Using dried beans instead of canned beans is an easy way to save money. Cooking dried beans takes several hours but only requires checking on them a couple of times, so using a slow cooker is the easiest way to cook them without being physically present. For our menus, you can cook a bag (or two if your pot is large enough) of dried beans and freeze the beans in their own juice. These bags of frozen beans, which are far less expensive, can be used in place of canned beans.
Pinto beans cooked with chopped onion (1-1/2 onions per pound of beans) are delicious served over cornbread with chopped onion and shredded cheddar cheese on top. Season the beans with salt and pepper after cooking is complete since salt inhibits the cooking process.
- 1 lb. bag dried beans (black, pinto, kidney, etc.)
Rinse beans in a colander and check to be sure there are no stones or other debris. Place beans in a dutch oven (or slow cooker if you are using the overnight soak method) and cover with water so that the water is twice as deep as the beans.
Overnight soak: Leave beans in water overnight.
Quick soak: Heat to boiling and boil for 2 minutes. Turn heat off and cover, let sit for 1 hour.
Drain beans in a colander and rinse pot. Place beans in slow cooker and cover with water, making sure the water is twice as deep as the beans. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
Drain beans, reserving liquid (place colander on a lg. pan or bowl then pour beans into the colander so that the bowl catches the liquid). Separate beans into 2 cup servings in freezer bags. Cover beans in each bag with some of reserved liquid and freeze flat.