Here's a super easy - and inexpensive - recipe that requires a little chopping, but mostly dumping ingredients in your slow cooker.
What's even better is that you can use the beans for a variety of dishes - with rice, in burritos or quesadillas, as a nacho ingredient or in soups. Feel free to experiment with different dried beans as well - pinto beans or black beans, for instance, would be a great substitute.
Big note: I used red beans, which are different from red kidney beans. If you plan to cook kidney beans, it's important to boil them for 10 minutes before cooking to get rid of a toxin called phytohemagglutinin, which can do a number on your digestive system.
Slow Cooker Red Beans
1 pound dried beans
7 cups water
1 onion, quartered
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (if you like things spicier)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Rinse the beans and pick through them to make sure there aren't any tiny stones. I typically soak the beans overnight, but it's not required.
Dump the beans, onions, garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) into your slow cooker. Pour in the water and give it a little stir. Put a lid on your slow cooker and let cook on low for 8 hours. Once the cooking is done, stir in the salt and pepper, to taste.
With a strainer ladle, spoon out about two cups of the cooked beans. Mash them up. Then, using the strainer, ladle out the remaining beans and mix together, but reserve the cooking water. The mashed beans will make the final product creamier. Pour in a little of the cooking water until the beans are the consistency you want.
Then, serve any number of ways. Most of the time, I'll simply serve with some rice and top with things such as shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, avocado and black olives.
Go Ask Mom features recipes every Friday. For more, check WRAL.com's recipe database.