw.
- ¼-1/3 c. prepared mayonnaise
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage.
- ½-3/4 c. grated cheddar cheese (or a combination of cheddar and Monterey Jack)
- 2 flour tortillas.
- Prepared Black Beans
- pico de gallo
- Combine mayonnaise with lime juice and cumin. Add cabbage.
- Place grated cheese between two flour tortillas. Cook in a dry hot skillet until cheese is melted and tortillas are crisp, turning once to cook both sides.
- To serve: Top quesadilla with leftover beans, slaw, and pico de gallo. Eat with a knife and fork.
Day 3: Black Bean Soup
Yes, soup is not too far from stew, but pureeing the beans and adding a bright hit of lime juice makes this an entirely different dish. The garnishes are key to making this a flavorful meal. Serve with some good bread.
- 2-4 cups leftover prepared black beans
- ½ c.-1 c. chicken broth (depending on how thick you like your soup and how much of the original bean dish is remaining)
- the juice of 1 lime
- ½ teaspoon of dried ground chipotle chilies
- Garnish: crumbled bacon, diced avocado, and a drizzle of heavy cream.
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat.
- Puree with a hand blender.
- Add additional broth until the soup reaches your desired consistency.
- Serve with crumbled bacon, diced avocado, and a drizzle of heavy cream.