Life is about family, and it’s always wonderful when we get together. Family and food go hand-in-hand. As I write this blog Mike and I are hosting six members of the Zyla clan. They have traveled far and wide to gather around our table.

There is something extremely exciting and nerve wracking about cooking multiple meals for a house full of people. So, I immediately got to work planning! Our inaugural meal centered around balsamic pork tenderloin cooked in a slow cooker and served with baked beans, coleslaw, and drop biscuits. Although everyone enjoyed the meal, it was the baked beans everyone raved about.

Baked beans are normally an overlooked side dish, but these beans with bacon, sautéed onions and garlic, were the star of the show. This is a recipe I have had for 25 years, given to me by my mother-in-law, Madeline. Madeline not only shared this recipe, but she also gave me a traditional, old-fashioned bean pot – the perfect vessel given some of our guests are from Boston. I am not sure if it is the pot or the recipe, but there is something so delicious about these beans! I am not kidding!

This is what you will need…

  • ½ lb. bacon
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 lg. sliced onions
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1- 16 oz can kidney beans (drained)
  • 1- 16 oz can lima beans (drained)
  • 3- 16 oz cans pork n’ beans (drained)
  1. Mix all of the drained beans into a large bowl.
  2. Add the sauce, recipe below, and mix well.
  3. Transfer sauce and bean mixture into a 2.5 quart bean pot.
  4. Bake uncovered for 2.5 hours at 325 degrees.

For the sauce…

  1. Brown bacon until almost crisp and break into small pieces. Set aside.
  2. Add onions and garlic into the pan with the bacon drippings, and sauté until transparent.
  3. Add in brown sugar, vinegar and dry mustard.
  4. Cook on medium low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add in bacon pieces, and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes.

Our wine of choice was from Spain called Mindiarte Reserva Rioja – Tempranillo –  2012. It is an aged red wine that had a smooth taste and complemented the different flavors of our meal.  I purchased the wine at Trader Joe’s for under $10.

With summer BBQ’s around the corner, I hope this recipe pleases your crowd as much as it did ours!

Thank you Michele for your help!