Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Works For Me Wednesday: Vegetarian Crockpot Use
My crockpot is one of my kitchen appliances that I use the most, along with my handy-dandy toaster oven. Since our family eats largely vegetarian meals (hubby is a vegetarian, we eat only chicken, turkey and fish) then most of my meals that I cook are vegetarian. However, this makes it challenging for those Once a Month Cooking Plans, because, well, frankly, I don't think bean dishes freeze well. *smile*
So, an alternative for me is my crockpot. For a vegetarian, there's not much you can make in the crockpot, except for beans. What I do is this: Every week (usually it's Tuesday) I cook beans in my crockpot. My three main beans are pinto beans, black beans, and black-eyed peas. It's so simple. Wash the beans, cover them with filtered water in the crockpot, cook on high most of the day, then turn to low when you see them getting done. Some people are bothered by the gas that beans produce, but I find that sticking a few whole garlic cloves in there while they cook seem to help us just fine. Also soaking them before cooking for four hours with a tablespoon of baking soda helps, too. (Make sure you rinse the baking soda off the beans before cooking.) Cooking beans in the crockpot this way also leaves out the tedious boiling and simmering you might otherwise do on the stove.
I also find that cooking the beans in the crockpot gives the beans the most perfect texture--firm outside but squishy inside. That night, we make burritos with the beans in the crockpot. The leftover beans are saved and used in another dish later in the week. For example, if I made pinto beans, we would eat the pintos in a burrito, then later in the week I might mash the leftover beans and make refried beans for tostados or in some type of Mexican casserole (enchilada, etc.) It works great with the refried beans because you already have those soft cloves of garlic in the beans and can mash them up with them.
I'm telling you, this is easy...and yummy! My $20 crockpot has lasted forever--what a great investment. It works for me!!
More "Works For Me Wednesday" can be found here.
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