Recently, my husband and I paid off close to $30,000 in credit card debt. Now, I’m not proud that we accrued that much non-mortgage debt but I’m extremely proud that we managed to pay it off. It was hard work, too. We had to forgo a lot of things–like vacations and desperately needed new cars–but we learned a lot of new skills, like living on a budget and learning to save before we make huge purchases. All of this would not have been possible without the lessons we learned from Dave Ramsey.
If you’re not familiar with Dave Ramsey’s plan, he focuses on what he calls 7 baby steps and advocates using the debt snowball method for paying down debt. He also frequently advocates getting “gazelle intense” about paying down debt. One of the elements of getting gazelle intense is eating “beans and rice, rice and beans”. Although it’s intended to be a metaphor, there’s actually some merit to eating that way. Beans are healthy, nutritions, have more protein than one would think and they’re cheap!
But eating beans and rice every day can be exceptionally boring. So, in an effort to spice up the beans and rice, rice and beans diet, I’ve come up with a 7 day menu plan. All of the dishes can be used for dinners and the leftovers can be used for lunch. I’ve also included links to all the recipes:
Day 1: Chick Pea macaroni (note: I used water rather than chicken stock and white wine. I also used whatever noodles I had on hand. I did not buy special noodles just for this recipe.)
Day 2: Black Bean burgers (note: I have never used the food processor nor have I grilled the burgers on a barbeque. I just chop the veggies up finely and set the oven to broil. They still come out delicious.)
Day 3: Lentil stew
Day 4: Cajun lentils (note: I used a can of tomatoes since I didn’t have fresh tomatoes left. I also used Mrs. Dash southwest chipotle seasoning rather than cajun seasoning as that’s what I had available.)
Day 5: Chili (note: This is just one of the chili recipes that I use. It can be made a lot simpler by just using some beans, a can of tomatoes and an onion or green pepper and a packet of chili seasoning mix. I have also noticed that the chocolate chips have no effect on the taste so I recommed leaving them out)
Day 6: Mexican pasta (note: I typically leave out the olives and use any kind of pasta that I have on hand.)
Day 7: Leftovers! All of these recipes make a lot of food so your fridge will be full of containers at the end of the week. Just put them out and let everyone pick a favorite!
All of the meals can be rounded out with homemade rolls or rice, except for the pasta dishes which can already be considered complete meals (they have a starch, protein and veggies).
For inexpensive breakfast ideas, add some oatmeal or homemade muffins. Don’t forget to add some milk and fruit to your shopping list. Bananas and apples are usually inexpensive and are quite tasty! If those are too expensive, canned fruit can be a good substitute if you make sure to drain and rinse them and separate them into the appropriate portion sizes.
To save some extra money, you can buy dried beans rather than canned. I prefer canned beans, with the exception of lentils, mainly for the convenience factor. I will admit that it’s definitely cheaper to buy the dried beans, and you get more food with the dried beans rather than the canned but sometimes I’m just lazy and want the ease of opening a can.
So there you have it. A week’s worth of meals, all involving beans, and none are traditional beans and rice. A menu plan like this should cost around $60, depending on sales and availability of generics (ex., at my grocery store, it is often difficult to find generic beans but the sale price is usually pretty good) and can feed a family of 4. And the money you save from a meal plan like this is money you can add towards your emergency fund or debt snowball!