This one-dish meal is just about as easy as it gets. The crockpot does the work while you are free to do other things. When it's ready, you have a balanced dinner all in one dish -- meat and vegetables, including starchy vegetables.
Serve with cornbread, corn muffins, French bread or sourdough rolls for a hearty wintertime meal. Pair with a big red wine like cabernet sauvignon, malbec or zinfandel or a cabernet-merlot blend. Since you've sailed through the main dish, serve up a sweet dessert like apple pie or tart, cherry pie or yellow layer cake for a nice finish.
This bean dish also makes a great option to take to a potluck supper or tailgate. And it's easy to feed a crowd by making a bigger recipe.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 cans (16 ounces each) baked beans; drained but reserve liquid
- 1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) lima beans, drained
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
- In a large and heavy skillet, cook the ground beef, bacon, and onion until the onion is translucent, the bacon is cooked and the beef is well-browned.
- Drain fat from the meat mixture.
- Put the beef, bacon and onion mixture; baked beans; kidney beans; lima beans; molasses; brown sugar; ketchup; and mustard into a slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce the heat to low and cook another 3 to 5 hours.
- Add the reserved juice from the baked beans as needed to thin the mixture throughout cooking.
- Put the browned ground beef and bean mixture in a casserole dish and bake in the oven at 350 F for an hour.
- Substitute pork and beans for the baked beans in this recipe.
- Add butter, cannellini, pinto, navy or great northern beans to the pot or a mixture of these.
- Add a dash of white wine or cider vinegar to the mixture.
- Omit the molasses and increase the brown sugar to 1 cup.
- Add chopped celery, as desired.
- Make a healthy vegetarian version and go meatless by omitting the ground beef and bacon and adding a different type of beans as a substitution.
- Substitute ground pork sausage for the bacon; brown with the ground beef and onion or make the sausage an addition to the bacon and ground beef.
- Use pork sausage as the only meat and season the pot with salsa and taco seasoning for a Mexican twist. Use baked beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas and lima beans and omit the ketchup, mustard, molasses and brown sugar.
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