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 drained
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