Taylor Tries to Cook: Cheap and Easy

It is getting close to the end of the semester, and I am sure I’m not the only one starting to run low on cash. From running out of bonus bucks to watching that once wonderful refund check dwindle, many are likely looking for ways to save money to make it until starting back up at a summer job. This week’s recipe is for those people.

After spending a sizable amount of money on some of these recipes throughout the semester, I wanted to find something I could make that would be filling, utilize some of the things I already had, and include mostly cheap ingredients. This led me to a red beans and rice recipe.

One of the main things I have learned from trying to cook for myself is that beans are both economical and nutritious. A can of beans is less than a dollar, and when put into a rice dish, quesadilla, or salad, each can will stretch to several servings. The protein they offer means that whatever dish it is that they are in is much more filling, too.

All I had to buy for this recipe was a bell pepper, a red onion, and two cans of beans, as I already had rice and all of the necessary spices and such involved. This recipe yields a lot, too. I had a big bowl of this last night and still have a pretty large Tupperware container in the fridge full of the stuff. It is going to feed me all weekend and is another recipe to add to my meal-planning arsenal. Though, the jury is still out on whether I will ever actually have my life together enough to follow through with planning my meals. Who knows.

I honestly used the recipe I found as more of a guide than a bible. I’m not a huge celery fan, so I omitted it, and I used brown rice instead of white. I also probably used more hot sauce than was advised because I like some extra spice. Next time I make this I will likely add some chopped pickled jalapeños as well. Also, the recipe was unclear on whether the beans should be drained, so I kind of halfway drained them. It was still a little liquid-y at the end, so it really depends on personal preference. Next time I will probably drain them a little better.

This recipe was quick, easy, cheap, and really satisfying. 10/10 would recommend. You can find it below.

Next week will be my final recipe column, so if there are any requests, let me know ASAP by emailing me at tlwhiteman0@frostburg.edu.

Finished product!
Finished product!

RECIPE (from Robert Irvine at foodnetwork.com):


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, lightly crushed with the side of a knife blade and minced
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, stem and seeds removed and small diced
  • 2 (1-pound) cans red kidney beans
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves


Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Saute garlic, onion, celery, and bell pepper until tender. Stir in kidney beans, onion powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Reduce heat to low and let mixture simmer slowly while you cook the rice.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil and stir in rice and butter. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes without removing the lid. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
Fold rice and beans gently together and transfer to a serving dish. Serve garnished with cilantro.


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