Almost-Instant Homemade Baked Beans

Once upon a time, everything was homemade, everything was made with love, because it was a necessity! All over the globe, convenience seems to be over riding flavor. Its become the popular American way to rely solely on convenience. Southern food or country food often refers to  short-cuts, mixes, boxes and cans. Why did flavor and taste become worthless? Home cooked Baked beans are an essential Northeastern dish. They are served all around the country all summer long, they’re at every barbecue joint, and they’re resting next to every 4th of July hot dog. They are there, they are everywhere and often ignored. But why is that? I feel the answer is because more and more these days I’m seeing pop tin baked bean “recipes” that are simply doctored up canned beans. It’s just wrong to see those poor little beans sitting there all alone, destined to become garbage. Why, oh why? Why!!! It is just wrong. Not that I have not popped a tin a time or two for last minute beanie weenie suppers, but I’m not going to preach about how great it is because lets be honest, its a dirty little secret. (shhh! Don’t tell) From Maine bean suppers where the beans are the main course, to barbecues and summer parties, baked beans do sometimes still get their well deserved respect. Your family does deserve the very best, and home cooked beans are absolutely special and well worth the time it takes to prepare.

This recipe is a very convenient and delicious recipe that utilizes an easy to assemble baked bean sauce, with previously prepared beans. Prepare one pound of beans in advance and freeze 1-2 cup portions and you will never have to pop-a-can for beans again, no more sodium over loads, no more mushy beans. When it comes to a great summer party or a perfect barbecue platter, do you really want an afterthought tinned bean on the table? This is another easy peasy in-an-instant recipe. You have the homemade flavor and its no loss of convenience. You can make this recipe the slow way, or you can make them last minute. For this recipe you can utilize any of your favorite sauces, its whatever you prefer the best. I often have homemade barbecue sauces available such as stout barbecue or peach barbecue. If you do not have something homemade available go ahead and use your favorite brand. (I’ve used steak sauce and even ketchup instead as well.)
Ever see a chunk of natural homemade bacon in a can? … I think not
Almost-Instant Homemade Baked Beans
1/2 pound navy beans, cooked in advance (about 4 cups of  prepared beans)
3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1/4 cup mustard
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
salt, pepper, hot sauce …
1 medium sized onion diced
1/4 cup maple syrup (or additional brown sugar)
6-8 slices cooked Bacon, (optional) I use bacon ends
In a large pan saute bacon and onion until the onions have softened. If your bacon is already cooked, saute the onion in a tablespoon of butter, bacon grease or oil. Combine all remaining sauce ingredients.. Bring to a boil and simmer until thick. Combine with prepared beans. This can be put into a crock pot or simmered for an extended period of time. If your beans are mostly cooked, Be sure to keep in mind the beans will cook further as they simmer.Beans can be portioned and frozen, or canned in a pressure canner.

black beans, pinto beans, navy beans all work equally well. I use whatever is in my freezer.
Preparing Beans- (In advance)
Follow directions according to the dried bean packaging. Often the recommendation is to soak the beans overnight and then simmer them for 2-4 hours the following day. For a quick soak cover beans with boiling water and rest for one hour. If you have a pressure cooker you can cook certain soaked beans with minimal soaking in approximately 20 minutes. (look to your pressure cookers manual) Once the beans are softened remove from the heat, cool entirely, package and freeze until you are ready to use them. (some beans can thaw in as little as 30 minutes on the counter, for recipes such as baked beans or chili beans you can simply simmer them until thawed and softened to your tastes)