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Slow Cooker Time! 1-7 Bean Soup

February 13, 2012

I love using a slow cooker. I loved it when I had no children and worked; now that I have a child and work (some days) I love it even more because I can start dinner at 8 AM and then, if it takes four hours (with interruption) to get it in the pot, I can still have dinner finished at a reasonable hour without feeling too flustered.

One important note: It’s really easy to adapt some recipes for slow-cooker cooking. Here’s a great website with some tips for how to do it.

Other online resources for slow cooker recipes include: (search “slow cooker recipes”)

I also have compiled a few slow cooker recipes here: (click to visit the recipe) Mexican Casserole, Lentil and Bulgur Soup, Curried Lentils, Monastery Style Lentils, Crockpot Beef Stew, and Bean and Pork Chili in the Slow Cooker. (And while you’re at it, maybe you can help me brainstorm a new title for this blog. I want it to be something pithy about food and perhaps relate to West Michigan and healthful eating. More to come on this.

So, on that note, here’s the first of four new slow cooker recipes–all for main dishes–that you can make this week or next.

One or more (Seven, perhaps?) Bean Soup

The original recipe calls for 2 C. calico bean mix, but I usually use a mixture of dried beans I have on hand. It’s rarely a seven-bean mixture. Use what you like.

2 C. dried beans–any combination excluding garbanzo beans because they take so long to cook

8 C. water

1 lb. mild bulk Italian sausage

1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes with juice

4 carrots, peeled and diced

2 C. chicken stock

1 t. Italian seasoning, or 1/2 t. each basil and oregano

2 zucchini, diced

salt and pepper to taste

grated parmesan cheese.

Soak beans in water overnight.

In a stockpot, bring water to a boil. Simmer beans for 1 hour, or until tender. Drain.

In skillet over medium heat, brown sausage, stirring to break up meat.

In the slow cooker, combine sausage, beans, tomatoes with juice, carrots, stock and Italian seasoning. Cover. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours, until vegetables are tender. Add zucchini. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into individual bowls. Top with grated parmesan cheese.

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