Beans. Pretty boring, huh?
But, I contend that, no they're not! They are filling, nutritious, and play well with lots of flavors! Canned beans are fine, but dried beans are cheaper and take up less pantry space. I get that they can be intimidating, I keep canned on hand for super quick meals, par-cooked and fully cooked in the freezer, and dry in the pantry.
Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with
water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. I recommend making 1- 2 lb at a time, even if you won't use that many right away.
Put the beans and fresh water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered,
stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 2 hours. (Should the beans become too dry, add more water.)
At this point, you can use them just like you would canned beans, they are fully cooked. You can also freeze them flat in sandwich bags.
One sandwich bag is about one family sized serving for most dishes.
A lot of my bean recipes are long-cooking recipes like ham and beans, red beans and rice, and minestrone so I usually keep some par-cooked beans in the freezer for these applications. I follow the above directions, but stop the cooking after about an hour. This way I can let them really pick up a lot of flavor and help thicken whatever I am making.