Beans are good for you, everybody should know that. Beans are highly nutritious substitute for meat (when combined with other grains such as rice), and an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants. Because beans give you plenty of fiber, they are digested slowly compared to meat, making them a fabulous food for weight control.
They also save you a fair amount of money, are fun (and easy) to make and taste far better when made fresh instead of out of a can. In real time, they take almost a day to make, but in preparation time, they take only about fifteen minutes. When made using simple ingredients, they have all the heartiness of the meat they replace without the bother of complex preparation. And frugal? About 50 cents for a meal-size (1 cup) serving.
So let’s get to it.
- 1 lb. dried beans (i.e great northern or navy beans… don't cook red kidney beans in a slow cooker, they may upset your stomach.)
- 14 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes.
- About 4-5 oz. smoked ham, thick sliced bacon or turkey coarsely chopped (Try using ½ of a 10 oz. package of Smithfield’s “Ham Chips” available at Sweetbay).
- ½ tsp. whole thyme.
- Water (see below).
- Salt to taste.
Preparation: (evening before)
- Rinse beans, take out any non-bean material.
- Place beans in a small crock pot, cover with water to about 2” above the beans.
- Don’t turn the crock pot on, forget about the beans until tomorrow morning.
Preparation: (bean day).
- Drain water from beans
- Add new water to about 1 ½ to 2” above the beans.
- Turn crock pot on high, cover.
- After a few hours, add the remaining ingredients.
- Stir occasionally, add water if necessary (finished beans should be slightly soupy).
- Simmer in crock pot on high until beans reach your desired softness, and most of the water is absorbed – about 4-6 hours total.
- Salt to taste.
That’s all there is to it. When done, you will have about 8 servings of delicious beans for about $4.