At the time that Sweetie Pie and I got married, he actually had more cooking experience than I did. I was one of those college students that lived off of Lipton noodles, Rice a Roni and Cocoa Puffs. If we wanted a special dinner, I would pick something out of my Betty Crocker cookbook. It had lots of pictures and assumed that the person reading the recipe knew NOTHING, which was actually pretty accurate in my case.

This is one of the recipes from our newlywed days. It was perfect then, and is still perfect now. I’ve adapted the recipe over the years as our eating habits change, and its flexibility is exactly what makes it perfect for End-of-the-Month cooking. Got half a pound of stew meat in the freezer? Brown it and throw it in. Bell pepper rolling around in the produce drawer? Add it in. You should feel free to substitute other beans for the ones listed here, or leave out some beans and replace them with meat, or add in some extra veggies. I usually use dried beans instead of canned, just because it’s more economical. And I frequently add in carrots, celery, zucchini or beef.

Make sure you choose a baking dish that is nice and deep. I have a Corelle dish (also dating from our newlywed days) that I usually use for this dish. I decided to try something different this time and put it in a Pyrex pan, and ended up with a burning, bubbling mess on my hands (literally). Don’t make the same mistake.

Plan to Eat users, click on the recipe title to go the pre-formatted recipe.

Sweet and Sour Mixed Bean Hot-Pot

Ingredients

  • 1 pound unpeeled potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free flour (whatever mix fits your diet)
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2/3 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy-less sauce
  • 14 oz frozen lima beans
  • 14 oz can kidney beans
  • 14 oz can garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup frozen green beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice the potatoes and par-boil them for four minutes. Cook them just enough so that they aren’t raw, but not all the way. Drain the potatoes and toss them with the olive oil so that they are lightly coated all over. Set aside.
  2. Place the grapeseed oil and the next 5 ingredients in a large saucepan. Heat gently, whisking continuously to break down any flour lumps, until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Simmer gently for 3 more minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Rinse and drain the beans and add to the sauce with all the remaining ingredients. Stir well and cook until warmed through.
  4. Spoon the bean mix into a large casserole dish. Arrange the potato slices over the top, overlapping them slightly so that the potatoes completely cover the bean mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked and tender. Remove the foil and cook for another 15-20 minutes to lightly brown the potatoes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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