Weight Watchers is releasing 3 healthy recipes for a family on a budget - that all include black beans.

Black beans: They’re high in fiber, a low-fat protein and a rich source of flavonoids, substances that could help lower your risk of cancer and heart disease. Canned black beans will last in your pantry for years. And a recent shopping trip proves they’re recession-friendly: 15.5 ounce cans of black beans were on sale for 67 cents. That’s just 4 cents an ounce!

 

Spicy Black Bean Soup
44 Points Plus Value is 4
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
Serves: 8
The key to thickening this soup without flour? Pureeing some of the beans before cooking it. You'll love the stick-to-your-ribs texture that results.

Ingredients:
1 spray(s) cooking spray
1 medium uncooked onion(s), finely chopped
4 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced
45 oz canned black beans, undrained, divided (three 15 oz cans)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
14 1/2 oz fat-free chicken broth, or vegetable broth
10 oz canned tomatoes with green chilis
11 oz canned yellow corn, drained

Instructions:
· Coat bottom of a large stockpot with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.
· Place one can of beans in blender; add sautéed onion mixture, red pepper flakes and cumin. Cover and blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour mixture back into stockpot.
· Place second can of beans and broth in blender and puree until smooth; add to stockpot.
· Stir third can of beans (do not puree first), tomatoes and green chilies, and corn into stockpot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Yields about 1 1/2 cups of soup per serving.

Cuban Black Beans And Rice

7 6 77 PointsPlus Value is 7
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min
Serves: 6
This meatless main meal is ultra-satisfying. If you can’t find banana or cubanelle peppers, use red or green bell peppers instead.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cup(s) water, divided
1 cup(s) uncooked white rice, long grain-variety
2 tsp olive oil
1 3/4 cup(s) (sliced) uncooked red onion(s), chopped, divided
1 medium banana pepper(s), cubanelle or other sweet pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
31 oz canned black beans, two 15.5 oz cans (undrained)
1 tsp table salt, or to taste
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2/3 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, chopped, divided
1 medium fresh lime(s), cut into 6 wedges
Instructions:
· In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil; add rice and cook as package directs.
· Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of onion and all of the pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, cumin and oregano; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
· Stir in beans and their liquid, remaining 1/2 cup of water and salt; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for flavors to blend, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and 1/3 cup of cilantro.
· To serve, spoon beans over rice; sprinkle with 1/4 cup of remaining onion and 1/3 cup of remaining cilantro; squeeze fresh lime juice over top. Yields about 3/4 cup of beans and 1/2 cup of rice per serving.

Black Bean Brownies
4PointsPlus Value is 4
Prep time: 7 min
Cook time: 33 min
Serves: 24
Black beans add fiber and moisture to this lightened up treat. They're rich and delicious, full of chocolaty goodness. This is a favorite of Weight Watchers spokesperson Jennifer Hudson.

Ingredients:
2 spray(s) cooking spray, flour-variety recommended
1/2 cup(s) canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup(s) black coffee, strong
1/2 cup(s) unsalted butter
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
4 large egg(s)
1 1/4 cup(s) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp table salt
1 cup(s) all-purpose flour
Instructions:
· Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9- X 13-inch pan with cooking spray; line with aluminum foil and coat foil with cooking spray.
· In a blender or mini food processor, process beans with coffee until smooth; set aside.
· In a double boiler over very low heat, melt butter and chocolate.
· Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low speed, add melted chocolate to eggs; incorporate well. Add black bean mixture, vanilla and salt; mix well. Add flour; combine thoroughly on low speed.
· Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a tester inserted in center of brownies comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack. After 10 minutes, remove brownies from pan by pulling up on foil and placing brownies on cooling rack to cool more. Cut into 24 pieces and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.