Sweet Sugar Beans with Bacon

This baked bean dish brings back fond memories of my Aunt Pauline who lived too far away from us to see very often. I don’t have too many memories of her, but I do remember her big old Victorian house (with the scary basement), her quiet, kind demeanor and her baked beans. Sweetened up Great Northern beans and bacon baked in an oven and served up in her sunny kitchen.

I’m not sure if this is her exact recipe since I never got it before she passed away, but I think it’s pretty close. If you like your beans sweet, you’ll enjoy this! All you need are 4 ingredients.

Sweet Sugar Beans with Bacon
Ingredients:
1 large can (40.5 oz.) of Great Northern beans
1/2 pound uncooked bacon, cut up
2/3 cup white, granulated sugar
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:
Stir together the beans (and liquid), bacon pieces, sugar and garlic salt in a bowl until well combined. Pour into a casserole dish, cover with foil or lid, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour.

Notes:
— If you can’t find a large can of beans, you can use 2 1/2 regular sized cans (15 oz.?? each).
— I use center cut bacon because it’s leaner, and I usually cut off the parts that are just fat.
— You can do these in the slow cooker as well, but I have not tried that yet to say how long they need to cook. Maybe I’ll try that next time and report back. 🙂
~Micha

Simple Roasted Cabbage

I never liked cooked cabbage. Growing up, we’d occasionally have stuffed cabbage and I’d usually ditch the soggy, slimy cabbage leaf wrapped around that meat goodness. As I got older I went from totally ditching it to reluctantly picking at it. It wasn’t until I made my corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day that I discovered a new way to prepare it…one that I actually like! I’m really starting to believe that the best way to enjoy fresh vegetables is to roast them. If your attitude toward cooked cabbage can be summed up by a “Meh.” than I recommend roasting it. What have you got to lose? Now if you fall below the “Meh.” opinion line and despise cabbage in all forms, just move along…I’m sure there’s a cupcake recipe around here…

For those of you who want to give it a go, (way to hang in there!) take a fresh head of cabbage and remove a few leaves from the outside. Just the big, loose ones that would have some dirt on them…about 2 or 3. Rinse the head of cabbage to wash off any remaining debris and pat dry. Grab a big baking sheet and set aside. Cut your cabbage into 1/2″ slices. Try to keep them all the same thickness for even roasting. Keep the core on top when slicing so that they don’t fall apart. The core will hold most slices together.

Arrange the slices on your baking sheet. Depending on the size of your head of cabbage you may need a second baking sheet. For a medium-sized head of cabbage, you need about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Liberally brush olive oil on one side and season with salt and pepper (I am generous with the seasoning, especially the pepper, and the olive oil should coat the whole slice.) Carefully turn over the slices and repeat with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. I use a silicone pastry brush for the olive oil, but you can drizzle it on and coat the slices with your hands.

Roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, then using tongs carefully flip the slices and roast for an additional 20 minutes for a total roasting time of 40-45 minutes.

Tip: Grab the end with the core when turning and removing from pan so they don’t fall apart.

The core is not good eatin’ so you can do one of two things: Either remove it before serving and not serve the slices intact, or tell your hungry cabbage participants to just cut it off if you want to serve it sliced.

Your challenge this week should you choose to accept it…is to try roasted cabbage! If you still don’t like it, then you’ve tried your best and you’ve done all you can do. I’ll never mention it again. (If you like roasted cabbage, let the skeptics know. The cabbage needs all the support it can get.)

Save the really brown and crispy pieces for me, ok? 🙂
~Micha