Baking and Cooking with Beans

WHY? Beans are:  Good for you (high fiber, nutrition & antioxidants, low fat and much more!)  They’re inexpensive  A great protein and vegetable replacement SECRET WEAPON- The Crock Pot Using dry packaged beans presents the challenge of a long cook time. Cook on low all day and you’ll have beans ready for dinner or a recipe (but remember you need to pre-soak). I will soak all night, then cook in the crock pot the next day. COLLECT RECIPES  Go online  Ask friends  Get a cookbook from the library  Commit to trying new recipes. My family knows that Sunday night is “bean night”, which means we may be trying something new! MY FAVORITE COOKBOOK The Daily Bean, by Suzanne Caciola White (I found it at IMCPL) Her chapters are organized by bean type, then recipe. So let’s say you have some black beans and are wondering what to do with them? Go to the black bean chapter. DON’T LIKE BEANS?  Keep Trying! Get a bean cookbook at the library or look online for different recipes. They are an inexpensive experiment.  Spices and Flavoring makes all the difference. Beans without the proper seasoning ARE blah!  They are good for you and your family! Read some research- it will convince you to add them to your diet. Here’s a recipe to try:
Ziti Mexi-Cali (black beans)from the Cheap, Fast and Good Cookbook, page 230 8 1 1 1 1 oz. ziti or other short pasta can 14.5 oz. Mexican style tomatoes or diced seasoned tomatoes can 11 oz yellow corn, drained can 15 oz black beans or 1 cup homemade black beans, rinsed & drained bunch scallions (1/2 cup thinly sliced, including greens)
Barbara Hult- GEC’s WINGS Ministry- Frugal Fair- April 2011

Fresh chopped cilantro (2 tbsp) optional ¼ cup (1 oz) shredded cheese Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients, except for the cheese. Add cooked pasta. Top with cheese. This may be served cold as a salad, or warmed for a main dish. GROCERY GURU, Prevention Magazine CYNTHIA SASS, MPH, RD is Prevention's nutrition director. As a registered dietitian, she's been helping real women healthfully navigate grocery aisles for more than a decade. Beans have the highest antioxidant content, period. Plus they're delicious, low cal, and they fill you up fast IF I COULD EAT only one food for the rest of my life, it would definitely be beans. I love the way they taste, but they also fill me up for hours. Plus, they make me feel like a health champion. That's because beans have such an amazing nutrition track record. Bean eaters are associated with smaller waist sizes and a 22% lower risk of obesity. They also take in less "bad" fat and one-third more fiber than those who avoid these nutritional gems. One cup of beans provides a whopping 13 g of fiber--which is half of what we need daily--with no saturated fat. Beans are loaded with protein (about 15 g per cup) and dozens of key nutrients, including a few most women fall short on--calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Studies also tie beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers. And surprisingly, red, pinto, and kidney beans are the highest antioxidant food, beating out both blueberries and cranberries. We've all heard the funny songs, but nutritionally speaking, beans are no joke. The latest Dietary Guidelines advise eating 3 cups every week, and the canned varieties do count! Keep bloating (and embarrassing gas) to a minimum by popping a Beano supplement before you eat or sipping peppermint tea after. Here, my bean shopping tips: Buy canned: They're just as healthy You may have heard that bagged beans are best, but they need to be soaked and then boiled for hours before they're ready to eat. Who has the time or patience for that? Bagged beans are generally less expensive (about $1 per 16-ounce bag versus $1.50 for a 15-ounce can) and have no added ingredients, including salt. But canned varieties, which are ready to eat, can be just as nutritious. Go for low sodium Canned low-sodium beans are exactly the same price, with two-thirds less sodium. That's a decrease from about 720 mg per cup (a third of the daily max of 2,300 mg) to 220 mg. Rinsing beans in a colander under cold water for 1 minute will wash away about a quarter of the sodium. Look for vegetarian versions Baked and refried are two of my personal favorites because both are seasoned and versatile. I sometimes eat baked beans (beans baked or stewed in sauce) on whole grain toast for breakfast, and I love using refried pinto and black beans in dips, burritos, and even dinner salads. But both varieties are traditionally prepared with lard or bits of pork, which add calories, cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat. Luckily, you can easily find
Barbara Hult- GEC’s WINGS Ministry- Frugal Fair- April 2011

vegetarian versions of each these days. Choosing vegetarian refried beans reduces the saturated fat content from 16% of the daily value to zero per cup and adds a bonus 2 g of protein--and they taste just as delicious. Avoid dented or bulging cans Small dents and dings are okay, but if you find a badly dented or swollen can in your cupboard, or if a can spurts liquid when opened, toss it out right away using disposable gloves. These are all possible signs of botulism, a potentially deadly form of food poisoning that generated canned-food recalls as recently as last summer. If you're ever unsure, think, When in doubt, throw it out. For more on food

HEALTH BENEFITS Bean by Bean
The key nutrients in each bean vary by type. Give your body a broader range and reap the anti-aging and disease-fighting benefits by mixing it up. BLACK Rich in anthocyanins, the same heart disease- and cancer-fighting antioxidants that are found in grapes and cranberries. GARBANZO (CHICKPEAS) A recent study found that a chickpea-fortified diet slashed "bad" LDL cholesterol levels by almost 5%. KIDNEY The thiamin (vitamin B1) in this bean protects memory and brain function; a deficiency has been linked to Alzheimer's disease. NAVY Potassium regulates blood pressure and normal heart contractions. PINTO Fiber helps stabilize blood sugar, lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. My Favorite Bean-Based POWER MEALS Cup for cup, beans provide about twice as much fiber as most veggies, and you can count them as either a protein or vegetable in your meals. Here, three fast fixes that will fill you up for less than 500 calories: TACO SALAD Top 2 cups of bagged baby greens with 1/2 cup of rinsed and drained canned black beans. Top with 1/4 cup of salsa, sprinkle with reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese, and garnish with 2 tablespoons of chopped avocado. MEDITERRANEAN BEAN BOATS Spoon 2 tablespoons of rinsed and drained canned garbanzo beans into each of 4 large romaine lettuce leaves. Top each with a few strips of roasted red pepper and garnish with chopped onions and pine nuts. RUSTIC BEAN SAUTÉ In a medium skillet, sauté 1/2 cup of rinsed and drained canned kidney beans with 1 cup of canned Italian-style tomatoes and 1 cup of frozen cut green beans. When heated through, transfer to a dish and dust with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Barbara Hult- GEC’s WINGS Ministry- Frugal Fair- April 2011

The Secret Benefits of Beans. By: Foltz-Gray, Dorothy, Health (Time Inc. Health), 1059938X, Nov/Dec97, Vol. 11, Issue 8 They're loaded with two ingredients that could save your life At the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago, chef Sarah Stegner likes to simmer ivory rice beans in a steaming chicken broth with shallots, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and thyme. Later she'll sauté them with roasted tomatoes and a lamb shank, then sidle the dish next to a rack of lamb. Miles southwest at the renowned Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, Mark Miller earns his customers' raves with pintos in a long-simmered sauce of tomatoes, chiles, and dark beer. Beans, the once-lowly staple of peasant cupboards, have become cool, the gems of rustic cuisine. Chefs are rediscovering their variety, their versatility, their ability to marry different flavors. And you should, too. Because what even many famed chefs don't know--what most scientists didn't realize until recently--is that beans are powerful combatants against the two illnesses that kill the most Americans. Beans are natural storehouses of folic acid, a B vitamin that controls the body's level of homocysteine, an amino acid some experts say is as risky at high levels as smoking and perhaps more influential than cholesterol. Among foods high in folic acid, eight of the best are lentils, black-eyed peas, pintos, navies, great northerns, limas, kidneys, and garbanzos. Spoon for spoon, black-eyed peas and pintos give you more folic acid than cooked spinach. In fact, only fortified cereal upstages them. Our bodies derive homocysteine from methionine, another amino acid, which we get mostly from the protein in meats and dairy products. Chow down on an omelette or even ultralean turkey breast, and as you digest the meal your homocysteine levels rise. Exactly how this molecule does its damage is unclear, but in test-tube studies it injures the kind of cells that line blood vessels, causing them to begin malfunctioning. In the body the result may be a buildup of plaque. In fact, some scientists speculate that if homocysteine didn't damage cells first, cholesterol couldn't collect in arteries. Regardless of how the havoc begins, this much is clear: Homocysteine is dangerous. In new research last July Norwegian researchers found that even among people with existing coronary artery disease, homocysteine levels predicted with surprising accuracy who would die of a heart attack. Patients with moderate levels were twice as likely to die as those with low levels, and patients with loads of homocysteine were three to six times more likely to die. Intriguingly, the varying levels of homocysteine had nothing to do with how clogged patients' arteries were, only with whether they would die. Folic acid, along with the vitamins B-6, added to grain products, and B-12, found in meats, together act as a kind of chemical broom, sweeping excess homocysteine from the body. Most of us get plenty of B-6 and B-12. But Americans typically get no more than 250 micrograms of folic acid a day, far below the 400 mcg that heart specialists suggest. Just as worrisome, new research indicates such low levels put us at risk not only for heart disease but also for cancer. This year Bruce Ames, a noted biochemist at the University of California at Berkeley, established that folic acid deficiency can cause breaks in human chromosomes, which may eventually lead to many forms of cancer. When folic acid was added to volunteers' meals, tests showed significantly fewer breaks in their chromosomes. The effects of too little folic acid may extend to the brain as well. In studies elderly people with low stores of the B vitamins have shown a decline in their ability to solve problems. All this evidence, plus research demonstrating that folic acid helps prevent certain birth defects, convinced the government to order food companies to fortify baked goods, rice, and pasta with the vitamin as of January. So, you may assume, soon we'll all be protected. Don't count on it. Ames and many other folic acid researchers say the fortification levels are too low. They were designed to add about 100 mcg a day to the American diet, about half of the 179 mcg you would get from eating
Barbara Hult- GEC’s WINGS Ministry- Frugal Fair- April 2011

a half cup of lentils. That boost may help a man who already eats 250 mcg or more a day. But the average woman consumes just 200 mcg from food, and many women get only 150 mcg a day. Fortified breads and grains alone will not likely protect against heart disease or cancer, Ames says. When he investigated the cancer link, he found a risk: "At blood levels of folic acid expected by consuming 200 mcg a day or less, we can start to see nicks and breaks in the chromosomes." You could pop a multivitamin, of course, but beans aren't superstars just because of folic acid. They are also loaded with fiber, another unglamorous ingredient with a stellar reputation. Numerous studies have verified that fiber can lower your blood pressure, bring down your levels of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), and rapidly usher fat out of your digestive system. In case you haven't heard, those facts mean fiber helps foil heart disease and colon cancer. Yet the typical American eats only half of the 30 grams of fiber needed each day. Sure, you can eat an apple a day and get four grams of fiber. But consider: One cup of kidney or pinto beans gives you about 15 grams. Of course, nobody's mouth waters at the promise of a meal rich in folic acid and fiber. We're after great taste. Therein lies beans' most pleasant surprise. Famous chefs have adopted beans not because of their nutrients but because they accompany different foods so well. Better yet in this era of spreading obesity, they pack flavor into very few calories. "Most any bean will work well in most any dish," says chef Stegner at the Ritz-Carlton. If you're new to legumes, she recommends starting with widely available great northern or navy beans. She usually simmers them in a meat, vegetable, or fish broth to enhance their taste. Keep in mind, she says, that cooking time varies depending on the size of the bean. For best results, keep the beans slightly covered with liquid while you simmer them, and check periodically for doneness. In a pinch, she suggests using canned beans, thoroughly drained and rinsed. "There's nothing worse than an undercooked bean," she says. As you become adventurous, you can request a catalog to buy exotics like the ivory rice bean or the Jacob's cattle bean (which Stegner serves with lamb) from mail-order firms such as Dean & DeLuca in New York, 800/221-7714, or the Bean Bag in California, 800/845-2326. But simple options are often the most popular. At the Coyote Cafe, customers especially enjoy Mark Miller's version of "drunken beans," or frijoles borrachos. After soaking one cup of dried pinto beans overnight, the chef drains the water (thus dumping out many of the sugars that tend to give people gas). He then adds enough fresh water to cover the beans and lets them simmer for an hour and a half. In a separate pot he sautes a chopped-up quarter onion and three to six serrano chiles (depending on taste) for five minutes. Then he adds the drained beans, a little salt, eight diced plum tomatoes, and half a bottle of dark beer; the dish cooks for a final ten to 15 minutes. The last flourish: stirring in two tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro just before serving. One of Stegner's favorite cold dishes at the Ritz is white beans marinated in olive oil and lots of fresh thyme. She simmers four cups of beans in a meat or vegetable broth for an hour and a half, then drains. In a blender she mixes two tablespoons of honey, a teaspoon of dijon mustard, a quarter cup of red wine vinegar, a half teaspoon of ground black pepper, one small bunch of fresh thyme, and a quarter cup of olive oil. After straining the sauce, she mixes it with the warm beans and lets the dish cool. "Whatever you cook them with, beans absorb and marry the flavors," Stegner says. Like potatoes, beans can take on the airs of French cuisine or the earthiness of southern cooking. But these pearls of the vine offer your body a whole lot more than starch.

Barbara Hult- GEC’s WINGS Ministry- Frugal Fair- April 2011

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