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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cook: Homestyle Baked Beans


If you're like my husband and I, you love cookout food! My husband absolutely loves having hot dogs, beans and chips for dinner. He'd do it al the time if I let him. That and spaghetti! Don't worry, we get GOOD all beef hot dogs, not processed mystery meat!

Speaking of hawdogs...


With that being said, hot dogs and beans go together. Baked beans are essential to a delicious cookout meal. I recently decided that I needed to attempt making them myself since buying the cans can get pricey. Buying dried beans is so much more economical, even if it does take a little more time. It's really not bad, though. You just have to soak them the night before you want to cook with them.

I found one set of recipes from Squawkfox. And another from AllRecipes. I used these as a starting point and threw things together to make it my own.

Ingredients:
  • 1lb of Navy Beans (about 4-5 cups dry)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes 
  • 1 12oz can of tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup molasses (I used blackstrap but I'm not sure what the differences are)
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 6-7 strips of turkey bacon (or regular bacon if you prefer)

Directions:


Soak the beans overnight. Mine soaked for almost 14 hours. They over doubled in size in that time. General rule of thumb is that the longer you can soak them, the better. If you don't know much about cooking with dry beans, check out Squawkfox's post How to Soak and Cook Dry Beans. You should also check out her post 10 Reasons Soaking Dried Beans Can Change Your Life. Good stuff!


Strain your beans then put them into your slow cooker with about 4-6 cups of fresh water. Turn the slow cooker to high. 


There's some debate as to whether you should cook the beans in the water that they soaked in or not. I used fresh water. Anyone have a preference and why?


Fry or bake your bacon just before pouring the ingredients into the slow cooker. Or don't. The beans need to cook for so long that it doesn't really matter. If you start the beans and bacon at the same time, just toss the bacon in when you're done! Mine was cool by the time I was ready so I just ripped it into smaller chunks and tossed it into the slow cooker!

Dump all the ingredients into the pot, stir it up and cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 10-12.



This was less than an hour into the cooking.


This is what it looks like about halfway. Stir every so often if you're around to do so and add more water as needed. Cook for 6-8 hours on high or 10-12 on low.


Serve and enjoy!


Towards the end do a few taste tests and add what you feel it needs. 


I think next time I'll make mine a little sweeter! But overall they were delicious and were a hit with my husband and a friend of ours!


Another great things about this is that there were a ton of leftovers! I divided the rest into 3 quart sized freezer bags for the next time my husband and I are craving hot dogs and beans!

These beans definitely take a long time, though. It's not a quick recipe, but it is easy! Mine cooked for probably close to 9 hours. They definitely weren't mushy like the canned baked beans but were still delicious! It's sometimes difficult to readjust to something when you're so used to the old thing!

All in all, I don't think I'll be going back to store-bought baked beans!

What's your favorite style of baked beans? Homestyle, country style, Boston? Do you ever cook with dried beans?

Till next time,
Catherine

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