Rinse 1 lb. dry beans under cold water. Place in a slow cooker with ½ onion (sliced), 1 bay leaf, fresh thyme, and several garlic cloves. Add water so it covers 2 inches above beans. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Season; remove onion and herbs.
Bring 3 cups quinoa and 6 cups water to a boil on medium high. Add ¾ tsp. salt and reduce heat to simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Drain excess liquid. Cool on cookie sheets. Makes 9 cups.
Mac 'n' cheese
Follow steps 2-5 in this recipe for butternut squash mac 'n' cheese. The assembled dish can be placed in the refrigerator for up to two days, until you're ready to cook it.
Follow steps 1-2 in this recipe for make-ahead corn chowder. The base can be frozen for up to three months.
Assemble it on Sunday night. Serve with salad, even if it’s just cucumbers and dip for the kids. Send the leftovers in the kids’ lunch boxes.
Place warm corn or whole-grain flour tortillas, grated cheeses, guac, the beans you cooked on Sunday, corn, peppers, chopped lettuce, and sliced tomatoes on the counter and let family members fill their own.
Scramble eggs with chopped peppers and other veggies you have on hand; serve with fruit salad and home fries.
Make the base for a corn chowder on Sunday night; thaw a day ahead. Add milk and serve with stuffed pitas. Let each family member fill his own with cheese, hummus, veggies, and jarred roasted peppers.
In a large pan, sauté beans, sliced peppers, and frozen corn with the quinoa you cooked on Sunday.