Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Guest Post: Slow-Cooker Mexican Beans

Lorri Brown is a mom, writer, and avid Murder She Wrote fan, who lives far away in the Mountains of Western Maine with her four awesome kids and three cats. When she’s not working in public health, she writes for and bunch of other fun sites. 

Greetings CHG readers! I am sooo excited about being a guest blogger while Kris moves! (I just moved to a new house, so I know how much work that is- bleck). Anyway, I’m here to share with you my super-easy slow cooker recipe for Mexican Beans.

By day I work in community health, in the Wilds of Western Maine, doing nutrition outreach (please note, I am not a dietician, nurse, or doctor- nor do I play any of these on TV). By night I am a single mother of four children ranging in ages 14 to 6. So, I like cheap, healthy, good and quick foods. Therefore, my slow cooker is my BFF.

This meal, adapted from an old family recipe, is easy-peasy to make and it goes a long, long way. I freeze leftover beans and use them in everything from scrambled egg breakfast burritos to a base for bean soup or chili. I’ve tried different variation of the recipe, but none satisfy me like the original version. In one case I thought I’d spice ‘em up with a little of Dave’s Insanity Hot Sauce- If you’ve never tried Dave’s – he’s not joking. One teaspoon of the hot sauce made two pounds of dried beans taste like you were eating molten lava. No one- not even my Middle Son who puts Tabasco sauce on everything- could eat them. I chalked that cooking experiment up as a valuable lesson learned.

If you aren’t familiar with the benefits of beans, here are a couple of quick facts: Beans are an excellent source of protein, containing 14-16grams per cup. They have approximately 1/3 the amount of protein of beef, without any of the fat or cholesterol. Beans are also a good source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron and folate. Okay, health lecture over, on to the recipe.

Slow Cooker Mexican Beans
Serving size – 1 cup of cooked beans
Makes 12 servings

 2 pounds (or 4 cups) of dried pinto beans
1 diced onion
½ a bottle (roughly 3 tablespoons) of cumin – it sounds like a lot, but this recipe makes a lot of beans!
1 Tbs. black pepper
1Tbs. garlic powder
1Tbs. onion powder
2 tsp. salt

1) Rinse beans and check for any stones.

2) Throw beans (no soaking required! Yay!) and onion into the crock pot and fill ¾ of the crock pot with water

3) Add all the spices

4) Set to low (8 hours)

5) Round up the kids and go to work. Come home to the fragrant smell of dinner already done!

Nutrition Facts:
I used Nutritionist Pro to calculate the nutrition info.
  • Calories- 224
  • Fat - .08 g
  • Sodium – 395 mg (16% DV)
  • Fiber – 10 g (40% DV)
  • Sugars – 2 g
  • Calcium – 76 mg (8% DV)
  • Iron – 3 mg (19 % DV)
  • Potassium – 895 mg (26% DV)
Cost per serving: $0.19
  • Bag of beans - $1.19
  • Onion - $0.50
  • Cumin - $0.50
  • Onion powder -$0.03
  • Garlic powder - $0.03
  • Salt - $0.03
  • Pepper - $0.03
Serving Suggestions
I like to serve the beans with a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese and a tortilla to dip into the broth. However, they would go great with salsa and guacamole. Of course, what doesn’t go great with guacamole? After a day or two in the fridge the beans thicken to a porridge-like consistency, good for quesadillas.

Things You Should Know
I’ll be honest- this is a trial and error recipe at first. You might have to up the amount of spices, depending on your tastes. But I always stick with the time-honored advice of you can put in more salt/pepper/cumin/whatever- but you can’t take it out.

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Steff said...

Looks tasty! One question though; how big is your crock pot?
Reason being, I have a 6 qt monster, so if yours is smaller, filling mine 3/4s full of water could make for some runny beans!

Genevieve W. said...

These look quite yummy - but no soaking? Really? Doesn't soaking reduce the gassy after effects? Thanks for sharing!

Sara A. said...

I buy cumin in a bag at an Indian ethnic grocery store for $1.27/lb. And I use it too! Yum yum.

Sandy Kemsley said...

"fill ¾ of the crock pot with water" is highly dependent on the size of your slow cooker - for reference, what size were you using? A smaller pot may require the recipe to be scaled down, and an actual water measurement would be helpful.

Maura said...

Thanks for the guest post, Lorri. As a person with diabetes, I'd very much like to know how many carbs you calculate to be in that one serving, not counting the optional tortilla accompaniment.
Maura in Charlotte, NC

Mother Rimmy said...

Great guest post. I'm a big fan of beans. They are so versatile, inexpensive and delicious!

The Lone Cabbage said...

The Lone Cabbage said...

Paul Kaye said...

These instructions could be dangerous. The recipe looks great but beans that aren't 'boiling' (i.e. 100°C) for 10 mins can be very toxic. This wikipedia article specifically mentions slow cookers as a problem:
My approach would be a short soak (maybe 1 hour or overnight if more convenient), drain, add beans to already boiling water for 15 mins, drain again and then continue as per the recipe above.

Sara A. said...

For those worried about the boiling, you really need to observe your slow cooker. For example, I know my crock pot gets to a low boil about 3/4 of the way through its cooking cycle, so I don't worry about it. Also, it is important not to lift the lid during cooking as this can lower the temp and prevent boiling.