Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Eat Cheap in Wednesday's Your Table

Frugal feasting is the theme for this week's food section in The Anniston Star. We've got classic cornbread and biscuit recipes from Prudence Hilburn. Both pair nicely with our centerpiece attraction: beans. How to use them, how to adapt them to your own taste.

Dried beans are the mystery section of the grocery. People have walked past them for years, but most people under the age of 50 aren't sure what to do with them.

The answer: Pretty much anything you want.

We explore the different types of beans available, as well as the best ways to cook a simple, basic side dish. This past week, with the children on a long Easter break, I fired up the Crock-pots and cooked about six different kinds of beans to bag for the freezer. There were soups, mixed in with some baked dishes, casseroles and simply some pints of beans frozen to use as side dishes.

Of course, by the time the weekend was over, the family was tired of seeing the Crock-pot refugee city on the counter, but the savings is phenomenal. It's gotten to the point that the children won't eat beans from a can anymore. And, since I can make a few quarts of beans for what one can would cost, I'm OK with that.

Over the next few weeks, we're going to pass along ideas for saving money ... and rediscovering those sections of the grocery we'd all mostly avoided during more lucrative times.