Growing up, there weren’t many family cookouts that felt complete without my Mom’s broccoli cauliflower salad or her calico beans. Just thinking about them brings me back to my Grandma’s house. All of my senses are enveloped and anchored when I enter Grandma’s kitchen.
Memories, comfort and love have always surrounded me there. We all loved seeing Grandma (still do!) but we especially appreciated all the food she and everyone else made for us.
After I was married, I made the transition to cooking a lot more. I had to find my niche. See what recipes work for my family. And even now, its a process.
I’ve recently learned that I can make calico beans in my crock pot. I found an awesome recipe by The Crockin’ Girls that I adapted a bit. It tastes different than my Mom’s recipe. She uses more beans and cooks hers in the oven. It’s thicker that way and richer in flavor. Soooo good!
So yeah it does taste different. But still yummy 🙂 My husband wolfed down his when I first tried the recipe. I said, “I didn’t know you liked calico beans so much!” To which he replied, “It’s the sauce babe. It’s so good!” Suffice to say, he stuffed himself. And L loved it too. She didn’t eat a lot but this is the only way I can get her to eat beans.
Crockpot Calico Beans
Makes 8+ servings.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb bacon
- 1 can lima beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 cans pork and beans
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 pinch s & p
- Dice bacon & cook till barely done. Add to crock pot.
- Drain bacon grease & cook ground beef. (Optional: cook the onions with the beef.)
- Drain fat and add beef to crock pot. Add remaining ingredients.
- Cook on low 1 hour, high 3+ hours. **Edit: I realize now it makes more sense to cook for 4+ hours on high, if you are not cooking the onions with the ground beef.
Note: If you cook the beef and onion together, you can cook the calico beans for 4 hours on low. This method would bring the flavor up a notch. I seem to forget every time but either way it works out!
I calculated that it cost me $9.26 to make this recipe. But it makes a lot. Like 2 quarts. So (8) 1 cup servings at $1.15 each.
Recipe adapted from “Calico Beans”, by The Crockin’ Girls.