Ways to Use Pinto Beans-Stretching your Food Dollar

When my children were small, our food budget was rather tight, to put it mildly.  I learned to build meals around planned leftovers.  That’s what I’ll deal with below:

Day 1:  Pinto bean soup, using bacon and bacon drippings as the meat base (I save bacon drippings for cooking), cover the beans in water–about 2″ above the top of the beans, add 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper; and then check occasionally during the cooking process, adding hot water as necessary. Cook the beans in a slow cooker overnight, or longer.  When they’re soft, mash some of the beans for a thicker soup.  If you have leftover ham bone, use that in the soup in place of your bacon.  For this project, make about 1 1/2 times the amount of soup your family normally eats.

Day 2:  Rinse the pinto beans.  Make chili as follows:  CHUCK WAGON CHILI  Serves 8-10

3 lb. ground beef-6 Tbs. chili powder-1 Tbs. oregano-1 Tbs. cumin-1 Tbs. salt-2 lg. cloves garlic, minced (or 1 Tbs. garlic powder)-6 c. water-1/2 c. masa (optional)  In skillet, brown ground beef (I use an 85/15 grind–best flavor for this recipe). Add seasonings, leftover beans from day 1,  & water. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Skim off fat. Stir in masa and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve with chunks of cheddar cheese, apple slices, carrot sticks, dill and/or bread and butter pickles, and crackers.  Read on for Day 3.

Day 3:  CHILI DOGS:  Cook 8 hot dogs till warmed through.  Place 8 hot dogs in hot dog buns.  Lay in single layer in a baking pan.  Heat, then drain leftover chili from yesterday.  Spoon meat on top of each hot dog.  Break pre-packaged slices of American cheese in half, and lay a half on top of each chili dog.  Place under broiler to melt cheese.  Serve with chips.

Okay folks, we’ve exhausted these pinto beans!!  Enjoy!!

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