Beans, beans they’re good for your heart.

I’m childish and think that title is hilarious.

Beans are really good for you though.  And if they are done right, they can be a super cheap source of protein.

Frugal cooking is something I enjoy.  I try to save money where I can, and still have a healthy and delicious meal that Eric & I can enjoy.  This can be tough.  Food is an area where we splurge because we both enjoy eating well. 

Tonight I’m serving good old fashioned beans and rice (yes, sometimes I cook. And usually it doesn’t turn out well, as you’ll see)

I hate buying canned beans.  They are overpriced compared to the dried variety you can find.  I used to justify it because I was out of the house so much (long commute.)  Now that I’m a short drive away, I have time to do things cheaper, which I LOVE. 

So anyway. 

I bought a bag of black beans at Market Basket for $1.49.  It made about 3 cans worth when cooked, so I saved myself about $1.50.  Here’s how:

The Crockpot!  Magical beast & indentured servant. 

Step 1: Rinse beans in colander.  Remove any yucky-looking ones.
Step 2: Dump the beans in the crockpot and leave the colander in the sink. (You’ll need it in about 4 hours.)
Step 3: Add water.  Enough to cover the beans + 2 inches.
Step 4: Add salt & any flavorings. (I added whole chiles, cumin, and salt)
Step 5: Place CP on high.
Step 6: Relax for 4 hours.
Step 7: Check to see if they are done!  They should be tender & taste like beans. 
Step 8: Dump into the colander (CAREFUL! They are hot.)
Step 9: Rinse the beans (yes. again.  I don’t know if this is necessary but my cookbook told me to.)
Step 10: Freeze the beans for future use. 

In my next post, “DISASTER!” I’ll share how I ruined two cups of rice & a whole bunch of chicken stock. 😦  Will I make it in time for dinner? Will the meal be satisfying?  Only time will tell. 

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Freezer Chili- another recipe from the "Freezes Beautifully" category

Right now on my counter is a Crock Pot (seldom used device in this house) that is simmering some Chili Con Carne.

Chili is a dish that originated in Texas. Since Eric and I are planning a trip to San Antonio, I thought this chili would be a perfect meal. See here for the original San Antonio Chili recipe: http://www.chilicookoff.com/history/history_of_chili.asp along with a ton of other fun facts about chili.

But onto our chili. Eric took a little freezer inventory recently and found some pork and sirloin. Just odds and ends that we had frozen after a meal (lots of leftovers when you cook for two.) So he threw them into the Rachel Ray dutch oven, seared them, and cooked them for approximately eleventy-million hours (a technical term meaning a long time- but really about 20 minutes.)

Here’s the chili recipe he uses:

3 pounds stew meat (beef, pork, and/or lamb)
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer, preferably a medium ale
1 (16-ounce) container salsa
30 tortilla chips (crushed)
2 chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers in adobo)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
He cooked the meats in the oil for about 20 minutes, deglazed the pan with the beer, and basically threw it all into the crockpot. It’s been cooking for about 12 hours on low.

Top with sour cream, some yummy cheese (we like Monterey Jack) and some fresh chives or cilantro.

Added bonus: The house smells lovely!

Every cook (I think) has an awesome, unique chili recipe. What’s your secret??