Sunday, September 5, 2010

Refried Beans from Dried Beans

Refried Beans
Here are the ingredients we used today (and if anyone has some suggestions for the canned item replacements, that's great, but this time I just didn't have time to go hunting for all the fresh ingredients after having been sick for a week, so canned it is:(
I usually use beef broth if its needed, but I forgot to buy it because I forgot I needed it so it wasn't on my list.  I hope to get better at that part:)
The pain about dried beans is that they need to soak for a long time.  You can simmer them on the stove for a shorter period of time, but I generally just cover them with water (a LOT of water, they expand a lot, especially when they're cooking!) and leave them in a covered bowl overnight.  

Then I cook them on the stove with some chopped onions and a little garlic, checking on the water levels every once in a while (When I can remember:) because these beans grow and soak up water.  I cook them on 5-6 (medium - medium/high) for a few hours.  Do not add ANYTHING with salt to the beans until the skins are soft, because otherwise that will cause the skins to get hard and your beans are shot.  Stir them every once in a while, and depending how many you make (we always, always make a lot, so ours takes four or 5 hours).

Obviously beans, like home made bread are made on a day when we are home for the day and don't have a lot of running to do.  That's why we always make a lot because we eat it all week while we're busy out and about.

Once the beans are soft, add in your chosen spices, seasonings and whatnot.  I use seasoned diced tomatoes, green chilies and burrito or taco seasoning which gives the bean some kick:

Then, when they have cooled down some, sitck them in your handy dandy blender and make what my kids like to call "Bean Smoothie"  Yummilicious!  Here's Squatchmo making his smoothie:

The, um, not so pleasant sounding process of pouring the bean... "smoothie" back into the pan for making bean dip.

Dried beans are AWESOME.  They are nutritious and extremely inexpensive.  I love using them because we can cook big batches and freeze what we don't need right now.  It took us a bit to get used to the different texture, but now I can't eat canned beans without it tasting like paste.  Ick.

I'm trying to get away from using canned foods as much as possible, but I'm not there yet.  Our goal is to make one healthy change with each recipe until we can get to a place where most of our meals are healthier than they were before.

So, there you have it, refried beans!  Tonight Squatchmo is using some of these beans to make taco pizza!  Yay!!  We'll use the other pan of refried beans to make bean dip.  We add ground beef, corn, black beans and salsa, topped with shredded cheese to eat with tortilla chips.  The kids LOVE this dish and it always gets gobbled up fast at pot lucks!
The Finished Beans, ready for burritos, or in this case, Taco Pizza