Food Stamps Cooking Club: How Have You BEAN?

May 20th, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »


Have you BEAN eating well?


One of our many faithful Club Members left us a note the other day with a message about beans.  She reminded us that they are great on their own and can even be sprouted.  She offered a  super reminder.  Thanks, Sandra!

Users of food commodities and food pantries, fans of SNAP, WIC, Angel Food Ministries and those who keep a close eye on their food budgets are likely to use beans in a wide variety of ways.

Or, NOT…sometimes we cooks get into a rut and just have the same old things fixed the same old ways.  It happens, all right.

This week I had a partial bag of dry red beans on the shelf.  I thought it would be interesting to pair them with some rice and add some spices to see what I could create.

I chopped some onions and celery and sauteed them in a bit of olive oil.  The fragrance filled the house and soon faces peered into the kitchen to wonder aloud if there were a need for “Taste Testers.”

The beans had been rinsed and drained; they had soaked overnight.  They bubbled along in a rich, tomato-y broth when the sauteed veggies went into the pot.  Then I discovered the barley!  I toasted a half cup of it, tossed it into the mix and added some rice, along with plenty of water so the grains could absorb that, along with the fragrant flavor.  A touch of garlic powder went in with the other goodies, followed by a pinch of red pepper flakes, and of course there was salt and pepper. Sea salt is the only type of salt Club House shoppers ever buy, for health reasons.

The resulting soup was a huge hit with those who put their toes under our table!  Some even begged for seconds!

This bean dish could have easily been prepared using the crock pot.  Since I was home to stir and taste and babysit the soup I opted to cook it on the stove top.

A simple salad of lettuce garden-fresh radishes, onion, celery and cabbage coated with a sweet dressing made for a filling and nourishing meal that was under budget.

Canned beans are wonderful to have on hand to add to salads, stir fry dishes and to use as a side dish.  One of our favorite snacks is an open faced pork-n-bean sandwich!

Another big rave in the Club House is the pork n bean dish with a chopped apple added in!  That combo sounds implausible but I promise you, it tastes really good.

Chef Shawn Bucher recommends that every meal should consist of a protein, a starch and a vegetable.  When you make your meals, consider beans for your starch.  When beans and grains are combined it makes for a complete protein.  The variety of beans that are available are pretty, tasty, and fun to create in your kitchen.

Getting the small fry in your household involved in choosing, preparing and eating these delights will do much more than fill young tummies:  you will form bonds and make memories; you will have fewer fussy eaters because they will feel invested; they will be contributing members of the family and that will enhance their self esteem.

By using beans and teaching your children to grow bean sprouts, choose varieties for the family meals and help to prepare bean dishes for the family you’ll create comfort food, happy tummies, and super kids!

Beyond that, you will have BEANED all that take out food, too!

Connie Baum

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  1. mikemax says:

    As a child, I hated beans and would not eat them at all. Of course, my mother only cooked one kind, one way. As an adult, I’ve learned to cook several kinds of beans, and I love them! I just wanted to mention that I much prefer the quick soak method to the old overnight soak. Also, I really like to cook beans in a pressure cooker. Not only is it fast, but they hold their shape better (another advantage of the quick soak).

    To quick soak, cover beans in 2-3 times as much water as beans. Bring to a boil, boil one to two minutes, turn off the heat, cover, and allow to soak one hour. Cook as usual.

    The only thing to remember about a pressure cooker is not to fill it too full because beans expand and foam. Your booklet will probably address this. Your cooker also may have a fill line. Black beans cook in only 20 minutes, and some other varieties–including pintos and small whites–cook in even less time. Surprisingly, Navy beans take about 30 minutes.

  2. mikemax says:

    Forgot to mention, don’t salt the beans until they have finished cooking.

  3. Oh, I’m so happy to get your good bean advice, MikeMax! I do have a question; maybe you can enlighten me. Why do you salt the beans AFTER they have cooked? If that’s the proper way, I’ve been doing it all wrong for years! UH OH…

    Today for lunch we had canned pork n beans (we buy the store brand cuz they are much cheaper) with a can of drained pineapple tidbits added. O MY STARS N GARTERS–they were DELISH.

    Maybe you’ll share more of your bean wisdom later? Thanks again. It’s so fun to hear from the Club members!

    Mother Connie