I suppose today's timesaver tip is more about saving money than time, but maybe it will help demolish the myth that it takes FOREVER to cook dried beans. Its really not that bad when you use the "quick soak" method.. and its not like you have to stand there for two hours watching them soak :)
Dried beans are a frugal food, and so convenient to keep on hand when cooked! Cooking and freezing beans is something I love to do because it makes it so easy to toss into your dinner dish or soup. One of my favorites are garbanzo beans that I can put in the blender to make hummus or as a nice addition to my salad. Yes, up front it takes longer to cook than it does to open a can, but having these on hand in the freezer is so easy and much less expensive.
You always want to start by sorting through the beans and rinsing to make sure there are no small stones or debris in the mix... I don't know about you, but I don't like crunchy chili. :) Put your beans in cold water (about 4 cups to every 1 cup of beans) and bring them to a rapid boil.. then cover and remove from the heat for 1-2 hours. Throw out the soaking water, replace with fresh water and then cook!
Here's an easy-to-follow chart I found here: (you can click on it to enlarge it)
By flash freezing the beans, they won't stick together in your bags. Drain the water out and lay in a single layer on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Freeze for about an hour and then put them in your freezer bags. Enjoy!