Beans, including refried beans, count as both a protein and a vegetable in most dietary suggestions, including those of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Beans also provide iron to the diet. Traditionally prepared refried beans make use of lard. To cut down on saturated fat, use vegetable oil or mash cooked beans without added fat for a healthier version of refried beans.
Even the kids can help put easy, refried bean-topped nachos together for a quick meal. Brown taco-seasoned meat. Spread large tortilla chips on a baking pan and top them with meat, refried beans and cheese. Heat the chips in the oven to melt the cheese and heat the beans. Provide lettuce, tomato, chopped onion and guacamole toppings. Serve the nachos with a generous salad and chipotle dressing for a complete meal.
Cornbread and Beans
Make a hearty bean dish on a bed of cornbread for a filling meal. Prepare store-bought cornbread mix. Bake the batter at half the recommended time, then add refried beans, browned ground meat, diced tomatoes, chopped green chilies and cheddar cheese to the top of the bread. Finish baking for the recommended time and serve.
Make a quick tortilla casserole using your family's favorite ingredients. For example, fill and roll soft shell tortillas with refried beans, chopped green chiles, diced tomatoes and ground meat. Place the tortillas in a large casserole dish, side by side. Top with cheese and bake in a moderate oven until the cheese is melted. Serve on a bed of lettuce and top with low-fat sour cream and guacamole.
Rice and beans make a quick, satisfying meal. Cook a pot of rice, or use instant or leftover rice for an even quicker start. Put rice into individual oven-safe soup dishes. Top the rice with refried beans, cheese and any desired garnishes, such as chopped onions, tomatoes or chilies. Warm the bowls in the oven long enough to melt the cheese and warm the toppings. If meat is desired, stir a spoonful of meat into the rice before adding the other ingredients.
Make mini Mexican pizza quickly and easily on store-bought tostada shells. Top shells with refried beans, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, taco-seasoned meat if desired, black olives and a variety of cheeses. Bake until warm and cheese is melted. Top with low fat sour cream and serve over a bed of lettuce and fresh tomato slices if desired.