Here's what I do. I get out the crock pot that I'll be using for my chili. Remember that I really don't like to dirty more than one dish or pan if I have to. That's how I roll. Put your bag 'o beans in the crock pot and cover it with at least 8 cups of water. I eye ball it and add enough water so that it's 3/4 of the way up the side of the crock pot to allow room for the beans to expand. Let it sit all day. At night before I go to bed I drain the water and then add more. This time I add enough water to get closer to the top of the crock since the beans won't expand as much but need the water to keep from getting dry. Cook on Low until morning. In the morning, carefully drain the water and add whatever ingredients for your dish. Set it to cook and when it's done put it on a "keep warm" setting if you need to. If you like you can start the soaking process at night, cook them during the day and then make your meal on the stove top. It's up to you. But I've found the soaking and the cooking before putting them in the dish are beneficial and appreciated by the family. *wink*
Here's my chili recipe (tweaked a bit from last time) to warm you up on a very cold day! It's freezing here! Hope ya'll are staying warm!
1 28 oz. can tomato sauce (or use tomato puree from your garden tomatoes)
1 46 oz. can tomato juice
2 lbs. ground chuck, browned and drained
1 lb. dry kidney beans (see Notes at the bottom)
2 T. onion powder (or 2 med. onions chopped)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (or 4 cloves garlic, crushed)
4-6 T. chili powder
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (Hubby likes a little kick and it clears the 'ol sinuses!)
Combine all ingredients in a large crock pot. (I use a 6.5 quart.) Cover; cook on low 8-10 hours or on high 4-5 hours.
Notes: This serves our gang for dinner and enough for lunch the next day with some grilled cheese. I like to make Jiffy corn bread mix to serve with it, too. Also, try serving it with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and dip Fritos scoops in it. We love it that way!!