Saturday, February 27, 2010

I've 'bean' thinking...

In recent months, I have put forth an effort to cut back on the amount of groceries I buy, and have been  brainstorming some alternative after school snack ideas for my son who has, in recent months, entered the phase "eating me out of house and home."

Lets face it.  Dried beans are cheap.  Really cheap.  And they have super longevity on a shelf.  But probably most important, are the health benefits, as they are packed with tons of protein, low in fat, and very high in dietary fiber.

My mom has taught me how beans cook wonderfully in a slow cooker.  They really do.  And so I recently made a whole crock pot full of pinto beans and made them into refried beans without all the fat.  In fact I didn't add any kind of fat, lard, or bacon grease usually found in refried beans (hence the name), but instead, concentrated on seasoning them well with spices and some bottled salsa and then using my immersion blender to get them nice and smooth with just the right consistency.  (You could just as easily use a blender).

I froze some of the beans in ziploc bags (because beans freeze GREAT!!!), but used most of them to do this:

Homemade bean burritos with a little sharp cheddar on top.

But the really fun thing about it is that I made a bunch of these little burritos, froze them on a cookie sheet, then threw them into a big ziploc once they were frozen, so they can be taken out individually for a snack or meal:

Next time I will use whole wheat or whole grain tortillas to make them even healthier, but I had a couple packages of white tortillas in my freezer that needed to be used.  

A little chicken or beef could be added inside as well, and then a meal could be made by baking them in a pan covered with enchilada sauce with a little more cheese to melt on top.

Porter wholeheartedly approves of his new after school snack.  And it makes me happy that he is getting something more on the healthy side.

But I'm thinking that some Beano might be on my next grocery list.


LGH said...

WOWser, sounds great...very clever, nutritious, and economical. Thanks for the tip on freezing them. I'm going to try it with some of our many beans.

Shawn and Megan Atwood said...

Thanks again nat for e-mailing this to me. I love this idea. I am going to try it soon. You are such a cleaver cook! SOrry I always call you for menu ideas:)

'T' said...


LGH said...

Natalie, thanks for the comment on my picture of the loaves of bread. I hope that your very smart son enjoys Cheaper By the Dozen; it has references to so many things that are outdated, so I hope he'll be able to relate to it. The book that just won an honorable mention for the Newbery award sounds very interesting and entertaining: Mostly True Adventures of Homer P Figg. Look at some of the reviews to see if that also might be something Porter would enjoy. Thanks, again, Natalie, for the very kind words. And, to Bill - amazing memory- that guy! Also, to you, you really DID bake up a storm...that's a lot of cinnamon rolls and banana bread...goodness for days to come.

Mrs. Olsen said...

Fabulous idea. Our grocery bill could use some trimming thanks for the tip.

BTW, I swear my neighbor made some fudge with the main ingredient from beans. That would also be cheap...but along with gas, you would then be fat so maybe not such a good idea ;)

The Lane Family said...

This is a great idea!!! Jim leaves very early in the morning and gets home really late so I try to have good meals to send for his lunch and often times for dinner as well.

While at work he needs something that heats up fast and can be done in a microwave. This would be perfect!!!

You are an amazing mom and woman and have such AWESOME ideas!! When I grow up I want to be like you!!

'T' said...

I've been thinking a lot about these burritos. Could you call me or email the details of how to cook the beans in your slow cooker and what spices you used to season them, AND how to whip em' through my blender. Mucho Gracias! It's Mexican tonight! ♥T

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