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If you've ever eaten at a Mexican restaurant, you know that refried beans complement almost every item on the menu. Beans are rich in protein, fiber, iron, and other nutrients. If you like to serve nutritious, inexpensive meals, you will likely find the following suggestions helpful.

1. Prepare the refried beans. Put a 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a skillet. Let it get hot and then put a few cups of cooked beans in the hot oil. Proceed to smash the beans. You may add spices such as cumin or garlic if you so desire. Here are some tips on how to serve and enjoy your refried beans.
2.  Serve refried beans on a bed of lettuce. Make a bed of lettuce and your favorite vegetables on a plate. Serve a few tablespoons of refried beans on top of the lettuce and garnish with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and grated or crumbled cheese. You may top the garnishes with some sour cream or avocado dip. It makes a complete meal.

3. Complement your Mexican rice with a serving of refried beans. This is great for vegetarians or if you're on a reduced budget, as rice and beans form a complete protein.

4. Make a refried beans burrito. Heat a flour or corn tortilla, spoon some refried beans in the center, add some diced lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and some hot sauce. It makes a delicious, nutritious snack or meal when you're in a rush.

5. Make a tostada. Heat some oil in a skillet. Dip a corn tortilla in the hot oil until brown. Place the tortilla on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Spoon some refried beans on the tortilla, as much as you like. Garnish with your favorite vegetables and toppings. You can buy a bag of already made tostadas if you prefer. You can generally find them in the bread section of your grocery store.  

6. Serve refried beans as a side dish.  Examples of dishes that go well with with beans are enchiladas, quesadillas, tamales, or fajitas.

7. Have refried beans with corn chips. Corn and beans also make a complete protein as well. You can sprinkle some shredded cheese on top or add some sour cream and avocado dip.  

Incorporating beans into your diet is a practical way save money, yet eat healthy. Beans and rice are inexpensive staples that should be part of every pantry. Having beans regularly is a great way to save time as well. You can prepare a batch of beans and refrigerate it. Afterward, take out what you need, and refrigerate the rest. Most people's diets are deficient in fiber, so adding refried beans to your diet is a practical, healthy way to add fiber and nutrition to your daily diet.  

Soaking the beans for at least a few hours prior to cooking will reduce the cooking time.