My contribution to today’s Easter lunch: baked beans. No ham, turkey, or roasted lamb for us–we’re having barbecue. Following the lead of The Pioneer Woman, I doctored up plain ol’ canned pork & beans with onions & bell pepper sauteed in bacon grease, then added a little barbecue sauce, mustard, and brown sugar. The whole shebang bakes for 2 hours at 325, topped with a few slices of thick-cut bacon (pictured above, before it went into the oven; the end result is thick and not soupy).
Ordinarily, I’m a fan of scratch cooking, rather than the “semi-homemade” method. But I do make a big exception for beans. Beans (except for lentils) are long-cooking, so unless you’ve planned ahead, they don’t lend themselves to spontaneous meals. Canned beans of every sort fill my tiny pantry, including whole black beans, refried black beans, refried pintos, cannellini beans, Creole cream style red beans, red beans in chili gravy, chickpeas, navy beans, and baked beans. With canned beans on hand, they can function as the protein element in quick, weeknight suppers: bean burritos, tuna and white bean salad, hummus, three-bean salad, quick bean soup. Yes, I know canned beans cost more than dried, but they’re still a cheaper protein source than meat or poultry.