Tonight we had black bean enchiladas for dinner, yum! I will post the recipe sometime in the near future, but our dinner brings us to the subject I would like to address today: beans. Beans are a great staple to keep around. You can buy them canned and already cooked, but they are more expensive than buying dried beans, and contain added sodium. I used to think it was a pain to use dried beans because of the preparation it takes to get them cooked. There was the soaking, then standing over the hot stove for an hour or two while they cooked. Time consuming and hot!
I tried a new method of cooking beans that I much prefer. It is energy saving, and I do not have to stand around waiting for them to finish cooking. I still soak them overnight, but first thing in the morning, I put them in my crockpot with lots of water, then cook them on high. By the afternoon or early evening, they are ready to use. Many times what I do is put them into plastice storage containers and freeze them, so they are ready to use when I need them. Then I pull out a container to use when I am making chili, enchiladas, soup, or whatever else I might need some beans for.
While searching online for bean nutritional information, I happened to see that the vegetable of the month at the CDC is beans. Beans are a very nutritious vegetable, being a good source of iron and protein. Here is the link for the CDC's information on beans: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/month/beans.html
Another big advantage of using dried beans is the fact that they are cheap, and one 16 oz bag can be used to make several meals. Most bags of beans cost less than $1.00. That is quite the bang for your buck! Our personal favorite beans are black beans. If you have overlooked beans as a dietary staple, give them a try! There are lots of good recipes out there on the web that are full of flavor and delicious.