We have just about eaten to the bottom of our freezer. All the stuff we normally leave for “just in case” has been consumed over this holiday in some very random meals
Now its the night before school goes back and I need to get organised with some cheap and fast meals for the freezer to feed the big one who likes a hot lunch and is happy to carry a food flask.
It’s such a thought after a busy day at work – today I have learned how to make big posters and banners using an industrial vinyl cutting machine and then how to cut and fit decals on the new vehicle we have hired for transporting canvass teams. One thing is for sure, no two days have ever been the same.
But ……………. Urgh!!! what to do that is cheap and nutritious and best of all FAST!! So this morning I threw some handfuls of beans into cold water to soak with the plan of being able to make up some meals from my storecupboard staples whenever I got home.
That turned out to be a little later than I wanted (always the way) so tonights magic was effected by the use of not one but two pressure cookers…… although if you can spot the red pot at the back you will see I have tucked and end of brisket into the thermal cooker for gentle overnight cooking too.
Starting with the kidney beans of course which need to be hard boiled for ten minutes before replacing the water and cooking in fresh unsalted water. There is a toxin that give you a pretty upset tummy that is rendered safe by a brisk boil so I always do just to be safe.
The beans are then cooked in the pressure cooker at high pressure for various timings according to the bean.
I usually use THIS chart to work out the timings – all my beans are presoaked which cuts down the times. I also use the “Quick release” method when in a hurry with beans … which means that once the timings are reached I lift the whole pressure cooker into the sink and turn the cold tap on so that it runs over the lid.
It cools the pot quickly and releases the pressure without great gusts of steam and drama.
I then lift the lid off the pot, salt the beans and tip the whole thing into a bowl to begin to cool. I always salt the beans after cooking as salt toughens the skins and you can cook up some serious bullets in a pressure cooker if the salt is added too early.
Allowing the beans to slowly cool down to room temperature in the cooking liquor means that they take on a little of the salt and the skins stay intact. If you cool cooked beans by draining them and exposing them to the air then the skins are likely to break and peel back a little like the skins on new potatoes do. It doesn’t affect the taste of course … but the beans look nicer if they are intact. Yeah I know – but I am fussy like that!
So this was my haul of various beans – from the top I have haricot, chick peas, kidney beans, pinto beans and butter beans…. all cooling nicely.
The haricot and butterbeans will head straight to the fridge for use in salads for my lunches this week – the other I need to make some vats of big boy favourites.
See how the skins stay in one piece … big bowls of healthy and cheap beans courtesy of the trusty pressure cooker.
The red kidney and the pinto beans were turned into a quick chilli thanks to a pack of mince from the freezer, a couple of onions and carton of passata.
The chick peas got the “Curry in a Hurry” treatment with a half bag of new potatoes and some tinned tomatoes .. making 3 litres of curry and 3 litres of chilli to cool down overnight and head for the freezer in the morning.I will freeze these in my silicon muffin mould in individual portions – one “puck” of frozen curry or chilli and some plain rice makes a filling meal for a growing lad…… and there will be enough here to feed my lad for two lunches a week for the whole of next term…. with everything made from stores it will be two meals a week I won’t have to budget for either.
So savings in both time and money ….. with a bit of bulk cooking and forward planning….. but Ooh my feet still ache LOL
Time for bed I think – 18 days to go and things look like getting even busier … but at least tonight I made some headway in keeping my food budget on track.