Looking for a delicious, fast dinner? Consider the humble bean

dried beansIt’s fall — definitely a time to put on a pot of beans for dinner.

I love dried beans. I thought I was branching out when I went from navy and pinto beans to using Anasazi beans.

But there are so many more beans available; I didn’t know there were so many different types.

Some of the beans I want to try include: bolita, cranberry, eye of the goat, lablab, marrow bean and others I found on the Cook’s Thesaurus.

Some of the dried beans I’ve tried (and love) include azuki, baby lima, black, great Northern, mung, and a few others.

One reason I used to shy away from beans is because of the clean up from the mess I inevitably made when the beans boiled over.

But a friend suggested using a slow cooker and it worked great.

Now I try to include beans in my menu at least once a week. They are inexpensive, filling, yummy and (now) easy to make.

A slow cooker is not a good option for all beans, but it generally works very well. You can also use a pressure cooker. Check out What’s Cooking America for directions on cooking dried beans in a pressure cooker and saucepan.

The site also recommends soaking the beans overnight if you’re going to use a slow cooker and cook on low for 12 hours. Since I often forget to soak them overnight, I usually end up cooking them on high for the day and changing out the water when I get home before I add the final spices or chunks of ham. It’s not the best way to do it, but it works for me.

One other word to use in describing dried beans is nutritious. They are an excellent source of vegetable protein, low fat, high fiber and vitamins and minerals. It’s hard to find a better food for you.

So what’s your favorite type of dried bean, and how do you prepare them?

shawndraShawndra Holmberg, a trainer at HMSA, believes weight loss is a journey. Like any journey there are switchbacks, reduced speed zones, blind curves ahead, and a few fast lanes (yes, even on the Big Island). She also believes that a successful journey begins with small steps. Connect with Shawndra on Facebook or check out her blog.

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