Category Archives: beans

What to do with BBEEAANNSZ

I was recently given some dried beans by an elderly neighbor. She only reheats her prepackaged food these days, and thought I might want a freakishly large package of dried mixed beans for something, …”since you cook”.

I have been in the habit of buying canned beans, but there is no way that I *CAN’T* process my own beans… I just don’t, or more precisely, haven’t lately.

Oh fine. So I cooked the beans. Stop the presses! Alert the media! Cooking your own beans is cheaper, to be sure. And not difficult by any stretch of the imagination. And they are certainly gluten free… so I cooked them.

So…how do you cook beans from scratch? – Answer? Slowly. Yes, it takes hours. And yes, buying them already cooked in a can that I only have to open and dump into a recipe is easier. I hate to admit it, but these tasted better.

  • 4 Cups of dried beans in 16 cups of water (I used filtered water) in a large enameled cast iron dutch oven. Heavy duty.
  • Let them boil for 2 minutes and then take off the heat- cover and let sit one hour.
  • DRAIN THE WATER.
  • Refill the water and simmer the beans for 2 hours, or until tender. Don’t over think this part. They are done when they are done.  This 4 cups of dried beans resulted in 12 Cups of cooked and ready to use beans for my recipes. Awesome. Thifty. Delicious.

After they had cooled off, I packaged them in 2 cup containers with a little bit of the cooking water. Some in the fridge to use right away in a delicious recipe, and some in the freezer to use later.

So far, we have had “COWBOY BEANS” and chili. mmmm …winter food.

COWBOY BEANS

Cook:

  • 1/2 lb of Jimmy Dean sausage, crumbled and cooked
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped and cooked with the sausage

Add:

  • 4 Cups of pre-cooked beans (drained)
  • 1 can of Bush’s baked beans (Do not drain)

Mix togther and pour over the top:

  • 1/4 Cup warm water
  • 2 T dark brown sugar
  • 2 T thai chili sauce
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard powder

Bake at 300 for 1 hour covered, then another 45 minutes to an hour uncovered.

Serve as a main dish, a side dish, or as a nacho topping with corn chips. These were also good as part of enchiladas. And going by the lack of any leftovers… everyone liked it.  Useful dish to be sure.

 

 

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Freezer Chicken Soup

Sometimes, I go through the freezer and find a package of this and a package of that and it all sounds like it might go together in some sort of fashion. Sometimes it’s about trying to make something tasty, and sometimes it’s about not having to go to the store for dinner. Eating-down the pantry is an art. What good is storing food if you never eat it? Srsly.

This current concoction of soup, an actual vat of chickeny goodness – will last me until Christmas. And it’s pretty tasty.

Here’s news: I hate canned soup. Oh sure, it’s really handy and easy to obtain at the store, also good for emergency situations (hello? Hurricanes?) … but I really hate canned soup. I used to *LOVE* (repeat love)  a can of BeanofBacon soup from Campbell’s … but checking the list of Campbell’s gluten free products here, shows me that there are no BeanofBacon lunches in my immediate future. In fact, there are no soups on that list at all…. READ the labels on each can before you buy anything from Campbell’s. Not worth the disaster of being fed silent gluten because “soup should be safe”. Leave no stone unturned when detecting safe food. It’s worth the extra half of a minute to read lables.

There is a list of other companies and their GF soup lists here in case you do want to look for some hints about what canned soup options that are safe to eat.

Here’s what I cobbled together today from the freezer, it’s real delicious.

Freezer Chicken Soup

  • 1/2 a bag of frozen Broccoli -*the other 1/2 I left in the freezer for later.
  • 1/2 a can of corn -* left the other 1/2 with the broccoli in the freezer for more soup, later
  • 1/2  a bag of frozen peas -*again, left the other 1/2 for later
  • 1/2 C cooked rice (that I found in the freezer)
  • 2 C cooked beans mix: dark red, light red, cranberry beans,  navy, pinto, and lentils (left over from the beans I cooked this week for a pot of chili)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 carrots -peeled and chopped
  • 1 package of chicken tenders, cubed and baked
  • 1 package of spicy chicken sausage- sliced
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • poultry seasoning
  • 6 cups of hot water
  • 2 vegetable soup boullion cubes
  • 1 box of chicken stock
  • handful of fresh cilantro- chopped

It’s real tasty.

 

Pressure Cooker

Look out. I own a pressure cooker. It’s true. And I am crazy afraid of the thing. Also very true.  I only have it, because my mother-in-law insisted that I own one… how else was I going to make the perfect stew recipe? Honestly.

So, years (12) ago…. I bought a pressure cooker. And many recipes of the perfect stew were made. And I put it waaaaaaaay back in the cupboard one day because it scared me, and it hasn’t been seen since. (Seven years ago).

:::sigh:::

So recently, I stumbled upon an idea of soaking dry beans, and cooking them to perfection in a pressure cooker. “Hey, wait. I own one of those.”

Let the madness begin.  Early. I soaked 1 qt. of beans in hot-hot water for 4 hours. They expanded. Then I drained them and put them in the dreaded pressure cooker with filtered water and cooked them. I actually left the room and prayed the stupid thing wouldn’t blow up with beans in it.. but it all seems to have worked out just fine.

Super cheap to make, but the trade-off is time. Making the beans this way takes all day.  And for some reason, it took 3 large pots, 2 large bowls and a strainer, which of course all need to be washed now. So there is time consuming and the mess that you don’t get with just opening a can of ready cooked beans. Trade offs. Trade offs. This is healthier for sure since I am avoiding the metal can world as much as possible.

I used some for chili tonight, and the rest will be morphed into refried beans or maybe a salad or something.

In case you need a chili recipe, I used this one, more or less. and obviously used my pressure cooker beans in place of the canned beans that are listed. Apparenly, a rainy day equals chili for dinner at our house.  Yep, it’s raining today.     : )