Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Because an almost free meal is a good thing. . .

Tell me that you eat beans once a week.


Because if you don't - you are WAY missing out!

We are always trying to stretch the budget here at the Troops. Even if money isn't tight (which it pretty much always is), we have much better things to spend it on than FOOD, for heavens sake.

So about once a week I make a big pot of beans. The kids love them. The Coach loves them. They taste fabulous. And they are CHEAP.

Here's what you do:

Buy a pack of "15 bean soup" beans. (any type of beans is fine - but these are our favorite) And a package of light turkey smoked sausage. And make sure you have the ingredients on hand for cornbread.

The night BEFORE your bean dinner, sort through the beans, pulling out any stones or gross looking beans. Rinse them in cold water and put them in your crock pot (turned OFF). Fill with water until a few inches over the top of the beans.

The next morning, pour it all into a colander in your sink. Rinse with cold water. I usually put them back into the crock pot, fill with cold water, swish around and drain, again. Two or three times (this will reduce the "gassiness" of the beans).

After they are sufficiently rinsed, put them back into the crock pot and fill with water, again. The water should be three inches or so above the tops of the beans.

Add: Minced onion (fresh is great - the Coach doesn't like "pieces" of onion, so I use minced), garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper.
(of course you can add carrot, celery, etc.)

Turn crock pot onto high and stir. Leave all morning.

Around lunch time (you can start it on low with all of the ingredients if you'll be gone all day), reduce to low and add the sausage (I cut it into small, kid-friendly pieces, first).

Cook on low until dinner time, adding more salt as needed (salt is what gives beans flavor).

About thirty minutes before dinner, mix up some cornbread and pop it in the oven.

That's it!

(And here is a tip. We like THICK soup around here. If you add too much water and the bean soup is too thin, just take the lid off of your crock pot for awhile - it will thicken right up. If it's too thick, just add a cup or two of water!)

Tastes good. Good for you. And extremely economical. Doesn't get any better!
I can smell them cooking right now - and since it's going to be a busy day, I'm so glad I already have dinner taken care of!

Happy Wednesday!


Lori said...

I love your recipe. We make it about every other week and my kids love is and it IS cheap! I'm so glad you shared!

Disney's World said...

You bet we eat beans...and often for that matter. Besides being cheap and delicious..they are nutritious too. I love making extra...for nachos and bean burrios the following day. Thanks for the recipe.

Jo said...

Thank you Thank you. I've tried several beany things but somehow we haven't found one that I will use again and again. This sounds perfect. Its on my grocery list. YEA> Glad to have you back.

Anonymous said...

I can hardly wait to go get some beans. I keep meaning to get the crock pot going with some kind of bean thing, but not sure where to start. Thanks for the helpful recipe! It is going on the list of things to make!

Zimms Zoo said...

I am so glad that you didn't bring that to us. Sorry but I can't stand that 15 bean soup. We occasionally get some in our angel food package so I will bring them to you.

I do cook pinto beans and black beans and keep them to make soups and such without meat. Does that count?

Let's get together yeah yeah yeah! (name that movie too!)

The Adventures of Treasure's Island said...

sounds yummy - except i need real onions! i've made it before w/ the sausage but i've never added anything else to it. i'll have to try this soon.

Jo said...

Yes, Risk is also a game and I hate it.

Heidi said...

Sounds good....How much of the garlic powder, salt etc. do you put in it. I'm not the best cook so I need specific instructions.

Mrs. Troop said...

Seriously, Heidi?
I have NO idea!
I'm kind of a "wing it" cook - as you can probably imagine! :-)
I just sprinkle some in and then in the afternoon I taste the liquid. If it needs more flavor I add a little more salt. You CAN use too much salt - especially with the sausage being in there.
But the garlic and onion add a lot of flavor, too.
Good luck! We'll talk about it. . .

Heidi said...

I'll give it my best shot and just WING you said. I'm sure someone in my family will let me know if it tastes bad. My mom cooks like that too. She says just taste it and you will know, but I'm not good at that. I'll let you know how they turn out!

Connie said...

Thanks for this great idea! I wish I was having it for dinner tonight...but I will be making it soon. Thankfully I just bought some Beano at Costco today!!!

Judy said...

The sausage makes the difference between ,"Not beans again!" and "Yay! Beans!" I use Polish Sausage. If I have it on hand I add tomato juice, probably a cup. After the overnight soak and rinsing, I cook them an hour on the stove before starting the crock pot. Adding a teaspoon of Arm & Hammer when the stove-cooking begins cuts down on the gas.

Mrs. Troop said...

Judy - thank you for the soda tip - I'll have to try that. :-)
This has been fun!

Lori said...

Okay, I'm making these today. In the crockpot. I've always done them on the stove before so I'm excited to try it in the cp. Thanks!

Leah Belle said...

this IS a yummy recipe...a friend of mine goes to honeybaked ham and buys the ham bones that are left from their spiral cuts. they usually have lots of ham bits still attached. she adds that instead of sausage for a very yummy versions!