Full disclosure here – I love batch cooking and healthy cooking. And I have no culinary imagination so I always use a recipe. This one I found in the November/December 2020 edition of Today’s Parent. That’s always a good bet that I might sneak some goodness in my kids! I liked this one because of the different options as well as the chance to get some non-meat protein and added fiber into a meal. I hope it gives you an idea or something new to add to your menu. This is what we shared in the office for our December 2020 recipe of the month:

Claire Tansey’s Brothy Beans

750 g               dried beans, such as Great Northern or romano (about 4 cups)

2 ½ tsp             salt, divided

1                      large onion, sliced

3                      stalks celery, coarsely chopped

2                      carrots, chopped

6                      cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2                      sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme (or ½ tsp dried thyme)

¼ tsp                chili flakes (optional)

large parmesan rind

  1. Place the beans in a very large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven and cover with cold water by at least 5 in. Stir in 1 tsp of the salt.  Soak at room temperature for 6 to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325F. Drain the beans, then put them back into the pot and cover with warm water again, this time by 2 in. Bring to a boil.  Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, rosemary or thyme, chili flakes (if using), parmesan rind and the remaining salt.  Return to a boil, then cover and transfer the pot to the oven.  Bake 25 minutes, then taste one bean for tenderness and add more water if needed (it should cover the beans by an inch at all times).  Continue to cook, checking on the beans every 5 to 10 minutes, until they are tender without being mushy.
  3. Cool completely, then package into 2- or 4- cup portions in freezer bags. Pat down the bags so they lie flat (this speeds up freezing and thawing) and freeze up to 3 months. To use, thaw in the fridge overnight, then gently reheat to a simmer.

There are three different dinners you can make out of these beans:

  1. Bean and cheese burritos
    Combine 2 cups Brothy Beans (thawed) with ¼ tsp smoked paprika in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Puree with a potato masher or immersion blender and continue to cook until very thick. Stir in the juice of 1 lime. Layer in warm tortillas with grated cheese, salsa, sliced avocado and hot sauce.
  2. Sausage and bean stew
    Heat 1tbsp canola oil in a large frying pan over high. Add 4 sausages and cook about 4 minutes or until they are golden on the bottom. Flip the sausages, reduce the heat to low and add 4 cups chopped kale. Cover and cook 5 to 8 minutes or until kale softens. Add 4 cups Brothy Beans (thawed) and simmer gently, covered, until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with shaved parmesan.
  3. Pasta Fagioli
    Gently stir 4 cups Brothy Beans (thawed) with a 156mL can tomato paste in a medium pot. Heat over medium until simmering gently, crushing the carrots, celery and garlic that are in the beans. In a separate pot, cook 1 cup small pasta (such as ditalini) in boiling, salted water, until just tender. Drain, then add to the bean mixture and simmer for 1 minute. Serve drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and grated Parmesan.

excerpted from Dinner, Uncomplicated: Fixing a Delicious Meal Every Night of the Week