Monday, October 11, 2010

Beef and Bean Bake

Fall is in the air, which means it's time to break out the crock pot and make chili and stew.  I decided to try this Beef and Bean Bake tonight and it did not disappoint.  It's from my Southern Living Slow Cooker Cookbook (the one with the brisket sandwich on the front).  I wouldn't consider this your standard slow cooker recipe.  It required some "prep" cooking, which I don't usually like.  Since the recipe only cooks for 3 to 4 hours in the crock pot, I knew I would have time to do the prep cooking during Little Man's nap.  If I were gone from the house all day, this recipe would not be on my list of things to try.  Since I'm so fortunate to stay at home, I was able to try it out.
Here's the recipe:
Beef and Bean Bake
(adapted from Southern Living)
3 bacon slices
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can lima beans, drained
1 (15 oz.) can pork and beans, undrained
1 (15 oz.) can light red kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Cook bacon until crisp; crumble and set aside.  Cook beef and onion in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until beef is browned.  Place bacon, beef mixture, and remaining ingredients in slow cooker.  Stir well.  Cover, cook on high heat setting for one hour.  Reduce to low heat setting and continue to cook for 3 to 4 hours.  Yields 6 one cup servings.

Cook's notes:
The original recipe calls for 1/2 pound ground beef, I buy mine in pound increments so I just used the whole thing.  Tasted good to us - I don't think a half of a pound would be enough.  I used Stubb's original sauce.  It's the only brand we use.  Don't remember that? Read this.  I always use a slow cooker liner.  Always, always, always!  It makes for such an easy cleanup and you don't have to leave your crock pot in the sink to soak for days on end!  If you haven't tried them, you must.  You can find them by the foil and baggies, Reynold's makes them...not sure if anyone else does too!

This was surprisingly sweet, not in a bad way...just a surprising way.  We aren't used to sweet chili or BBQ, so for us it was different.  Don't take that in a negative way, we loved it!  The beans were so nice and tender and it thickened up to a nice consistency.  The combination of BBQ sauce, brown sugar, ketchup and dry mustard is outstanding.  I think I'll try that combo on chicken soon!  Little Man wasn't too excited to eat it with a spoon out of the bowl, but we gave him some crackers to "dip" into it and that made his day.  This made more than enough for the three of us for dinner, lunch tomorrow and one more container for another day.  I thought about freezing it to see how it survives.  We'll see how much gets eaten tomorrow and then maybe I will.
Don't you love the bowl?  It was a gift from my mom for our anniversary last year.  It came with a big chili pot and four of these cute bowls!  I wish I used them more often, but I'm always in a hurry to get dinner on the table I forget about them.  Reminds me of the "chili" bowls we used when I was a kid.  They were these gigantic mugs that had the word "chili" printed all over them.  I was so excited when it was chili pie night because I knew I would get to eat out of those bowls.
I'm searching for other good fall/winter slow cooker meals.  What's your favorite?

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