I love meals that combine healthy, frugal, crowd-pleasing, filling, and easy into one pan. That's exactly what this meal does. You have meat, rice, and beans all simmering together in a tomato sauce with spices until it comes together into a lovely thick (although not extremely visually appealing, I have to admit) mixture that is delicious served over tortilla chips with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa on top - or equally tasty spread over a tortilla and made into a quesadilla.
This is a recipe that will find it's way into our meal rotation regularly for sure.
Recipe: (from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
2 lbs. ground turkey or beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups water
1 cup rice (white or brown)
1 t. oregano
1 T. sugar
2 t. chili powder
2 t. salt
2 t. cumin
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
In a large pot, brown the ground turkey or beef with the onion and garlic and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Drain any grease. Add the water, rice, seasonings, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and beans. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, watching to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. (If you're using brown rice, it may need to simmer up to 60-70 minutes).
The mixture will seem watery at first, but it will thicken to perfection as the rice absorbs water and all the ingredients meld together.