Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Adventures in Housekeeping--Freezer Cooking (the bean edition)

My apologies for missing last Wednesday's Adventures in Housekeeping. Last week was such a whirlwind ride that I really don't remember much of what happened--only that it happened fast!!

Last Saturday my sister-in-law and I had our second monthly Freezer Cooking Day. Friday morning we had already picked out our recipes and done the majority of the shopping when my 5 months pregnant sister called to say she was so sick she couldn't keep water down. She hoped to be well enough to cook by the next day, but wanted me to know just in case.

I told her I wasn't about to let her spend all day cooking after having a stomach bug.

So, Saturday I was on my own.

Here are the recipes we planned:
Yummy spinach soup stuff--Amanda
Tasty blended tomato soup--Amanda

Coconut Corn Soup--Sophie

Brown Bag Burritos  These looked pretty awesome. A tasty freezer meal good for packing to work and something to break up the "soup overload"

 Marinaded Chicken Breast--  plus some other marinades

Chicken Spaghetti--Too tasty to skip.

Chihuahua Chili--I picked this mainly to spice up an otherwise poultry dominated meal plan. My man likes his meat.

Enchilada Sauce--To be used in the other recipes.

As you can see, a number of the recipes called for beans--particularly as I wanted to make my own refried beans. I've  never done much with beans before, mainly because I don't usually like them. As I've been married, though, I've learned that beans are a GREAT budget stretcher. This month it was time to start taking advantage of that.

Unfortunately I didn't do a lot of research about cooking with beans before I (enthusiastically!) dived into it. Therefore, I didn't realize that beans double in size after soaking overnight. I didn't know that when 24 cups of pinto beans are called for, that actually means just 12 cups of dry beans. 

I thought that if I wanted 24 cups of beans I should, logically, soak 24 cups. On the off chance, I reasoned, that beans expanded after soaking I should probably just soak 20 cups. Just to be safe. And if that wasn't enough we could just make do, right?


So, Saturday morning, I was faced with ALL the largest bowls in my house (three) plus ALL the crockpots (three again, one large two small) bubbling over with soaked beans. It must have been about 40 cups of pinto and 10 cups of black, but I can't really be sure. Measuring wasn't particularly possible.

My mom just laughed when she saw it. So did my husband, actually. 

My mother graciously donated most of her day to help me cook, which really was a life saver. Tomorrow I'll post a bit more about how the day itself went, and what the final results were. (plus what in the world I did with all those beans!!!!)


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