Baked Beans Mom’s Way

Mom was a terrific cook, and one year for Christmas, she wrote down her favorite recipes for me. I have the worn blue binder still, and the most stained page is the recipe for Mom’s baked beans. I recently baked a pot of them for my dad, and he called to tell me that they were great–just like Mom’s. (No greater praise than that!)

The recipe takes some time, but is well worth it. And to those of us who love baked beans, this recipe puts canned beans to shame. I’ll pass it on to you:

Mom’s Baked Beans

Ingredients:

1 lb. dry beans (soldier beans or Jacob’s Cattle beans are best)

8 c. water

1 small onion

one slice thick bacon

1/2 c. molasses

2 T. brown sugar (or maple syrup or maple agave)

1/2 T. salt

1/2 t. dry mustard

1/4 t. ginger

Directions:

Soak the beans in the 8 cups of water overnight in a large pot. In the morning, drain the beans and refill the pot with 8 cups of fresh water. Boil until the skins crack when you blow on a spoonful of beans. Drain the beans again and SAVE the liquid. To this liquid, add the last five ingredients and stir to mix.

In the bottom of the bean pot, place the onion and the slice of thick bacon, then add the beans. Add the liquid on top of the beans, and cover. Reserve the liquid that’s left over.

Bake for four hours at 275 degrees. Use the reserved liquid to add to beans as needed to keep liquid on top of the beans. (Use hot water if necessary when all the reserved liquid is used up.) Remove the cover in the last hour of baking.

Fabulous with hot dogs, coleslaw and cornbread!

 

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Comfort Food for the End (I Hope!) of Winter

We have been lucky here in New Hampshire this winter. We have only had a few inches of snow, always quickly followed by rain and/or warmer weather than we usually get. No complaints from me after last winter when we had blizzard after blizzard, and snow up above our heads!

But it’s still winter, and still chilly, so comfort food is always welcome. I’d like to share some easy and delicious recipes for you. They are tried and true, easy to make and are just the thing for a cold, damp day. Enjoy!

Nesbitt

The name comes from the last name of the sisters who invented this dish.

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked macaroni

1 14-oz. can of tomatoes (diced or stewed) along with the juice

1 onion, chopped and sautéed

1 & 2 lb. shredded Cheddar cheese

1 large pinch sugar

NO S & P!

Cook about macaroni 7 minutes. Drain, and put into buttered 2-quart glass pan. Add all other ingredients and stir. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Chicken Breasts and Sweet Potatoes

Delicious and easy to make.

Ingredients:

Boneless chicken breasts, cut in thick (about 2-3″) slices

2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 2″ slices

flour (depending on how much chicken and potato you have, about 1 cup or so)

dash S & P

dash paprika

couple dashes of rosemary

1 stick butter

In a paper bag, shake the chicken, flour, S & P, and paprika until the chicken and potatoes are coated. Put the chicken and potatoes into a greased baking pan and sprinkle with a bit more rosemary and S & P. Melt the stick of butter and pour about 1/3 of it over the chicken and potatoes. Bake at 425 degrees for one hour, basting with the remaining butter two more times.

Cheese Strata

This is a great dish for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Can be made the night before, so it’s very convenient.

Variations: add shrimp, cubed ham, 1 t. oregano, or crumbled bacon.

Ingredients:

10 slices buttered bread, cut in large cubes

3 cups sharp grated cheese

1 t. salt

1 t. dry mustard

2 cups milk

4 eggs, well-beaten

Butter a casserole dish and put in a layer of cheese, then bread, and keep alternating, ending with cheese. Mix the other ingredients together well and pour over the bread and cheese. Refrigerate overnight. Put the casserole in a pan of water to bake. Bake at 375 degrees for one hour.

Serve with a green salad.