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I got a crock pot as a wedding gift. It is sort of a mustard color – one of the earth tones that was popular in the 1970s. I used it a lot when my Honorable Husband and I were first married. He loved casseroles and stews. I loved coming home from work to find dinner warm and ready to eat. Then we had children – who like most children didn’t want their food all mixed together. Then the family got on the Blood Type Diet and none of the old favorite recipes were suitable for both Type As and Type Os. So the crock pot has been gathering dust in the back of the pantry beside the deep fryer.
One of our Christmas gatherings was a Sunday School covered dish party with a Mexican food theme. I knew there would be lots of corn, wheat, and cheese. By the time the sign up list got to me two other people had already said they would bring salads. I was quickly thinking of something that would be healthy and in line with the Mexican theme. I wrote down black beans.
I have always taken the easy way out and bought canned beans. My grocery store carries brands with reduced sodium and minimum added ingredients. When the kids are home, a can serves the family. When it is just HH and myself, we have a few beans left over for veggie bowls the next day. But since I was making black beans for a crowd, I thought I would dust off the crock pot and cook them myself.
I found a really easy recipe in the internet.
Soak one pound of black beans overnight. I soaked them in the crock pot.
Drain the beans and pick out the broken pieces. Add one can broth (I used chicken) one onion (chopped) and one jar of salsa. Add enough water to cover the beans. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8 – 9 hours. I started on high and switched to low after about 4 hours.
The beans were really good. They were also really easy. Most of all, I was shocked at how inexpensive they were compared to canned beans.
So, when I was getting ready for our Christmas Day tamale dinner, I decided to cook pinto beans in the crock pot. HH tries to eat relatively low sodium because of his blood pressure. My Darling Daughter gets a burning sensation on her tongue when she eats too much salt. So I kept the pinto beans really simple.
One pound of pinto beans soaked overnight.
Drain the beans and pick out the broken pieces. Add one chopped onion. Add 2 teaspoons of cumin. Add water to cover the beans. Cook in the crock pot the same way I cooked the black beans.
Once again I was struck by how inexpensive and delicious crock pot beans can be. So for New Year’s Day, I cooked black eyed peas. Another success! Now I’m hooked. I’ve already bought garbanzo’s to cook this weekend. It has become increasingly hard to find canned fava beans and adzukis, but my health food store carries dried packages of both.
I will probably always keep a few cans of beans on the pantry shelf for times when I need them quickly. But I plan to use the crock pot for beneficial beans at least once a week.
Great tip, Sante. I'm going to try that too. :-)
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