The Joys of Cooking Ahead When You are Alone

First night without Laura was uneventful, except that I have learned that Mr. Fitzwilliam Kitty has learned how to whiney-mew from Shera.  Oh joy, two cats that can pitifully sound like they are going to die this instant if you don’t love them.

On Sunday morning, while Laura was working, I did some cooking ahead.  Simple food that could be lovingly embellished without too much fuss.  I roasted some root vegetables and made a casserole dish of baked beans and rye berries.  Easy oven food that took an hour to prep (while doing laundry, washing dishes, and preparing lunch), and was able to bake for two or so hours while I puttered around (read: knit).

I am very proud of my baked beans and rye berries.  They are not typical baked beans, but really hearty and mix some of my favorite flavors together.  Last night I served myself some reheated bean-rye in one of my favorite ways: one bowl of everything I want.

Only one bowl to clean!

I have a confession.  I loath washing dishes.  If it can all go in one bowl, it will all go in one bowl, and that is only one dish I have to think about cleaning.  So here, I get my salad, hot main course and sides all in one tidy package.  Then, both the bowl and the pan I used to heat the beans will go in the dishwasher, until I realize I need that pan and scrub it clean as fast as I can while swearing.  Laura knows the dishwasher will be piled high when she gets back, and some baking dishes will conveniently not empty until the night before she gets back.  Hey, at least the floors will be clean, the cats will be fed and a crockpot meal hot and ready to go Friday evening.  Fair trade in my mind.

Anyway.  Here is a rare recipe for the bean-rye bake.  Modify as you see fit, because I love mustard and vinegar in my baked beans, where others don’t.

Theresa’s Make-Ahead Baked Beans and Rye

  • 1 Cup beans of choice, I used Baer’s Best Money Beans
  • 1 cup washed rye berries
  • 1/2 cup dried tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 oz raw bacon
  • 2 tbs mustard
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs molasses
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Soak the beans overnight, if you remember.  Preheat over to whatever else you are cooking’s temperature, or 375F.  Rinse beans and put at the bottom of a casserole dish.
  2. Add the washed rye berries and dried tomatoes to the casserole dish, along with enough water to cover the berries.
  3. In a small pan, cook the bacon until getting crispy, and most of the fat has rendered off.
  4. Remove the bacon from the pan and add to beans in casserole dish.  Drain off all but about a tablespoon of fat from the frying pan.  Add the onion and cook until soft and getting a touch brown at the edges. Add to baking dish.
  5. Put mustard, vinegar and molasses over top, add bay leaf.
  6. Bake until a lot of the water has been absorbed.  Start checking after an hour and half to make sure it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.  Mix it all up, check the beans for doneness.  If not quite to where you want them to be, add a little more water and bake until they are perfect for you.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.

I keep the beans at the bottom of the dish for most of the cooking so that all of the beans are submerged for as long as possible while cooking.  You want the dish to be a little saucy, but not soupy.  I love the soft beans and firm rye berries together, its like a match made in hearty food heaven. Yum.

That is all for today.  No cooking means fewer pictures, but I will try to get more photos tonight of whatever I eat.  I’m not sure yet, but I have a whole pan or roasted vegetables with my name on it!

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