Potluck Beans with Maple and Beer

Beer and Maple Beans

I’m sharing my latest activities in the kitchen today:   Potluck Beans with Maple and Beer!  We’re invited to a holiday get-together with family and friends tomorrow,  and I needed a side dish to go with barbecue tritip sandwiches.  During the holiday season I don’t have much time, so I used a recipe that calls for canned Cannellini beans (white kidney beans).   This recipe couldn’t be easier!

The Big Book of Sides

I was inspired by a recipe in Rick Rodgers’  The Big Book of Sides, a cookbook that I reviewed when it was first published.  I keep going back to this book when I need something special to go with a meal. The recipe in the book makes 10-12 servings,  and I needed to make a lot more for the party.  I tweaked the recipe a bit,  and the beans are crazy good!

Beer and Maple Beans
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Potluck Beans with Maple and Beer

Make a pot of these beans for a holiday potluck or a summer barbecue!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 45 mins
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Mimi Holtz

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large sweet onion peeled and chopped
  • 4 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 bottles dark beer I used Red Bridge Gluten-Free Sorghum Beer
  • Ten 15-ounce cans of Cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup ham bits

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, until the bacon is almost crisp. Using a slotten spoon, move the cooked bacon to a paper towel and leave the bacon fat in the pan.
  • Over medium heat, cook the onions in the remaining bacon fat until they are golden brown.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in the ketchup, mustard, maple syrup, and beer and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the the beans, bacon, and ham.
  • Cover the Dutch oven and bake for one hour.
  • Uncover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  • If you aren't serving the beans immediately, cool the beans and refrigerate overnight. Stir in 1 cup of water and reheat covered in 350 degree oven, stirring occasionally.

Last weekend was the annual Meals On Wheels benefit concert.  As a member of the Coastal Communities Concert Band since 1998, I look forward to this event every year. Our band has been helping to raise funds to support the important work of Meals On Wheels for 22 years.  Here are a few photos from the 2016 Holiday Concert at the Carlsbad Community Church, in Carlsbad, Ca.!

Holiday Concert to Benefit Meals On Wheels

As a music director and teacher,  I start preparing for holiday performances months in advance.  It’s a little strange to be working on Christmas music in the heat of August and September,  but it’s so rewarding when we have our music prepared in time to inspire our families and friends during the holiday season.   I’m especially glad to have time in December to spend in the kitchen between concerts and church events.

What are you cooking up for the holidays?  I’d love to know about your family specialties or new recipes you are trying out!

Cheaters’ Thanksgiving Casserole

Cheaters' Thanksgiving Casserole

When the weather cools off in November, I’m ready to start eating turkey and stuffing.  Anyone else get that craving for Thanksgiving goodies early? Try my Cheaters’ Thanksgiving Casserole!   Here’s an easy 0ne-pot meal that you can do in a slow cooker or in a covered dish in the oven, or even on top of the stove.  All the flavors of Thanksgiving are here for a comforting supper,  or a party with friends – and it’s budget-friendly too!

Continue reading

Kale in Comfort Food

A "Bou-Kale" from San Miguel Produce

National Kale Day

If you didn’t know that today is National Kale Day,  you know now!  I have to admit that I wasn’t aware of it either, until I received this gorgeous “Bou-Kale” from San Miguel Produce of Oxnard, California.  They’ve been planning for this special day for a long time!   In fact, if you happen to be in the Ventura area on Oct. 5, 2016 you could receive some free kale!   At various sites in Ventura county and in Malibu  in Los Angeles county,  people will be handing out bunches of kale to celebrate  the day.

San Miguel Produce has been growing and processing  kale for 20 years, and selling under their “Cut ‘n Clean Greens”  brand.

“When we first started growing kale, no one wanted to eat it. It was used as decoration on the salad bar or for your pets. It’s exciting to see how kale has grown in popularity and now have a day dedicated to celebrating its health benefits and versatility,” Jan Berk, chief operating officer of San Miguel Produce, said in a news release. “San Miguel Produce hopes their campaign will help get kale into more homes and onto the plates of Americans both young and old.”

I remember seeing fields of greens on road trips when I was a child in Vermont and asking my dad what was growing.  He would say, “That’s kale!  They feed it to cows!”   If he were alive today he would appreciate how many people enjoy eating kale.  He used to pick dandelion greens every spring and ask my mother to cook them for dinner.   “Eat your greens!”   We didn’t get fresh greens all year long then,  as most of our vegetables came from our garden or the neighbor’s farm stand.

Kale Is Related to Cabbage

Kale has been cultivated for over 2000 years, and since it is resistent to frost it has been a preferred green leafy vegetable through the ages.  In fact, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are all the same species of plant.

ready to eat kale

I was thrilled to receive several bags of ready-to-eat Kale from Cut ‘n Clean Greens too!   Each bag is a different variety and has suggestions for serving on the bag.  The kale is triple washed and already cup up to be used in salads or recipes.  In fact, these special bags of kale can even be frozen and used without thawing.

adding kale to meat sauce

 Kale in the Lasagna

I happened to be making lasagna on the day the kale arrived, so I just put some into the meat sauce for the lasagna.   Just mix it right into the sauce and let it cook for a few minutes.

lasagna with kaleThen build the lasagna as you normally would.  It’s a great way to get some green leafy vegetables into the meal,  and makes the lasagna into a one-pot healthy supper.

Chicken with Kale and White Beans

Chicken with Kale and White Beans

Tonight I’m cooking chicken thighs with kale and white beans.  I used boneless skinless chicken thighs and cooked them with onions, garlic, fresh thyme and a little chicken stock and white wine.  When the chicken was tender,  I chopped it up and added fresh ready-to-eat Lacinato Kate from Cut ‘N Clean Greens and a can of white beans.  Seasoned it with salt and pepper,  optional red pepper flakes.   I added some fresh lemon zest and grated parmesan cheese just before serving.

Chicken with Kale and White Beans

Disclosure:   I received a gift box of ready-to-eat kale and a “Bou-Kale” from San Miguel Produce.  I was not required to write a blog post and I was not compensated.   All opinions and experiences are mine. 

Do you eat kale in salads or cook with it?  I’d love to know how you use kale in your family meals!

Book Review: The Perfect Diabetes Comfort Food Collection by Robyn Webb

The Perfect Diabetes Comfort Food Collection

I’m thrilled to be able to introduce you to a new cookbook that will be coming out this month: The Perfect Diabetes Comfort Food Collection by Robyn Webb.   Although it is written to help people with diabetes,  the recipes are appealing for anyone who wants to prepare foods with great flavor,  serve healthy meals, and simplify the process of meal planning.

The concept of the book is brilliant.   Just choose one  of the  nine basic recipes: stir fry, lasagna, meatloaf, burgers, tacos, chicken, soups, main dish salads, and pasta.  Follow the simple instructions to learn each technique. Then try a few of Robyn’s variations on the basic techniques. Continue reading

Quick and Easy Lamb Sliders on Foccacia Squares

Lamb Sliders    This morning I stopped at Major Market where I bought the ground lamb last week for the Lamb Sliders seasoned with Hatch Chile,  and they had no ground lamb in their meat case.  I rarely do this, but I actually went to the meat cutter and asked for ground lamb!   He told me to wait about 20 mintues, and when I came back there were several packages of ground lamb plus a beautiful lamb sirloin roast!   (Of course I bought that roast too!  Turns out the ground lamb was made from another piece of that same leg of lamb.)

Next I headed over to Trader Joe’s for more of those cute little Mini Hamburger Buns  with the sesame seeds on top.  Alas, they were out of them!  Not to worry,  I glanced at a nearby display and found a large square of Tomato and Olive Foccacia Bread.  In my minds eye I could see that large square cut up into smaller squares, just the right size for Lamb Sliders! Continue reading

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