Better With Sprinkles

The Colourful Side to Healthy Living.

Black Bean and Pork Stovetop Casserole.


Good morning bloggies! Happy Thursday! Today ends my first week of grad school – yay survival!

I decided this morning that I was missing the gym a little bit too much. I knew Brantford Laurier had a gym open to students, so I decided I would check it out.

It was a little dinky/short of equipment, but I can definitely work with it (I really need to start bringing my camera with me more often. Or investing in a phone that isn’t about 4 years old. Yes, I am behind the times).

The main issue? It doesn’t open until 8 during the week, and noon on weekends. Considering that I like to workout as soon as I wake up, that could be an issue. Like this morning, I was up at 7:15 so I had to wait around for about 40 minutes before walking over.

But, it’s free for students, so I will make do for now.

I’ve been missing the upper body work lately, so I tackled a chest and bicep workout.


(playing around with graphics. I still need some practice, clearly). It definitely got the job done. Smile

I followed this workout with a quick Tabata run outside. If you’re not familiar with the idea, Tabata is a type of high intensity interval training that is completed in 4 minutes. You push yourself as hard as possible for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat, with 8 cycles total. An intense workout in 4 minutes – you can’t beat that.

I ran at an easy pace for 10 minutes, completed my 8 Tabata intervals, then finished off with a slow, 6 minute jog. 20 minutes and covered in sweat – my type of workout.


Hello, breakfast. Protein Greek yogurt (half cup vanilla Greek yogurt with 1/2 scoop Whey Gourmet peanut butter chocolate protein powder), a sliced banana, and multigrain cheerios. Hit the spot, indeed.

I have a recipe for you so I’m going to blow through lunch.


I made rice cake open faced sandwiches – I melted some cheddar cheese on two whole grain rice cakes, added a spoonful of hummus and a slice of turkey bacon to each. A simple green salad on the side for some veggie action.


Being a student, I have to watch my spending on everything, including groceries. One of the most effective cost saving tips? Make the expensive stuff (aka: meat products) last. I will usually take 2 or 3 servings of meat and try to create a meal large enough for 6 or so.

What does this mean? A lot of casseroles and pasta (I would be terrible at Paleo). I had two pork chops in the fridge, so I decided to create a meal that would feed Eric and I for a few days.

Black Bean and Pork Stovetop Casserole

(makes approximately 6 servings)


  • 6 servings cooked brown rice (read bag for cooking instructions)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 2 pork tenderloins, chopped
  • 1 can no sodium added diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp chili powder*
  • 2 tbsp cilantro*
  • 1-2 handfuls spinach, chopped
  • 2 ounces cheddar or other flavourful cheese, cut into pieces*


1. Sauté onion and bell pepper in olive oil until soft.


2. Add chopped pork, a dash of salt and pepper and chili powder. Cook until pork is browned.


3. Add cilantro, canned tomatoes and beans. Cook on medium-low for approximately 10 minutes, or until liquid reduces by about half.


Whoever invented this little thing is brilliant. I love cilantro but I can never go through an entire bundle from the grocery store (why don’t they sell it in small amounts, anyways? Does anybody actually use that big bundle before it goes bad)?



4. Add cooked rice and mix into liquid. Continue to cook until most of the liquid has soaked up, about 10 minutes.


5. Add chopped spinach for colour and extra veggies. Add cheese and melt into casserole.


6. Stir until cheese melts and spinach wilts. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Simple, delicious and cost effective – you just can’t lose.


Believe me, there were definitely seconds of that bowl.

Dinner was consumed while watching The Wire – has anyone else seen that show? It’s Eric’s favourite of all time and I’d never seen it, so we’re watching it now. So far, I like it! Very appropriate considering what I’m currently in school for.

Have a lovely Thursday!

<— Ever seen The Wire? What did you think? It’s HBO, so I know I’ll end up loving it.

<— What sort of meals do you make when you’re in penny-pinching mode?

*approximations – I never really measure seasonings when I cook.


15 thoughts on “Black Bean and Pork Stovetop Casserole.

  1. that is so late for a gym to open, kind of strange. I need to start cooking from scratch more, that looks amazing.

  2. I love dishes like that — throwing delicious ingredients together on the stove and coming up with a winner!

  3. That looks so easy to make 🙂 I usually just throw together some pasta if I’m in a pinch lol I’ve been loving brown rice pasta 🙂

  4. My school’s gym was pretty big but had dinky equipment. At least their hours were better – they opened at about 6am weekdays and 8am weekends. They were open til midnight on weeknights! And people would be there working out! I DON’T GET IT. I stuck to the fitness classes tho. We were lucky to have a GREAT program of spin every hour offered from 3-8pm, and a different fitness class offered at the same time like Zumba, Sculpting, or Step! That’s how I got into group fitness.
    That casserole looks great! I’d probably skip the rice – I just am not a big pasta/rice fan. It makes me feel too sleepy! I bet it’d be yummy in some enchiladas though, in corn tortillas, minus the rice! Those make me feel less dragging hahaha.
    I love quick and efficient workouts. I am trying to teach myself that time does not equal intensity. Going hard like you did for 20 min is just as good as a light 60min elliptical session! I’d much rather get stuff done quickly!

    • I’ve been looking over the group exercise classes at the school and they do offer some – a lot of yoga and Zumba, which I’ll be wanting to check out.

      I love really quick, efficient workouts! Especially now that my time is more limited, I’m going to work on doing 1 long run a week and having the rest be short, intense sessions. Definitely works!

  5. That recipe sounds and looks great. Thanks for sharing. I can relate to coming up with creative recipes on a budget. We are a one income family and sometimes money is tight. I also stretch meat out with beans and rice. Other things I do: buy cheap cuts of meat, buy seasonal produce and watch for sales on things like olive oil.

    I don’t understand why they sell such huge bunches of cilantro either. I usually freeze what’s left over and then throw it into “garbage soup” when I’ve got enough other stuff in the freezer. (garbage soup is essentially veggie stock made from things like carrot and potato peels, beet tops, broccoli stalks, kale stems, etc that I boil down in water all day and then strain out to get a broth that is full of nutrients made from things that would otherwise have been garbage). I guess that’s another way I save money – I try not to waste anything. I also make meat stocks from the bones.

  6. that looks SO good!! i’ve never seen the wire… i only watch quality tv.. like teen mom and jersey shore haha

  7. I hated when my college gym opened later on weekends! I like to go first thing 🙂

  8. Pingback: Rehashing September. « Better With Sprinkles

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