The first BBQ weekend of the summer is here and so I thought you might like and easy side dish to add to what is going on the grill. Marie, my daughter’s mother-in-law, has a version of Calico Beans that is much sought after at family gatherings and her pot usually goes home empty.
I actually grew up with a similar recipe. It was an easy week night meal that Mom could throw together in a flash. Like many of the recipes found on the internet, she used pork and beans. She cooked up onions and ground beef, then added the beans along with the catsup, mustard, and brown sugar and simmered everything a bit. I still make it occasionally when I want a taste from childhood.
4 ounces bacon, diced. You can use precooked if you like.
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
2 14.5 ounce cans white beans, any variety [See notes]
1 14.5 ounce black beans
1 14.5 ounce kidney beans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup catsup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Cook bacon until medium.
Stir in onions and cook until soft.
Add ground beef. Cook until no longer pink.
Dump bacon, onion, ground beef mixture in crock pot. Dump in the rest of the ingredients. Give it a stir.
Cook on low for 4 hours.
These beans can be put together in a freezer bag to make later. Just leave the ground beef in a chunk and break up after cooking in the crock pot. Omit the bacon. It can be added later in the cooking process. When ready to cook, dump in crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours.
This recipe can be made on the stove top from start to finish or poured in a casserole dish and baked for an hour or so, until bubbly and brown around the edges. Yum.
You can use any combination of beans that suits you.
I did not have a full 1/2 cup catsup so I used some mild salsa for the rest.
Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
Now that summer is in full swing, most of us have an opportunity to enjoy picnics, BBQs, and al fresco dinners. These days it can be as simple or as fancy as you like, but the real focus of any event are the people we will share with. For that reason, ease is important to me. Less time in the kitchen means more time with friends and family. One of our family favorites for the grill is Hawaiian BBQ Chicken. This dish has an easy prep with a very delicious outcome. Pair it with grilled veggies, Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, and fresh fruit, and you will have a beautiful table.
Hawaiian BBQ Chicken
2 pounds chicken boneless skinless thighs or breasts, cut into serving size
1 cup pineapple juice
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
Mix pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a resealable plastic bag or glass dish with lid.
Add chicken pieces and marinade for up to 24 hours.
Drain and discard marinade from chicken. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack.
Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until no longer pink.
Alternative method of cooking: bake in a 375-degree oven until done. Time will depend on the thickness of your chicken pieces.
One or a combination of vegetables, washed and sliced into uniform pieces. I especially carrots as do most of the grandkids. I also use zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus. You can use most any summertime produce. Peppers, onions mushrooms and tomatoes are also good choices.
Herbs, fresh or dry. Use something to compliment your main dish. Don’t forget garlic.
Olive oil. Any cooking oil you have will work.
Salt and pepper.
Notice I don’t really give amounts. I just fill up my grill pan or basket with veggies (Vegetables shrink as they are cooked. You’ll want to make more than you think you need.), drizzle with enough oil to lightly coat, sprinkle on the seasonings and give it a stir. (I apologize in advance to those who want amounts and times.)
Place pan/basket on grill and cook until desired doneness. This can also be done in an oven set to 375 degrees. I actually like the oven method best and it can be done ahead of time if you like.
Tip: Some veggies cook faster than others. Asparagus is very quick. Maybe just five to ten minutes. Squash, perhaps twenty minutes and carrots-thirty. Try to choose ones that have a compatible cooking time.
And just one more thing—Leftover roasted vegetables are great additions to pasta salads, sandwiches, pizzas, or even omelets.
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
Before I give you the recipe, I must give you a disclaimer. I have never been to Hawaii. Nope. But I have eaten at a few Hawaiian BBQ places. Most serve a scoop of steamed white rice and a scoop of macaroni salad. I have made up my own version which I have tweaked even further to lighten it up a bit. Even with the tweaking, it is going to be heavy on the calories. There are just some things that you have to splurge on a bit. The rest of the meal is light so we can afford to.
½ pound elbow macaroni, cooked to al dente
1 small carrot, shredded
5 scallions, chopped
½ cup light mayonnaise
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup pineapple juice (Substitute 2% milk, if preferred plus a tablespoon of honey, brown sugar or other sweetener.)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
Optional mix-ins—imitation crab, frozen peas, pineapple tidbits, or ham. Some people add cilantro. It really depends on your preference. We have always used the imitation crab and peas, but I’m up for trying something new in the future. Maybe, even a little Spam. It is Hawaiian after all.
In large bowl, mix together cooked macaroni, shredded carrot and chopper scallion plus any mix-ins you desire.
In separate bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients to create the dressing.