Food stamp recipes

You asked and here it is: More about the meal plan and recipes dietitian Stephanie Norris and I used for Sunday's column to shop healthy for a family of four on a food stamp budget.

I actually used a lot of the dinners I cook often for my family and Stephanie helped me round out the breakfasts and lunches. Our goal was to keep these meals simple. They all take about 30 minutes or less to prepare.

I'll start with one of my absolute favorites, black beans and rice. I love this because you can keep it meatless (and cheaper) or add strips of baked or grilled chicken or fish. It's also kid-friendly because they can add cheese or other toppings they like.

Black beans and rice

1 can black beans (undrained)

1 cup brown rice

1/2 onion chopped

1 green pepper chopped

tsp minced garlic (this is economical if you buy the large jar and it lasts for months)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp oregano

1 packet Goya sazon without annato (these come in a box with about a dozen packets)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar (can also use white vinegar or leave it out depending on what you have on hand)

Saute onion and green pepper in a pan with olive oil. Add black beans. Add about a half can of water. Then add your seasonings. You can also add cumin if you have it or a little pepper. Cook your rice separately according to instructions on package.

Serve the beans over the rice. This is great on its own. But you like, you can add a few strips of chicken or fish on top. To pack on some extra greens, I top with fresh spinich or other greens or, if I have it, avocado.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Meat Sauce

This is another family favorite. Sometimes my kids won't eat the meat sauce so I mix their whole wheat pasta with a little olive oil and cheese and they love it. Here's how I do the red sauce. I basically doctor up a jar of sauce to give it some extra flavor, veggies.

1/2 or 1lb lean ground beef (depending on how much you need)

half onion (use other half from the black beans)

green pepper if you have it