Brie Cannon over at "divine caroline" has "The 20 Healthiest Foods for Under $1." There are even links to recipes to use the cheap food. Great reading.
I have been serving a lot more dried beans as main dishes and combined into sides.
The crock-pot is great for dried beans. And you don't have to soak the beans overnight. The only draw-back is that you must watch the beans. They must remain covered with water and not be allowed to cook dry or they get tough.
Use no salt nor salt-laden meat in the cooking process. To do so, also, causes the beans to be tough. Salt and/or meat can always be added after the beans have cooked.
Best Cheap Beans
- 1# dried beans (any variety)
- 1 or 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 large garlic clove crushed/pressed
- water 2" over top of beans
- 2 1/2 qt (or 3 qt) crock-pot/slow cooker
- Pick over dried beans; give them a quick rinse under cool water.
- Put into crock-pot.
- Add brown sugar, garlic, water (filtered is better than tap because of the chlorine content).
- Cook on high for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours.
- Watch carefully: this is one recipe where taking the lid off is required. Check about every half hour.
- Add more water--about 1" each time--when water level drops to top of beans.
- Beans are done when they are very soft.
Use the cooked beans just the way you would any canned variety & because they contain no salt, you don't need to rinse.
- Small red beans go into Red Beans & Rice and, also, make chili scrumptious; much better than canned kidney beans. Be sure to add the "juice" as it enhances the chili even more.
- Navy beans (with juice) can be used for baked beans that will make any Bostonian weep with joy.
- Anasazi beans have become my personal favorite to eat as a main dish with cornbread and greens. Yum, yum.
- Black beans add flavor and texture to bean salads and Cuban dishes.
I know, I know. Cooking doesn't seem to be very "feminist"-y, but, hey, a body has to eat. And I like good food, well prepared. And as for the "liberal" part. If I cook cheaply (but well), I have more time, energy and money to put toward making a better world and reducing my carbon footprint.