If you read my Meal Plan Monday posts, you’ve probably noticed that we have refried beans a lot. One reason is that we all really enjoy Mexican food, but the other is that, several months ago, I came across a fabulous recipe for homemade refried beans. I haven’t bought a can of refried beans since. Even my husband, who doesn’t like refried beans, likes these.
I was already buying dry pinto beans, rather than canned, for chili. Once I found the refried beans recipe, I quickly realized that the seasoning for them would compliment beans for chili, too. Since we rarely eat plain pintos, but rather use them for chili and for the refried beans, I decided it would make my life much simpler to make large batches in my crock pot and freeze them in usable portion sizes.
So, now, every few months or so, I’ll make a 2 or 4 lb. bag of pintos in the crock pot, seasoned according to the refried beans recipe. Once they’ve cooled a bit, I ladle them, juice and all into my two-cup measuring cup. Then, I pour that into a 1-qt. freezer bag. Pouring into the measuring cup first is much less messy than trying to ladle into a freezer bag.
Once I have all the bags filled and labeled, I lay them out flat in the freezer. Then, when they’re all frozen, I can turn them up on their sides, taking up little storage space. Not only are the beans much tastier than their canned counterparts, but they’re also much more economical.
Do you have a regularly used food that has become a convenience food through bulk cooking and freezing? I’d love to hear your tips.