If it’s bad to actually spoon bacon grease into your baked beans, then I’m bad. I’m very bad, and happily so. See, I sort of overcooked the bacon in the oven while I was wasting time online, and the recipe called for bacon “browned but not crisp” so I figured I’d use the bacon but to compensate for its definite crispiness, I would add the indulgent bacon grease. Just a little insight into how my brain works. Scary, right? Sometimes I know the Big Guy is just dying to ask how I got from Point A to Point F, but he’s afraid what he might hear.
The beans turned out to be astounding. It doesn’t matter how crunchy the bacon is, apparently. Creamy and sweet, but not too sweet, with enough savory to perfectly counterbalance. They were a big hit at the Saturday evening shindig we attended. They have created a little marital strife, however. After tasting them and then wolfing down leftovers, I declared I’d never make another baked bean recipe again. The Big Guy got a pained expression and said, “But what about the Smokehouse Baked Beans? Those have such great flavor. You just can’t cook them into little hard pellets again.” And then I threw a bean at him.
Crockpot Calico Beans
1/4 lb. bacon, browned but not crisp
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 can pork and beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can butterbeans
1 can red beans
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
Combine all ingredients in a 3-qt. crockpot. Cook on high for 1 hour, then on low for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Sausage Pancakes with Homemade Syrup
Now, please don’t go thinking I’m all fancy-pantsy because I’m making my own syrup. I had $55 left for the month when I went grocery shopping this week, and syrup didn’t make the cut. These pancakes, however, will make the cut again and again. They’re savory and filling, and the syrup is a nice sweet topping. If I ever have a houseful of hearty eaters, I plan on whipping up a bowlful of this chunky batter and griddling each of them a little stack of these sausage pancakes. Here’s the deal, if regular pancakes are compared to Lean Cuisine meals, then Sausage Pancakes should be compared to Hungry Man 2-lb. meals. You get what I’m saying. A little time-saving tip: brown the sausage beforehand and have it ready to dump, cold, into the batter.
You can put this on your bragging rights bucket list now. If you, like me, are nerdy enough to be pleased about something like homemade pancake syrup making your list…
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract (or use maple)
1/2 c. water
Stir ingredients together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Makes 1 cup.
And then I ran 4 miles at a brisk pace. No kidding. Thank you very much.