The Bulk Cupboard

As may be observed from my "Trying to Eat Cheap" series, I continue to believe in the thriftiness of buying in bulk. We invested in a bunch of medium- and large-sized canning jars to store bulk items. I think my rows of beans and grains and flours look so tidy and inspiring in the plain wood cupboard. It makes me feel all New England-y.

But I am still searching for good keeper recipes that will give me more versatility with my bulk collection. My problem is that for any one bulk item, say pinto beans, there's only one thing I know how to make with it, say chili. So I'm throwing open my cupboard to comments and advice. I'll list what I've got and the one thing I know how to make. What do you like to make? Let's share!

  • Millet: Replacement for brown rice--basically a plain starch side dish.
  • Brown rice: Use this all the time as a side dish. Or in macrobiotic casserole.
  • Aduki beans: Boil them up and add squash or sweet potato, then refry with chili powder as a taco or burrito filling.
  • Black beans: #1 bean in 3-bean chili.
  • Pinto beans: #2 bean in 3-bean chili
  • Kidney beans: #3 bean in 3-bean chili. These are my favorite cuz they're big & meaty!
  • White beans: Use to bulk up quinoa salad. Recently tried in slow cooker with chicken.
  • buckwheat: Dislike the taste unless it's in my wakame buckwheat soup
  • quinoa: Use for quinoa salad/tabbouleh.
  • rolled oats: Oatmeal! Eat this almost every morning. Sometimes put oats in apple crisp.
  • popcorn: for nights when I don't have ice cream
  • white rice: got it for a dinner party, no clue what it's for
  • lentils: boil with garlic and take for lunch 4 times a week--lots of hot sauce added
  • sweet brown rice: the other part of my lentil lunch
  • barley: Use in barley mushroom soup
  • flour: Use in either muffins or pizza crust. I mix & match different flours.
  • mung beans: see my sprouting experiment--made for Pad Thai
  • bulgur: tabbouleh
Thanks for any bulk tips you've got!


ValleyWriter said...

You've got a great collection!
One idea that came to mind to use 2 of your staples is homemade black bean burgers. Take 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups cooked black beans and mush them up in a bowl. Add 1 cup of cooked brown rice, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 Tbsp. ketchup (or salsa), 1 egg and salt & pepper to taste. (You can spice them up with chili powder or cumin, if your dining partners wouldn't mind.)
Mix every thing up and form into patties. Saute about 4 minutes on each side until evenly browned.

"Prof. Kitty" said...

Thanks for the recipe VW, sounds really good!

My mom also sent some ideas, though she couldn't figure how to work the comment machine:

Any beans -- white, black, aduki -- turn into soup. Saute onions, add beans, plus extra liquid, plus any canned tomato stuff, plus any good spices, bay leaf, and simmer. Then puree down into a nice thick soup. A bit of sausage in it is really good (unpureed).

flour -- pancakes, waffles, tarts

rice -- fried rice; filler in meatloaf

oats -- oatcakes

buckwheat -- only good in pancakes as far as I'm concerned

lentils -- added to your Indian cans, plus liquid, they make great soup.

Gladys Glover said...

Prof Kitty, listen to Mom! My sentiments exactly -- if it's a bean, it goes into a soup with all the other beans. The ultra-thrifty, ultra-low cal version contains nothing but beans, salt, water, and a few whole dried red chiles for pizzazz. This mess freezes well. It's what I lived on most winters in Chicago: a pot of beans on the stove for a week meant I didn't have to schlepp through the snow to a grocery store. The side bonus of filling up only on bean soup day after day? It's quite slimming if that's all you eat!

Alice said...

White beans: if they're cannellini, have you tried throwing them in the slow cooker with poultry italian sausage (casings removed, peices), some sage, and a can of italian diced tomatoes? Add 4 cups water and cook on low for 8-9 hours's really good with fresh bread and a salad!
also, cooked black beans mashed with cilantro and sauted onions makes a great veggie taco filler. Bon Apetit Feb. has the recipe in corn tortillas. Also-I'm on the hunt for a really good black beans & rice recipe.
quinoa--can you do a risotto type dish with in broth with mushrooms etc...might be good?

"Prof. Kitty" said...

Thanks GG and Alice! I'm working on a bean soup right now. Gonna just throw in what I've got and revel in the cheap warming stick-to-my ribs goodness!

Jennifer said...

i recently made boston baked beans with small white beans. i liked it largely because it tasted nothing like all my other bean dishes. a nice sweet change. i used a recipe that included some brown sugar and molasses and you bake it for 8 hours. it was fun and smelled good and delicious. if you want the recipe let me know!