Benefits of Cooking Dried Beans & Our Allergy Home Meal Plan

You’ve all heard the benefits of adding beans to your diet.  (If you haven’t, do a google search.)  They contain a good amount of fiber, are easy to prepare, inexpensive, and a great meat substitute.  Let me challenge you to start adding beans more to your menu and using beans from their dried state.

A good can of beans (with a bpa-free liner) will cost you over $2 a can on sale.  That’s pretty pricey for the amount you get, less than 2 cups.  You can buy a bag of dried beans, starting at $1.xx per pound (yields about 4+ cups cooked beans).  The biggest deterent for people to use dried beans is the prep involved.  Indeed, you have to plan ahead to eat beans from their dried state, but there are many benefits to doing so.

Here is the run-down of how I prepare dried beans and get more for my money and effort.

  • Rinse about 4 cups of dried beans and remove any stones.  Put in crockpot with 8 cups of water, cook on low for about 2 hours.  Pour beans into strainer and rinse.  Put beans back into crockpot, cover with 8 cups of water, and cook for another 6-8 hours on low, or until tender.
  • From my crockpot full of cooked beans, I make several meals.  Here is an example of how a crockpot of beans gets used in our house.  Beans stay fresh for several days in the refrigerator, so it is easy to spread out the use of them throughout the week.  I start the beans cooking in the morning (or even overnight).  For dinner, we have something like tacos where I add 1-2 cups of beans to the 1/2 pound of taco meat (beef or chicken).   Two nights later, we have a dish like beans & rice for dinner.  With the beans that are left over, I make a bean hummus, like Whole New Mom’s Fast & Yummy Bean Dip (I add a touch of olive oil and a few shakes for hot sauce).  Money Saving Mom recently did a freezer cooking session where she froze cooked beans.  I have not had success freezing some bean varieties, but I did freeze the last two cups of black beans from last week’s batch.  I’m looking forward to see how they turn out frozen.

And there is your mini budget & cooking lesson for this week about using dried beans.

Do you have ways that you benefit from, prepare or serve beans?  Please share.

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Our Food Allergy Home Meal Plan for the week of April 29, 2012

Sunday:  Baked Barbeque Chicken Thighs, Applesauce, Steamed Broccoli

Monday:  Grilled Salmon, Carrot Fries, Brown Rice

Tuesday:  Bbq Ribs, Sweet Potato Fries, Sauteed Balsamic Spinach

Wednesday:  Salad Bar with (DF) Buttermilk Avocado Ranch Dressing

Thursday:  Korean Beans in Sweet Sauce, Chicken (of some sort)

Friday:  Baked Potato Bar, Fruit

Saturday:  Kentucky Derby Party at friend’s house! :)

Dessert:  Making Derby Pies for party (full allergy). Attempting an additional gf, df, sf, ef, cf version!  We’ll see how that works out for me, but hopefully better than my pony picks :)

What’s on your menu this week?

Shared at….

Homestead Barn Hop, Real Food 101, Make Your Own Mondays, Menu Plan Mondays, Fat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Works for Me Wednesday, Thriving on Thursday

Grace Laced Mondays

This entry was posted in Budget Tips, Cooking Tips, Meal Planning. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Benefits of Cooking Dried Beans & Our Allergy Home Meal Plan

  1. Your rice picture at the top looks SO GOOD!! :-) I’m here visiting from Make Your Own Monday.
    We love cooked beans. I try to always make sure to have black beans and pintos ready to go in my freezer. It makes dinner really quick.
    I used to always keep canned beans, but the price of dried beans just can’t be beat…and they’re so easy to prepare. Excellent post! :-)

    • Cook says:

      The rice picture does look good. I only wish I could remember what it is :) I was looking for a picture last night that had beans in it. I found this very nice one, but then couldn’t remember what the recipe was. Oh well.

      Thanks for stopping in. I still have canned beans for those times when I don’t plan ahead very well, but I prefer the cost savings of dried beans. My attempts at freezing beans in the past have ended up with mush. I’m hoping my black bean attempt this round will turn out better. If so, I’ll try other beans as well.

  2. I’ve been freezeing beans for a year now – I cook up a lb or two anytime a variety goes on sale. I cook them up then portion them by 2 cup amounts into freezer bags which I smooth flat and stack in my freezer. We’ve done pintos, black beans, cannellini, small white beans, navy beans – we like beans I guess, lol. I just did a batch of pintos there I froze half as whole beans and half as refried beans. So much cheaper and better tasting than canned!

    • Cook says:

      That’s great to hear, Wendy, about all your bean freezing. I think the refried and pinto beans are where I’ve erred in the past. They always seem too liquidy. I’m think the frozen black beans will turn out though because they weren’t holding any liquid. Thanks for your input!

      • I don’t put any liquid in the storage bags. When I do the refried I omit the stock I would normally add as I’m frying them (in bacon fat of course). Then when I want to heat them for dinner I melt a little bacon fat or coconut oil in a sauce pan and smack the bag of frozen refried beans against the counter to break it up…I suppose I could thaw them, lol but I never remember. Then I cook them on low in the fat with a bit more onion and add chicken stock to help get it to the correct consistency as they melt back into refried beans. Maybe I should be scooping them into balls with my ice cream scoop for the original freeze…like frozen cookie dough – I could take out a few bean nuggets whenever I want some without doing the whole batch! Thanks to your post we had the beans again with dinner tonight – yum!

  3. Tess says:

    I’ve never worked with dried beans because, quite honestly, I could only imagine them in soup. You’ve given me some ideas, though. I’m curious about the stones, though. Actual stones? Glad to see you’re using your crockpot. :)

    • Cook says:

      Beans are about all I use the crockpot for :) Sometimes there will be a little remnant of a small stone or two in dried beans. They are typically easy to spot and to remove. Don’t worry…I don’t find them too often. But you always rinse your beans before cooking and look for them then. So now that you’ve learned how to use avocados, perhaps your next challenge should be dried beans.

  4. Seda says:

    I’ve added mashed (with a fork) black beans into baked meatballs, along with some sauteed onions, cumin, and other seasonings.
    Thanks for sharing! =)

  5. I’m so into beans right now! :) I’m super curious abou the Korean style beans…? Thanks for linking, Michelle!

    • Cook says:

      We love Korean food and went to a great restaurant on a recent date night. They always have the little Korean “relish tray” sampler and served the sweet black beans. We loved them! I can’t wait to try them out myself.

  6. Lisa Reynoso says:

    I never buy canned beans. Not even for emergencies. I’d rather freeze extras! In fact, I buy pinto and black beans in 25 lb bags! We’re vegetarians, so we already eat a lot of beans–at least 4 days a week, if not more.

    Here’s how I prepare them:

    1) Soak–how long depends on the bean. Soaking in hot tap water will reduce soaking time, but usually I do them overnight. The red beans I get need almost 24 hours to get all of them soaked (otherwise some will be hard still); pinto beans and white beans, 8 hours or overnight; black beans, overnight or a little longer. You can freeze soaked beans before cooking, also, though I never bother.
    2) Cook. I use a pressure cooker and cook just what I need for a meal. I like to use a variety of beans, because different beans have different nutritional contents. The pressure cooker I have cooks most beans in under 10 minutes (garbanzos take 11 or 12).
    3) Season. This depends on how they will be served, but we don’t care for plain beans around here. For most beans, I add cumin, mild chili powder, tomato sauce, fresh onion & garlic, and sometimes cilantro. White beans I flavor Italian style to serve with pasta.

    Since we usually have beans for breakfast or lunch, I rarely use a crock pot, but I have used it before. I just like how fast the pressure cooker is! The crock pot is ideal for beans eaten for supper, especially for beans that take longer to cook, like black or red beans.

    • Cook says:

      Where do you find 25lb bags of dried beans? I have been looking and have yet to find any. I think the largest size I’ve been able to find is 10lbs. We like to have a 25-50 lb stock of rice and dried beans.

      Thanks for all your great tips! I’d love to have beans ready in 10 minutes..wow!

      • Lisa Reynoso says:

        That depends on where you live. I live in Oregon, and here in the Northwest we have WinCo, a discount food store, and they have a bulk section where you can buy almost anything they sell in bulk by the bag. The prices are way cheaper than buying the little 1 lb bags off the shelves!

        If you live in the west, but don’t have a WinCo handy, you could always check out Azure Standard (azurestandard.com). If there is a drop-off in your area, you get free shipping on orders of $50 or more, and you can order whenever you want–no monthly order requirements. They have tons of organic stuff, too, kind of like a health food store. If you don’t have a drop-off location nearby, you can get most things (except perishables) shipped via UPS. Otherwise, try Costco or some other place. Because I’m sure shipping could get expensive with such large bags of stuff!

        • Cook says:

          We don’t have WinCo but it sounds like a great store. There isn’t a drop-off here for Azure yet, but I heard they’re working on one. I need to give them a call and let them know of the desire for them to come to my area. Costco only sells canned beans. I’ll keep looking though. I would think that dried beans would be an easy bulk item to find.

          Thanks for all the tips!

  7. I love beans, especially dried ones. I am from Puerto Rico and there we use a lot of dried beans. You are making me miss my grandma’s beans so much. :-)

  8. This is such an informative post with great frugal advice! Home cooked beans always taste so good. Your menu sounds delicious too!

  9. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

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