Sunday, May 30, 2010

Summer Sides

Let's talk about side dishes for summer meals. Here is a dish that is a staple for cookouts in our house. I don’t have pictures of them, because who thinks to take a picture of something that is a staple? I don’t think you’ll really need a picture anyway. But these are so good that you really should try them. You owe yourself that much!

It used to be that I never could make a decent pot of baked beans. Then I tasted Calico Beans. They are so absolutely incredibly delicious! It’s funny because now I’m asked to bring these beans to cookouts. They are so good that Bob and I could truly eat them for dinner all by themselves. Of course the rest of the evening might be a little dicey, if you get my “drift” ;-)

"Calico Beans"

½ pound bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
½ pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
15 oz can pinto beans, drained
15 oz can black beans, drained
28 oz Bush’s Baked Beans, undrained (your favorite flavor)
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons vinegar
½ cup ketchup

Put all of the beans in a baking dish.

Cook bacon in skillet, remove and drain well on paper towels. Remove all but two Tablespoons bacon grease. Cook ground beef and onions in reserved bacon grease. Drain some but not all of the fat. Add brown sugar, vinegar, and ketchup. Mix well.

Pour over beans and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees until desired consistency.

Swoon accordingly.

Another side that I made this weekend is totally retro. Think back to when every potluck, every cookout, and every family reunion had … Veggie Pizza! No, I’m not talking about a pizza with vegetables on it. I’m talking about the cold appetizer that is made with a base of crescent roll dough and has a ranch like dip & veggies and cheese on top. Oh yeah. Brings back memories, huh? Thought so. Me, too. I made it and was totally smitten with it all over again. So here is the recipe, if you’d like to take a walk down memory lane with me!

"Veggie Pizza"

2 cans crescent rolls (8 ct each)
Press dough onto cookie sheet, closing seams. Bake 15 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. Cool completely.

2- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz sour cream
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch mix
Blend well. Spread on cooled crust.

Top with:*
½ cup broccoli, chopped fine
½ cup carrots, shredded
½ cup cucumber, peeled and seeds removed, chopped fine
½ cup cauliflower, chopped fine
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into small pieces and serve.
*May be any combination of vegetables you desire.

What sides are favorites in your house?


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  2. Ok, so I got so excited I blew my first comment! Calico Beans are wonderful. I kick it up by adding 1/2 lb. Italian sausage to the ground beef, and by adding 1 can of drained butter beans. That's the only way I will eat those beans. Calico beans truly are to die for and this is a great recipe. And veggie pizza! When I'm really feeling lazy (most days) I'll head down to the Giant Eagle salad bar and get a bit of this, bit of that for toppings. Don't forget the pickled banana pepper rings and the olives slices. This is perfection. Thank you for the trip down memory lane!

  3. Love it! Love it! These recipes remind me of home!!! Veggie Pizza is one of my favorite summer treats.