Here's the next installment in my freezer meal saga! Going through all my dry beans, I realized that I'm running really low; there was only enough for the refried beans, the chili, and these next couple of bean meals. So this soup and the baked beans (soon to come) had to be made with the only beans I had left - one pound each of black beans and black-eyed peas. I soaked them all together, then used half of that combination to make the soup and will use the rest for the baked beans. And yes, we bought several more pounds of beans when we did our weekly shopping yesterday!
I will take this moment to remind you (or rather, remind myself...) that when you decide to do several large freezer meals in a short period of time, make sure you have all the ingredients necessary. I took it for granted that we would have basics like carrots and onions, because we always have those! But I forgot to take into account that I've been using them in large amounts for the other meals I've done. So when I went to start chopping veggies for the soup, I realized I had only two small carrots and was out of onions. Jeff volunteered to walk to the nearby grocery store and pick up onions (I just can't live without onions), and I added a chopped green bell pepper in place of the third carrot. I could have avoided the need for an extra trip to the store had I made sure that we had all necessary ingredients before we did our shopping yesterday - even the ones that I take for granted!
2 cups (1 lb) dry beans
2 quarts water
1 ham bone or several polish sausages, sliced (optional, I didn't include this)
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 quart tomato juice or stewed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak beans overnight or by quick method. Drain and add fresh water, 6-8 cups. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer 2 hours or more until beans are tender. Add more liquid if necessary. If you used a ham bone, remove meat from bones, chop, and return to soup.
Freezer Meal: Let soup cool, then spoon into freezer containers or canning jars in meal-sized portions. I don't recommend putting the soup in freezer bags, just because it's so liquidy. Freeze. To use, thaw in refrigerator, empty into a saucepan, and heat over medium heat. Should be good served with a loaf of fresh bread or some corn bread!
I'll probably cook the rest of the beans this evening and do the baked beans in the crock pot overnight tonight. That way I won't heat the apartment too much, which is very important. ;-)
Just a note to myself: I really need to start using more of what's already in the freezer - I'm running out of room to put all these freezer meals! I still have a few more planned and am just hoping that there will be room to squeeze them all in. Fingers crossed!