Thursday, January 27, 2011

We're Fulla Beans!

Beans are a great staple to have in the pantry. 
We use them quite often, as we eat meatless
at least twice a week.
They are one of the best ways to stretch your food budget while adding important nutrition to your family's diet.
I add them to meatloaf, burgers, casseroles, soups, stews,
even my lil' guy's desserts (shhhh!), as he needs the
extra fiber in his diet.  One of the best things about beans
is that they absorb flavors from other foods, so the range
of possibilities is pretty much endless!  They are as
comfortable in a spicy Mexican taco as in a bowl of
mellow Italian minestrone or in yummy chick pea burgers.
Beans-They're what's for dinner!

Pre-soaking is a good idea and couldn't be easier. 
Simply place your beans in a bowl with ample water
to cover and let sit overnight. 
If you're in a hurry, you can quick-soak. 
This simply means putting your beans in a pot
with a ratio of 2 to 1 (2 parts water to 1 part beans),
bring it to the boil and then take it off the heat
and let it sit on the stove for 1 hour. 
When you're ready to cook, toss the water
(we reuse ours to water plants), and add fresh water.
This works for black, red, white, navy,
garbanzo, and adzuki beans.
Black-eyed peas, lentils and split peas
don't need pre-soaking.

Add twice the amount of water as beans to cook.

Put in a garlic clove and bay leaf.
Bring the beans to a boil and
then turn down to simmer up to 2 hours,
depending on the type of bean. 
Test for doneness by taking one out
and mashing it with a fork.

Freeze in jars or baby food containers
for up to 6 months.