Hacks from my Happy Place – XX

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a ‘happy place’ blog post, but I have found a new recipe that I am in love with! Technically, the recipe is for a ‘”side dish”, but after making a batch the first time, I ate a bowlful as my meal three days in a row! And the only reason I stopped was because I’d promised some to my bestie and her family, and also wanted to share some with my brother.

I guess it’s been close to three weeks since I made the first batch. A second batch is now cooling in the crock pot after being cooked. And this is a recipe that FILLS my crock pot, to the point that I have to move some of it into the center where I know the lid domes higher! I also lift the lid every hour and give it a stir, because the ‘sauce’ thins a little bit in the cooking process and looks like the pot will overflow.

Anyhow, this recipe, to me, is something I could find myself making, eating until it’s gone, and immediately making more. So I wanted to share it!

Cowboy Baked Beans

One pound ground beef. One pound bacon, cooked and crumbled. Two tbsp. bacon drippings. Three (15 oz.) cans kidney beans. Three (15 oz.) cans white beans (your choice). Three (15 oz.) cans pork and beans. Three small onions, diced. One cup light brown sugar. One cup ketchup. One-half cup molasses. Three tbsp. yellow mustard.

Since this is the second time I’ve made this, I’ll give you some extra hints… Your choice of white beans doesn’t matter, as long as you stay consistent in size with your kidney beans (in other words, don’t use the large butter beans). Any kind of molasses will work, but I chose the Black Strap kind to cut the sweetness in it. I always cut my bacon strips into pieces before frying because it takes less time. Do not overcook your bacon (I like mine extra crispy for eating) as it will continue to cook in the crock pot. I use frozen bagged diced onions and ‘eyeball’ what is equivalent to three small. This time, I put the brown sugar, molasses, ketchup, mustard and onions together in a separate bowl and mixed it well. I also filled the crock pot in layers this time, including the meats, beans and sauce.

Open and drain all three cans of kidney beans and white beans. Open and drain two of the three cans of pork and beans, leaving the sauce in one can. Assemble ingredients (use my suggestion and layer). Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8 hours. Turn off crock pot and let cool.

This is called Cowboy Baked Beans primarily because of the ground beef. Don’t be afraid to try other meats – ground or smoked sausage for example. This is also a great dish to take for a pot luck dinner, because if there are any leftovers, you really won’t mind taking them home!