Pinto Bean Chili Recipe

I’m looking for a recipe for a pinto bean chili (with or without beef) with the flavor of a canned chili, or something like the chili sold at Steak N Shake. Thanks!


From the Hillbilly Housewife:

I found a copy cat Steak N Shake chili recipe. It’s made with kidney beans instead of pintos but I think it’s worth trying. You can easily replace the types of beans you use and even leave out the meat. I think the key is the addition of cola. It will give it that nice sweet taste you find in both a canned chili and this copy cat version.

Copycat Steak N Shake Chili Recipe
  • 2 lbs Ground Beef
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons Cocoa
  • 2 13.5oz Cans Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 6oz Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 13.5oz Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Cup of Cola
  1. Start by cooking the ground beef in a pan on the stove. Cook it until it's nicely browned, then drain it and put it in a blow. Add all remaining ingredients, except the beans.
  2. Use an immersion blender to blend everything together. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can also run it through your blender in batches as needed.
  3. Pour this puree into your crockpot. Add he beans and cook on low for 6 hours before serving.

 Do you have a recipe for Ali to try? Please share it in the comments below. Thank you! 

Copy Cat Chili Recipe


White Beans with Red Pepper

We love beans in any way shape or form around here. They are a frugal staple, healthy and very versatile. When you’re ready to step it up and make some “sophisticated” bean dishes, give these white beans with red peppers and pesto a try.

The recipe is from the Thrifty bean cookbook and is the most elaborate dish in the cookbook. Don’t let the long ingredient list turn you off from trying this though. It’s delicious. You can also omit the pesto, or use your favorite pesto in a jar.

Red Pepper White Beans
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. great northern beans, dried
  • 10 cups water, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1½ cups onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup (from a jar) roasted red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  1. Start by preparing the pesto: add the garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, water, salt, pepper, basil and Parmesan cheese to a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Now prepare the beans: first, sort and wash them. Add the beans and 4 cups of water to a 6 quart pressure cooker. Cover and make sure lid is tightly closed and over high heat, bring to a high pressure. Reduce the heat to medium (or a level that will keep the high pressure) and cook for 3 minutes. Place the pressure cooker under cold running water; remove lid and drain the beans.
  3. Put the beans back in the cooker and add 6 cups of water, olive oil, sage, garlic and onion. Put lid on and make sure it’s securely in place; bring to high pressure over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium (or a level that will keep the high pressure) and cook for 12 minutes. Put the cooker under cold running water. Now remove the lid off the pressure cooker and let the bean mixture stand for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the mixture (beans) into a colander that is sitting over a bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the liquid. Place the beans back into the pressure cooker; add the 1 cup reserved liquid. Now add the vinegar, bell peppers, salt and pepper. Stir well to mix everything together. Top the beans with the pesto sauce.


White Beans with Red Pepper

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

Do you like the idea of cooking dried beans from scratch, but don’t think you have time to stir the pots for hours and hours?

I have a great solution for you. Cook your beans in your slowcooker.

Yes, it takes a little planning ahead, but you’ll come home to a nice big pot of cooked beans. I serve this with my favorite cornbread and some chopped onion.

From the “Thrifty Bean Cookbook” (Kindle Cookbook)

Pinto Beans From the Slowcooker
  • 1 lb. dry pinto beans
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ lb. ham hocks
  • ½ tsp. oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • House Seasoning:
  • ¼ cup garlic powder
  • 1 cup salt
  • ¼ cup pepper
  1. Soak the beans in cold water overnight. Drain and dump into a slow cooker. Add the oregano and chili powder and stir to mix.
  2. In a separate pot, soak the ham hock for 2 hours. (You can also soak, refrigerated, overnight if you wish). Add to the slow cooker and add the liquid from soaking the ham. If the ham hock is not fully covered, add more water. Now add the onion and stir well.
  3. Now make the house dressing by mixing together the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Use this seasoning to season the beans.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for about 5 hours or until beans are very tender.


Pinto Beans cooked in a slowcooker and served with a side of cornbread.

Indian Lentil and Rice Bake

Beans and rice are the basis of many a frugal meal. The only problem is that it can get a bit boring if you don’t venture out of your usual cuisine. This Indian food inspired dish is the perfect way to spice things up. Full of brown rice and lentils it will fill you up while the spices, onion, raisins and pine nuts turn it into a delicious meal. Baking this dish give it the great texture. Serve it with some hardy homemade bread for a delicious supper.

Indian Rice and Lentil Bake
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup uncooked lentils
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  1. Put the onion and oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, until onion softens.
  2. Add the uncooked rice to the skillet, stir, cooking for 2 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the tomato paste, water, cinnamon, and lentils until blended well, then pour into the skillet with the rice.
  4. Bring the mixture in skillet to a gentle boil, turn heat to low, cover skillet and simmer slowly for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil or butter an 8x8 baking dish.
  6. After mixture has simmered for 30 minutes in skillet, uncover the skillet and add the salt, raisins, and pine nuts, stirring to combine.
  7. Now pour mixture into prepared baking dish, cover dish and put in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until mixture is bubbling hot and rice and lentils are fully cooked.
  8. Remove and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.


Indian Rice and Lentil Bake

Kidney Beans And Rice

This rice bowl is such a great versatile recipe. You can cook it in big batches and between the rice, the sausage and the kidney beans it really fills you up. If you’re cooking this for young kids, you may want to omit the hot sauce and cayenne pepper while you’re cooking. Adults can add it to their taste later.

Feel free to play around with this recipe. If you don’t have kidney beans in the pantry, fix it with some rinsed black beans or even pintos instead You can use any small bits of leftover chicken, pork, sausage and the likes instead of the smoked sausage the recipe calls for.

Rice Bowl With Kidney Beans and Smoked Sausage
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 cans (16 oz ea) red kidney beans, plus 2 cans water
  • 8 oz cooked smoked sausage, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ tsp any Creole seasoning blend
  • ¼ tsp hot sauce
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  1. Get rice cooking according to package directions.
  2. While rice is cooking, put the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir together and simmer for about 25 minutes or until rice is done cooking.
  3. Put the cooked rice in the saucepan with the kidney bean sauce, stir, taste and season if needed. Continue to heat over low heat until nice and hot then spoon into large bowls and serve immediately.


A bowl of rice and red beans

Easy Black Bean and Rice Recipe

This is such a great simple dish. It goes together quickly and is very filling. I serve it with a side salad for a weeknight dinner or with some grilled chicken or fish in the summer. We also often double the recipe, add a simple green salad and call it dinner. It’s quick, filling and cheap.

Black Beans And Rice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can (14½ ounces) stewed tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano, dried
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, undrained
  • 1½ cups instant brown rice, uncooked
  1. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook until tender. Now add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Add the rice and mix well. Cover the saucepan with a lid, reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


Black Beans and Rice and Shredded Beef Sandwich


Thrifty Bean CookbookThe Thrifty Bean Cookbook

Ready to cook some beans? Not only are beans a great way to add high quality nutrients to your family’s diet, but they are versatile too. You can easily adjust flavoring or start out with a big pot of pintos to have with corn bread the first night, then turn them refried beans for bean burritos the following night.

You can use them as a main dish by serving them over rice, with tuna or serve them as a side dish. Here are 35 savory bean recipes from simple frugal dinners to dishes you can make for company.

Get your copy of the Thrifty Bean Cookbook today and start cooking.

Toasted Garbanzo Beans – A Yummy Snack That’s Good For You

One of our favorite healthy snacks is toasted garbanzo beans. They are yummy, crunchy and you can adjust the seasonings to your taste. Today I’d like to share one of my favorite recipes using these chick peas with you. It’s from my latest Kindle Cookbook “The Thrifty Bean Cookbook: 35 Bean Recipes To Warm Your Heart & Your Belly “. Feel free to experiment with different combinations from what I am sharing below.

Spiced Garbanzo Beans
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
  • ½ cup peeled and minced shallot
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes, crushed
  • 2 cans (15½ ounces each) garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp. cumin, ground
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. ginger, ground
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup cilantro, fresh and chopped
  1. In a large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot fry the mustard seeds until they begin to pop and then add the shallot and red pepper flakes and sauté until the shallot is soft. Now add the beans, cumin, turmeric, ginger, salt and pepper. Toast the beans gently over medium heat, moving them around constantly. Sprinkle cilantro over beans and serve.

Cooked garbanzo beans.Thrifty Bean CookbookThe Thrifty Bean Cookbook

Ready to cook some beans? Not only are beans a great way to add high quality nutrients to your family’s diet, but they are versatile too. You can easily adjust flavoring or start out with a big pot of pintos to have with corn bread the first night, then turn them refried beans for bean burritos the following night.

You can use them as a main dish by serving them over rice, with tuna or serve them as a side dish. Here are 35 savory bean recipes from simple frugal dinners to dishes you can make for company.

Get your copy of the Thrifty Bean Cookbook today and start cooking.


True South Hoppin John

We’ve been talking about the tradition of eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day.  The symbolism of this very southern dish is interesting.  You can read about the history and get my simple recipe for making a batch of black eyed peas by clicking on this link – Black Eyed Peas Recipe

You’ll also find another tasty recipe using black eyed peas in a chilled salsa style dip for a light lunch, snack, or even for dinner when cooking a big meal just doesn’t sound appealing.  Click on to take a look at another southern favorite – Black Eyed Caviar

But first, here’s my recipe for an all time southern classic I know you’ll enjoy.

True South Hoppin John
It doesn't get much more Southern than this! Tweak the seasonings a bit to suit your taste. This is a filling dish that won't disappoint.
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 6 to 8
  • 1 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 large ham hock
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 1 lb black eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried crushed thyme
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • cooked rice to serve
  1. In a large pot, add the oil and the ham hock and cook on medium-high heat, turning to brown all sides.
  2. Turn heat down to medium and add the onion, celery, and green pepper; cook with the ham hock, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until veggies soften slightly.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring.
  4. Add the black eyed peas, chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil, turn heat to low, and simmer (with lid slightly covering pot) for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the black eyed peas are tender; stirring several times during this cooking period.
  6. (If the peas don't soften before the stock evaporates, add more stock and keep simmering.)
  7. Serve over cooked rice.


Black Eyed Caviar

There is a tradition here in the south of eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day to symbolize prosperity.  The source of the symbolism is interesting.  You can read more about its origin, and get my favorite recipe for making black eyed peas from dried peas, by clicking this link:  Black Eyed Peas Recipe

Once you get your black eyed peas cooked and ready, you’ll want more recipes.  Here is a very traditional and fun recipe I know you’ll enjoy.

Black Eyed Caviar
Serve this dish as a filling snack or a lunch. Because black eyed peas are so nutritious, you may even consider this a nice light dinner.
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 6 to 8
  • 4 cups cooked and drained black eyed peas
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced small
  • 2 green onions, chopped small, including green tops
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun blend seasoning
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste
  1. Put everything in a large glass or plastic bowl; toss gently to combine. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours. (Stir a few times during refrigeration.)
  3. Toss gently before serving.
  4. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

p.s.  Click on to see one of my other favorite recipes using  black eyed peas – True South Hoppin John

Black Eyed Peas Recipe

Down here in the south, it’s tradition to eat greens and black eyed peas on New Year’s Day (usually served with ham and some other sides.)  Black eyed peas actually have quite a long history of bringing good luck and prosperity to a number of people.  Here in the south, it is most widely believed that the tradition of eating a dish of black eyed peas on New Year’s Day dates back to the time of the Civil War.  Black eyed peas grow in hot climates, so when the northern troops raided the fields in the south, these ‘field peas’ were believed to be suitable only as feed for grazing cattle, leaving the crop intact.  Southerners kept their crop of black eyed peas and the abundance of this crop was seen as a very welcome resource.

The symbolism grew with time and story-telling.  For instance, black eyed peas swell when they are cooked, which symbolizes prosperity.  Traditionally, black eyed peas are cooked along with greens such as collard or mustard, symbolizing money.  The strangest symbolism is the pork.  Typically, the dish is cooked with some sort of pork such as a ham hock.  And since a pig digs and forages in a forward motion, pork symbolizes a positive or forward movement (progress) in the coming year.  Some say the cornbread served with the meal symbolizes gold.  Whatever the symbolism, one thing we know for sure – black eyed peas are a welcome sight on any New Year’s Day table.

Black eyed peas are easily fixed from dried peas. This frugal dish is another way to help ensure prosperity in the coming year.  Here’s my favorite recipe.

Black Eyed Peas Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Side
Serves: 4
  • 1½ cups dried peas (black eyed)
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 onion
  • ham hock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Chop your onion.
  2. Put the black eyed peas, water, onion and ham hock in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer on medium heat for 2 hours or until your peas are tender.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Now that you have your black eyed peas cooked, how would you like some more recipes? Click on and take a look at these other southern favorites:
Black Eyed Caviar
True South Hoppin John

Baked Bean Sandwiches

I believe this may fall under “frugal tips”. My mother was a little girl during the depression and remembers her dad making homemade baked beans (quite a treat)! Her fondest memory was what they did when there weren’t enough baked beans left to go around. They made open face baked beans sandwiches.

Place slices of bread on baking sheet
Spread each slice with baked beans
Cut a slice of bacon in half and criss cross on top of beans.
Place under broiler till bacon becomes crisp

Of course the number of sandwiches depends on how many bbeans you have.

(Even without the bacon, makes a good treat)

Red Lentil Dip

  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (homemade or bought)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly chopped parsley

In a saucepan, cook the red lentils in the broth until soft and mushy.

Place the lentils in a food processor, together with the garlic, tomato and red bell pepper and season. Process until smooth. Arrange on a plate, sprinkle with parsley and serve with whole wheat crackers, rice crackers or crusty bread.

Ellen's Monterey Beans and Cheese

This was originally in the “More with Less” cookbook and this version was tweeked by my friend Elle.

Fry, drain, and crumble 2 slices bacon*.
Saute in bacon fat until tender one medium onion, chopped**.
Add one 15oz can beans***, drained, rinsed, and mashed;
Add 1 cup tomato sauce ****,
Add 1 t. chili powder*****,
Add 1/2 t. salt, and a dash of pepper.

Stir until smooth and hot.

Add 1/4 to 1/2 pound shredded cheddar cheese******
Add bacon bits.
Stir until cheese is melted.
Serve over cooked rice.
Serves six.

* If you are going totally meatless, start with 2T oil and omit bacon. this dish is great for lent
** The original recipe called for half onion, half green pepper. Green pepper makes my lips itch so I left it out.
***I use red or black beans. The original recipe called for kidney beans. The original recipe also did not mash the beans.
**** An alternate, especially if you are using unmashed beans, is 2 medium tomatoes, diced, plus 1/4 c. (reconstituted) beef bouillon or tomato juice. I sometimes throw in about 1/2 t. powdered bouillon with the tomato sauce.
*****Even with the medium-hot chili powder I use, this is a relatively mild dish. Heat lovers can add more to taste.
****** I use the full 1/2 # of extra-sharp cheddar. Monterey jack or pepper jack would probably work, too.

An additional advantage to this recipe is that it's quick. If all the ingredients are on hand, you can whip up the whole thing in the 20 minutes it takes the rice to cook. If you're serving a big crowd, it doubles nicely, but you need a big pan.

Homemade Soy Milk

I just recently made Soy Milk. 1/2 half pound of soy beans makes about 12 gallon of milk.

Soak beans 24 hours, change water once in a while. rinse beans after soaking, rub them in your hands to loosen hulls, measure beans, use 1 part beans to 3 parts water.
put 1 cup beans in blender and add 2 cups water. puree as fine as possible,
pour this mixture into large pan, rinse out blender with 1 cup water.
Repeat until all beans have been blended.
Bring water to boil and simmer for about an hour, strain this mixture through cheese cloth or any porous cloth.
Let drain and then squeeze as much more “milk” out as possible.

You now have Soy milk.

The “grits” or paste that is left is called Okara and can be used in different recipes, such as cakes or cookies, I added about 1 cup full to a 4 loaf recipe for banana bread and it doesn't even show and adds extra protein. It can be added to meatloaf or any ground beef recipe to boost the protein. It takes on the flavor of whatever it is mixed with although it is visable in some mixtures such as meat sauce for spaghetti.

Ounce for ounce Soy has more protein than meat and is a staple in a Vegan diet.

Bean Burgers

  • 1 can (rinsed and drained) or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans
  • 3/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • extra goodies of your choice
  • seasonings of your choice

Place crumbs, eggs, extra goodies and seasonings in food processor and pulse until well combined. Add beans and pulse until texture that you want, beans should still be a bit chunky for texture.

Form into 4 patties and brown in a drizzle of oil on both sides in an ovenproof skillet. Finish off in a 375* oven for 10 – 15 minutes. Serve on a whole grain bun with toppings of your choice.

Extra goodies can be leftover brown rice, corn, any leftover bits of vegetables that you might otherwise put into soup. All vegetables should be precooked. Your mixture should be moist but still able to form into patties. Once they are browned on the first side, they will be easier to handle. These don't shrink like meat so make them in sizes to fit your buns.

My family's favorite version is black beans with chopped onion, a bit of brown rice, and 1 tsp of cumin for flavoring. These are healthy, low-fat, filling, and delicious. Quick and easy and cheap to make. A great way to use up bits of this and that sitting in the frig and a nice change from “leftovers soup”.