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The other week when I was grocery shopping (I’m still living in Holmes County, OH, working for the summer), I was purusing the discount shelf at a store and happened to come across a bag of dry pinto beans for all of seventy-something cents. You can’t really get any cheaper than that, so I picked it up. Well, this past week I crockpotted it (is “crockpotted” a word? Spellcheck tells me it’s not. *add to dictionary* Now it is.) because I didn’t want to take it home with me. I’m getting to the end of my stay here, so I’m trying to use up everything I have on hand. Since I’m almost out of oatmeal (I’ve been living on chocolate oatmeal and cottage cheese for breakfast pretty much every morning for over two months and haven’t gotten tired of it yet), these beans will be my breakfast for awhile. Strange? Perhaps. But then are you surprised if you know me at all? Probably not. I eat many strange things at many strange times, and these beans are really good, so I sure wouldn’t mind eating them for breakfast (reminds me of the Dr. Suess book Green Eggs and Ham. I’d sure like to try green eggs.).
Is it just me, or is this post getting a little silly and side-tracked? That’s quite possible, because I’M GOING HOME THIS WEEKEND!! And I’m excited, can you tell? I haven’t seen my family in over two months, and I miss them, and my church family, and my horses. I don’t miss the South Carolina heat, but I miss the culture. And it’s home, and while Holmes County is beautiful and the people are nice, it’s not home. It has become my “home away from home” because I’ve been here so much (this is the 4th summer I’ve spent time here working, although I’ve never stayed this long before), but it’s still not quite the same as Pickens, South Carolina. There just aren’t enough rednecks up here.
Anyway, I’m super excited to go home and get back to all my normal activities. I’m going to be starting some new projects as well. I’ll give you a hint: one of them starts with “cook” and ends with “book”. Yeah, that one’s going to be an insane amount of work but I’m getting more and more excited! I just can’t wait to get back into a real kitchen.
But back to these beans, because this is what’s going on right now. Can I just list their perks and call it good?
- made in the crockpot
- full of flavor
- makes a large batch
- good protein source
- so easy
There, I think that just about covers it. Now go make them.
Remember those chicken leg quarters I got awhile back (you can read about my adventures with them here)? Well, I crockpotted the ones that I had stuffed back into the freezer, and after I ate the meat, I skimmed the fat off the broth and used it in these beans. The chicken broth combined with the spices gives these beans great flavor. You’ll notice that I called for most of the spices to be added at the end of cooking. Because of the time constraints I was working around, that’s how I did it, so that’s how I wrote it in the recipe. Besides, I think this will give you a more powerful-flavored end product. I’ve heard that if you cook beans with salt, the skins can get tough, so definitely add the salt at the end even if you add the other spices before cooking.
Well, I think that about wraps it up, folks. Question of the day: how long does it take for a place away from home to become home for you?
You can find this recipe in my cookbook, Necessary Food.
- 1 lb. dry beans of choice (I used pinto beans, but black beans would be great as well)
- 1-2 cups fat free chicken broth
- 6-8 cups water (depending on how soupy you want the beans to be; I used the full 8 cups)
- Small handful each of fresh dill, basil, and parsley, chopped
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2-3 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. each cumin, dried oregano, and chili powder
- 2 tsp. dried cilantro
- ½ tsp. paprika
- Soak the beans in water overnight. Rinse and drain them in the morning and put them in a crockpot with the chicken broth, water, fresh herbs, and garlic powder. Cook on low all day or until the beans are completely tender. Add the rest of the seasonings and stir well. Serve. You may either serve the beans whole as-is or mash them.
- Trim Healthy Mamas, you can use 1½ cups of beans (this doesn't include the juice) as your carb source for an E meal. I didn't measure the complete end product, but I'm guessing you will get at least 6 servings from this recipe.
- Possible tweaks: 1) use more chicken broth in place of some of the water, 2) add some bits and pieces of chicken breast for extra flavor, and/or 3) add other fresh herbs of choice, like fresh cilantro. You could also add chopped onion, real minced garlic, and/or chopped jalapenos.
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