5 Ways to Spice Up Your Weeknight Dinners With a Can of Beans
After a hectic day, who wouldn't love to come home to an elaborate, home-cooked meal? But between work, errands, and the regular hustle of the day-to-day, eating something like slow-cooked ragu on a Tuesday isn't always realistic, and go-to's like chicken and rice can get stale on their own. But, good news; there are effortless ways to bring flavor and versatility to the dinner table — and it can be as easy as reaching into the pantry.
To help elevate your weeknight menu, we've created a lineup of recipes that lean on the goodness of simple, nutritional, and affordable pantry staples, like beans. Getting a dinner on the table that tastes like it's been cooking all day is easy thanks to the power of Bush's Sidekicks™. These beans do most of the work for you; they're pre-seasoned and slow simmered with the herbs, spices, and vegetables — and they pack a flavor punch. From a quick orzo salad to chipotle chicken tacos, scroll through to find new family-favorite, bean-focused meals that are perfect for your weeknight rotation.
Monday: Mediterranean-Style Orzo Salad
This salad is a good way to use up those odds and ends in the back of your refrigerator: that half-used red onion, the leftover pepper from your morning omelet, and the remnants from the pint of cherry tomatoes. But the core of this dish gets its flavor from Bush's Sidekicks Rustic Tuscany Chickpeas; ready-to-eat, seasoned chickpeas that are cooked low and slow in a Mediterranean-inspired sauce. Not to mention, this meal also brings additional protein and fiber thanks to the chickpeas.
Boil orzo in heavily salted water. While that's going, prepare the rest of the dish; halve the cherry tomatoes, dice the red onion and the green pepper, and open a can of nutritious and fiber-rich Rustic Tuscany Chickpeas. When the orzo is done cooking, drain it then transfer to a large bowl. Mix in the prepped ingredients, the juice of one lemon, and salt and pepper. To serve, divide the orzo salad among bowls, then garnish with crumbled feta cheese and olive oil.
Tuesday: Savory Southwest-Inspired Chicken and Rice Bowl
Chicken and rice is a staple across the world, and for good reason; it's a tried-and-true comfort meal that comes together using kitchen staples. This southwest-inspired take incorporates salsa, corn, and Monterey Jack cheese to bring depth, while a can of seasoned pinto beans is a quick way to increase the dish's protein and flavor.
Prepare the rice according to the package instructions. While that's cooking, mix half a cup of pico de gallo salsa with a cup of cooked, shredded chicken. When the rice is done, portion out the rice and chicken into microwave-safe bowls. Top each bowl with corn, pinto beans, and shredded cheese. Cover the bowl and microwave until hot. Serve with fresh cilantro, leftover salsa, and a lime wedge.
Wednesday: Chipotle Chicken Tacos
Instead of slow roasting chicken until it's fall-apart-tender, this variation uses rotisserie chicken as a shortcut. Another way to boost the flavors in this weeknight staple is by adding seasoned black beans for a quick (and easy) flavor kick. A can of Bush's Sidekicks Taco Fiesta Black Beans does most of the heavy lifting here, with rich black beans that have been slow-simmered in a blend of smoky spices. The beans combine with the chicken for delicious and easy-to-make tacos.
Start by shredding up a rotisserie chicken — you can do this by hand or using two forks — then chop up a few chipotles from a can of chipotles in adobo. In a small saucepan, combine the chicken, chipotles in adobo sauce, and a tablespoon of honey, then cook over medium heat until the mixture is warmed through. Using your choice of tortillas, add the shredded chicken mixture and a spoonful of Taco Fiesta Black Beans, then top with fresh cilantro and a drizzle of sour cream. Warm the remaining beans and serve on the side with guacamole.
Thursday: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quinoa Salad
You're almost to the end of the week and you're looking for something that's healthy and fulfilling to get you through. That's where this quinoa salad comes in. You can save time by using already-prepped ingredients, like frozen roasted sweet potatoes, a can of black beans in a mild, Jamaican-inspired sauce, some canned veggies, and store-bought dressing. Once combined, the ingredients come together to create a bright and satiating weeknight staple.
Cook the quinoa according to its package directions. While the quinoa cooks, prepare the rest of the salad; steam the roasted sweet potatoes in the microwave, then while they cool chop jarred roasted red peppers, drain and rinse a can of black beans, as well as a can of corn. Once the quinoa has cooked and cooled down, portion it out into bowls. Top each bowl with some sweet potato, black beans, and corn. Finish with slices of fresh avocado and cilantro (if you've got 'em!), and drizzle on a bit of your favorite salad dressing.
Friday: Savory Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs With Beans
Chicken cooked to perfection is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. You know, the kind that has dry, crispy skin and tender, juicy meat. Pan-seared chicken thighs accomplish just that in this dish, and maximize flavor thanks to savory pinto beans. Instead of slow-simmering dried beans for hours on end, this version uses a can of Bush's Sidekicks Slow-Cooked N' Savory Pinto Beans as a shortcut. The beans also help to increase the nutritional value of this already-easy dish, making it perfect for the start of your weekend.
Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel then brush with olive oil. In a bowl, combine paprika, garlic, onion and thyme and mix. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then coat thoroughly with the seasoning mixture. In a large, heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Cook the chicken skin-side down, until golden brown. Flip and cook until golden on the other side — about 12 minutes per side. Meanwhile, heat up a can of Slow-Cooked N' Savory Pinto Beans, either in a saucepan on the stovetop, or in a microwave-safe bowl. Divide the chicken thighs among plates and serve alongside the pinto beans. Finish each plate with your favorite veggie or side salad.