Take beans. Canned beans are fine! Bittman himself has said so, and every bean recipe in the book can work either with cooked-from-scratch beans or canned beans.
They're certainly cheaper than canned beans--a pound of uncooked black beans cost me $1.86 and yielded 4 cups of cooked beans. And if you store them with some of the cooking liquid, they freeze and keep just as well as canned, but presumably, they taste better. I don't know, I've never cooked my own.
To cook them, Bittman provides three methods: Quick-Soak (boil, turn off heat, let soak 2 hrs, return to heat, simmer til done), No-Soak (boil then simmer, til done), and Long-Soak (soak in cold water for 6-12 hrs, drain, simmer til done). Regardless of the method you use, the type of bean makes the cooking time vary greatly. I opted for Quick-Soak, Bittman's favorite: place beans in water to cover, bring water to a boil, turn the heat off, let sit covered for 2 hours. This is the soak part of the recipe (I suppose the idea of "quick" is relative). Then you add a bit of salt, pepper, and let the beans simmer, tasting every 15 minutes until they are done. I also added a bit of stock to the cooking liquid as the water evaporated, after one of Bittman's suggestions. It took over 2 hours for the beans to finish cooking, but most of them went into the freezer with cooking liquid to cover so that they'll be ready to go when I need them down the line.
So, what does everyone think I should do with the beans now that they're done?
P.S. Bittman's list of 5 beans to always keep on hand (p. 413): white beans, black beans, pinto/kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils.