Our grownup kiddo lives in the Los Angeles area and was lamenting the lack of dried beans on the shelves in the supermarkets because of you-know-what crisis. So, I loaded up an express mail box and shipped some off. Thank goodness for the USPS!
Of course, I got a few extra packages, so now we've got dried beans for days. That means lots of slow cooker projects, which is a welcome distraction from the current state of slow-simmering anxiety.
Truly, time in the kitchen has been like a balm to me ever since I was barely old enough to reach the counter. Challenging myself to come up with recipes helps me feel in control, confident. Those feelings have been shaken lately, am I right?
So, for bean experiment No. 1, I slow cooked some navy beans overnight. Did not soak them in advance because the slow cooker makes that step unnecessary. I always add the seasonings and veggies/meat after the beans have softened, and let that mixture simmer in the slow cooker another few hours.
To the navy beans, I added sliced carrots, chopped onions, a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste, garlic, salt and pepper and a little bit of dried rosemary. At this stage, I hadn't yet quite figured out what the final dish was going to be, but when I spotted a half empty package of Ritz in the cupboard, inspiration hit.
In our teeny RV, where the pantry is always too full, we've made it a project to finish stuff. So we can make room for more stuff. Those crackers were crumbled and mixed with a tablespoon of pesto sauce. That flavorful combo went on top of the seasoned beans that I'd put in a casserole dish and that dish went under the "broiler" -- aka the grill setting on our microwave/convection oven. Brilliant!
Bratwurst cooked on the campfire partnered up nicely with this satisfying dinner, a warming meal on a chilly night.