Hubby and I cooked out tonight, and for our side dish, I made my easy-peasy baked beans. I learned to make them from my mom, and they are easy, nutritious, affordable, and convenient to make (I use tinned beans). You can make about as much or as little as you like, depending upon how many and what size of cans of beans you use.
Beans are a nutritional power house — they provide fiber and protein (along with some lovely vitamins), are naturally fat free, and are inexpensive. They work well as a side or as part or all of a main dish — it all depends upon how many of them you want to eat and how you’ve prepared them. 😉
And here’s a hint about canned beans — if you rinse and drain them before using them, not only are you reducing the sodium, you’re also removing most of the rather unfortunate gas-producing affect of beans, as well.! 🙂
While Duke — the dog, at least in the commercials, of Jay Bush, the great-grandson of Bush’s Beans founder A.J. Bush — is always trying to get the secret recipe of Bush’s Baked Beans. I’ll share mine with you, no problem. 😉 And unlike commerically-prepared baked beans, so long as I use a BBQ sauce relatively low (or free from) sugar (I read labels!) and a conscientious hand with ketchup (and chili sauce, if I use it), these beans won’t have all that added brown sugar carbs and calories that most all baked beans have. 🙂
Well-seasoned tomato sauce and/or tomato paste can be used as part of the BBQ sauce and ketchup if you’re making a very large pan of beans.
Note to Vegetarians: Leave out the bacon or use a vegetarian equivalent. Ditto the Worcestershire sauce. And, of course, use vegetarian canned beans. 😉
Easy Baked Beans (Serve a couple or serve a crowd — it’s up to you!)
- Desired number and type of cans of beans (I often use Ranch-style, pintos, pintos with jalapeños, and/or Pork and Beans — whatever I have on hand and, if making them for a crowd, the number I’m feeding; I will also often mix and match)
- Chopped onion to taste
- Diced green bell pepper to taste, if desired
- Turkey bacon (I use about 1 slice per 15 ounce can of beans, plus some for topping)
- Wet Seasonings to taste: Healthy splash of vinegar, healthy squirt of tomato ketchup, favorite BBQ sauce, a couple shots of Tobasco, liquid smoke if you have a hankering; also healthy dollop of chili sauce, if desired.
- Dry Seasonings to taste: coarse ground black pepper, red pepper (cayenne), paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and/or chopped/diced garlic (I use both), and onion powder
- Drain and rinse desired amount of beans.
- Lightly spray or oil cooking dish of appropriate size. (To help you visualize, for 2 (15 ounce) cans of beans, which will yield about 6 or 7 servings, I use a 9″ pie plate.) Pour drained and rinsed beans into pan.
- Add in diced onion and chopped green bell pepper, if using.
- Add in wet and dry seasonings to taste.
- Add in crumbled turkey bacon (I use about 1 slice of turkey bacon per can of beans).
- Stir together. Don’t worry that mixture is rather liquid — it should be.
- Top with a few slices of turkey bacon.
- Bake at anywhere from 300F – 325F to 375F until bubbly and desired consistency (likely an hour or more). I like to bake them “low and slow,” but if you need to hurry them up a bit for some reason, you can bake them at the higher temps of 375F.
- Let rest for 15 minutes or so before serving. Store leftovers in ‘fridge.
These beans smelled so yummy as they baked — I knew they were done when I could smell them even while sitting out on the back deck. 🙂