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Posts Tagged ‘beans’

The pressure’s on

In May our churh held a ladies' luncheon. I helped to prepare chicken salad for the event by cooking about 40 pounds of bone in chicken breasts in the crock pot. This generated quite a bit of chicken broth and then I cooked the bones with some vegetables to generate even more.

During this time Rob was out of town helping a friend move cross country so I had some free time in the kitchen. I put a new gasket and vent on the pressure canner and canned six and a half quarts of the broth, made a batch of soup and then froze the rest.

Later in the week I tried another new canning project, pressure canning great northern beans and pinto beans. They do have to process for over an hour but the actual preparation of the dry beans was no different from actually cooking them for soup or some other purpose. All but one jar sealed properly. I was kind of glad the one jar did not seal because I was curious to taste the finished product. The beans were perfectly cooked and had a nice creamy texture. It will be convenient to have them on hand for quick meals in the future.


I used that one pint jar of great northern beans to try this new soup recipe from Southern Living:

Cabbage, Potato, and White Bean Soup

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsps. olive oil*
4-6 small potatoes, peeled and sliced
4-6 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
4-6 cups chopped cabbage
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

Heat oil in large soup kettle and then saute onion until tender. Add garlic and cook briefly before adding broth and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are nearly tender then add the cabbage and beans. Cook until the cabbage and potatoes are tender and then season with salt and pepper. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

*This would also be delicious with bacon grease and a little crumbled cooked bacon added to the soup.

These successes have made me want to try pressure canning a few other items that I have never tried canning before.

What's been going on in your kitchen lately?

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Another Busy Week

It's been another busy week here at our house. This was the first official week of school and classes started on Wednesday. There's always lots to do and figure out the first couple of weeks before everyone gets settled into the new routine.

Nora is gaining strength and stamina and I think she will be glad to be able to get back to work and start earning money to pay off her medical bills which are beginning to trickle in. We are very thankful for the good progress she has made and for your prayers and well wishes for her recovery.

I cooked some pinto beans in the crockpot earlier this week and used some of them to make these

picture of Easy Beans and Rice

Easy Beans and Rice

1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 Tbsp. oil
1/2 lb. kielbasa, sliced
8 oz. tomato sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups pinto beans (or one 16 oz. can drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (see directions below)
1 bay leaf
thyme, salt, and pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet. Saute onion, celery, and green pepper for a few minutes. Add the sausage and garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add the spices, broth, tomato sauce, and beans. Simmer for about 10 mins. Add the rice and heat through. Serve with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream or plain yogurt. Very tasty and inexpensive. If you like things a bit spicy you could add hot sauce to taste.

My friend Sandy encouraged me to try baking brown rice in the oven. It only takes a few more minutes than on the stove top and doesn't require any stirring or pot watching. Another benefit is that is doesn't boil over! I like to bake a large batch and then freeze portions for future use. The rice reheats quickly in the microwave. Just add a small amount of water when reheating and you will have fluffy hot rice in minutes.

Brown Rice in the Oven

1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/2 cups water
2 tsps. oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Place all ingredients in a two quart casserole dish. Bake covered with a lid or foil for 60 minutes at 375 degrees. Can double in a 9" x 13" dish. Use immediately or portion out and freeze for later use. I often bake this ahead on Saturday and then just reheat for Sunday dinner.


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Bean soup

Dried beans are very nutritious, economical, tasty, and can easily fit into your schedule. There are many ways to cook them, including in a pressure cooker, a crock pot, or on top of the stove. Make sure you purchase dried beans from a store with a fast turnover. If the beans are too old they sometimes remain hard even after several hours of cooking. Also, do not add salt or acid ingredients to the beans until they are tender. These ingredients also impede the softening of the beans.

If I plan to cook a lot of beans ahead for a salad or for freezing I like to use the crockpot. For this method just pick over the dried beans, wash them, and then soak them overnight. In the morning drain off the soaking water and then place them in the crock pot and add water to cover by about 2" above the dried beans. Cook on low for about five hours and then check to see if the beans are tender. If not, cook a while longer.

picture of Bean Soup

When I am making bean soup, here is the method I like to use:

Pick over the dried beans and then wash them. Place in a large pot and then cover with water by a couple of inches. Let soak overnight. In the morning drain off this water and add fresh. Bring the beans to a boil and simmer for about two minutes. Cover the pot and let sit for a few hours. (I let them sit while I am at work.) When you return in the late afternoon drain the beans and add fresh water. (You can also add ham broth or drippings if you have any available.) Simmer the beans gently until they are tender. Normally I find this takes less than an hour.

Here's the recipe for the bean soup:

1 lb. great northern beans
1 medium onion (sliced or diced)
2 stalks celery, sliced (with the leaves)
ham broth if available
1-2 cups diced ham
2 potatoes, diced
2-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 pinch Italian seasoning
1/4 cup catsup
black pepper

Cook the beans until tender. In the final cooking you can add the ham broth if you have any. (If not, use water or vegetable stock or even chicken broth.) For a pound of beans I would add 6-8 cups of liquid. It depends how "soupy" you like your soup. Add the potatoes and carrots to the beans and continue simmering them.

In a skillet saute the onion, celery, and diced ham in a small amount of oil until the vegetables are wilted. Add these vegetables to the beans.

Simmer until all the vegetables are tender. Add the catsup (the secret ingredient!) and season with black pepper and salt, if needed. The ham and ham broth are often pretty salty, so you may find that you don't need much salt.

Here are the beans, potatoes, and carrots simmering together:

picture of Beans Potatoes Carrots

Here are the onions, celery, and ham being sauteed:

picture of Vegetables for Bean Soup

Years ago I read a tip about adding a bit of catsup to bean soup to improve the flavor. I was a bit skeptical since I'm normally not a big catsup fan, but it really does perk up the flavor and adds just a hint of tomato taste and color to the soup. The herbs also add a bit of zip.

picture of Bean Secret Ingredients

If you want to freeze part of your soup take out the part you want to freeze before adding the potatoes. Potatoes generally do not freeze well. It's best to add them to the soup right before cooking. You can also add leftover mashed potatoes or some instant potato flakes to this soup as a thickener.

Enjoy your delicious bean soup!


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This and That

Last weekend I got better acquainted with one of my blog readers, Lynnette. I had met her briefly when she visited our church one Sunday morning and then again when we visited the place where she works a couple of times while Megan and Drew were here visiting. We enjoyed visiting with her in our home last weekend and hearing about her family's ministry in New York City and how the Lord led them to move there.

picture of Lynnette

Another blog reader, Rhonda, asked about the side dish in my recent post about the chicken sandwiches. The dish is called Calico Beans and is greatly enjoyed in our family. Here's the recipe:

Calico Beans

6 slices bacon or turkey bacon
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup catsup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. cider vinegar
16 oz. can pork and beans (drain slightly if there's a lot of liquid)
16 oz. can kidney beans (drain and rinse)
16 oz. can lima or butter beans (drain and rinse) ( I used 2 cups of frozen baby limas, cooked)

Cook bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the skillet, let it cool on paper towels and then crumble it and set aside. Drain all but 1 Tbsp. of the bacon grease. Cook the onion in the skillet until it is translucent. Remove from heat and combine with the catsup, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, and the beans. Place in a greased 2 1/2-3 quart casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 mins. You can also prepare this in a crockpot for a few hours. (Everything is cooked, so you are basically warming and thickening the mixture a bit.) Top with the crumbled bacon before serving. You can make this into a main dish by cooking about 1/2 pound of ground beef along with the onions.

picture of ChickenSandwich

This is a favorite of my daughter-in-law, Katie. (We even served them at Mark and Katie's rehearsal dinner.) I hope you will try it when you need a good bean dish.


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