|Not a shall we say enticing picture but you get the idea.|
My favorite thing to do once a month style is beans. After becoming a vegan we ended up going through a lot of canned beans since I was not planning ahead enough to prep beans before each meal. A cost effective balance for our family is to prep, cook and freeze all of a month's beans at once.
This is a wonderful use for a large slow cooker, though a traditional pot on the stove will do fine as well. My process is the following.
The morning of the day before I have time to assemble, I soak:
4 cups chickpeas
4 cups kidney beans
4 cups pinto beans
The evening before I have time to assemble:
Rinse the soaked beans
Load up my 3 large slow cookers (It's kind of embarrassing to have so many. You can also just cook the next day if you are on a stove top.)
Add the rinsed beans, a dash of salt and water to cover.
Cook on low overnight. I use a 10 hour setting on each.
Drain and rinse cooked beans
Label freezer containers with Item Name, Date and Amount. I prefer to freeze beans in 1.5 cup portions.
Using a measuring cup as a scoop I fill the bags, push out any air and lay on a cookie sheet for freezing.
I generally get about 11 cups of kidney beans per each 4 cup dry batch. The pinto and chickpeas normally expand a bit less. I normally end up with 6 or 7 portions of each bean. If I'm being really fancy I make taco beans with the pinto beans.
Cooked Batch of Pinto Beans around 10 cups, drained and rinsed
2 large onions chopped and sauted
4 cloves garlic minced and sauted
Dash of chili powder
Dash of black pepper
I just put everything in the giant slow cooker and attack it with an immersion blender. I then label 6 freezer bags. Using a measuring cup as a scoop I evenly fil
l the bags, push out any air and lay on a cookie sheet for freezing.
I thaw the morning of taco night and just warm the beans in the microwave when we get home from work.