Beans and Legumes

Black Beans and Rice with Bacon and Andouille Sausage

Success-thai-jasmine-white-rice-the-cheap-gourmetAs a food blogger, I am often asked to test and review products. Such is the case with Success® Rice. You're likely familiar with the brand, as they revolutionized the boil-in-bag process; making it a breeze to prepare perfect rice in 10 minutes.

Success Rice sent a package of their fragrant Thai Jasmine white rice, which has a nutty flavor and flowery fragrance. Jasmine rice is one of my favorites and I use it often.

I was given free reign to prepare any type of dish I wanted. As one who loves to experiment with different techniques and flavor profiles, I decided to try a Brazilian-Thai fusion entree.

I scoured Success Rice Pinterest page for ideas. I was inspired by several pins and am now armed with a new arsenal of rice recipes. It offers a wealth of information and great options for easy family dinners, comfort foods, lunch recipes, seasonal dishes and much more.

I also visited the Success Rice website, which offers hundreds of recipes for everything from breakfast to dessert. They have a great Healthy Living section and provide an abundance of product information, cooking tips, and frequently asked cooking questions.

The following recipe is a take on Brazilian black bean stew and Thai garlic butter rice. 


Black Beans and Rice with Bacon and Andouille Sausage
Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


 Bacon, Sausage, Black Bean Stew

 4-5 slices hickory smoked Bacon, diced

2 links Andouille Sausage, quartered and diced

1/2 large White Onion, finely chopped

1 medium Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped

2 (16 oz) cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed

3 large Garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp dried Oregano

1 tsp dried Parsley

1 tsp Adobo seasoning

1 tsp ground Cumin

1 tsp ground Black Pepper

1 Bay leaf

2 cups Beef Broth

1 medium Tomato, medium chopped

2 individual packages Success Jasmine Rice


 1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add chopped bacon and stir frequently to render fat. Cook until edges begin to brown, then add sausage. Stir together and cook for about 5 minutes or until sausage skin begins to crisp.

 2. Add onion and green pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes until onion becomes translucent. Stir frequently.

 3. Add the black beans, garlic, seasonings, and bay leaf. Stir together and cook for 2-3 minutes.

 4. Add beef broth and reduce heat to medium low. The stew needs to simmer for about 25 minutes, or until beans begin to break down and easily mashed with a fork.

 5. In a large saucepan, add 3 quarts water and rice packages.  Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes. 

 6. Remove rice with tongs or fork and drain thoroughly. Cut bag open and pour into a serving dish.

 7. Add chopped tomatoes and gently fold into stew.

8. Transfer stew to a bowl and serve items side by side or spoon the stew on top of the rice.


I'm very glad I had the opportunity to experiment with Success Jasmine Rice and hope I've inspired you to try something new. One thing is certain, the company lives up to their name and provides a no-fail rice that is aromatic, flavorful and easy to prepare.

 Get more recipe ideas from Success Rice via their Facebook page and join their "Riceipe Club"┬« to receive coupons and special offers, contests and sweepstakes, customer surveys, product taste tests, and e-newsletters. 

Black-eyed Peas Salsa Recipe

I was introduced to black-eyed peas salsa while dining at Flip Flops; a favorite local restaurant that became famous when head chef, Chef Danny Veltri won the reality TV show, Hell's Kitchen. Flip Flops serves used to serve the salsa to bar patrons and diners as they awaited their meals.

I became addicted to black-eyed peas salsa the first time it crossed my lips. One of Flip Flops bartenders, who just happens to be the brother of Executive Chef, Erik Amalfitano, shared the ingredients so I could make the salsa at home. The recipe has become a staple in our house and is the first appetizer I make for guests. Everyone loves this salsa and I hope it becomes a favorite for you as well!


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Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes


1 (15.8 oz) can Seasoned Blackeye Peas, drained
1 medium Celery stalk, sliced thin
1/4 Red Onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Drain blackeye peas and place in medium size container.
2. Add celery, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
3. Mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
4. Serve with tortilla chips or flat bread.

Fresh Green Beans with Shallots and Ginger Recipe

Today, I'd like to share my favorite fresh green beans with shallots and ginger recipe. Ingredients are sauteed in coconut oil; a healthy saturated fat known to fight off harmful bacteria and aid in digestion. One cup of these flavor-bursting beans provides 9.3 grams of protein, has zero-cholesterol and relatively lo-cal at 272 calories per serving.


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Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes


1 tablespoon Coconut oil
1 medium Shallot, peeled and sliced into thin rings
1/2 teaspoon Ginger, freshly grated
1 pound Green beans, fresh, trimmed and cut into 1/2" pieces
1/4 teaspoon Thyme leaves, fresh
1/2 cup Water
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup toasted Almonds, chopped


1. Heat olive oil over medium heat, in a large skillet.
2. Add shallots and cook until translucent.
3. Add ginger and heat 5 minutes.
4. Add green beans and cook 5 minutes.
5. Add thyme and water, reduce heat to low and cover.
6. Steam until green beans are bright green and tender but still with a bit of crunch. Salt and pepper to taste.
7. Transfer beans to a serving dish and top with chopped almonds.

You might also enjoy Four Ways to Prepare Fresh Green Beans; a collection of green bean recipes that include: fresh steamed green beans, grilled green beans, sesame green beans and Italian green beans with potatoes and Parmesan cheese.

The Diva Diet The Diva Diet, by Kathy Browning

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Diva Delicious Chickpea Salad Recipe

Spring has finally sprung and many of us are ready to shed those extra winter pounds. This month, The Cheap Gourmet will be presenting low calorie, high flavor recipes that are easy to prepare. Recipes are taken from my cookbook, The Diva Diet, which I co-authored with Heidi Whitaker; an autoimmune disease expert.

Today, I'd like to share one of my favorite spring salads, Diva Delicious Chickpea Salad. One cup of this tasty bean salad offers nearly 8 grams of protein; making it a great choice for a quick pick-me-up. This zero-cholesterol dish is also low-calorie at only 153 calories per cup. Better yet, it is easy to prepare and is perfect for serving at cook-outs and family gatherings.


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Serves 3
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours
Ready in: 2 hours, 15 minutes


1/4 cup Parsley, fresh, minced
1/4 cup Onion, white, minced
1 Garlic, clove, minced
6 tablespoons Lemon juice, fresh
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1-1/2 cups Chickpeas, drained
1-1/2 cups Zucchini, diced


1. Whisk together everything but the chickpeas and zucchini.
2. Stir in the chickpeas and zucchini.
3. Let marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours for flavors to blend.

The Diva Diet The Diva Diet, by Kathy Browning

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Gourmet Red Beans and Rice Recipe

Tired of the same old red beans and rice recipe? Looking for a way to spice up this protein-packed, high carbohydrate meal? If so, you're going to love today's gourmet red beans and rice recipe. Best, of all, it's easy to prepare and is super affordable.

My husband was raised on red beans and rice. When I suggest making it for dinner, he gives me that "I'll eat it if I have to, but I'd rather not" look. Personally, I could eat red beans and rice at least three times a week. I love it!

Did you know that eating a high carbohydrate meal before bedtime can help you sleep better? I'm an insomniac. Or, maybe I'm a night owl. I've always been one who prefers to stay up 'till the wee hours of the morning and sleep in. That's why I love being self-employed as a writer. I can make my own hours and don't have to crawl out of bed at the crack of dawn. But, I digress...

I haven't been sleeping well lately and really needed a good night of rest. I knew red beans and rice would do the trick, but also knew my husband would prefer something else. So, I decided to get a little creative and see how I could jazz the recipe up to suit both of our tastes.

We were blown away by the results and think you will be too! I used Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice New Orleans Style box mix. Personally, I think their brand is the best. It doesn't leave an aftertaste in your mouth like some of the other packaged red beans and rice mixes. For those reducing their salt intake, Zatarain's has three new reduced sodium products, one of which is red beans and rice.

In case your wondering, I had a wonderful night of sleep after consuming this meal. If you have trouble sleeping, I hope this recipe can help you get your zzzzz's.


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Serves: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes


1 box Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice New Orleans Style
1/2 package Johnsonville New Orleans Brand Smoked Sausage (3 sausages, sliced 1-inch thick, then quartered)
2 Toufayan Bakeries Whole Wheat Flatbreads
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded


  1. Slice Johnsonville New Orleans Smoke Sausage into 1-inch thick rounds, then slice rounds into halves or quarters, depending on your preference.
  2. In a 2-quart pot, add sausage and cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until edges start to brown. Place a paper towel on a small plate and place sausage on top to drain.
  3. Add sausage to Zatarain's Red Beans as Rice and cook per package instructions.
  4. Place one Toufayan Whole Wheat Flatbread on a plate.
  5. Top with red beans and rice and spread mixture to the edges.
  6. Top with 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese and serve immediately.
Red Beans and Rice topped with cheddar cheese

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White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Parmesan Recipe

I enjoy all types of cooking; however my two favorite styles are baking and making soups. Maybe it's because my mom was such an amazing baker and maker of soups? I wonder if there is a specific gene that makes one good at cooking??

Last week, I helped my husband clean out our garage. My motivational factor was that I knew I had some old cookbooks and recipes cards stored out there. Imagine my surprise when I discovered two 3-inch notebooks filled with recipes I created (or helped create) at the health food store I worked for back in the early 90s.

That was by far my favorite food service job. My boss was Mother Earth. A total hippie with a love for health food. She had the ability to take any high-fat, calorie-rich recipe and turn it into something good for you. She could make a meatloaf out of tofu and no one could tell the difference. She made an amazing flour-less chocolate torte out of carob. Her healthy revisions always tasted as good as, if not better than, the original dish.

Growing up, my mom made the best Ham and Bean Soup and served it with cornbread. She slathered the top of the cornbread with a half stick of butter, then dipped pieces of it in the soup. Talk about heaven! She used the ham bone to season the soup and included generous chunks of ham. I vividly remember her saying, "It's not ham and bean soup without plenty of HAM!"

One day, Leslie (my boss) and I were talking about mom's bean soup. At the time I was practicing Vegetarianism, but had been craving ham and bean soup. It was a slow day, so we decided to do a little experimenting and develop a healthier version.

The following is the concoction we came up with. Cornbread is the perfect accompaniment with this soup; however, I highly recommend eliminating that half stick of butter. A teaspoon will do just fine or if you're adventurous try using organic coconut oil. It adds a wonderful sweet, coconut-y flavor. A crispy, French baguette or whole wheat dinner roll is another option.


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Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours







1-1/2 cups dried small White (Navy) Beans
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Onion (yellow or white), finely chopped
1 medium Carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk Celery, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary, minced
7 cups Chicken or Vegetable stock (substitute with water, if desired)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 Tablespoon fresh Parsley, chopped


  1. Pick over and discard any damaged beans or stones. Place beans in colander and throughly rinse.
  2. Place beans in a large bowl, add enough water to cover and soak for about 3 hours.
  3. Drain beans and set aside. In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add onion, carrot and celery and saute until the vegetables are soft; about 10 minutes. Stir frequently.
  4. Add garlic and rosemary and continue to saute for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Add drained beans and the chicken or vegetable stock, or water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. When beans are fork-tender, soup is done.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  7. Place one-third of the bean mixture in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade.
  8. Puree until smooth. Pour the pureed soup back into soup pot and reheat gently.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Transfer soup to individual bowls. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.


NOTE: You can use canned white beans, if desired. Doing so will reduce the cooking time to around 20-30 minutes. Feel free to substitute different types of beans such as cannellini (white kidney beans), Great Northern or Lima beans.

Gourmet Italian Side Dish

Green-beans-potatoes-tomato-the-cheap-gourmetGourmet Italian Potatoes, Tomatoes and Green Beans

I am a huge fan of Giada DeLaurentis of Everyday Italian at the Food Network. If you haven't watched her show, and you love Italian food, you should tune in. You'll be glad you did!

Her recipe for Gourmet Italian Potatoes, Tomatoes and Green Beans has quickly become one of our favorite side dishes. It's super easy to make and for about $5.00, you have a delicious tasting, healthy side dish that will serve four.


2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 14-ounce can whole White Potatoes
1 14-ounce can cut Green Beans
1 14-ounce can diced Italian Tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese blend


In a large skillet or WOK pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Drain water from the potatoes and dice potatoes into quarters, or smaller depending on the size of the potato. You want them to be about 1/2-inch bite-sized pieces.

Cook potatoes for about 5 minutes. Drain green beans and add to potatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain juice from tomatoes and add to potato mixture. Stir ingredients together and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top of the mixture; transfer to serving bowl and serve.

NOTE: You can alter this recipe and use regular Idaho potatoes, fresh green beans and tomatoes; however, you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. You can add minced garlic and diced onions if you like. Just saute them prior to adding the other ingredients.


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