Trim the Budget: Black Bean Sloppy Joes!


 Here is another meal that makes a large serving, tastes great, utilizes a low cost basic food (beans), and is delicious!!   

Black Bean Sloppy Joes


Usually sloppy joes are made with all hamburger.  That can be a lot of expense in meat.  The last time I looked at Costco hamburger was $2.79 a pound.  One way to still enjoy sloppy joes and save some money is to make Black Bean Sloppy Joes.  The black beans stretch the hamburger while giving you a delicious and nutritious meal!  You can find the recipe on my website here:  

Make sure to get your beans cooking in the morning so all you have to do come evening is assemble the rest of the recipe.  This will also give you the afternoon to make the rolls to serve the sloppy joes on.  

Making your own high quality bread products is also a good way to cut costs.  White bread will always be dirt cheap, but with no nutritional value and not worth the cost.. no matter how cheap.  Making homemade bread is one way to ensure better quality bread products in your home for a very reasonable price.   

This was a new recipe I tried out for the dinner rolls.  They were delicious!!  I wanted a sub sandwich type bread that was soft and would make great sandwiches or could be used for recipes like sloppy joes.  I was very happy with this one!   

Sub Sandwich Rolls
Crystal Miller


1½ cups water
½ cup honey
6T butter
½ cup oats
2t salt
1T yeast
2 eggs
5½ to 7 cups whole wheat flour 

In a small sauce pan combine water, honey, butter and oats and heat over medium high until hot and butter has melted, do not boil.  Pour this mixture into your Bosch or Kitchen Aid mixing bowl. Allow the mixture to cool for 15 to 20 minutes.  When it is very warm, but not hot to the touch add the salt, yeast and eggs.  Now begin adding flour.  Add 5 ½ cups and then add a half cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky, but still is a soft dough.  Knead 4 to 5 minutes in a Bosch or 7 to 10 in a Kitchen Aid or 12 to 15 minutes if you are doing this by hand.   

Let the dough rise for one hour.  Punch down and knead again for a few minutes to remove air bubbles. 

Divide dough into 10 pieces.  Roll each piece into an 8 inch log. Spray a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with non stick spray. Lay the bread dough pieces on the cookie sheet and cover with a towel. Let rise until double in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.  

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.  

To use for the Black Bean Sloppy Joe recipe I cut the rolls in half (lengthwise) and then sliced them in center (like you would if you were going to make a sandwich out of them).  You can toast the bread first before topping with the sloppy joe mix.  Serve the sloppy joes over the bread.  


This meal is filling!  It is big enough to easily serve 8 to 10 people.  So if your family is smaller, you can freeze half of this for another night.     

I fed the 7 of us (4 adults, a 16 year old, a 14 year old and an 11 year old) dinner and still had sandwich rolls and sloppy joes left over.  I will serve the last of the sloppy joes to the family that is home today for lunch and if there are any remaining sandwich rolls after today they will get used up with our lunch tomorrow.  This meal gave me a lot of mileage for my money!   

Now for the budget cost breakdown..  I determine costs of bulk type items using the method I described here:   I don’t calculate the costs of things like salt or a ½ of an onion.  After I determine the cost of the main ingredients in a recipe I then round up to get and idea of the costs of the small items I did not include.   

Here is what I figured for last night’s meal: 

Black Bean Sloppy Joes:
Hamburger: $2.79
Black Beans: .95
Ketchup: $1.08
6oz tomato paste: .90  

Approx. cost: $5.72 or rounded up to $6.00  

Dinner Rolls:
Honey: .91
Whole Wheat (I grind my own wheat so this is the cost of the actual wheat berries, not the cost of flour):  .80
Oats: .05
Butter: .33
Eggs: .25  

Approx. cost of rolls: $2.34 or rounded to $2.50  

In the end, $8.50 fed my family a delicious, nutritious dinner plus I have leftovers.  If I had wanted to stretch this meal out for two full dinner meals for my family I could have added another cup or two of cooked beans and a little of the bean broth to give it the right consistency.  That would have increased the cost by just a few cents, and I may do that the next time I make this meal. 


  1. Thanks for sharing!!! I have been trying to stretch some of or hamburger meals with different beans as well. I put pinto beans in with my hamburger and spices one evening for tacos!! I thought hubs would complain, but he ate evevry bite and said it was yummy!! SCORE!! LMSO

    God's Blessings,

    Amy Jo

  2. donna www.merryheartcrafts.comFebruary 12, 2010 at 9:55 AM

    Thanks for this recipe. I really appreciate all the work you put into calculating the cost of the meal. I use a lot of beans in my cooking also. One great meal that feeds a lot is 15 bean soup. It really goes a long way. The cost is under $10.00 and you get about 20 servings. Enjoy your day and God bless.

  3. Not only am I trying to cut the budget but I am trying to be healthier and loose weight. I cut my hamburger in half and add a cup of cooked whole wheat. My family doesn't even notice! Thanks for all your great advice!

  4. Crystal,

    Hi, thank you for sharing the recipes. My question for you is if your kids ever resisted eating the beans. I make chili and use all diff. types of beans and my one child dislikes the beans. We make her eat a little. Advice would be appreciated. Thank you!


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