Monday, August 23, 2010

Meatless Monday ~ Beans from Scratch

In the kitchen with the Conscious Shopper.

When I read Kellie's post last week about how her husband refuses to eat beans, my jaw dropped. Oh, man, I love me some beans. I could eat a burrito every single day, and I'd still never get tired of them. Thankfully, this opinion is shared by several other members of my family - my five-year-old often boasts, "Remember that time when I ate five burritos for lunch?"

One way we save money on groceries around here is by purchasing the dried beans from the bulk bins. This saves a little plastic too, so win, win!

My method for using dried beans is pretty simple:
  • Put three cups of beans in a crockpot. Fill with water.
  • Let the crockpot sit overnight (turned off!) while the beans soak.
  • The next morning, drain and rinse the beans. Then put them back in the crockpot, refill with water, add a tablespoon of salt, and cook until tender.
  • The cooking time varies from bean to bean. I start tasting after 8 hours on low, and then sample a bean every now and then after that until they taste right.
  • After they're done cooking, I let them cool, spoon them into canning jars, and then put them in the freezer. Then I use them just like I would canned beans.
  • Dried beans will double or triple when cooked, depending on the type of bean. With three cups of dried pinto beans, I get four pint jars of cooked beans plus some change.
To make refried beans, some people add garlic and onion to the cooking water of their pinto beans before processing them. I tried that and didn't like the taste, so here's the recipe I came up with:

Vegetarian Refried Beans

COST: $0.60 for 2 cups*

2 cups cooked pinto beans
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cumin
  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth.
  • Heat the beans, either on a skillet or in the microwave.
*Note that all costs are estimates based on prices in my area. Your costs may vary.

Don't forget to share your Meatless Monday recipes with us below, and check out every body else's posts. I'm very interested to try Sense of Home's sauerkraut recipe from last week.


Julie @ Get Healthy Cheap said...

Thanks for hosting! :)

Daisy said...

Delicious! I make a baked beans recipe in the crock pot. We serve it up with just about anything. I'll post it some day soon...

Amber said...

This is perfect I needed a way to soak my beans that didn't involve the hot stove thanks!

Jenn the Greenmom said...

Oh my God...five burritos? What did his bedroom SMELL like in the morning?

I do large-scale bean production in the crockpot too--but after they are cooked, I spoon them in half-cup portions into a few muffin tins and freeze them. Then I can remove them from the tins and store them in the freezer (okay, so I use a ziploc for these), and then when I want to throw some beans into something else I'm cooking, I just drop a couple of bean-muffins in--that way I don't have to remember to thaw them, I can just toss them in.

Beans ROCK.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Jenn - Lol, I dong remember a stench, so either his tummy is used to us eating so many beans, or my nose is. :)

Anonymous said...

Not only does it save some packaging to buy bulk dry beans and cook them yourself instead of buying canned, but it also saves the fuel to ship the water in the canned beans.

I've been cooking beans like this for a while. I've been freezing them in plastic sandwich bags, but trying to find an alternative with less waste. I hadn't thought of canning jars! Thanks for the idea.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

@Starving Student Survivor - Just make sure you leave some head room at the top for expansion when freezing. I've broken a few canning jars in the freezer - never any from beans though, just from veggie broth.


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