A side of Rice and Beans

Almost every Mexican or TexMex dish comes with a side of rice and beans. My mother must have made rice and beans every week when I was growing up. She made enough beans to last us a few days. When she made something for dinner us kids didn’t like, we’d end up having bean burritos for dinner. Even now, when I go home and open her refrigerator I’m sure to find a container with frijoles de la olla (pinto beans) and sopa de arroz (Mexican Rice). There are many add-ons for both of these recipes. These are just the basic recipes that allow you to be creative and adjust to your taste.

Frijoles de la Olla


2 cups dried pinto beans

I usually pick through the beans and discard of the ones that are broken.  Some people soak the beans in water for a few hours or overnight. I rarely ever do.

Rinse the beans thoroughly under cool water.


Add beans to a medium pot


Add HOT water to the pot. The water should reach at least 2 inches over beans. At this point you can add thick slices of bacon or diced ham.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover and simmer for 2 hours or until beans are tender.

Note: you will have to add more water to pot while beans are cooking. Make sure to add HOT water.

1 hour before beans are done you can add onion, garlic or sliced jalapeños.


Ready to eat!

You can choose to serve the beans whole or take it a step further and make refried beans.

Refried Beans


Heat 2 tbs of vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add desired amount of cooked pinto beans to pan. I also add a small amount of cooking liquid from the beans.

My Lita – short for Abuelita (grandmother) would use lard instead of the vegetable oil. You can also use bacon fat to give the beans a rich flavor.  Mash beans using a potato masher.


Add grated cheddar cheese. (I used low-fat cheese.)


Salt to taste

Sopa de Arroz


What you will need:
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 packet Goya chicken bouillon
Optional – onion or garlic


Heat oil over medium heat in a pot.
Add 1 cup of rice. Stir frequently.


Rice will become gold in color


Dissolve packet of bouillon in 1 cup hot water.


Add the 1 cup chicken broth to pot + add another 1/4 cup water


Add can of tomato sauce


Stir to incorporate sauce. At this point add salt and pepper to taste. I usually add 1 or 2 whole garlic cloves. You can also add 1/4 of a small onion.


Cover and simmer for 15 minutes


Rice will have a dark red top coating when done.


The rice will be light and fluffy when lifted with a fork


A side of rice and beans for any meal


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