The Value of Dried Beans
Dried beans are advertised as being inexpensive and healthy. They provide protein, B vitamins, iron, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and potassium. Because they have little fat and zero cholesterol they are thought to aid in the prevention of colon cancer. Dried beans are easy to store and prepare, and can make main chili and burritos dishes, or complement barbecue dishes and salads. The different varieties include –
- Black beans
- White beans
- Pink or red beans
- Garbanzo beans
Additional information on dried beans is available at http://www.ehow.com/info_8384617_kinds-dried-beans.html.
Pinto beans belong to the pink or red beans group, and are said to be a rich source of protein, vitamins, fiber, and minerals, which make them one of the healthiest food in the world, and which all growing children need. They are mostly cooked by Mexicans and South Americans, and are prepared in soups, side dishes, chilies and appetizers. They can be available as canned products, but most people prefer to slowly cook them themselves, because this method brings out their great flavor. It is felt that a ½ cup of these beans supply many amino acids which fight disease.
One of the cheapest nutritious drinks available to single mothers is lemonade, and the hassle of squeezing lemons is removed by the use of reconstituted lemon juice. The juice is first concentrated by companies and sent to various manufacturers who add water and preservatives to maintain the juice’s freshness. The right amount of reconstituted lemon juice has to be used, however, for best results.
- First, 1½ cups of sugar and 8 cups of water are poured into a pot and stirred while being boiled.
- Second, more or less of 2 cups of reconstituted lemon juice is stirred in until the mixture is boiling again, after which it is removed from the stove and allowed to cool.
- Third, the lemonade is poured into a container that is heat safe, and placed in the refrigerator for one hour.
Single mothers can combine reasonably-priced ingredients to make great breakfasts:
- Frozen berries which have been warmed can be made into a sauce and used as a topping for pancakes.
- Eggs, another good and cheap ingredient, can be used to make an omelet utilizing leftover chunks of ham, onion, peppers, and slices of shredded cheese.
- Huevos rancheros, or eggs drizzling with a Mexican tomato sauce, canned beans and cheese are another good idea.
Ingredients can be interestingly combined and placed between two slices of bread for a nutritious sandwich, and can be further combined with other foods for a delicious meal:
- Cheese can be grilled and made into a sandwich that can be served with a can of soup on a rainy day.
- A layer of spicy mashed black beans, guacamole, and cheese, can be spread to make a torta, or Mexican-style sandwich.
- Leftover meatballs that are dripping with tomato sauce can be tucked into a submarine roll to create a warm submarine sandwich.
Pasta can be enhanced to provide a delicious meal. For example,
- a reasonably-priced bottle of sauce can be poured over pasta that has just been freshly cooked.
- a plain bowl of pasta that is steaming hot can be dressed up with cooked spinach and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
- homemade pasta sauce can be made by sautéing fresh garlic, canned tomatoes, chopped onions, basil and oregano herbs.
Stir Fry Options
With stir fry, single mothers can mix a number of cheap ingredients for a nutritious meal:
- Boneless chicken breast, red peppers, and some pea pods, can be stir fried with Asian sauce, which is available in bottled form, and served with rice.
- Beef strips can be stir fried with broccoli and a drizzling of soy sauce, and also served with rice.
Some simple ideas which single moms can use to create healthy snacks are –
- Banana Chips Plus: Banana chips are dried banana fruit that is crispy and healthy, and gives off a slightly sweet flavor while being crunched. It can be combined with a few fresh vegetables or a few roasted nuts.
- Cinnamon Almonds: Almonds contain fats and oils that are good for the heart. They can be roasted and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar for energy production. Only a small amount, like a quarter cup, should be eaten at any one time.
- Kettle Corn: Popcorn supplies dietary fiber, and kettle corn popcorn can be lightly sprinkled with salt and sugar to produce a mouth watering sweet-salt flavor combination. The low-fat or light kinds should be selected.
- Flavored Rice Cakes: Flavored rice cakes provide a sweet, crisp thrill without the extra weight gain. The slightly sweet rice flavors like apple crisp or caramel corn may be chosen, but the peanut butter fudge or chocolate variety should be carefully examined or avoided.
Warm Salads Recipes
Salads are usually served cold, but warm varieties containing meat do exist and are just as nutritious, and single moms are able to prepare them easily. Some of these include –
Warm Cashew Chicken Salad
- 2 tsp olive oil is heated in a 10-inch skillet.
- 1 lb of chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces are sautéed with two celery stalks chopped finely, and 1 cup onion also finely chopped, for about eight minutes. The chicken should not be pink in the middle.
- ¼ cup olive or vegetable oil, 1 tsp dried tarragon or 2 tbsp tarragon vinegar and 1 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, are all mixed together and poured over the chicken mixture.
- This is served warm over 3 cups of Chinese or napa cabbage, topped with ½ cup cashews coarsely chopped.
Warm Wild Mushroom Salad
- 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste, are all whisked together then set aside.
- 1 tbsp olive oil is heated in a skillet, and a 1 lb combination of cleaned and sliced mutton, oyster, Portobello and shiitake mushrooms are tossed in.
- Mushrooms should be cooked over medium heat until their liquid is removed and they are brown.
- Skillet should be removed from heat, sautéed mushrooms added to vinaigrette and stirred, to coat mushrooms.
- Mushroom salad should be layered on toast topped with arugula, and the whole dish sprinkled with shaved Parmesan cheese.
Warm Winter Salad
- 2 tbsp olive oil is heated in a Dutch oven, and two sliced pears are added.
- Pears are cooked, stirring occasionally, until browned, then transferred to a bowl.
- 2 small cut-up shallots, 6 tbsp sherry vinegar and 4 tsp Dijon mustard are whisked in a small bowl.
- The shallot mixture is added to the Dutch oven and cooked for about 20 seconds, stirring constantly.
- 3 cups cooked, shredded turkey or chicken, one thinly sliced head of radicchio, one large, cored and thinly-sliced fennel bulb, two large matchstick-cut carrots, and 2 tbsp chopped toasted walnuts are added.
- The mixture is stirred and cooked for about 3 minutes, or until vegetables are just wilted.
- The pears are spooned back into the pan and seasoned with salt and pepper.
- Three butterhead or Boston lettuce leaves are placed on each of four plates and topped with the warm salad mixture.
- The assembled salads are sprinkled with 2/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or goat cheese.
Thai Beef Salad
- The dressing ingredients are whisked together in a small bowl. These are: ½ cup rice vinegar, 1/3 cup peanut or canola oil, 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice, 1 tbsp white granulated sugar, 1½ tsp minced fresh ginger root, 1½ tsp hot pepper sauce, 1½ tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp salt, 1 minced clove, and ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes.
- 8 oz spaghetti are cooked, drained and rinsed in cold water.
- Pasta is tossed with ½ cup dressing and placed in serving dish.
- 5 oz spring-mix salad greens, one small thinly-sliced sweet red pepper and onions are combined in a large bowl and drizzled with the remaining dressing and arranged over the pasta with strips of roast beef and salted peanuts.