Friday, February 15, 2008

Frugal Beans

For Frugal Friday, my tip is on cheap beans. Obviously, the the cheapest way to buy beans is buying them dry. But who wants to take the time to soak and cook the beans for hours? And what about the times when you don't remember you need the beans until it's too late? Daniel and I have struggled with dry beans while we've lived here. They seemed to take forever. We'd boil them, soak them overnight, boil again, and they still wouldn't be soft!
Last Christmas I bought Daniel a rice maker (a fairly inexpensive soft one). Besides making rice, we've discovered that it works really well for soaking beans. We can put in the beans and water, heat them up on high, and turn them to low during overnight. Since then, dry beans have not been as intimidating to me. Then one day we decided to make extra beans, since we were going to the hassle of soaking them anyway, and we froze a few jars in the freezer. When I pulled out the jars recently to use them for "refried" beans, they were nice and soft and worked wonderfully! So, now if I ever soak the beans, I make extra and freeze them to have beans on hand the next time.
And just recently we found another use for our rice cooker- steaming carrots for hours so they're nice and soft for a tiny toothless mouth!

I thought I would include an easy and good bean dip recipe I got from my mother-in-law. Serve with crackers or veggies as a healthy snack.
Blend the following ingredients (we use a mini-food processor):
1 can navy beans (or a few cups dried and soaked)
olive oil
lemon juice


Lisa said...

A pressure cooker is another way to cook dry beans fast- 30 minutes or so, depending on the bean.

Larissa said...

You can also use your rice cooker to make oatmeal (rolled oats, not instant). I'm not sure if you have access to oats in bulk but it sure is yummy and would be good for Jeremiah.