Frugal potluck choices: Our favorite beans and rice

Our favorite beans and rice!

I grew up in a home where beans were rarely served (and then, it was either baked beans or my mom's chili).

Joshua grew up eating lots of beans and rice, and when we got married he told me that beans really weren't his favorite... especially not beans and rice.

We've been married 7 years now and I've really expanded my recipe collection when it comes to beans! I've been able to find lots of yummy meals that include beans and satisfy my husband's taste buds! :)

One such recipe from the past year has been the dreaded... beans and rice. The first night I served beans and rice, I didn't even tell Joshua what I had made for dinner! I just served it up. ;) And as I had hoped... my version of beans and rice was acceptable to him! He actually said it was good!! I was so delighted, since the children and I all love it! :)

I don't have a "real" recipe, but here is how I make my beans and rice:

I cook pinto beans following this recipe. We like our beans nice and tender! :) Adding the salt and Tapatio hot sauce called for in that recipe makes for some fabulous tasting beans!

I cook some rice. Our favorite is basmati rice, which I get in bulk at Costco. But any rice will work! For some extra color in the rice, I sometimes add chives or paprika.

Then I layer the cooked rice, cooked beans, and shredded cheeses. If I'm taking the dish to a potluck, I can easily re-warm this part in the oven.

When serving, I add some sour cream to the top and serve with tortilla chips on the side.

We all love this way of making beans and rice, and I've taken it to our church potlucks many times, since it is affordable and everyone loves it! :)

Our favorite beans and rice!

Here's my price breakdown when making beans and rice for a crowd. And these amounts really will make about 16 servings. :) Prices are from Costco.

2.5 pounds C+F pinto beans      $1.29
Salt and Tapatio hot sauce       $0.05
2.5 cups dry (7.5 cups cooked) Basmati rice      $1.10
4 cups (1 pound) Tillamook shredded cheddar cheese    $2.20
2 cups (16 ounces) Darigold sour cream       $0.90
16 ounces Mission tortilla strips        $1.11

Total cost for 16 servings: $6.65

Reasons we love this beans and rice:

It's easy.
It's affordable.
It's yummy! :)

I don't take this to every potluck though... I still make my cheesy bread for potlucks, and have recently taken homemade pizza (re-warmed in the oven) which was eaten in a flash!! :) I like variety, so it's fun making various things to take. :)

Be sure to visit Jessica's blog for more Frugal Fridays tips and ideas! :)

This recipe was included in my freezer meal plan of main dishes when preparing for the birth of my fourth child. Read my update on how this recipe and the others turned out after freezing!


what is the difference between basmati and white rice?

Basmati is a type of long-grain white rice. We like the flavor it has, and it also holds its form/shape well in casseroles and such (rather than getting mushy). It wouldn't make good rice pudding for that reason. :) It just has a different flavor than plain white rice... and after sampling it in various dishes at friends' homes we started using it ourselves. :)

How do you make your rice?

That looks delicious-- I'm not a beans and rice person-- but this tempts me!! :)

I just follow the directions on the package. :) The rice in the photos is a bit red because I added paprika (along with a few other things... chives... cumin... onion...). But I usually just make plain rice, since the beans have Tapatio hot sauce in them and with cheese, sour cream, etc. it's a very flavorful dish! :)

I'll have to try this... my hubby is not a bean fan (yet)!

Yes, you could use any rice... but I'm sure basmati makes a huge difference. It's a very yummy rice--my favorite kind! This sounds really yummy. And now I feel like Penny is old enough to tolerate me eating beans (she's 5 months now), so I think I'll try this next week. Thanks for the inspiration, Tammy! :D


I can tell you a really good way to make it
Let it soak in water, rinse it out, this is to remove some of the starch.
Boil for a few minutes then drain (the longer it soaks the less boiling time required)
add a small amount of butter or oil to the bottom
pour the rice in, add butter and oil
take a knife and kind of make 3 holes in the rice
cover the lid of your pot with a towel (I use a rubbermand to hold it there on top)
let it steam on very low (Honestly if I'm busy sometimes I just turn it off, it depends lol)
the towel will absorb the water and it will come out great

Where do you find Mission tortilla chips for $1.11 for 16 ounces?

I get the Mission tortilla chips in a 3-pound bag at Costco. I haven't priced them elsewhere recently, but I'm guessing it's a good price for that brand... and we love the Mission strips (easier to eat!). :)

I love beens I but them in my salad all the time. I'm not a huge meat eater so they take the place just fine.

Thank you, Tammy! My husband grew up in a Puerto Rican family and rice and beans was a constant side dish to dinner, sometimes the main meal, too. I've cooked up pinto (and black) beans in bulk in the past, mashed them a little, and then put them in freezer containers for all kinds of Hispanic style dinners, it is SO much cheaper than buying a can of refried beans at the store. This is another great recipe to use with beans!

He also thinks your simple bean taco recipe is very authentic! His grandmother fries the tortillas with the beans and cheese already inside... Place desired contents on tortilla (but not lettuce or veggies) and then fold tortilla in half. "Pin" the edge shut with wooden toothpicks, then lightly crisp in oil on each side (cast iron works best!). Remove and serve with sour cream, lettuce... She always adds a squirt of lime juice to the meat/beans of each taco.

Thanks for adding such interesting info about beans in Puerto Rico! :) I imagine the bean tacos are even better when stuffed with beans and cheese before frying... so the cheese is nice and melty! :)

I've soaked my black beans overnight and am ready to cook them in the crockpot during the day. Do you typically add the salt at the end? About how much salt do you use for a crockpot full?

Also, do you ever use cheddar cheese on your tortillas? We don't have mozzarella. Thanks!

I add salt at the end, to taste. I usually drain my beans (in a strainer in the sink) after cooking, and then add a couple cups of fresh water into the pot (to facilitate stirring) and stir in the salt at that point. :) I've never done beans in the crock pot! :)

We like cheddar with our beans, as well. It's a fattier cheese (than say, mozzarella) so I would use slightly less -- but very tasty! :)

Do you have a recipe for the rice?

This rice is so simple and DELICIOUS! My son loves it so much, when I ask him what he wants me to cook for his birthday dinner, he says, "Your Mexican Rice, Mom!" I learned how to make this from a lovely Mexican woman...she couldn't speak English, but she lovingly showed me how to make this authentic rice!

It is fantastic as a side dish with tacos and quesadillas, wonderful in burritos, and I even add any leftover rice to soups or Mexican stews that I like to make.

2 Tbsp oil
1 cup long grain rice
1 plum tomato, quartered
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp (or more, to taste) tomato bouillon granules (I like to use Knorr brand. Sazon is another Hispanic brand that is also delicious)
1 cup water, plus additional if necessary*

In a blender or food processor, thoroughly blend tomato, onion, garlic, tomato boullion and 1 cup of water. Taste -- if it needs more boullion, feel free to add it and blend. *Measure out tomato mixture and add enough water to measure 2 full cups of liquid. Reserve.

In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add rice, and saute until rice is lightly browned, and fragrantly nutty. Slowly stir in the tomato liquid. Be careful - steam will come up from the hot pan. Give the rice and liquid a nice, thorough stir, then cover, and reduce heat to low. DO NOT LIFT LID OR PEEK! :) Simmer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, turn heat off. Remove lid, gently stir rice, and return lid to pan. Allow rice to "rest" for another 15-20 minutes, and serve.

Amy, thank you so much for this recipe! I've never had tomato bouillon before, so I'll have to look for that. This rice sounds so good! Have you ever tried it with brown rice? (Just curious since that's usually what we have on hand.) :)

Hi Tammy!
I have not yet tried this recipe with brown rice -- I have been thinking about it as I do have some; however, the texture will be quite different. I'll give it a shot one of these days! I will let you know how it goes! :)

Tammy, thanks for your recipe! How much tapatio sauce do you add to your beans? I am making 4 cups (uncooked).

Hmmm... I would suggest starting with about 6-8 splashes of Tapatio. I do add it at the end of cooking, though (I'm not sure -- it may affect the tenderness/cooking). Salt -- I add at the beginning for best results. :) Just taste and add more Tapatio to taste! They may taste hotter the next day though. :)

Can I add ground beef to this and freeze it?

What is the difference between a crockpot and a slow cooker? For some reason I always thought they were the same thing?

Crock Pot is a brand of slow cookers. :) A Crock Pot is a slow cooker, but not all slow cookers are "Crock Pot" brand, of course. :)

Hi Tammy! I have been online searching for good, freezable recipes to make for a friend who just had a little girl yesterday...4 weeks early! I am going to make some of your burritos for them, a chicken tetrazzini casserole, and some form of baked spaghetti or lasagna. I was reading through the comments and saw that someone mentioned making "refried" beans in the slow cooker. Here is a recipe I found originally on Pinterest for mexican beans in the slow cooker. I've made it once and it was REALLY good and I'm making it today to use in your burritos. The recipe can be found on, but here it is:

Slow Cooker Refried Beans (Without the Refry)

**you can use it to make bean burritos, bean dip, topping for a salad, etc . . .

•1 onion, peeled and halved ( I diced mine because I like some onions in my beans)
•3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
•1/4-1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (I used 1/4 in case it would be too hot for the kids)
•2 tablespoons minced garlic
•3 teaspoons salt
•1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
•1/8 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
•5 cups water
•4 cups chicken broth
-Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and chicken broth and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.

-Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.
-If you want to turn this into a big batch of bean dip, add the following:
2 cups salsa
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
2 cups shredded pepperjack cheese
8 oz. cream cheese
16 oz. sour cream
2 Tbls chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Mix in with the beans and let cook a couple hours longer so flavors can blend. Makes a huge batch so just freeze leftovers!

Thanks for the great idea for making frozen burritos! I know they will love them!!

each link that I have gone to does not tell me how you make your burritos.. you say how to make beans and rice.. do you cook your tortillas? are they just plain? can you give some insight? I am new to your website.. thanks for any help..

Here is a link to how she makes her burritos. The ones pictured above....have the beans, rice and cheese in layers......but later on, she found that she could save some time by mixing the beans, rice, and cheese together before assembling the burritos.

I can vouch for how well these freeze and are so easy and tasty! You can doctor them up to suit your family's taste.

I am going to make these burritos tonight. I am layering the ingredients and wrapping them in foil. Then just baking a frozen burrito in foil?? Thanks for all the freezer recipes!

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