Brenda’s Baked Beans

I have been wanting to try my hand at making baked beans for quite a while. I just never remember to purchase navy or northern beans. They are not a staple in our house (it’s pinto beans). So, yesterday I decided to try them with pinto beans. These are still cooking, just now soft but the flavor is wonderful!

I found this recipe online but replaced pinto beans for the white beans (see below). I cooked it in my crock pot, adding a can of Guinness Draft beer after 8 hours, then more water with 1/4 cup of potato starch after 14 hours. I don’t think I let the beans soak long enough (these beans are about 1 1/2 years old and should have been kept in my long-term storage bin instead of the smaller container in the kitchen). They are still, after 24 hours in the crock pot, more firm than I like.

I served these with Evergood Pineapple Sausage and Muffins (recipe below), which my son LOVED.

http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/bostonbakedbeans.htm

Boston Baked Beans

* 2 pounds white beans (northern or navy beans)
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 2 teaspoons dry mustard
* 1/2 cup molasses
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1 onion, peeled and chopped
* 4 to 6 oz of raw bacon, chopped

Soak the beans overnight in plenty of tap water. Or, you can bring them to a boil on the stove and then turn them off, cover them and let them sit for an hour or two. The point of this is to reconstitute them some, making them easier to cook.

After the initial preparation boil your beans on the back of the stove for about half an hour. They won’t be perfectly soft, but they will be almost soft. Drain off the cooking water. In a very large casserole (4-quart) combine the semi-cooked beans, salt, dry mustard, molasses, sugar and chopped bacon. Add enough hot water to barely come to the top of the beans. Put a lid on the casserole, or tin foil. Bake the beans at 300° for about 5 to 7 hours. They will be tender, fragrant and delicious. My kids love this stuff. The cooked beans may be frozen in two cup portions to substitute for canned baked beans or canned pork’n’beans in any recipe. They make a good main dish, or a side dish for a large crowd. This recipe serves about 16. I make such a large amount so I can have plenty of leftovers to freeze.

Another way to cook this, good in the summertime, is to use a crock pot. Boil the soaked beans for half an hour, as directed above. Then, instead of combining everything in a casserole, combine them in the crock pot instead. Put the lid on the Crock Pot after you’ve mixed everything up in it, and cook it on High for about 3 or 4 hours, or on low for 6 or 8 hours. You can put a folded dish towel on top of the lid if your crock pot doesn’t get quite hot enough to cook beans normally. The dish towel helps maintain a temperature hot enough to just barely simmer the beans. Serve with Corn Casserole, Mixed Greens and Oatmeal Muffins or Whole Wheat Bread.

http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/muffins.htm

Plain Muffins

* 1/4 cup oil
* 1 medium egg
* 1 cup milk
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon baking powder (3 teaspoons)
* 2 cups flour

In a large bowl combine the oil, egg, milk, sugar and salt. Mix it very well with a fork or wire whisk. Measure in the baking powder and flour. Mix again until all of the dough particles are moistened. Do not over mix. The whole thing should take about 20 to 30 strokes. Spoon the batter into a dozen well oiled muffin cups. Bake at 400° for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before removing from the pan.

This is the basic recipe. I used to make it every night when I was young and poor. It is so easy and so cheap and so down right good to eat, that it almost seems a shame to expand on it. Notice I say almost, because one of the glorious things about muffins is that this recipe, is only the starting point. I will list several easy variations now, and you can go from here in any direction you like.

Cereal Muffins: After preparing the above recipe using 1/4-cup of sugar, add 1-cup of cooked cereal. You may add oatmeal, or grits, or rice, or farina, or whatever you have left over. This makes about 18 muffins. Rice is my favorite.

Whole Wheat Muffins: Use half or all whole wheat flour instead of the white flour called for. Use 1/3-cup brown sugar for the sweetener.

Rye Muffins: Replace 1/2-cup of white flour with Rye flour. Add 1-teaspoon caraway seeds to the batter. Use 1/4-cup of brown sugar for the sweetener.

Cornmeal Muffins: Replace 1-cup of white flour with cornmeal. Use 1/3-cup of white sugar for the sweetener.

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