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Meatless meals: Slow-cooker Cuban black beans and rice

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Whether you're going meatless for Lent, choosing a vegetarian lifestyle or you're on the "Dave Ramsey debt elimination diet," Cuban black beans and rice offers a spicy and filling meatless alternative. The recipe is incredibly easy; dump all of the ingredients into the slow-cooker and simmer for 6 hours. Even when cooked in a large saucepan on the stovetop, Cuban black beans take little effort. Just be sure to keep the burner on low, the saucepan covered, and give the mixture a stir every two hours or so. If the water level gets too low before the six hours are up, add a little more, but allow the mixture to become nice and thick near the end.

Cuban black beans and rice
1 lb. dry black beans, washed and sorted
1 c. chopped onion
1 large bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 bay leaves
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
5 c. water
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1 tsp. salt
3 c. cooked rice

Place all ingredients except rice in a large saucepan or slow-cooker. Cover, bring to a simmer on low heat, and allow to simmer 6 hours. Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice. If desired, top each serving with chopped hard boiled eggs. Serves 6

Sunday: Easy baked tuna gratin plus no-bake key lime cheesecake for St. Patrick's Day

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