Frugal Day 27: Slow Cook It!

Let’s talk about beans for a moment: I prefer to cook my beans from scratch for a couple of reasons, the first being bean goo. It’s not water they’re soaking in, it’s bean goo! And what exactly is bean goo? Perhaps it has to do with an increased level of sodium and other preservatives to keep “ready to eat” beans from turning. Then there’s the can and whatever chemicals linger within it… I’m not paranoid, but given a more natural alternative… need I say more?

Normally, I’ll toss beans in a pot and cook them on the stove or in the case of the slow cooker, I won’t make recipes that call for already cooked beans. Isn’t this double dipping when it comes to electrical usage? If I’m going to turn a machine on for 6-8 hours, it better be able to also cook my beans!

Finally I’ve created the ideal soup base recipe (which I’ve transferred into several flavours including tomato basil and thai coconut curry.) Here you go:

bowl of soup with breadBasic SlowCooker Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 white potato, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups dry navy beans
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 tsp snipped or dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 cups vegetable broth

raw veggies in slow cookerCombine all raw ingredients in slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. Easy peasy: that’s about 10 min of prep time and 8 hrs cooking time and you’re ready to eat.

before and after slow cooker soupIn my case, it’s lunch that’s ready when it’s done. In my frugalness I slow cook overnight, because power rates are cheaper at that time of day where I live, and then I have something new to take for lunch with me when I wake up and it’s done.

As I mentioned this recipe’s easily changed into other yummy soups, just switch the type of beans or the spices keeping the proportions the same.

Be creative and enjoy!

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