Weekday lunches at home: Beans and tortillas

Eating lunch on a weekday

Last week, a reader named Molly left a comment asking for tips on making/serving lunch as a homeschool mom. I am cheap and boring when it comes to lunches... one of our mainstays is PBJ! We do vary our lunch menu some, but I also don't worry if we have the same lunches over and over. Our dinner leftovers usually disappear on the weekends, so I do make "new" things for lunch.

This week, we've been having beans and tortillas. For the past month or so, I've been trying to keep grocery spending especially low and I've been focusing on using things from the pantry. We LOVE beans and my pantry is well-stocked due to having purchased 25-pound bags of lentils, garbanzo beans, red beans, great northern beans, black beans, and pinto beans. I'm not joking when I say that we love beans! :)

Cooked pinto beans on a fresh corn tortilla
Cooked Pinto Beans on a fresh corn tortilla

If you've never cooked dried beans, and even if you think you don't care for beans -- I really encourage you to try cooking your own! Buy a small bag and follow the directions on the bag. (Before choosing a kind of beans, pick out a recipe that uses beans!)

Before bed, I rinse and soak a couple pounds of dried beans in water with salt. I soak them in the large stock pot that I plan to cook them in. The next morning, I drain the soaking water, add fresh water, cover, and turn them on medium-low. Then, it's hands-off until lunch time in about 4-5 hours. A pot of hot, fresh beans for lunch is one of our favorite, super easy, super affordable lunches.

If I have leftover rice, I would warm that up in the microwave to go with the beans. I always have cheese on hand, as well as sour cream and Tapatio (our favorite hot sauce!). If I have tortilla chips, I sometimes serve those with the beans as well.

Eliyahu making corn tortillas
Eliyahu (8) mixing corn tortillas

As I was brainstorming my pantry-menu this week, I remembered that I had a couple bags of Masa instant corn tortilla flour. On Monday, I put Eliyahu to work reading the "recipe" and measuring the flour and water for homemade corn tortillas. He then pressed the 16 tortillas (which wasn't enough, by the way) and I cooked them to go with our beans.

Eliyahu pressing the corn tortillas
Pressing the tortillas

On Tuesday, Ruth and Eliyahu each mixed up batches of 12 tortillas and pressed them. I heated up leftover beans and rice in the microwave and we had little tacos. The kids begged to do the same thing on Wednesday, and Thursday (today). My bag of flour is still 1/3 full! :)

Cooked pinto beans recipe
Cooked Pinto Beans recipe

With our beans for lunch, we usually have some kind of fruit and vegetable. This week, it's been carrot sticks and frozen strawberries and blueberries. Usually I try to also keep apples, bananas, and cucumbers on hand for snacking or lunches.


I like using your crock pot method for cooking beans. Easy to cook while at work, or at night while sleeping. Haven't made any in a year or so though.


I like using the crock pot if I'm taking the beans somewhere or need to cook them overnight to be ready early in the morning. We have had beans for breakfast a few times but I prefer waiting until lunch. ;)

The only thing I don't enjoy is washing my crock pot! Also, we don't have a lot of counter space here (and more limited electrical outlets) so a pan on the stove is better in this kitchen... unless I get my act together and keep the kitchen tidier and find different places for some things... :)

where do you get the tortilla press machine? do you like the one you have?

Yes, we love our tortilla press! It is a painted cast iron... very heavy which makes it easy to use. :)

I just looked and found it on Amazon: Estrella tortilla press. Ours was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law in eastern Washington -- they bought it at a Mexican food store and I believe it was $20-something dollars there. My parents have the same one, too. :)

I know there are quite a few different tortilla presses -- and some will cook the tortillas, too (?). I have only used the one we have but I wanted something simple like that, no cords or fancy stuff. ;) It's only for corn tortillas, not flour ones, btw. :)

So glad to have you back! I've enjoyed every email.
You have a beautiful family and are doing a great job as a wife and mother. All the food and pictures look so good!

Thank you, Becky! :)

Nothing beats beans and homemade tortillas! Cheap, healthy and yummy.
I was going to ask if you would consider doing another budget post like you did in the past, just talking about your monthly food budget, how you grocery shop and meals you make now that your kids are older and eating more.

I know! Cheap plus easy plus healthy plus yummy... amazing. :D

I plan to work in some menu posts and share about grocery shopping, but right now I'm trying to do only the bare minimum grocery shopping and eating from the pantry as much as possible. (I've been doing this for the past month and hope to continue as long as possible.) We've had a lot of oatmeal, pancakes, beans, and PBJ! ;) :)

Thank you for answering my question :)

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

User login

Subscribe for free recipes, menu plans, and kitchen tips!