Comfort Food Heaven: Baked Beans and Sausage and Kale

Baked beans weren’t a thing in our house growing up.  We had plenty of green beans, not a ton of other beans.* So imagine my surprise when I made baked beans for the first time last week, and they’re delicious.  I would put them onto my comfort food list in a heartbeat, and that’s a big deal.  The comfort food list has kind of an elite place in my heart.

And really, they’re not that unhealthy.  Three pieces of bacon in six generous servings?  Totally healthy, especially when you compare it to my very favorite comfort food, macaroni and cheese.  Someday they’ll invent a still delicious and healthy version of mac and cheese, and I will die happy.

The original concept for this meal was “quick and easy,” but we made it slightly less quick with the homemade baked beans.  I think it’s worth the switch, but canned beans, heated up sausage and fresh kale slaw would still be delicious together.  It’s kind of a fun and different option for a quick meal.  I highly recommend it.

Pioneer Woman’s Quick and Easy Baked Beans (cut in half, healthied up a teeny tiny bit, and turned into Hannah’s Baked Beans)

photo from pioneerwoman.com

photo from pioneerwoman.com

I cut the original recipe in half so that it would make reasonable leftovers for two people.  It originally made 16 side dish servings.  As more of a central meal feature, we got about 6 servings from this.  I also took out the butter.  The bacon fries up just fine in its own fat.

Ingredients

3 slices bacon, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
2 28-ounce cans baked beans, drained
1/4 cup mustard
1/8 cup barbecue sauce
1/8 cup ketchup
Several dashes hot sauce

Directions

Fry the bacon in a deep skillet until almost cooked. Add the jalapenos, onions and bell peppers and saute for 5 minutes. Add the beans, mustard, barbecue sauce, ketchup and hot sauce, and heat through.  Try not to pick out and consume half of the bacon before you’re done cooking.

The Rest of the Meal

photo from Dinner: a love story

photo from Dinner: a love story

What about the sausage and kale, you ask?  Well, you should buy some good sausage (any kind you like–we went with chicken and apple, but Italian or bratwust would be delicious, too).  Then heat it up or cook it through, depending on whether it was pre-cooked or not.  Oooh, and if you have any whole grain mustard, adding that to the plate is very good idea.

Kale Slaw a la Jenny Rosenstrach

Ingredients

1 bunch of kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small shallot or 3-4 scallions, chopped
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of freshly shredded Parmesan or Pecorino

Directions

Slice the kale into shreds or chop it even more finely if you prefer.  In a large bowl, toss the kale, olive oil, shallot, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and cheese.  Done!
*I am in no way implying a cooking deficit by my mom.  She’s a great cook.  She was just trying to keep us super duper healthy with all of those green beans.
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