Instant Pot Black Beans

Well, it’s mid-March and the year is just running by, full speed ahead. After our wild snow storm in Texas last month, I’ve never been so relieved to see Spring. My second baby is about to turn one in a few weeks *cue the ugly crying*, spring break is here, the time change is looming, and our red bud tree in the backyard is starting to blossom. Even though I’m relieved that spring has sprung, and I’m enjoying seeing the “rebirth” of nature, I am sad that time is moving so quickly – it’s like each day slips through my fingers like sand. These days are filled with equally precious and hard moments of motherhood that I won’t get back.

Part of the reason time is moving so quickly is that we have been extra busy over here. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen that we have Selah (our baby) in physical therapy right now. She has both low and high muscle tone and is struggling with gross motor development. For the last three weeks or so we have had about 3-4 appointments a week between the chiropractor, PT, and other meetings with the therapists. However, after seeing improvement after just two PT sessions, I am encouraged that this busy season won’t last too long. But, wow! 3-4 appointments a week, on top of regular mom life, on top of two part time jobs, I just feel like I don’t have much extra time. Especially for cooking.

Enter: the Instant Pot. This little kitchen gadget has become all the rage in years past, and after receiving one for a Christmas present in 2019 I can see why! To be honest, I was a little terrified of it blowing up, and was hesitant to get started using it, but once I did, I started with beans, and I was sold! The first bean recipe I made in the Instant Pot was red beans, and even with the time it takes to get to pressure, then cook, then release (side note: I hate that Instant Pot recipes don’t account for that time – I learned quickly not to trust the “15 minutes” marking on a recipe), what would normally be an all day venture only took 90 minutes, and the beans came out the perfect creamy texture! Next I tackled black beans. We eat black beans and rice often for a cheap, plant-based meal; then I get to use the leftover black beans throughout the week to top fajitas, tacos, salads, and even scrambled eggs. So if you want to save time and money with this quick and easy dinner and/or side, keep reading for the recipe!

Instant Pot Black Beans

Ingredients

  • One medium bell pepper, chopped
  • One half of a yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 pound of
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of chili powder
  • Optional for serving: rice
  • Optional toppings: avocado, lime, cilantro, jalapenos, scallions/red onions

Directions

  1. Cover beans with water and soak for at least three hours, or up to overnight. This is optional, but I find that it helps with digestion and less “tootie booties” as we say in our house hehe!
  2. Once beans are done soaking, drain and toss remaining water.
  3. Turn on “sauté” feature and cook bell pepper and onion in olive oil until tender and beginning to brown.
  4. Turn off Instant Pot and add garlic, stirring to get the garlic warm but not toasty.
  5. Add broth and water, scraping the bottom of the pot to get up any browned bits.
  6. Add in beans and seasonings.
  7. Select “pressure cook” and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, allowing a 20 minute natural release at the end.
  8. Serve warm with rice and toppings, or as a side dish.
  9. Keep leftover beans in remaining liquid, cover and refrigerate for up to five days.

If you haven’t yet boarded the Instant Pot train, I hope you’ll check out my slow cooker recipes here, here, and here. Save some time in the kitchen…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Roasted Chicken with Carrots

chicken1

Money, Money, Money!

A hot topic when you’re trying to eat healthier is MONEY! How do you stay within a reasonable budget and feed your family well? It is not as hard as you may think; there are tons of creative ways to save money and stretch your dollar at the store. Healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive or pretentious. We’re about to get real here and talk… budget.

One of my favorite ways to save money is to buy a whole chicken. I roast it, we have leftovers for days, then I make broth with the bones. For our family of three, we can have four meals from one six pound chicken. Guess how much I paid for my last six pound chicken? $4.74!!! It was on sale for $.79 a pound! Add a $.79 bag of carrots and some potatoes (on average 2-4 dollars per five pound bag), and you’ve got a few healthy meals for under ten dollars! *insert happy dance here*

So was my cheap chicken organic and pasture raised? Unfortunately, no. While I want to be able to buy everything grass fed/pasture raised/organic, we are simply not able to do so on our budget. My husband is an E5 in the Marine Corps, and I am currently staying at home with our daughter; right now, we have a tight budget, but I am doing the best I can to feed our family healthy, real foods.

Don’t guilt yourself if you can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods, or if you have to dig through the “reduced” bin at the store; you’re doing the best you can for your family. What do you think is healthier: a “regular” chicken from the grocery store, or a bucket of Colonel Sanders’ chicken? The answer is obvious, and, actually cheaper! (4.74 vs a 20 dollar 10 piece bucket)

The bottom line is just do what is right for your family. If you can afford grass fed beef, pasture raised chicken, and organic produce, that’s wonderful and I’m a little jealous, but you should buy it! If you can’t, get what you can afford! I shop at our base commissary, Walmart, and Aldi; I use coupons, I buy in bulk (I bought a ten pound bag of chicken leg quarters yesterday for $5!), and I shamelessly dig through the “reduced” bin of frozen meat. All to save us money while still eating healthy. You know how people ask what you would do if you won a million dollars? Well, I would go to the grocery store and NOT get out my calculator! Big spender!

Okay, enough talk about budget, let’s get to the chicken. Some ideas for leftovers: shred and add sauces (like hot sauce or BBQ) to top baked potatoes or salads, make sandwiches, or chicken salad! Then be sure to save the bones for a nutritious, low sodium chicken broth for all the soups you’ll be making this fall! This chicken is simple, healthy, and cheap, and it makes the perfect centerpiece for either a weeknight or a nice Sunday meal. Add some of my Roasted Potatoes or Creamy Whole30 Mashed Potatoes for the side, and if you want more veggies other than carrots, try my Crispy Brussels Sprouts. There you have it; a simple, budget friendly, healthy, complete meal!

roastchicken2.jpg

Roasted Chicken with Carrots

Serves 10. 

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 pound chicken
  • One lemon, cut in half
  • One head of garlic, cut in half widthwise
  • Two stalks of celery, cut in half
  • 1/4-1/2 tbsp kosher salt (I use kosher because it makes a better crust on the skin)
  • 1/4-1/2 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 6-8 large carrots, quartered lengthwise

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Set quartered carrots on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish
  • Season with a little salt and pepper
  • Remove giblets and neck from bird, if necessary
  • Dry inside and out with paper towels
  • Season liberally inside and out with salt and pepper
  • Stuff the cavity with lemon, celery, and garlic
  • Season the outside with the dried herbs
  • Tie the ends of the drumsticks together with twine and tuck the ends of the wings into the bird
  • Set on top of bed of carrots
  • Roast for 70-90 minutes, until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F
  • Baste with juices
  • Let rest for 10-15 minutes

You will feel so fancy roasting a whole chicken, and it truly is a great way to save money. Not to mention, delicious! Feed your family well, keep your budget on track…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!