Finally! We moved, but it’s not all smooth sailing yet. We’re living out of boxes and we don’t have a kitchen yet. While our perfect kitchen is being built (which we will be talking about soon), I’m going to have to get crafty. I do have many plug-in appliances (rice cooker, toaster oven, panini press, waffle maker, microwave, etc.) so we’re still going to have a ball here. I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised with how much I (or you) can do without a kitchen. (Gulp) Determined to eat well every single day without exceptions, here goes…

This was my first time ever using a slow-cooker. My mom never used one. We never learned about them in culinary school. None of the commercial kitchens I’ve worked in stocked this appliance. I always figured that I didn’t need this extra contraption in my kitchen. Well, now that I’m working on just appliances alone, I jumped at the chance when my mom called and said, “Someone gave me a slow-cooker. Do you want it?” I thought, “N—Yea!” I was going to habitually say no, as I have refused these once or twice before, but now things have changed. You gotta take all the help you can get when you don’t have a kitchen. As patient as you all are, I figured you didn’t want 101 ways to use your toaster oven.

Kielbasa and Beans 2

I thought about the point of a slow cooker, and it’s really all about the ease. Most people use one so that they can “set-it and forget-it” in the morning, and come home to a cooked meal. The less steps involved the better. The chopping doesn’t even have to be so even and exact.

I wasn’t expecting my first slow-cooker recipe to come out so well, but I was really impressed with it and now I’m turned on to this long over-looked appliance. The Kielbasa & Beans are a play on the American kids’ classic, Franks and Beans. As easy and rustic as it is, there is also a sense of refinement in this dish. The slow and low cooking allowed the beans to absorb tons of flavor from the kielbasa, but not get totally mushy after half a day. I did not add any additional fat (there is fat in the Kielbasa) so it isn’t greasy, but certainly moist. However, there will be some variance (in flavor and fat) depending on the kielbasa used.

Kielbasa and Beans 3

Use this as a hearty side dish, or even a main served over rice.

Kielbasa & Beans
~yields roughly 6 cups

  • 2 (15.5.oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups diced kielbasa
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 7 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 rounded tablespoon whole grain mustard

Instructions –

Put all of the ingredients in a slow cooker (mine is 6 QT but as small as 4 QT  should work too) and turn it on at low setting. Set for 6 hours. Serve it warm/hot.

Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

red kidney beans
Kielbasa and Beans before cooking

Kielbasa and Beans 6

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