I got this email from reader Carol:
I've written you before about how much we enjoy your "calico baked beans", as I refer to them with my family. We are really pinching pennies right now and I compared making the recipe using canned beans vs. dried beans.
If I make it as listed (using bought on sale ingredients) my cost is $3.51. If I substitute home prepared dried beans, it drops to $2.21. Only $1.30 less, but if I can do that with every meal I serve, that's $27.30/week or $109.20/month!
I am able to feed my family of 6 (including 2 teens) on $400/month with another $50 for nonfood grocery items. This is a great recipe -- a "keeper" here! Just wanted to share that dried beans would make this an even more economical dish. I'd also add that if cooked ground beef was added, and biscuits served, it's like a corn pone.
I am still trying to get into the habit of thinking ahead enough to always use dried beans instead of canned! It's just too easy to change my mind (and therefore my menu!) at the last minute and need to open a can.
One thing that helps me is to cook extra beans when I'm making them and freeze the leftovers for the next time I need quick beans. (I do the overnight soak method, so I need to plan at least 24 hours in advance if I'm using them dried!)
Just last week I got a 5-pound bag of dark red kidney beans. I've already used some (see photo above!) and they were delicious -- much better than canned, in my opinion! And the beans expand so much when they're soaking. I have no idea how many "cans" my 5-pounds of dried beans is equivalent to, but it's a lot. :)