Rice, beans, and cooking…

Rice, beans, and cooking…

So…I have a good job but it is temporary, I do not know how long it will take me to find a new job after this one is over in a matter of months. I just found out I need some major dental work done…now. Therefore, I am looking for ways to cut corners so I can save as much of my current paychecks as possible. The looking for ways, however, is not the real topic of this post, I have spend today resigning myself to the fact that it would be wise to stop buying pre-made lattes, stop buying myself things to cheer myself up, and….here comes the real topic…pare down my food budget.

Currently I am eating microwaveable lunches like Lean Cuisines etc. nearly every day for lunch. This should stop because I know I can make lunches for less. There have been lots of such ideas in this community, which I will look up.

At the moment, I am browsing the internet looking in my cupboard for things to make lunch meals to take to work for the rest of the week. I am teaching myself to cook and it is slow going. I found a promising recipe though, for red beans and rice, but I have some questions about what I can substitute and what I can leave out…this is where I would like to ask the advice of you who have the skillz in cooking and in cooking on a budget.

Recipe:

  • 2 cans red kidney beans, (15 ounces each)
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions, with tops
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 jar (2 oz) chopped pimiento
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 pound Polish sausage, sliced, if desired

Fry bacon and crumble into kidney beans. Saute vegetables in the bacon drippings. Cook until vegetables are wilted. Add beans and remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.
Serves 4.

What I have: beans, turkey bacon, onion, bell pepper, green onion, ketchup, Worcestershire, chili powder, rice (sounds promising, no?)

What I don’t have: celery, parsley, pimiento, tomato paste, sausage

Questions:

1.Can I leave out the celery, pimiento, and sausage entirely?

2. Can I substitute parsley flakes for real parsley, and canned diced tomatoes for the tomato paste?

… The tomato paste is of particular concern because I don’t have any and I hate tomato paste. Yet I fear that leaving it out entirely would affect the flavor/liquid content. If canned tomatoes would be a poor substitute, do you have any ideas?

If anyone has a good, quick, recipe for rice and beans using vaguely the same ingredients, I would love to get it, I have never tried this one and have no idea if it has the potential to be good. Any recipes for things of the vegetable & rice/soup/stir fry variety are also welcome, I am looking for things that I can make a large quantity of and take in servings for lunch for a whole week…and that are quick and easy, given my inexperience with cooking.

Thanks!

Oooh, I just found a blog on frugal cooking: http://frugalcuisine.blogspot.com
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