Thursday, July 22, 2010

Beans and Rice

Since I try to make a lot of our dinners with little or no meat, I have to rely on other sources of protein.  Eating beans and rice together is a great way to get a meatless complete protein. 

I always start with dried beans rather than canned.  Dried beans are cheaper than canned beans because they require less processing, the packaging is cheaper, they are not transported in water, and they do not spoil as quickly.

Not only do canned beans cost more, but they also have added salt and, sometimes, sugar.  Last week I bought a 15.25 oz. can of S&W kidney beans for $0.68.  They cost a lot more than my home-cooked beans and have 4 grams of added sugar per ½ c. of beans (that’s about 1 tsp. of sugar per ½ c. beans!).

Cooking dried beans is very easy to do.  Some people will say beans need to be soaked before cooking.  While this does reduce the active cooking time, I have not found that it is necessary.  I used to soak my beans overnight and then cook them on the stove for two to three hours.  Now I just toss them in the slow cooker and let them cook on high for about six hours.

I generally do not add any seasonings to the beans so that I can season them later when I use them.  That way I can make a big batch of beans, freeze it in usable portions, and use it for all different types of dishes.

4½ c. dried beans (I used small red beans)
13½ c. water

Place beans and water in slow cooker.  Cook on high for about 5-6 hours, or until beans are tender.  Cooking time will differ with different types of beans.  Yields 13½ c. cooked beans.  Total cost:  less than $2.

*Note:  Red beans and kidney beans can contain toxins that are only destroyed at high cooking temperatures.  These toxins cause stomach cramps and vomiting that usually resolves within a few hours without medical attention.  While there have been no documented cases in the United States, there have been a handful of breakouts in the United Kingdom.  Be sure your slow cooker reaches near boiling.

We like eating beans with brown rice, and we always add corn.

Bean and Rice Burritos 
Heat flour tortilla in skillet over medium heat. Top with beans, rice, corn, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and hot sauce. 

Bean and Rice Bowls 
Layer rice, beans, and corn in bowl. Top with cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, and hot sauce. 

Bean and Rice Quesadillas 
One of Robbie’s favorites! Place tortilla in skillet over medium heat. Add beans, rice, and corn to one half. Cover with good amount of cheese and fold tortilla over. Flip quesadilla when first side starts getting crispy. Serve with sour cream and/or guacamole for dipping. 

Leftover Bean and Rice Breakfast Burritos 
Add scrambled eggs to bean and rice burritos.


Unknown said...

DUH! This makes using dry beans so practical for a working mom too. Why didn't I think of the slow cooker?!? hahaha. I have been wanting to incorporate dry beans but avoided it because of the percieved hassle. Thanks for this oh-so-basic tip! And now that we have a chest freezer, I have room for the "usable portions" :)

Sarah! said...

Can you cook all types of dried bean in the slow cooker this way?!?

Sumiko said...

Careful, Jaime! Once you start, it's hard to stop!

Sarah, I don't see why not. I've done red beans, pinto beans, white beans, and black beans. Just remember to adjust the cooking time according to the size of the bean.

Happy cooking!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sumiko, I have a bag of pinto bean and water in my slow cooker right now. I hope in the AM they will be tender and ready for some pork flavoring.


Sumiko said...

Yay for pinto beans!!! In the near future I will be doing a post on homemade refried beans. Yum!

Stephanie Jayne said...

Thanks for posting this. I have been spending around $1 for a can for plain pinto beans (I use them to make refried beans). We eat a lot of mexican food so it seems like I am always buying pinto beans. I think I am going to save a TON of money if I put some dry beans in the slowcooker!

Kiefler said...

I would think that if your slow cooker doesn't reach "near boiling" you could cook them for six hours,and then transfer them to your 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. That should finish them off if they were hot, straight from the crock-pot. (assuming that you have a remove-able pot, of course.)

Unknown said...

This has just become my favorite recipe site. You are awesome!

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