A Frugal Meal: Soup with Beans

Do you use beans? I cook with a lot of beans. I have found beans to be a wonderful go to protein when we can’t afford to buy meat, or we are tired of the meat we can buy. I enjoy meat, but I could easily be a vegetarian. I have not always enjoyed eating beans, but I have learned that when beans are cooked properly they can be a tasty addition to many meals.

Today I am making some soup, and I might include beans in it if I can’t find enough protein around the house to add to my soup. So I am cooking some navy beans today. My favorite way of cooking beans is in my crock pot. It is such as simple way of cooking beans and they end up with perfect texture. I have learned to cook beans on the stove top as well, but often I do not pay close enough attention and my beans end up with a texture that isn’t as nice. So when I learned that the crock pot was originally made to cook beans I decided I would use it for cooking beans!

I picked up a bag of Navy beans from Bilo. [Aldi doesn’t always sell Navy beans, usually they only have black beans, pinto beans, and Navy beans.]

Using Dried Beans

 

Many people tell me that they don’t have time to cook beans because of the required soaking that is recommended on the back side of the bag. Here’s a secret for you– I don’t soak my beans! It isn’t necessary especially if you are using a crock pot. I take the bag and pour them into my crock pot.

wpid-wp-1422564085681.jpeg

 

I fill my pot with water that is about 3 inches above the top of the beans. You may need to add more water, so at some point in the day check your pot and make sure that the beans are not getting dry.

For a recap:

Dried Beans in Pot.

Water in Pot.

Next Step:

Best way to cook beans: CrockPot

 

Put pot into base, put lid on the pot. Turn the pot on high, and make sure it is plugged in. Walk away. Until later when you check the beans to make sure there is enough water in the pot. Let the beans cook most of the day, and after about 6 hours check the beans for tenderness. If you desire you can turn the pot down or if they are at the level of tenderness that you like turn off the pot. They are now ready to use in whatever way you choose. Once they are cooked, beans will freeze quite well so if you find you have cooked more beans that you need for a specific meal just freeze them for later.

I started my beans around the same time that I started the soup:

Soup, a frugal go to meal

 

I don’t want my veggies to over cook, so I don’t plan to let this pot simmer all day, but I have my broth out, and I am letting that thaw a bit and will warm it in the pot a bit this morning. Then I add the vegetables, and protein to the soup. I then turn off the pot. Depending on when you do this process you may want to put the pot into the fridge for a while until time to cook the veggies.

By late morning my pot had several different broths in it, carrots, onions, garlic, green beans, potatoes, and some left over turkey. I had some turkey bones in the freezer. Yep I keep the bones after I have cooked a turkey and we have eaten most of the meat off of it. I boiled those bones down this morning and let them cool. That is where I got the turkey for our soup. The next time you have a bone from a whole bird or a roast you have cooked, stick that bone in the freezer and save it for when you cook soup!

How is your Frugal grocery shopping going? What deals are you finding where you are? I would love to hear how things are going for you.

 

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