Saturday, July 31, 2010

Crock Pot Black Beans - Totally Worth the Effort!

I'm starting to enjoy cooking in bulk. A few weeks ago, I cooked several pounds of chicken in the crock pot and stocked our freezer with shredded chicken. It was super easy, and we've really enjoyed having the chicken prepared ahead of time. It takes about 3 minutes to defrost the chicken in the microwave so it's ready to be incorporated into a recipe (so far, we've used it for enchiladas and tacos). I found the instructions for the shredded chicken here. The only thing I plan to do differently next time is cook more chicken. Our large crock pot can handle almost twice as much I cooked before. I'm going to keep an eye out for chicken on sale so we realize a cost savings.

After being successful with the shredded chicken, I decided I wanted to prepare black beans in bulk as well. Typically, we buy a can of black beans, divide it in half, and use it for two recipes (tacos and enchiladas ... hmmm ... I'm sensing a theme here). That works great, but canned black beans are loaded with sodium. I knew buying dried black beans would be more cost effective and would cut out the sodium. I just wasn't interested in cooking beans on the stove every time we wanted them. So I searched for instructions on cooking black beans in bulk in a crock pot, and I found those instructions here. The only thing I did differently was purchase 2 bags of black beans. She mentioned at the end of her blogicle (is that the correct term for a blog article/post/thingy?) that she would cook more at one time the next time she cooked beans, so I just started with more. Two bags of beans fit in my largest crock pot for the soaking part, but I didn't think they would cook well without overflowing. I decided to use my largest and my medium size crock pot, and the combination was perfect!

We like about a cup of black beans in the recipes we use them in, so I bagged the beans in snack size baggies. I had 21 snack size baggies of beans!! That's the equivolent of 10.5 cans of beans! Woo hoo! I must be honest. I don't know the cost of a can of black beans vs. a bag of black beans, but I think they're similar in cost. So I'm going to say our cost savings was equal to approximately 8.5 cans of black beans. How do you like that fancy math?

I didn't think the snack size baggies would work well in the freezer, so I put 4 snack size baggies into a quart (?) size freezer bag. That worked really well! Photo:

It turns out black beans in baggies stacked on the counter aren't exactly photogenic. HA! Oh, well. I'm still proud of them!

Let me know if you've tried cooking in bulk. What worked or didn't work? Any tips? Thanks!

1 comment:

mamalinda said...

I have for years cooked cubed steak in bulk....usually about 8 to 10 pounds. Then when cooked, put the cubed steak into biscuits, freeze individually in baggies, and Dewitt takes them out for breakfast, sometimes even breakfast for dinner. When cubed steak goes on sale for $1.99 a pound, then its time to buy!