What can be better than Beans Taters & Cornbread?!?! How about $0.24 a serving!!! These are words that go together in the South. For those that are not from the South, this meal is combined of pinto beans, fried Idaho potatoes and cornbread.
I’ll give you a little personal history on where this meal came from. Growing up this meal was prepared a couple times per week. My dad who worked at an auto parts store called Jefco. My mom was a stay at home mom until I was in junior high.
Both of my parents had been raised in homes where there was very little money and so my mom learned how to provide good meals with what she could afford.
For me, this was a normal and delicious meal. However, I thought everyone ate meals like these. I remember a lot of Goulash, which is hamburger meat, elbow noodles and tomato sauce, also a lot of sauerkraut and weiners. I never remember having steak or pork chops.
Take out or going to a restaurant was never thought of or at least I never thought about it. The first time I ate at McDonalds was when I was 16 and started working there. That seems so unheard of today.
But, my sister and I were happy, because we knew nothing different. Not until, I was grown, did I realize what a good cook and steward of money that my mom had been during my childhood.
Money Breakdown for our Beans, Taters & Cornbread Meal:
- 10 lb bag of Idaho potatoes $2.59 = $0.13/serving
- 1 lb bag of pinto beans $1.00 = $0.08/serving
- 5lb bag of corn meal mix $2.44 = $0.03/serving
Total for each person comes to $0.24/serving. These amounts do not account for the price of salt, pepper, egg, milk or vegetable oil. However, if money is tight salt & pepper could be left out and the egg/milk for the cornbread could be replaced with water and it would taste fine.
So, let’s begin this meal with our pinto beans. Pinto beans are high in protein, cheap and easy to cook. Usually, I will cook my pinto beans in a slow cooker or crock pot. I’ll begin cooking my beans early in the morning.
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Beans, Taters & Cornbread – Pinto beans directions
- 1 lb of pinto beans
- 7.5 cups of water
- 2 tsp salt
Place beans, water and salt into a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours until tender. I like to add 2T of bacon fat to my beans. To obtain bacon fat, you cook your bacon, then pour up your leftover grease (after cooled) into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator. This is optional, but it’s how my momma taught me to cook beans. So, I always have bacon fat/grease in my refrigerator.
Also, this bacon fat/grease can be added to a can of green beans and they won’t taste so bland.
My favorite brand of beans is Casserole pinto beans. This brand seems to cook faster and are more tender after they are cooked. Of course, any brand of pinto beans will work.
Besides the fact that pinto beans are cheap, they are also loaded with nutrients.
One cup (171 grams) of pinto beans
- Calories: 245
- Carbs: 45 grams
- Fiber: 15 grams
- Protein: 15 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Sodium: 407 mg
- Thiamine: 28% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Iron: 20% of the DV
- Magnesium: 21% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 20% of the DV
- Potassium: 16% of the DV
- idaho potatoes (1 potato per person or 2 if potatoes are small)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- salt and pepper to taste
So, on to the Taters or fried potatoes. Usually, I buy my potatoes at Aldis supermarket for $2.59/10lb bag. This comes to about $0.13 a serving. The amount of potatoes that you need will vary. I have a family of 6, so I will take about 5-7 potatoes depending on the size of each potato.
You will need to peel the potatoes and slice up into small pieces. What I do is that while I’m peeling my potatoes, I will have added my oil to a fryer pan on medium heat.
I do not add my potatoes to the pan until the oil is hot. Cover with a lid and cook until potatoes are soft, then remove lid to brown the potatoes.
As far as the cornbread, I buy Corn Meal Mix in a 5lb bag for $2.44 and this comes to $.03 per serving. Just follow the directions on the back of the bag. And, for those of us who like crispy cornbread, I will preheat my oven, pour a little oil in my pan and heat the oil up, then I will pour my batter into my pan and bake.