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, sure 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. My husband cooked burgers and kabobs, these beans simmering in the slow-cooker, and everybody brought a host of wonderful salads. Of course, there was also .. dessert
The beans, one of two signature dishes I've perfected in my 40+ years
My twenties 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 between two guys 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 happened upon from an old church cookbook with 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 and 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'll have no regrets.
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!)
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~ Adapted from Sugar ‘N Spice (United Methodist Church Estherville, Iowa), who originally adapted the recipe from Betty Crocker
Slow-Cooker Three Bean Casserole
- ¾ lb pork sausage
- ¾ lb ground beef
- 1 lb little smokies
- 2 - 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 (21 oz) cans baked beans (any variety)
- 1 (15 oz) can lima or butter beans, drained
- 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained
- 2 cups ketchup
- 4 Tbsp ground mustard
- ¼ cup honey ( or packed brown sugar)
- ¼ cup white or cider vinegar
- ½ tsp red pepper sauce (more or less, to taste)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- In a 10-inch skillet, add the sausage, ground beef, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook over medium heat (~8-10 minutes), stirring occasionally until the meat is no longer pink; drain.
- In a slow cooker, combine the meat mix and remaining ingredients.
- Cover and cook on low heat setting for 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 the low heat setting, another 2 - 3 hours
- Serve and enjoy!