Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fill 'em Up (frozen beans)

Sometime this week, we had sloppy joes. There were just enough leftovers to save for two sandwiches. The kids asked if we had any left for lunch today ....3 hungry kids...2 sandwiches...hmmm.

I had already decided to make a type of casserole out of them. Some pasta, some beans, leftover meat and maybe a bit of corn and VOILA a new frugal creation.

The kids gave me the "seriously?" look and I stared at the leftovers again.

I already had my pack of frozen pintos out.*

So I warmed up a half a cup of pintos and the remainder of the meat and mushed the beans up really well. After the first taste-test, I KNEW that my picky anti-bean girl would say there were too many beans so I added more sloppy joe sauce AKA ketchup, mustard, and a touch of brown sugar. I served the meat on regular bread because we only had two buns left and I was not prepared for WW3.  I also gave them each a celery stick with a bit of cream cheese. Miss Picky went back for another half a sandwich and was confused when she realized she had eaten beans and ENJOYED them... SCORE ONE FOR TEAM MOM!!

Now, about those frozen beans*...

1 can of beans from the store costs anywhere from 68 cents to $1.11. It is equal to about 1 1/2 cups of beans.

1 pound of dry beans will cost around 88 cents to $1.40 a pound. I try to stick below $1 per pound and stock up like it's the end of the world when they drop below that!  One pound of dry beans will give you 4 cups of cooked beans and some yummy bean broth.

Now for the math, for each cup of beans you pay...

Canned 45 cents to 74 cents
Dry 22 cents to 35 cents plus a minimal amount of electricity if you use your crockpot to cook them. If you left your crockpot running ALL month it would cost a whopping $3.

Once every other month or so, I cook beans in my crock-pot for a few days. Rinse them off, cover with an inch of water, and cook on LOW until they're done. Measure out 1 and a half cups, dump into Ziploc freezer bags, let cool, and freeze flat.  Repeat with as many bean varieties as you want. I do not cook lentils up this way, lentils require no soaking and cook for about 14 minutes in my $10-garage-sale-treasure electronic pressure cooker.

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