This week was my first grocery shopping trip since the quarantine. A neighbor had told me the best time to go was in the morning right after the dedicated senior shopping time ended. So, I grabbed my mask and ventured out one morning. She was right, it was not crowded and the store not only had plexiglass in place by the cashiers, they also had 6ft markings spaced out on the floor. The trip was an enjoyable one; outside of masked shoppers, it almost felt “normal”. Almost. I was suprised by how many items had limited buys on them. Understandable for toilet paper, sanitizers, and disinfectants, but baked beans?! Not only did they have a buy limit on cans of baked beans, but also a limited supply.
I was torn. Part of me was sad to see this and the other part was happy to know how many people must know the power of baked beans! Baked beans are not only nutritious and full of fiber but also inexpensive, shelf stable, and versatile. In fact, those are the reasons why baked beans were on my Stocking Up Smartly list.
Since so many seem to be buying baked beans, I thought I would share once again my favorite 12 Uses for Baked Beans:
1. Bean Salad: Make like a potato salad. Mix chopped celery and onion, mayo, mustard, pickle relish, and chopped hard-boiled eggs into baked beans. (If beans are thin, simply mash some before adding ingredients). Best served cold between 2 slices white bread-yes, this is an old-time leftover trick from my MeMaw, or stuffed in a tomato.
2. Baked Bean Gazpacho:
3. Mash and make Bean Burgers
4. Spicy Bean Dip: Add queso cheese and jalapeño slices. Heat until melted.
5. Use as Meatloaf Topping or as a Chili Starter.
6. Sloppy-Joes: Brown ground beef or use crumbled leftover hamburgers, mix in baked beans until heated. Put mixture on toasted buns.
7. Beany Macaroni and Cheese: Mix into your favorite mac and cheese.
8. Burritos or Tacos: Put beans into skillet. Add taco seasoning and 1/4 cup water (or beer). Bring to boil. Simmer until thickened. Great for breakfast burritos, too!
9. Nachos or Taco Salad Topping: Stir salsa into baked beans.
10. Baked Potatoes: Add warmed leftover baked beans to baked potatoes. Top with bacon and cheese.
11. Tex-Mex Pasta: Sauté 1 chopped onion in a skillet. Add 1 can chopped tomatoes, can of corn, any leftover sausage, 1 cup baked beans, 1 TBSP chili powder. Cook over med heat for 15 minutes. Mix into hot pasta. Top with cheddar cheese.
12. BAKED BEAN BALLS-A fun one for the kids to assemble. Begin with cold leftover beans. If too thin, mash beans or add mashed avocado. With moistened hands, roll bean mixture into balls. Stuff cubes of cheese, a slice of leftover grilled hot dog or sausage inside, or leave plain. Roll balls into minced tortilla chips or Doritos (a mini food processor works great for this job.) Chill for 1/2 hour to set. Spray each well of a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray. Place ball into well. Spray top side of each ball. Bake at 375* for 10 minutes. Using a spoon, flip each ball. Bake an additional 10 minutes. If you prefer, the baked bean balls can also be deep-fried. Serve with a side of BBQ sauce or ranch dressing.
I know during this time everyone has had to put on their TO COOK IS TO CREATE Thinking Cap. I hope by doing so new family recipes have been created. As a reminder, I am here if you need me. Keep those questions coming and keep washing those hands.
FOOD FUN: Since we all could use a smile nowadays. Sit back, relax, and get ready to laugh, I mean sing BAKED BEANS. This 1977 video is from the 1970’s New Zealand band, Mother Goose, and was their biggest hit! It also gives us another way to enjoy baked beans…on toast!