Rotel Beans and Rice (Potluck Meal) – $5 Dinner Challenge



Is that what you think of when you think of a potluck dinner?  That you have to impress everyone there with your creative meal or dish…made with the finest ingredients!

Will they like it?  Will everyone eat it? Will the dish be empty by the time the dinner is over? What if no one eats it and people figure out that it was me who made it?

Been there. Thought that!

But the reality is…very few people, if any, are going to know what you brought to the meal.  So tell those thoughts when they come racing to the forefront of your mind when you are trying to decide what to make to find another brain to bother!

A few weeks back, at the end of the January Pantry Challenge, we had an International Potluck, to kick off Missions Week at our church. I was NOT going to run to the store to grab something fun and fancy.  I made do!

I made a Rice and Beans dish, seeing how I spent 6 years of my life in a culture where rice and beans were a daily staple.  My dish…Dominican Rice and Beans meets some spice! Dominican Rice and Beans tend to be bland…so I gave them a bit of a kick!

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Rotel Beans and Rice

Yield – 10-12 potluck size servings

Preparation Time – 5 minutes

Cooking Time – 5 minutes


  • 2 cups brown rice (that had been frozen) ($.40)
  • 2 cups pinto beans (that had been frozen) ($.40)
  • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies (free)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin ($.10)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Completely thaw brown rice and beans.
  • Combine ingredients into a bowl. Stir together.  Heat in a microwave or in a saucepan. Serve warm.

Cost $.90

P.S. This is also delicious wrapped up as a burrito!!!

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  1. Whitney says

    Thanks for the recipe – this looks great and sooo frugal. This post reminded me of something else I need ideas for: To me, the only thing scarier than bringing a dish to a potluck is bringing a meal over for someone who is sick or just had a baby. Not only does it have to taste good, but it needs to be easy to transport and reheat. I work, so it also has to be made the night before if I’m going to get it there by dinner. Oh, and it can’t destroy my whole week’s grocery budget. :) I was wondering if you might consider doing a post on these types of meals. (If you haven’t already). I would love to see your ideas and ideas from others!

  2. Amy says

    this looks you spent 6 years in the D.R.?! i dont know if maybe i missed a post about this or not but i would be interested in learning about your experiences when you were there eventhough its not food related.

  3. says

    So….how did it go over? This is the key part of the story! :) I love the recipe – Rotel makes everything yummy, and what a simple dish. My kind of meal.

  4. Crystal says

    Would you consider putting ground beef or pork in the rice? This sounds yummy, but my hubby and son only will only go for it if it has meat in it. Thanks!

  5. Kai says

    I was looking for something to go along with the main meat dish of hot wings and I came across this recipe in my search. Oddly enough, I already had the ingredients on hand. I followed the easy instructions, but added smoked beef sausage and voila my side dish for our Monday potluck! It tastes good to me. I just hope everybody that eats it likes it. Thank you for the recipe.

  6. Julie says

    My family and I love beans and we eat them somewhat regularly in recipes. I’ve never tried products like Beano, but am wondering if they help with bean digestion. Or is there something else I can try when I’m preparing them to make them less gassy? They are so healthy and inexpensive, but can cause such discomfort (and other, more embarrassing symptoms!). How do you handle this “challenge?” 😉 Thanks so much!

    • Lisa says

      FRESH garlic added while cooking or reheating the beans helps with those “symptoms” of excess fiber in gut. My Dad is from a Caribbean country and we found this practice used extensively there but not much in the U. S.

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