In an effort to trim down our expenses (even more than we already have), lately I have really been trying to figure out ways to save money on food and groceries. Besides meal planning, which helps alot, I have been following a few blogs that focus on cooking and eating frugally to get inspiration.
$5 Dinners – the title says it all, great recipes and ideas for $5 dinners.
The Grocery Chart Challenge – this lady is amazing! She feeds her family of 6 on only $60/week!
Fun Foods on a Budget – some basic recipes and some interesting/different ones – all in keeping with eating frugally.
I have a few recipes that I would like to make that include beans, and I have been waiting for a sale to stock up on canned beans, but haven’t come across any lately. So, yesterday I was thinking about the bags of dried beans I have in my pantry from when we were getting WIC after Jer was laid off. They were free, and they have just been sitting there, and I really could put them to good use. I looked around online a little bit about cooking dried beans and found this post at A Year of CrockPotting (which is the BEST crockpot blog ever, by the way) and tried it out last night.
I put black beans in the crockpot to soak at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon, and then turned them on low to cook at 11:30 before we went to bed. They were pretty much done when I got up at 7:30, but I let them cook for another 1/2 hour. Then I drained them and let them sit out for a little while to cool down and put them into bags to freeze, a jar to use later this week in a recipe and then the leftovers in a baggie for snacks, etc. K actually ate a handful of them for her morning snack, and really liked them. And, I feel really good about her eating beans, they are so good for you and I know that the ones I made aren’t loaded with sodium like the canned ones are.
It really was easy, I loved cooking them in the crockpot and just being able to turn them on and go to bed and they were ready to go in the morning. The thing that took the most time was sorting out the bad/broken beans before soaking them. I probably lost about 1/8-1/4 of a cup in bad/broken beans.
I have to price it out the next time I’m at the store, as I’m not quite sure how much this actual bag of beans cost, because it was free with WIC, but I think they are around $1 for 16 oz., and could be even cheaper on sale. I basically got the equivalent of 3 cans of beans, with a few leftovers. I think cans of beans are around $.75 or so depending on the type of bean and whether they are on sale or not, which makes these beans MUCH cheaper, even with the cost of energy, as the Year of Crockpotting post states. And again, like I said, it was easy. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be making beans like this from now on, unless I come across a crazy, amazing sale on canned beans.