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Maybe Jack's Beans Were Magic!!!!!

February 28, 2012
I recently had the opportunity to appear on a segment of the Weather Channel. I was asked to cook dinner for two for the holiday in 40 dollars or less. Challenging? Yes. However, I started to think about the challenge that an average family faces every day. Especially in an uncertain economy we often need to think about staying in and cooking at home. There are some delicious and nutritious foods out there that are often overlooked either because you don't know what it is or how to cook it or its more time consuming then the oh so popular convenience meal that we have all turned to at one time or another. I know how to make hummus and can make it very well and for pennies but I usually buy it.

We live in the convenience age. Surrounded by instant meals and modified foods that cook in minutes. Our coffee makers wake up and brew just the right amount of coffee in the morning for us. All of these things come at a price. Some of us are looking for some ways to save money at the grocery store.

There are a lot of ways to safe money at the grocery but, this week I am stuck on beans. Beans may not be magic enough to lead us to a magnificent castle surrounded by beautiful maidens waiting to serve us but, they certainly can do a little magic on the wallet. This shelf is often overlooked by the average consumer.

Don't be intimidated by the little bean. Beans can cost as little as a dollar a bag.

So here are some easy steps in adding dried beans to your life. First, buy the bag. Next, rinse the beans and soak overnight in three times the water. Most all beans will cook in 1.5 hours. So you can mix and match and could several varieties together. However lentils will cook in only about 20 minutes so they must be cooked separate. Keep in mind that dry beans yield three times as much when cooked. If you like hummus then you will want to soak some garbanzo beans. If your making chili try soaking some dry kidney beans. Play around with them. If you wanting to save money or just try something new.

Dry bean salad

1cup garbanzo beans

1cup kidney beans

1cup great northern

1 stalk celery (small diced)

1 small red onion (julienne)

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

cup of any vinegar you like (I like red for this)

cup of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method: soak beans overnight. Cook together or separate for 1.5 hours with plenty of water covering as they will be cooking a while. When beans are tender strain and cool. Add the remaining ingredients and serve warm or cold.

Ray's at Killer Creek's Executive Chef, Tracey Bloom Tracey began working in the restaurant industry as a way to earn extra money, but soon found she had a true talent and passion for the culinary arts. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Bloom has worked in several of the Atlanta area's finest restaurants. She served as the opening pastry chef at Sia's Restaurant in Duluth and then joined the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group to work at 103 West under Chef Gary Donlick. Tracey has also held sous chef positions at Asher in Roswell, Oscar's in College Park and Luma in Winter Park, Florida. She was the executive chef at Table 1280 in Atlanta before becoming a contestant on the seventh season of Bravo's "Top Chef" in 2010. Tracey's goal is to give each guest a truly enjoyable dining experience. She finds it of the upmost importance to produce high-quality cuisine, as well as maintain strong relationships with both her staff and restaurant guests. Tracey currently resides in Atlanta. In her spare time, she enjoys camping, boating and spending time with her family.
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