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.
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?