Monday, March 30, 2020

Barbara G's Homemade Beanie Weenies

Today I'm going to share a very frugal recipe with you for homemade beanie weenies from my late friend Barbara Garrett. She was a former poster on the old AOL tightwad boards who passed away a few years ago. This is a very affordable recipe that you can make to feed your family inexpensively. 

The remainder of this post will be in Barbara's own words. 

Beans and franks. The very name conjures up frugality carried to dirt-cheap eating levels, but not necessarily tasty eating. Keep the price low AND improve the flavor by shoving aside the canned version and making up your own fresh....from dried beans. 

 Even without being on sale, the ingredients don't cost much, but if you can find the franks on special, you can make up a whole 5-quart slow cooker pot full of these for well under the $4.75 it cost me to make these. Even so, this is a HUGE pot of beans. It will feed at least eight to ten hungry adults generously, especially if you serve it with cornbread and a salad. Even better, the inclusion of the franks makes this feel like junk food, so Americanized kids will likely adore them.


Incidentally, if your larder is truly bare, the beans are fine all by themselves without the wieners, although I think you'd want to add at least a little meat flavor in the form of bacon drippings. I made it through the first two years of college in the 70s on meatless Crockpot-cooked barbecued beans and boxed mac and cheese. I usually did NOT have the bell pepper and celery on hand, but if the budget allows and I have them in the house, I greatly prefer the flavor with them included. In lean times or when there's none in the house, don't worry about it. There are plenty of flavors going on here to carry it.

Let me tell you, though, a pot of barbecued beans goes a long way when it's just one person eating it! These freeze fine, but let them thaw overnight in the fridge and then rewarm. They'll be a bit mushier, but just as delicious.

Barbara G's Homemade Beanie Weenies

The beans are quite tasty enough without the bell pepper, celery or Louisiana hot sauce, so omit them if little ones in your family object, or you just don’t have any in the house. If you like peppery hot beans, then try using the hot-style franks. Tabasco really is not a substitute for Louisiana hot sauce, as the hot sauce contributes more of a full pepper flavor and not just heat, whereas Tabasco is mainly just heat. My opinion, of course.

Ingredients:

2 lbs dried white beans–navy or Great Northern (about 5 cups)
1 bay leaf
1 packet onion soup mix, (OR one chopped, sauteed onion plus 2 beef bouillon cubes)
1 1/2-2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup yellow prepared mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar OR 2 T. sugar plus 2 T. molasses
6-8 frankfurters sliced into thin "coins" (good-quality)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ large green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
2 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Dash or two Louisiana hot sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Pick through the beans and discard any deformed or split beans or foreign particles. Rinse well. Put beans into a largish (at least 5-quart) slow cooker with the bay leaf, and fill about 2/3 full of water. Cook on “Low” overnight, or until beans are just tender. Sometimes I add the garlic here. It's up to you. It'll cook out to have a slightly more mellow, sweeter flavor.

Taking care not to mash them or to burn yourself, pour warm cooked beans gently into a colander to drain off most of the liquid. RESERVE THE NUTRIENT-FILLED LIQUID. Add all the remaining ingredients at once to the pot and stir to combine them. Add the beans and stir gently to distribute the sauce and vegetables throughout. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper or hot pepper sauce. If the tomato flavor is too anemic or the beans are not saucy enough for your taste, add a little more ketchup. Continue to cook on “Low” for 2-3 or more hours, or until flavors meld and vegetables are done to your liking. Add reserved bean liquid as necessary to keep beans loose enough to be saucy, but not soupy.

Cool and refrigerate, then freeze leftover bean liquid for a grand soup starter, or season it up as a broth soup unto itself, perfect for the sniffles.

Lazybones alternative, with some risk: If there is too much liquid and the beans are only barely done and you don't feel like draining them, then cook on “High” for an hour with the cover ajar to assist evaporation. If you do this, gently stir the beans from time to time, scraping the sides to keep it from scorching, while taking care not to break up the beans any more than necessary. Of course, if you do break them up and the beans turn to mush, just call it baked bean soup. :D Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Serve as a main course with a green salad or vinaigrette-dressed cole slaw and a big chunk of Southern (NO SUGAR!) cornbread. If you can take the heat, even better is spicy Mexican cornbread. Some chilled fresh fruit afterward will be appreciated, but keep it simple. A big slice of watermelon, for instance, or a handful of frosty grapes straight from the freezer. These rewarm nicely, as long as you don't stir them too much so as to break up the beans. They'll keep fine for 2-3 days in the fridge; two-three months in the freezer.

A super cheap wiener tip: You can get by with using fewer wieners if you cut the "coins" extremely thin. Nobody has to know you cheated.

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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4 comments :

  1. No one quite like Barbara Garrett. Would like to have all she wrote through the years. Good time to share this recipe, too. Missing my mother, MIL, and grandmother. Have quite a few questions only they can answer about cooking and baking.
    -memphis metro

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Anna. Here is a link to the blog she wrote for a while. You can find some of the stuff she wrote there. :)

      http://funandfrugalliving.blogspot.com/

      Delete

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