Cooking beans and time saving tips in the kitchen.

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When it comes to saving time in the kitchen, “cook once, eat twice” is my motto.  In this first edition of “cook once, eat twice”, I would like to tell you about cooking beans and give you ideas what to do with cooked beans.

Although we are all pressed for time these days, for health’s sake, we still shall do as much home cooking as possible. This is why we need to find ways to save time in the kitchen. One of the such ways is cooking once but making two or three meals out of that one dish. Beans are definitely one of those dishes as they are super versatile. It’s easy to buy canned beans when you preparing dinner in a hurry but why not prepare whole batch of natural, dried beans without all the added chemicals that are found in canned foods?

COOKING DRIED BEANS

cooking beans
For this recipe I used pinto beans but you may also use black beans or kidney beans as they are full of fibre and they taste super delicious.
First of all, you need to rinse the beans and discard any stones or “ugly” looking beans. Then you soak them for at least 4 hours to get rid of gas producing substances and to shorten the cooking time.

For 1 cup of dried beans, use about 4 cups of water, 4 garlic cloves and a small onion and salt to taste. I also use a piece of kombu (a piece of seaweed) while cooking beans as it softens the beans, brings out their flavor and thickens the broth.
Let the beans boil and then lower the heat to simmer them. You will need to keep on checking the liquid level as the water evaporates quickly. It will take anywhere from 1-2 hours for the beans to cook fully; just keep checking on them, because burnt beans are not so tasty.
These cooked beans are your base, from here you can make numerous dishes.  So make a big batch but be sure to use them within 4 days and store them in the refridgerator.

MANY WAYS OF USING COOKED BEANS:

1.) Refried beans.

refried beans
Do you enjoy eating Mexican food? Beans are a staple food in Mexican cuisine. Refried beans are super versatile and super yummy plus easy to prepare:
Warm up some olive or vegetable oil in a skillet, add chopped onion, crushed garlic clove and fry until browned. Add previously cooked beans with some of the broth and mash them with a potato masher. You don’t have to mash the beans to a smooth paste, chunks are OK. When adding the liquid to the beans, don’t worry if the mixture is too liquid at the beginning of the frying process, the water evaporates quickly plus you don’t want to end up with dry, sticky mixture.
How can refried beans be used?
*as a side served with rice, you may sprinkle them with some cheese and salsa
*in a wrap (you may use romaine lettuce as a base): add refried beans, sliced avocado, salsa and roasted pumpkin seeds
*served as a side with scrambled eggs and topped with chipotle peppers (my favorite breakfast)
*as a party dip

Vegetarian fajita served on a romaine lettuce leaf with salsa, guacamole and shredded cheese…delicious!

veggie fajita wraps
Once you start enjoying cooking beans, there are other dishes in which they can be used:

2.) Bean Soup.
3.) Bean Burger
4.) Chili: made with meat or vegatarian way
5.) Bean Salad

Although canned beans are much easier to use, it pays to go that extra step and make them from scratch.

Happy cooking!

Gosia

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