In order to help the evening run smoother I try to know what's for dinner no later than 10 a.m. each day. In the best case scenario I have the week all planned out and I know what's for dinner well ahead of time. This is ideal but does not happen every single week. Having a meal plan in place eliminates last minute runs for pizza or the blank stare into the pantry trying to come up with something at 6:30 p.m. when everyone is starving. I have found meal planning to be my best weapon against over spending at the grocery store and against serving drive thru junk food.
Here's what we're having tonight.....
White Beans with Bacon and Tomato Sauce
1 cup dried white beans
6 cups water plus water to cover beans while soaking
1 medium carrot, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons coarse salt
BACON AND TOMATO SAUCE:
4 slices bacon, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 (15 ounce) cans petite chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
To prepare the beans: In a large saucepan place the beans, cover with 2 inches of water, and soak overnight. Drain. Add the beans back to the pan and add the 6 cups of water. Bring the beans to a boil. Add the carrot and onion. Simmer over low heat partially covered for 45 minutes, until the beans are almost done. Add the salt, continuing to cook for about 45 minutes until the beans are tender. Drain the beans in a colander, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the bean liquid for the bacon and tomato sauce.
To make the bacon and tomato sauce: Cook the bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring until crisp. Add the olive oil and onion, stirring for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and salt and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chopped thyme. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until the sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.
Return the beans to the large saucepan. Add the tomato sauce and the 1 1/2 cups of reserved bean juice. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.
Makes 10 servings.
NOTE: This can be made a day ahead and placed in refrigerator. To reheat, place over low heat for 30 minutes. Thin with water while reheating if necessary.