Sunday, January 22, 2012

Healthy Start - Navy Bean soup

One of the biggest things I see with my friends with new or growing families, is that they tend to eat a little less healthy then they should because it just isn't convenient to drop everything and cook a full dinner. So, McDonalds Happy Meals become the easy alternative between newborn check-ups and their toddlers swim lessons.

I have decided to start preparing early, as in, I have been preparing easy store, freezer food meals for several years now, and my drive to continue throughout my pregnancy and parenthood has only increased. I don't have kids yet, but enough of my friends have little ones that I've helped out with, that I understand things a little more intimately about sleep deprivation than most non-parents. Most days in the first couple months you don't get enough sleep to remember to brush your own hair, let alone time to cook, or clean.

When I was growing up, my dad would put together meals in the morning, then halfway through his day, he'd come home, put them all in a pan with lots of water, and simmer them. When he came home from work about 2 hours later, he'd toss bread in the oven, and in 15-20 minutes, dinner was ready. One of my FAVORITE recipes was his Navy Bean and Bacon soup! Over the years, I've tweaked the recipe a little, and because I wasn't feeling up to it, hubby made this last night without much direction.

This soup can be eaten straight from the crock pot, or stored in shallow freezer and microwave safe containers and frozen. This is a great meal option to send with your SO to work during the week that isn't the cheap cafe down the road.

     Prep: 10-15 minutes (soaking beans the night before prep)
     Cook: Overnight
16 oz dry navy beans
1 can corn (not drained)
2 cans chicken broth
1-1.5 lbs bacon (cooked, broken up)
1 can of water
2-3 cloves garlic (peeled smashed)
       Note: if you do not have fresh garlic, a 1/2 tsp of garlic powder will work

You will need a crock pot or slow cooker with high and medium or low heat.

Soak your beans in water the night before you plan to prep this, I tossed them in a bowl on Friday before I went to bed, and we made the soup Saturday afternoon.

Add drained beans, 2 cans chicken broth (you could substitute veggie broth), 1 can undrained corn, and 1 can of water to the stock pot, turn on high heat. While this is heating up, peel and smash the garlic with a broad blade knife, add these to your soup. Cook your bacon to a point where you can crumble it a bit, add this to the crock pot. simmer on high for about 2 hours, turn to low while you go to bed, or work, or wherever you need to go (about 8 hours). Keep covered.

In the morning, package for freezer or work enjoyment. Refrigerate the work or school portions immediately in shallow containers. When you serve this, it can be on it's own, or it is fantastic with french bread or garlic bread. I myself and thinking about a serving with a few cressant rolls. YUM!

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