Thursday, February 21, 2013

Refried Beans {slow cooker, freezer friendly}

Becca here with one of my family's favorite recipes.  Some recipes that I post here are new favorites that I've seen online, or made up, and I've made once or twice, while others are good old 'standby' recipes that I know I can count on for a good, healthy, quick meal that everyone will eat.  These refried beans (affectionately referred to by my children as "smashed" beans) are definitely in the latter category.  They literally are easier to throw into the slow cooker to get started cooking than it is to try and get the refried beans out of the cans they cram them into!  The first time I made these, a couple of years ago now, my daughter noticed that they were a bit different than the typical canned ones I used to serve, and kept going on and on about how good they were, and said that we ought to go to the place that packs them into cans and teach them how to make REALLY good refried beans!  Pretty good endorsement from a 5 year old!  Even though they are super simple to make, I always make enough for more than one meal because they do freeze and reheat so well, and all you need are a few tortillas or some chips and a veggie to make a super quick meal.  My kids love eating the beans just like this, in a bowl with cheese on top.  Sometimes I serve them (twice this week actually, by request!) with my favorite guacamole and homemade tortillas (still experimental, I'll be sharing the recipe once I have it 'perfected' :) for a super economical and tasty meal, not to mention healthy!  I order dry organic pinto beans in bulk for $1.28 a pound, and you can get 'conventional' (aka pesticides used, non-organic) for under a dollar; either way it's still a bargain!  My original inspiration was here.  As a bonus, no soaking is required, as traditionally is with dried beans, so you can start this at breakfast and be eating them for dinner!

Refried Beans
{slow cooker, freezer friendly}

1 large or 2 small onions, outer layer removed, cut into half (your favorite onion, any kind is fine) OR 1/4 cup dehydrated onion pieces
4 cups pinto beans
2 Tablespoons minced garlic (or 1 Tablespoon dry granulated garlic)
2 teaspoons salt (I use Real Salt)
1 teaspoons black pepper
1 Tablespoon chili powder

Add all ingredients (onion, pinto beans, garlic, salt, black pepper, and chili powder) to a large slow cooker (at least 6 quart) with enough water to cover.  Cook on high for about 8 hours.  Just before serving, remove large chunks of onion, drain off excess water, and smash with a potato masher. 

To freeze:  Cool to room temperature and place into airtight container (I like to use quart freezer bags for this, they lay nice & flat in the freezer to store).  Defrost in the fridge overnight, and heat in small saucepan over low heat (or microwave if that's your preferred method).  Serve as a bean dip, in tortillas as a burrito or quesadilla with cheese, in tacos, nachos, etc.  Enjoy!

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