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Smoky Baked Beans

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Summertime is packed with barbecues and picnics, and I like to have an arsenal of crowd-pleasing recipes to bring.  With Independence Day approaching, I thought I’d share one of my new favorites!  I like to bring something that’s either OK at room temperature (because it’s hard to keep cold dishes cold), or something that can hang out in the crock pot without getting overcooked.  Baked beans go great with any outdoor summer meal and these were a hit at our Mother’s Day picnic. I would definitely make these again, even as a summer meal in itself!

Smoky Baked Beans

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 lb. bulk spicy pork sausage (I used Jimmy Dean)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (31 oz) can pork and beans
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans
1 (16 oz) can black beans
1 (16 oz) can butter beans
1 (16 oz) can white beans (such as Navy, Northern or Canellini)
1 (10 oz) can tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel)
1/2 cup hickory-smoke flavored BBQ sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon steak seasoning
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Brown sausage with onion in large skillet. Drain fat. Place in large slow cooker, add remaining ingredients and stir well. Cook on low for 4-8 hours.

Recipe source: Our Eating Habits

German Baked Beans For a Crowd


~Photo by Jessica Rose~

Last Saturday was our 37th annual Davis Family Pig Roast.  (My maiden name is Davis, FYI.)  This family reunion was started four years before I was born, and now the responsibilities have been passed on to the next generation and I’m on the planning committee and have been in charge of creating & sending the invitations for the last five years.

The remaining Davis siblings (RIP Jimmy, Doris, and Mary): Margie, Nadene, Donnie (the one who started the pig roast), Ruby, and my Dad, Jon.

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

The younger generation that runs the roast nowadays.

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

The pig roast is an all day affair, starting early in the morning when a few good men get up at the crack of dawn to put the pig (prepped the night before) on our custom roaster, and it doesn’t end until well after dark, with everyone gathering around a bonfire to drink, chat, and roast hot dogs and marshmallows for s’mores.

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

We spend the day mostly talking, though there are things you can entertain yourself with, such as Bingo, swimming in the lake, bike riding, or walking.  The main event however, is the afternoon meal, which we eat when the pig is done.

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

Dennis leads us in a prayer before the meal, and then it’s on.  Well, after you stand in a really long line, then it’s on. :)

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

First we go inside where all the sides that family have brought are lined up on tables…

Then we go outside to the table where the meat has been cut up and laid out, along with garlic bread.

Then we go back inside (or take a chair outside) to chow down.

Some people bring the same thing every year, and I love that because it gives you something to look forward to.  Like Aunt Ruby’s Garlic Salad.  It just wouldn’t be the Pig Roast without her garlic salad (which she actually doesn’t even  make herself any more, her son Tyson does it for her!).   Then there’s people like me, who make something different every year.  This year I decided to bring a big crockpot full of German Baked Beans, which I found the recipe for on The Better Baker’s blog.  I knew when she posted it that it’d be perfect for our reunion, and I was right.  It was devoured!

Dennis said he could taste the saurkraut (and liked it), but if I hadn’t made it and couldn’t see it in there, I would have had no clue.  These beans are sweet and so good with the onion and sausage in them, but if you’d like more sass to them, you can try skipping the rinsing on the saurkraut and that might give them a bit of a zip.  This is how I made them in the crockpot for a crowd.  If you’d like the oven-baked, regular-sized recipe, you can click the link to Marsha’s blog at the end.

German Baked Beans For a Crowd

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Printable recipe with picture

2 (15 oz) cans pork and beans
2 (15 oz) cans baked beans
2 (14 oz) cans sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 small or 1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 (14 oz) package kielbasa sausage, sliced & quartered

Combine all ingredients in a 6 quart crockpot and cook on low for 4-5 hours, removing the cover during the last hour to let some of the liquid evaporate if desired.

Alternately, you can halve this recipe for a smaller crowd and bake it in the oven. To do this, preheat oven to 400F and combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish, coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake uncovered for 1 – 1-1/2 hours.

Recipe source: The Better Baker

I just love my family!

Green Chile and Cream Cheese Burgers

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I’m a sucker for a grilled burger in the summer, so I broke this recipe from Debbi out as soon as it was grilling weather!  Usually I just go for a plain grilled burger with lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, ketchup and mustard, but sometimes you want something a little different and this one really satisfies.  The chiles give the burger a kick (for more kick, you could use jalapenos) and the cream cheese is a cooling, tangy contrast.  I really love grilled onions on any burger and they are perfect with the green chiles on this one.  I served mine with Dilly Cucumber Salad, and I found the tangy sweetness really complimented this burger!

Green Chile and Cream Cheese Burgers

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 of a large onion, diced (I sliced mine)
1 (4 oz.) can of green chiles (I bought canned whole chiles and cut into strips)
Salt and pepper
1 lb. ground beef or bison (click here to find out why bison is better)
4 hamburger buns
4 oz. cream cheese

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion until softened and is browned in places (it helps to only stir occasionally). Add chiles, season with salt and pepper, saute until heated through. Divide meat into four patties, salt and pepper, and cook or grill until done. Spread 1 oz. cream cheese on each bun and divide the green chile-onion mixture among the burgers. Serve hot.

Makes 4 burgers.

Per burger, using bison, light (80-calorie) buns, and neufchatel: 302 calories; 10 g fat; 24 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 31 g protein; 8 Points Plus.  Using 93% lean ground beef makes the burgers 9 Points Plus.

Recipe source: adapted from Debbi Does Dinner

Wordless Wednesday: Memorial Day 2011

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Dilly Cucumber Salad

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I remember as a little girl, whenever my Grandma Millner would visit, our refrigerator would smell faintly of onions and vinegar because she’d always have a big bowl of cucumber salad stashed in there.  Back then, I remember eating it without complaint, but I wasn’t all that impressed with it.  I think I may use more sugar than her, because I’m practically addicted to the recipe I use now, and you all know how much I like my sugar!

This is a wonderfully cold, crisp, sweet, and briny salad to serve during the warmer months, and a great addition to a potluck or barbecue.  It reminds me of a better and fresher version of bread and butter pickles, though not quite as sweet.  This makes a huge bowl so feel free to cut the recipe down if you don’t think you’ll need this much. Enjoy!

Dilly Cucumber Salad

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Printable recipe with picture

4 cucumbers
1 large white onion
¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon dried dill
2 teaspoons salt

Wash cucumbers well (I get them wet and rub a little dish soap over them to get help get the wax off, then rinse them very well with warm water).  Cut cucumbers in half, then lay flat side down and slice; place slices in a very large bowl. Next, cut the onion in half lengthwise.  Place halves flat-side down, cut in half again lengthwise, then slice very thin width-wise; add to the cucumbers. Measure in remaining ingredients, stir well, and refrigerate overnight before serving. Stir once or twice if you can. The salt will cause water to come out of the veggies and by morning, the liquid will be filled up to the level of the veggies. Serve cold with a slotted spoon.

Serves 16.

Per serving: 52 calories; 0 g fat; 293 mg sodium; 145 mg potassium; 13.1 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 1 g protein; 1 Point Plus

Recipe by Veronica Miller

Barbecue Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich & Giveaway Winner!

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Yes, it’s true.  This sandwich has cheese.  It has barbecue sauce.  It has bacon.  And it’s wonderful!  I came up with it last fall as an excuse to incorporate some of the Flatlanders Spicy Barbeque Sauce that I love so much into my lunch.  Don’t you just love it when desperation leads to inspiration?

One of the comments on the giveaway announcement, in response to “what’s your favorite thing to make with barbecue sauce?”, was using it as a dipping sauce for grilled cheese!  So you see, great minds think alike!  My other favorites include putting it on baked potatoes with nothing else (I can vouch for this idea–I’ve done it and it’s fabulous!), mixing it with ranch for a dipping sauce,  making grilled tofu with it, and using it as a sauce on sweet potato fries! As you can tell, I’m not a huge meat lover and my favorites reflect that.

I do, however, have quite an affinity for bacon.  Which leads me back to this sandwich.  It has bacon on it.  And you should make it.  ‘Nuff said.

Barbecue Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Printable Recipe

Yield: 1 sandwich

2 slices Texas toast
2-3 T barbecue sauce
2 oz sliced sharp or smoked cheddar cheese
4-6 slices cooked bacon
1 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Butter or margarine

Heat a skillet over medium. Spread the barbecue sauce over the bread slices, then over one slice arrange cheddar cheese slices, bacon over that, then sprinkle the Monterey Jack over the bacon. Top with remaining bread slice. Melt some butter or margarine in the skillet and place the sandwich on top of the puddle, scooting it around until the bread absorbs the butter. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until cheddar looks melted, then remove and melt more butter in the pan, flip the sandwich and cook additional 4 minutes and serve hot.

Veronica’s Notes: Your sandwich will require several minutes less cooking time if you use regular bread. Also, the Monterey Jack isn’t necessary but I like to glue the bacon, cheese and bread all together by putting cheese on both sides. Change it up as you desire!

OK, you’ve been patient and now I’ll get to the real reason you’re reading this post. :) It was so much fun hosting my first giveaway and thank you all so much for participating–I really enjoyed reading about your favorite things to make with barbecue sauce! Congratulations to Suzie, commenter #19, you’ve won the set of three Flatlanders barbeque products!  Suzie, I’ll email you to get your address and get them out to you!

Flatlander Meatloaf & Giveaway!

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Last year my cousin, Eric, started up his own barbeque sauce company called Flatlander (you know, because we live in Kansas–the flattest place on Earth!), and I am in love with his products.  There are three: Original Barbeque Sauce, Spicy Barbeque Sauce, and Doo-Dah Rub.  (Doo-Dah is Wichita’s nickname in case you were wondering about that one).  They are all fantastic but I can’t get enough of the spicy sauce.  I went through an entire bottle yesterday!  Sometimes I will just take slices of cheddar cheese and pour some of that sauce on top for a snack, and once I even poured some directly into my mouth.  I’ve never been a huge barbeque sauce lover, but I do love this sauce!

The original sauce is sweet & perfect.  The spicy is mild enough that even people who don’t like heat would enjoy it, but I really like the zip it has compared to the original.  The rub is a blend of spices & sugar and tastes incredible on chicken.  OK, it tastes incredible on everything–it’s very versatile.  I even put it on my green beans once!

My favorite thing to make with the sauce is Smoky Barbecue Chicken Pizza, but it is good on anything.  My most recent creation is this meatloaf, which I named after the company since I used two of Eric’s products in it.  It is a fun twist on traditional meatloaf, with bacon, cheddar and onions in the loaf and barbecue sauce, more cheddar & bacon, and french-fried onions on top.  Paula Deen, eat your heart out!

Flatlander Meatloaf
Printable Recipe

4 slices bread
2 lb lean ground beef
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T Doo-Dah rub*
½ t salt
¼ t pepper
½ c barbecue sauce (I used Flatlander’s spicy)
1/3 c French fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Tear the bread slices into small pieces and process in a food processor or blender until fine crumbs.  In a large bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the ground beef, 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, 3 slices of the crumbled bacon, onion, tomato sauce, egg, Doo-Dah rub*, salt & pepper.  Pat it into a loaf pan and spread the barbecue sauce on top.  Bake for 1 ½ hours (or until a meat thermometer reads 160° F), then remove to drain off the fat & juices, then put more sauce if desired & sprinkle remaining ½ cup cheese, 3 slices crumbled bacon & French fried onions.  Bake until cheese is melted, about five more minutes.  Remove and let sit 10 minutes before slicing. 

*If you would like to make this without the Doo-Dah rub, you could try omitting it completely, replacing it with a mixture of 1 T brown sugar, 1 t paprika, 1 t chili powder and 1 t garlic powder, replacing it with your own meat rub, or replacing the tomato sauce with barbecue sauce.

Recipe source: Recipe Rhapsody

If you would like to win a bottle of all three products as pictured above, simply leave a comment below telling me what’s your favorite thing to make (or eat) with barbecue sauce. To gain an extra entry, subscribe by email (box in upper right corner of my blog) or RSS and let me know you did (or already do) in a second comment. Winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be announced Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Deadline to enter is Monday, April 19, 2010 at midnight.  Sorry, time’s up! Winner below.

Congratulations to Suzie, commenter number 19, who loves bacon-wrapped barbecue shrimp! The sauce is on its way–go wild!

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