Beans for Good Health on a Budget
Eat beans for good health on a budget!
An Ode to the Lowly Misunderstood Navy Bean
Beans are nutritious, delicious, easy to make, and inexpensive. So, why don’t we all eat more of beans? We don’t eat them because we are not familiar with all the easy ways to make beans and how healthy they are for our families.
In today’s economy who doesn’t want to provide an inexpensive tasty and healthy meal?
Beans are packed with protein, minerals, fibers, and vitamins. Beans are known to reduce the risk of many cancers. Many heart doctors recommend beans to help manage cholesterol levels too.
Beans are high in fiber and it is this fiber that helps reduce cholesterol levels. Beans also help maintain a feeling of fullness longer and that is good for your diet. Beans also help to maintain sugar levels.
There are many types of beans. I am going to work with the Navy bean here. I think it absorbs flavors and spices the best.
There is a bit of a social problem (gas!) noted with beans that I think should be addressed, especially if this is what is stopping you from eating the wonderful bean.
Here’s some help with that problem. Introduce beans to your diet a bit each day. This will help your gut develop the digestion ability to NOT have THAT problem.
In general, if you have those kinds of problems do add some quality natural yoghurt to your diet each day. Add about 1 T. a day for a month or just have a serving! This will help your gut develop better digestive enzymes. Many people don’t realize that antibiotic medicines kill all the bacteria both good and bad in our bodies. There are many friendly bacteria in your gut that help you digest your food so that you may get all the health benefits from good food. Dr. Weil recommends taking probiotics. See his web site for the full scoop on this. Oh, while you are at his website be sure and read how he extols the lowly bean too!
Below are the answers to two questions:
1. How do I make dried beans? Hint: easy peasey that’s how!
2. How do I make beans that are tasty, special, different, appealing and that my family will eat?
Basic Recipe for Dried Bean Cooking
Begin with a bag of dried Navy beans (about 8 ounces)
Rinse them in a colander to pick-out anything like rocks or unusual looking beans
Place them in a Dutch oven and cover with filtered water.
Set stove on high and once the beans reach a boil, let them boil for 2-minutes
Take Dutch oven away from heat and let the beans sit for 1 ½ hours.
Soak beans covered in water overnight
Now you are ready for the easy-peasey part.
Throw away the water that the beans were boiled or soaked in.
Rinse the beans
Place them in an electric slow cooker
Cover them with water
1 chicken bouillon cube (veg cube if you want)
1 t. cumin
2 t. onion powder
2 t. garlic powder
Turn on high and once they reach that low slow cooker boil let them cook for 3 hours!
They should not boil dry but do watch and add more water if needed!
Taste test a bean to make sure it is soft. If not, cook some more!
Eat them when done or cool the beans and place in the refrigerator over night.
That’s the basic making Navy beans recipe.
Here are some flavorful family pleasers!
NOTE: These recipes are all made the next day with the refrigerator cooled beans.
Recipe for New Mexico Beans
Add a can of enchilada sauce, you pick the spice level
OR add tomatillo sauce (not both!)
Add ¼ C. mild green chiles
Serve with a crumbling of cooked chorizo sausage
Add corn chips (for the kids….beans make a nice dip too!)
Recipe for Pizza Beans
1 jar of pizza sauce heated with the beans
Top the bowl with pepperoni bits and mozzarella cheese
I admit this is the BEST way to get kids to eat beans! Pizza is always a winner!
Recipe for Traditional Navy Beans with Ham Hocks
Cook ham hocks with the beans in the electric slow cooker from the beginning.
Serve with a skillet crisped piece of ham
Corn bread goes nice with this and there are some nice box mixes or homemade is good too!
Recipe for Beans and Greens
Throw in a handful of greens. The greens shown in the picture are Indian Greens and are easy to grow. You can select what greens you want. Greens are wonderful here.
Try some soy sauce on this too.
Recipe for Beans and Veg
You can cook nearly any veg with these beans. I add tomatoes and/or chiles all the time. Carrots are also a nice colorful addition here. Nearly any left-over veg you have will make a nice addition though!
Recipe for Greek Beans
I have NO idea if this is even remotely Greek but I have added some Greek seasonings to these beans and served with a squeezed lemon and cucumber on top. We liked it.
The basic bean recipe freezes real well. My recommendation would be to make the basic beans and freeze family side-dish sized portions. Then when you serve the beans add the variation ingredients above. Make sure your family has side-dish size servings until their tummies are fine with digesting beans.
HINT: The left over beans make great bean dip too! Just add your favorite seasonings!
No more excuses, eat the incredible healthy and inexpensive bean now!
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