Last week my husband was away on business and that usually means I eat out. You can read more about my love of dining alone here. But this time around I wanted to a) finish up all the leftovers in my fridge and b) not spend money on dining out. I had some pork chops in the fridge that I had marinated the same way I did my pan chicken (click here for recipe) and simply grilled them stove-top on my grill. I poked around in my pantry and found a bag of dried black beans and some basmati rice. Pork, rice and beans. Perfect!
Now a little word on the pantry. Most of us buy groceries on a weekly basis and our list usually includes items we need to create recipes for the week. However, our pantries are probably full of items we can use and turn into healthy meals and all this without spending a dime. Sure, once in a while, you'll have to re-stock your shelves, but once you have the essentials, meal-planning will be a cinch. For tips on stocking a pantry, click here.
Since I prepared the pork chops the same way I did the chicken, I have not included that recipe again. I adapted the rice and beans recipe from Epicurious. The original recipe used red beans and bell peppers, none of which I had in my fridge. The result was still full of flavor and quite easy to make.
Black Beans and Rice
1 cup black beans soaked over night in water
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, properly rinsed in cold water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, bring black beans to a boil in salted water. Let cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain beans and set aside, but reserve 2 1/2 cups of bean water.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, cilantro, cumin and oregano and sauté until onions are beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and reserve.
Turn heat on to medium under the large skillet and add rice and beans to onion mixture. Incorporate ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Cook till heated through, about 5 minutes.