Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Black Beans in the Crock Pot

I know, its still summer and I'm talking about the crock pot.  Well, here in Northern CA the weather had been a bit cool for the last week or so. With school about to start soon, and the foggy mornings, I was starting to fear that summer was truly over! Turns out warmer weather is on tap for the rest of this week so I'll get some pool time in with my family.

I do usually associate the crock pot with the fall and winter months. I love to make stews, chili, soups...and have started to branch out and experiment with some other non-typical crock pot fare. But this summer, after going back to work full time in an office, I have really struggled with dinner. My husband works most nights so its usually just me,  my preschool-age son and toddler. Sometimes the kids are really hungry if I end up stuck in traffic and I'm racing to throw something together quickly. I really want to start using my crock pot now that summer is coming to an end and the barbecque will be used a little less. This way, the kids can start eating right when I get home instead of having to wait.

Tonight was the first time I have used my crock pot since last winter. I decided to make a simple side dish of black beans which can accompany more than one meal this week, and my husband can take some to work with him. Black beans are really good for you. They are full of fiber, protein and antioxidants. And they are so easy to make!

If you are on a budget, the smartest thing to do is buy dry beans in a bag. Not only are you saving money by doing this, but saving yourself from all the sodium typically associated with canned food. All you need to do is soak your beans over night in a large bowl with twice the volume of water as beans. The next morning just drain the water and pick out any that have split open, remove any "rocks" or otherwise disfigured looking beans. Now if you are short on supplies, you can honestly make these with nothing but water. Just put the beans in the crock pot, set it on the low/8 hr setting, cover the beans with water up to 2 inches over the bean line, cover and walk away.

Knowing that is all that is required you can pretty much add anything you like to your beans, and unless it is something off the wall you can't mess them up. Here is what I did, based on what I had in my pantry:

1 chopped yellow onion
1 small can of diced green chiles
swap out 2 cups of the water I put over the beans in the crock pot with chicken broth

Set, cover and walk away.

In the past I have also swapped out the 2 cups of water with a Mexican beer such as Negro Modelo or Dos Equis. I have also added cooked bacon or chopped, cooked ham to taste. Another tasty additive - chopped fresh tomatoes. Can also be yummy served with some Monterey Jack cheese, a dollop of fat free sour cream and a few sliced olives sprinkled on top. Enjoy!


  1. More crock pot recipes please! I just bought one over the summer but haven't opened it yet because I couldn't think of any summer foods to make with it. Though just had some fantastic short ribs here in Monterey that I want to try in a crock pot when I get home.

  2. Alice, I have a whole crock pot cook book. Let me know what you might be interested in and I'll post for sure!

  3. That looks pretty good! I was on the look out for easy recipes because I hardly get any time to cook these days! This recipe certainly meets my needs, I think we will give it a try... I'll have to obtain a crock pot first, so please - more crock pot recipes so it won't be for nothing!


  4. Olivia, I made something really easy with these beans when I came home from work. I got a whole wheat tortilla (any kind of wrap will do) - put a spoonful of beans in, some monterey jack cheese, some avocado and shredded lettuce. Very filling and healthy meal! My mom was over and she thought the beans needed salt. I'm not a big salt person so feel free to add to taste! Will post more recipes...

  5. Thank you for stopping by my Thirsty Thursday & for following me at Obviously MARvelous! Im now your newest follower and look forward to seeing you in the weeks to come!



Hungripeeps want to say: