May 25, 2011

Party on the Patio

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Margaret's Morsels | Easy Stove Top Beans

Memorial Day, the last Monday of May, marks the start of vacation season in America.  It's also the season when cooking and eating move outdoors. Grills are uncovered, picnic baskets come out of storage and the patio table is set for dining al fresco.


Whether you're grilling hot dogs and hamburgers or taking a bucket of chicken on a picnic, baked beans make a great side dish.  Easy Stove Top Beans are a tasty alternative to cooking baked beans in the oven.  The recipe definitely lives up to the name.  The beans are easy to make, cooked on the stove top and done in half the time of traditional baked beans.


Although the ingredients are typical of most baked bean recipes, the cooking method is different to make up for the fact the beans aren't cooked in the oven.  Instead of laying strips of raw bacon on top of the bean mixture before baking, this recipe starts with cooked bacon.  You can cook the bacon on top of the stove or in the microwave, but be sure to save the bacon grease.  When I cook bacon in the microwave, I use a specially designed tray called "Bacon Wave" that catches the bacon grease.


Margaret's Morsels | Easy Stove Top Beans
The grease drains from the bacon
and is collected on the tray.

Once the bacon is cooked, saute the chopped onion in the bacon grease. While the onion is sauteing, combine the brown sugar, catsup and vinegar. The original recipe called for two tablespoons of vinegar.  This was too much for us so I reduced the vinegar to one tablespoon.  If you want tangier baked beans, use the two tablespoons of vinegar.

Unless a recipe specifies otherwise, I always use apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is made from apple cider and has a fruitier flavor than white vinegar.  If you've never tried apple cider vinegar, give it a try; you'll notice a difference.

Add the vinegar mixture to the onion, along with the bacon and pork and beans.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 30 minutes.


Margaret's Morsels | Easy Stove Top Beans

If you're cooking for a crowd, the recipe can easily be doubled.  If there's any leftover beans, they're just as tasty -- if not tastier -- reheated.  The beans are a good alternative to baked beans and allow you to get out of the kitchen and into the outdoors a lot quicker.


Easy Stove Top Beans
4 to 6 Servings

3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup catsup
1 Tbsp. vinegar
2 (11 oz.) cans pork and beans

Cook bacon in a skillet or in the microwave, reserving the bacon grease. Saute the onion in the bacon grease.  Mix the brown sugar, catsup and vinegar until combined.  Add the mixture to the onion, along with the bacon and pork and beans.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture thickens, about 30 minutes.


 © Margaret's Morsels

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