Perfect for a summer barbecue or an autumn tailgate party, this dish is also known also as Trucker, Cowboy or Prairie Beans. This recipe is foolproof and flexible and quick to make! Gather your crockpot and all the ingredients. Pour, stir and cook on low for 3-6 hours. Make it a main dish with a tossed salad for a perfect meal. Take it to a gathering and you won’t be bringing home leftovers because it’s always a hit.
Chips* contributed the recipe to a Quasquicentennial community cookbook where I found it. I have tweaked it — of course!– many different ways and it always turns out tasty! Chips’ family prefers the deeper flavor that comes from baking in a 9x 13 pan for about an hour at 350 F. Chips adds 1 tablespoon mustard and 1 teaspoon chili powder, though she warns against using beans or BBQ sauce with chili flavor. She also uses Splenda brown sugar and has used ham instead of bacon.
My sister Bee uses Campbell’s pork n beans from the original recipe, but I like Bush’s baked beans because they are “thicker”. (We finally brought her over to Bush’s side as you can tell from the comment below — now we are going to work on the attitude toward onions ) Kidney beans, dark or light, it doesn’t matter, but do pick up the low sodium version on your grocery shelf. (Less salt = good for you.) Lima Beans bring a texture, size and color variation to the mix. I sometimes substitute a can of black beans — still tasty! And so are Great Northern Beans. I have also made it with 2 cans of kidney beans. This is a very forgiving combination! You can get about 12 servings if you use this for a main dish. Take it to a gathering and the serving size is more likely to be around 1/2 cup since people are generally also “sampling” other things so you can count on about 25 servings.
If you are looking for the recipe so you can get going and get to the party on time, scroll on down. You already know that this is a great dish for crowds because it will fill your crockpot. And then your family.
But, if you gasped when you saw the picture of the ingredients and thought “does she know how many carbs are in those beans?”, then read on. Legumes, which is what these beans are called, are in a special class. Yes, they are higher in carbs – but they also have a built in protein and plenty of fiber. Legumes tend to be absorbed more slowly into the blood stream. The slower absorption keeps blood sugar levels more even and keeps you feeling full and satisfied longer than more quickly digested foods. Eating healthy for the long term requires a balanced diet that takes into account all your nutritional needs. The soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and keep you regular. Protein is necessary for energy and strong muscles. Good– and good for you.
* Full Disclosure: Chips’ brother married my sister Kay. Millions of beans were consumed in the evolution of this recipe with no harm done.
** Full Disclosure #2 — reposted from the archives as part of A Pinch of Joy Second Anniversary celebration!
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