Sunday, October 19, 2008

Black Beans and Salsa in the Crockpot

Have you checked out this blog: ? It's by a woman named Stephanie who set out to use her crockpot every day for a year. She posts a picture of the ingredients, the recipe, and commentary about each recipe. It is fabulous! Today she wrote about cooking beans in the crockpot, something I do occasionally but not always. She compares the cost of canned beans with cooking your own (you know which is less expensive!), and also mentions that it costs about 2 cents an hour to operate a crockpot. Why am I not using that device each day??? One website I found said it costs about 25 cents an hour to use the oven. Even if those are not exact numbers, based on types of appliance and cost of energy, I would think the comparison (2 to 25) is accurate. (I am only speculating.) Regardless, I'm sure cooking in the crockpot is cheaper than in the oven.

But I digress, I was talking about beans... We make a very simple dish that Mark calls Aztec beans. When it's a busy week (well, busier than normal), I use canned beans, but I try to be economical and use dry. Mark likes the beans to be really soft, so I cook them longer than most people would. The afternoon before we are eating this meal, I put the beans in the crockpot to soak. (I do not turn it on.) Before bed, I drain and rinse, then add fresh water. I cook them on low all night. In the morning, I drain most of the liquid and add a jar or two of salsa. Again, it cooks on low all day.

We eat this like a thick soup topped with shredded cheese (whatever kind is on hand) and sour cream. It is also good with triscuits or tortilla chips (which are not core!). It takes planning ahead, but certainly takes much less time than preparing most meals. And it's yummy and nutrituous, especially if we all eat the salad or fresh vegetables to dip I place on the table.

More later...


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