An easy and inexpensive dinner!

Jama’s Soup Beans (or Pinto Beans, for those not familiar with the Southern term)

Total cost for meal: $2.34 for dinner and lunch for a family of four. Not kidding!!

16oz of dried pinto beans (I buy the 4lb bag and divide it into 4 portions – it’s cheaper!) ($0.87)
1 med. onion, chopped ($0.10)
4 slices turkey bacon, chopped ($0.62)
salt and pepper

The night before, put dried beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight. Recover with water in the morning. We have dinner at 6pm, so I pour off the excess water at around 2:45pm, put the beans in a large pot, add chopped onion and bacon, and fill about 3/4 full with water (you want a lot of water in the pot, because they’re going to be cooking for several hours!), and place on the stove over medium heat at around 3pm. Simmer for approximately 2.5 hours, and add a pinch of salt once beans are tender. Continue cooking until soup is thick.

I couldn’t find my favorite cornmeal at the grocery store this time around, so I bought White Lily ($0.75 to make enough cornbread for 2 meals for a family of 4). Follow the package directions. I swear by cornbread baked in the oven in an iron skillet – it just doesn’t get any better! If you have an iron skillet, pour a bit of oil in the pan, and place in the oven to heat. Once the oil is thin and hot, pour your batter into the pan, and cook according to package directions. If you don’t have an iron skillet, you can always do corn muffins in a regular muffin pan!