Winnie’s Hearty Baked Beans

The women in my family take great pride in their cooking.  They also don’t believe in writing recipes down – that would be much, much too restrictive.  And as for precise measurements – we consider those to be tools of  the unimaginative.  When pressed we will speak in terms of a pinch of this, a dollop of that, a squirt of such-and-such, a smidge of thus-and-so.  Our philosophy of cooking is that you learn by watching, doing and experimenting.   Each person puts their own twists on family dishes.  For instance, my mom learned to make a gumbo from my grandmother, me and my three sisters learned to make gumbo from her, and my daughters are learning from me.  Yet if we all made a gumbo to serve you, none of them would taste the same.  

That said, when I present you with this family recipe for baked beans, you should understand that it is merely my version of a family favorite as I imagine it on this particular day, and the measurements are approximations.  Ask me for this recipe a month from now and you will more than likely see some subtle and perhaps not-so-subtle differences.



1 lb ground beef, browned and drainedbakedbeans
1 c. minced onion
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c.
salsa (may increase to one cup if you like a bit more kick)
3/4 c. ketchup
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp prepared mustard
1.5 lb canned pork & beans
1.5 lb canned kidney beans
1.5 lb canned butter beans or navy beans
10 slices bacon, partially cooked

Return cooked beef to skillet and add onions.  Cook until onions are transparent (add small amounts of water as needed to prevent burning).

Remove from heat and add all remaining ingredients except bacon.  Mix thoroughly.

Pour into a 9 X 13 casserole dish.  Top with bacon slices.

Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour (or until bubbly)

Serves a crowd of about 18 hearty eaters


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Winnie Griggs is the author of Historical (and occasionally Contemporary) romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace. She is also a list maker, a lover of dragonflies and holds an advanced degree in the art of procrastination.
Three of Winnie’s books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and one of those nominations resulted in a win.
Winnie loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her on facebook at or email her at

16 thoughts on “Winnie’s Hearty Baked Beans”

  1. Winnie – that sounds wonderful for a cold rainy afternoon! I’ve never put ground beef in baked beans before, but it makes a side dish into a main course, doesn’t it?

  2. Winnie,

    This sounds delicious. I will be making this for my family. Baked Beans goes with anything.

    Thanks for sharing

    Please get me your interview questions when you can

    Walk in peace and harmony,


  3. Love this, Winnie. When I learned to cook with my Grandma, her favorite measurement was “dab” – “just put in a dab of that,” she’d tell me. For Christmas many years ago my sister gave me measuring spoons that are Dab, Pinch and Smidgen. 😀

  4. Hi Winnie, I love baked beans! These sound delicious. When my mom taught me how to make stuffing for a Thanksgiving turkey, she did it over the phone (we were in Virginia, she was in Los Angeles). No measuring cups! No measuring spoons! It was all in her head, and now it’s in mine : )

  5. Jennie, Charlene, Melinda
    Hi ladies – Glad you enjoyed the recipe. And yes with the beef added this can go either as a side dish or a main course if you like. For that reason, this one is especially good for pot luck dinners

  6. Tracy,
    Ah yes, the standard ‘dab’ measurement, we use that one a lot too. And LOL on the measuring spoons – I’ll have to find those and use them as stocking stuffers for certain individuals this year

    Over the phone – Yikes! That would be even tougher than the ‘just watch and learn’ method my family uses.

  7. This sounds so delish, Winnie. My gramma was the baked-bean queen in our fam. I think I can start up a new tradition with this one, now, since I’m a gramma now LOL. oxoxoxox

  8. Yum yum yum.

    I have Pam’s cowboy stew in the crockpot today. Since I alays buy a big package of ground beef, I made up an extra and put it in the freezer for next time. Then I’ll just take it out and add the veggies.

    I still have garden tomatoes, so I simply blended and strained for fresh sauce.

    Love all these new recipes.

  9. Tanya,
    Yep – things always taste better when they come from gramma.

    I’m with you on salivating over everyone’s recipes this week. I got a whole passle of folks coming over to my house for the weekend and my menu planning just got a whole lot easier

  10. Yum! What a great week to visit the site :-). I’m going to try this, Winnie. Fall is my cooking time of year. I don’t do much from Jan-August, but Sept. to Dec. brings out my need to cook.

  11. This is a very different version of baked beans and sounds great. It is a little like one I got many years ago from another military wife. Her’s didn’t have cheese in it though and we all know everything is better with cheese. Can’t wait to try it out.

  12. Sounds yummy, Winnie!

    I like your measuring system. 😉 And I like your family’s philosophy of cooking. I always have felt that if I follow a recipe or a sewing pattern exactly, I haven’t done my job.


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