Thursday, June 2, 2011

Molasses Baked Beans

Baked Beans have been a long-standing family tradition for summer picnics and barbecues.  There's nothing better than a hot dog right off the grill, served with some creamy potato salad and a big ol' serving of sweet baked bean goodness! 

Molasses Baked Beans served with homemade potato salad
and salmon burgers on whole wheat buns.
For as long as I've been making baked beans, I've never made them completely from scratch before.  Meaning, I've always used canned beans.  Plain Jane pork 'n' beans that I doctored up with some brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, onion, Canadian bacon.  I've tried a few different variations over the years, with two being our favorite.

Since I wish to cook healthy, frugal meals for my family, I knew it was time toattempt making baked beans from scratch.  BUT, I kept putting it off.  Okay, so maybe a big pot of beans simmered in brown sugar and molasses isn't the healthiest of side-dish choices, but they sure are frugal and tasty!

I have cooked with dry beans in the past.  I like to cook up a couple of pounds of dry black beans, then freeze in can-sized servings.  If you fill a freezer bag with your beans, freeze flat.  This will allow for quick thawing time.  Making them perfect for quick, throw-together-meals such as enchiladas. 

Okay, back to baked beans...I found a recipe for Molasses Baked Beans in the food and recipes section of the website.  That recipe is what prompted me to finally ditch the can opener and start from scratch! 

Of course, me being who I am, I had to make some changes.  Mainly because I didn't have dry navy beans.  I had just about every other variety of dry beans in the bean drawer, but not navy beans.  Since our favorite recipe for baked beans (from canned) uses a variety of beans, I thought it would be fun to use a bag of 16-bean soup.  Fearing that the smaller beans and lentils would dissolve leaving less beans than I would like, I decided to add 2 other varieties to the mix to bulk it up a bit. 

I'm pretty sure I have enough Molasses Baked Beans to last me the entire summer! 

Molasses Baked Beans

  • 16 oz. dry 16-Soup Mix
  • 16 oz. dry Great Northern Beans
  • 16 oz. dry Cranberry Beans
  • 2 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 lg. onions, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 8 oz. maple ham steak, diced
  • 3 cups hot water
  • rinse and sort through dry beans, then soak overnight.
  • drain and rinse beans
  • add to a large pot and cover with water by 2 inches.
  • bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • reduce heat and simmer for an hour, uncovered, skimming any foam that forms on the top. 
  • drain and rinse beans again, then add to slowcooker. 
  • add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. 
  • cook on low for 7-9 hours, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking and scorching. 
  • After draining and rinsing the beans for the last time, I poured them back into the pot with the remaining ingredients.  This made mixing a lot easier. 
  • I divided the bean mixture into two batches and cooked in two separate slow cookers. 
  • I like beans to be saucy.  One of the slow cookers must cook at a higher temp than the other, since one batch turned out a bit thicker.  I combined the two batches and that helped some.  I'll add some water when reheating for future meals.  I adjusted the water from 2 cups to 3 cups in the recipe above to accomodate the long cooking time. 
  • Barbecue sauce would also be a good addition to this recipe. 
Edited to add another NOTE: 
  • When I took the beans out of the fridge to serve for dinner the following evening, I found them to be extra thick.  I put about 3 cups worth of beans into a microwave safe dish (glass) and stirred in about a 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of water to thin them out slightly.  I covered the bowl and reheated.  This worked perfectly! 

Total calories:  4786
20 servings @ 239 calories per cup

Don't forget to check out our latest giveaway
sponsored by Butch's Smack Your Lips BBQ

Under the Big Oak Tree will be selecting 3 winners via
on June 13th, 2011 at 10:01 EST.

I'll be linking this recipe to the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 


Ann Kroeker said...

Thank you so much for the encouragement and recommendations for freezing and using beans more often.

Did you totally love these, or will you continue to tweak for flavor and consistency?

I'm glad you linked this to Food on Fridays--now I have easy access. :)

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

I SO love baked beans. I'm glad the 16 bean variety worked, I'll bet it made them nice and thick! Yum!

Having these beans all summer might not be a bad thing at all!

janetfaye said...

I have not had homemade baked beans in a very long time, and this recipe sounds delicious!

Chef in Training said...

YUM! I LOVE baked beans and these look and sound AMAZING! I am so happy I found your blog! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would check out my blog and follow me too! Thanks!

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