Midweek Inspiration No. 6: Do you have a signature dish?
Is it the stuffing at Thanksgiving? Or the corn casserole everyone hopes you'll be carrying as you walk through the door? Maybe it's the rub coating the ribeye that's about to go on the grill? Or the sweet treat you've slowly perfected over the years?
It's the dish you feel confident preparing and serving, no matter what. You know its nuances, how it should taste, the recipe eternally committed to memory .. confident it will bring a smile from anyone whose lips it will cross
It seems a cooking blog isn't complete without sharing a favorite family recipe .. the beans finding their way onto the menu for this month's Spaghetti Saturday. Admittedly, this was our first time breaking from tradition.
With summer nearly upon us, we couldn't help but want to grill instead. The Chef cooked burgers and kabobs .. these beans simmering in the slow-cooker .. and everybody brought a host of wonderful salads. Of course, there was also ..
The beans .. one of 2 signature dishes I've perfected in my 40+ years
My 20s were marked by Cheesy Potatoes and they were, hands down, the best I've ever eaten. I'd probably never have branched out it but for a chance conversation .. 2 businessmen at a lunch table close to mine
“What'd she bring to dinner?”
“Dude .. women who can't cook ALWAYS bring cheesy potatoes!”
I haven't made them since.
Which, as fate would have it ..
has turned out to be a very fine thing
This recipe was happened upon from an old church cookbook .. the pastor's wife giving credit to Betty Crocker. In the description, she added “You know you have a winning recipe when it shows up again and again .. no matter where you are or what the occasion”
It seems she was onto something
One can't help but wonder .. all of the small-town Iowa church potlucks the beans had been served at .. no doubt on a styrofoam plate .. next to potato salad & a white-bunned sandwich
Betty Crocker says one can make them in the oven .. or the crockpot. The crockpot method is best .. it really is
Though they taste great the first day .. let them wait overnight. I promise you won't regret it
What's your signature dish? Or the one you always look forward to someone else making?
(** Note from Ali: This post originally appeared in May, 2015. The number of times I've made since is too numerous to count. If you came to a family gathering .. it would be part of the menu.
With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, a fresh batch is in the slow-cooker. I thought it might be a fun one to share today for those who maybe haven't ventured through the archives. Enjoy!)
~ Adapted from Sugar ‘N Spice (United Methodist Church Estherville, Iowa) .. who originally adapted the recipe from Betty Crocker
- ¾ lb bulk pork sausage (** or homemade sausage)
- ¾ lb ground beef
- 1 pound little smokies
- 2 medium stalks celery, sliced (~ 1 cup)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (~ ½ cup)
- 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cans (21 oz each) baked beans (any variety)
- 1 can (15 oz) lima or butter beans, drained
- 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained
- 2 c ketchup
- 4 Tbsp ground mustard
- 4 Tbsp honey or (** organic packed brown sugar)
- 4 Tbsp white or cider vinegar
- ½ tsp red pepper sauce (** more to taste)
- salt & pepper (** to taste)
- In a 10-inch skillet, add the sausage, ground beef, celery, onion, and garlic and cook over medium heat 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink; drain.
- In a 3½ - 6 quart slow cooker, combine the meat mixture and remaining ingredients.
- Cover & cook on low heat setting 5-6 hours
- Turn off the slow-cooker, let its contents cool, and transfer to the refrigerator (the flavors really meld over-night)
- The next day cook in the slow-cooker, on low heat setting, another 2 hours
- Serve & Enjoy!
% Protein: 22
% Carbs: 45
% Fat: 33