Monday, 6 February 2012

Comfort Food That's Good For You!

I took a notion to make a good, old fashioned pot of  Baked Beans this weekend.  I'm avoiding any food that's commercially prepared this year.  If it's in a can or box, it's out for me!  You can buy some decent tasting canned beans but nothing comes close to the homemade version!

This is one of the most economical and simple meals you can serve a family and chock full of nutrition.  The navy beans are high in protein (perfect for vegetarians), complex carbs (slow to release energy so you feel full longer) and low in fat, calories and sodium and cholesterol free.  They are a good source of calcium, potassium and folate (one of the B's important during pregnancy for healthy cell development).

You can't have beans without molasses and that's all good, too!  Molasses is a great source of copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium and B6. It's a low calorie sweetener, with the sugar part already cooked out.

Even the mustard is good for you as low in cholesterol and saturated fat and high in fibre, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine, manganese and selenium.  The only downside to mustard is in using the prepared kind which is high in sodium. If you are worried about your sodium intake, used powdered hot mustard or try substituting turmeric.  I put ketchup in my beans which is low in fat, has no cholesterol and has potassium, Vit A and very high levels of Vit C in it.  It is high in sugar and sodium.  You could substitute a tomato juice and tomato paste mixture for a healthier choice.

There are tons of recipes for Old Fashioned or Boston Baked Beans out there, including the one on the back of the bag of beans,  but I treat this as a throw whatever you have in kind of recipe.  If I'm short of one ingredient, I just add more of another.

Here's how I made mine but I warn you I rarely measure, so it's just a how to thing.  You have to plan this one ahead and soak the beans in water overnight.  In the morning I simmered the beans in the soaking water for about 30 minutes and drained them, reserving the cooking water.

I love using my Medalta Potteries bean pot because my grandfather was an owner and supervisor of that pottery!  Slice an onion and toss it in the bottom of the pot. ~

I mixed together about a 1/4 cup of ketchup, 1/2 cup fancy molasses, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard (cause that's what I had), 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar and a couple of good grinds of black pepper.  ~

It should be about this consistency. ~

Toss it in the pot and add the beans. Barely cover the beans with the reserved cooking water.  It's traditional to add some kind of pork to the pot.  I tossed in a few frozen link sausages but this would have been fine without any meat.  ~

Cook in a slow oven (275 F) for 3 - 4 hours with the lid on.  Take a half cup of the beans out, mash them with a fork and stir them back in. Cook for another hour with the lid off.

These come out great in a crock pot.  Add a nice loaf of crusty bread and you have a super healthy, energy boosting meal ready when you get home from taxiing the kids around!

Your ancestors would be proud of you!

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