Lean Cuisine Santa-Fe Style Rice and Beans copycat recipe

Dinners for $10 or less

It all started out with my sister. She has fallen on hard times lately, her husband lost his job. They were fresh out of "freezer" foods. She was in desperate need of low cost meals to feed her family and asked me to help. My sister works full time at a job that is 1 hour away from home. Searching for deals is not something she can fit into her schedule. She just does not have the time or energy. What she needs are meals that are cheap without coupons.  There are lots of resources out there for meals that are inexpensive.  One of my favorite go to places is the $5 dollar dinner Mom.

But hey, I think to myself, I have a recipe or two that fits the bill.  So with recipe in hand I went out to the store to search out the ingredients.  If you are a local to my town, you may have seen me that day with recipes in hand :-).  I checked each recipe out separately so you can see the sales slip.  See the total below?  I did not include the cheese, cheese is not frugal at $2 to $3 a pack.  I did happen to get a bunch of Velveeta crumbles though for $.79 a pack with a $5 off 5 coupon.  But she is not a coupon-er remember?  She had few crumbles of cheese in the refrigerator and a few tablespoons of sour cream which she used as topping.  My sister thought this recipe was a keeper and asked me to come back and make it again next week.

I will never forget the first time I attempted to serve Rice and Beans to my husband. He looked in the pot and asked where the meat was. I had to laugh out loud. He is definitely the meat and potatoes kind of guy. He is, however, always grateful to have a nice meal cooked for him so he graciously tried it. You know what happened after that? He came back and said, "you know, that was very good after all". Indeed it is.

The inspiration for this recipe is my favorite fast food freezer meal from Lean Cuisine.  This is my Lean Cuisine Santa-Fe Style Rice and Beans copycat recipe.

2 cups white or brown rice (uncooked)
4 cups Water
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup salsa
1 tablespoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
1 can black beans, slightly drained
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.  
  • Cover and cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Add cheese and sour cream (optional, and not included in low cost recipe) and mix well.

To serve the next day or from the freezer, top with a mexican blend of cheese and heat in microwave for a few minutes.

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