I won't bore you with a recipe for baked beans since there are a ton of them on the internet - feel free to email me for mine if you like. However, the savings, and simplicity of it all I will focus on. So let's start with the savings part.
We bought our baking beans this year in a 10kg bag from Dolphin Village. We would like to grow our own and have in the past and will likely do so again this coming year but building a house this summer side-railed our gardening, that combined with the very dry summer. Yes 10kg is a very large bag. What can I say we eat beans often, like once every two weeks, at least. However, baking beans are a dried good that store well.
The Saving part....
Buy Bulk Dried Goods - Cost savings - 25lbs is roughly equal to 11.34kg at $50.23 or $2.00 a lb compared to buying a one lb bag of yellow eyed beans at $8.99 or approximately $225. The beans will increase in size after soaking so lb is bigger than a lb. If you don't think you will eat that many beans in a year than split the cost with a friend or neighbour. $175 in savings for the year.
Use a wood stove to cook to save electricity - My grandmother did this as my father reminded me, while I was going on and on about how great they turned out; this was the only choice she had. I have a choice and I really like the fact of reducing waste by not using my electric stove when I can use the wood stove (when it is going).
Experience on cooking beans on a wood stove: The beans taste better and cook way faster on a wood stove. The down side is there are no buttons to dial down the heat, but once you get use to using the wood stove it is fun. The energy savings I estimate at approximately 1 kwh/day or 30kwh/month with .125 cents per kwh or about $3.75/mth or $45/year. Not a lot but it all adds up.
A Meatless Meal savings: First let me say, I love meat, however I understand the environmental impacts of growing animals and we tend to fast (abstain from meat/dairy) a number of times a year so tend to eat a large number of vegan meals. The focus here is the cost - the price of meat is going up and can add a considerable cost to a meal. To have a hamburger and fries meal compared to beans and homemade bread (Gluten-free of course) is enough to write about. A small package of hamburger ($3.50), a four buns ($1.00) is $4.50 while my pot of beans/loaf of bread cost $3 and will make another meal - so cost is $1.50/meal compared to $4.50 or $3.00 saved per meal. The fact that they taste awesome is just another bonus. I will note that the beans used my own preserved tomatoes which reduced my costs.
Simplifying - There is a little planning involved with baking beans but really no more than remembering to set meat down to defrost. The simply part is the one dish concept that you have one dish to cook in, clean, and then use again for another meal, really saves on your dishwashing. And the simply fact that you are using a woodstove that is already heating your house so another double up. Finally, you really feel like you are getting back to basics and if the power went out you would be able to cook a meal using another source.
If you have a wood stove give it a try, if you just want to try a simple non-meat dish, give it a try.....and enjoy the adventure.