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Easy Baked Beans

What better dish to serve at an outdoor party than baked beans?

Baked beans are inexpensive and easy to fix. Creating the right balance of seasonings can, however, be a bit of an experiment. It's easy to get an "off" tang if there's too much mustard and not enough ketchup, for instance.

In addition, everyone has his or her own favorite baked beans recipe. There are many different kinds as there are people who make them. That's the fun of it. The good thing about beans is they can be served hot, cold, juicy or crispy on the bottom. Just throw a few cans in a big bowl, add a few choice ingredients, and then turn into a casserole and bake for an hour or so. They're filling and will go with such favorites as potato salad, chips, hamburgers and hot dogs.

Regardless of how much you plan to make, here's how we do it and you can mix and match from here.

Baked Beans

1 large can pork and beans (23-oz)
½ medium onion, finely chopped
¾ cup ketchup
3 Tablespoons mustard
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
Shredded Cheddar cheese for topping

In a large bowl, add pork and beans (remove the pork chunk). Add remaining ingredients - onion, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, black pepper, and jalapeno - and blend thoroughly. The color should look darker, but not too yellow. (If there seems to be too much mustard, add more ketchup - it's better to have more of a tomato taste than the tangy mustard overtones.)

Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray and add bean mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour (more or less to suit). If wanting crispy sides bake longer. Let rest for about 5-10 minutes to release crust. Top with cheese and serve.

This is a very simple baked bean dish, but easy to make and transport. It tastes great hot, warm, or even cold.

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Pittsburg, TX 75686
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