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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Mom's Sausage Bean Casserole

A couple of days ago I wrote about the fundraiser beans I bought to support our grandchild's school.  Many frugalistas advise that if you aren't eating beans at least three times a week you aren't being frugal enough.  Beans are a very inexpensive, budget stretching food yet healthy and nutritious.  They are high in fiber and protein.  Their texture makes them a perfect substitute or extender for meat as well.   In addition to eating beans as a side or part of another dish, beans can be easily sprouted for a rich source of Vitamin C.  Bean sprouts are delicious in salads and stir fry.  Properly stored dried beans will keep 5 years or longer making them the ideal pantry food.

Mom's sausage bean casserole
The first package of the bean mixes I tried was the Mom's Sausage Bean Casserole mix.  This 585 g mix consisted of about 3 cups of beans.  About 2 cups were navy beans and a half cup each of romano and kidney beans.  This gives me the idea to mix up a few jars of these using bulk purchased beans for a homemade ready mix.  There were no seasonings included with the bean mix.

The sausage bean casserole was quite easy to make but would not fall under the category of one pot cooking since both the beans and sausage had to be cooked before adding to the slow cooker.  I used an Italian hot sausage that gave a nice flavour.  I also omitted the peppers.  The overall dish was quite thick, nice and chunky similar to a chili.  This is dish is one that I will be making again.  I already have a couple of tweaks in mind like adding niblet corn. 

As promised here is the total cost analysis for the dish.  The cost for the meal was $5.50 (mix), $2.17 (Italian hot sausage), about $1.25 additional ingredients and 44¢ electricity for a total of $9.34 for 6 to 8 servings.  This works out to a cost of $1.17 to $1.56 per serving depending on serving size.  The same dish used with bagged beans bought in the grocery stores  would reduce the cost of the bean mix to about $2 (roughly $2 per lb or less) which would reduce the cost per serving to 73¢ - 97¢ making this a very frugal dish.  Further savings are possible by buying beans at a bulk food store like Bulk Barn.  The number of servings could be increased by using the bean casserole as a topping for plain rice.

Mom's Sausage Bean Casserole
source: modified from The Bean Ladies

1 585g package bean casserole mix
½ lb sausage of your choice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 c water
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
¼ c ketchup
3 tbsp molasses
salt & pepper to taste

Soak the bean mixture overnight.  Drain.  Cover with fresh water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Cook beans until tender, about 1 hour.  Drain and rinse.  Pour into slow cooker.  Cook sausages, onions, peppers and garlic in fry pan.  Cut the sausages into bit sized pieces.  Pour sausage mixture into slow cooker.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Stir well.  Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

1 food lovers commented:

Mama Mia said...

What a beautiful and rich-looking dish!