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Smoky Stovetop "Baked" Beans with Bacon

We have a feeling you're going to turn to this side dish more than once!
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Baked beans, both the type that come in cans and those that come from the kitchens of barbecue shacks, are usually one step away from candy, bombarded as they are with brown sugar, molasses, and honey. Too bad, since beans in and of themselves, baked beans are really an A-list food, in terms of their healthiness. But never fear, like many of our dishes in this recipe collection—or in the American diet, for that matter—it's not the beans themselves that are unhealthy for you, it's what we do when we prepare them that makes them lose their nutritional value. To preserve the health status of baked beans and simultaneously maximize their deliciousness, we mitigate the sugar surge and build flavor instead with a few of our all-time favorite foods and spices: cayenne, beer, and bacon. See what we mean about maximizing deliciousness? Yep, these smoky baked beans will be both healthy and addictive. Dig in!

Nutrition: 170 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 570 mg sodium

Serves 4

You'll Need

4 strips bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (16 oz each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup dark beer
1⁄4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Pinch of cayenne pepper

How to Make It

  1. Heat a large pot or saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the bacon and cook until it's just turning crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, another 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the beans, beer, ketchup, chili powder, brown sugar, and cayenne.
  5. Simmer until the sauce thickens and clings to the beans, about 15 minutes.

Eat This Tip

Make Your Own Cans on Hand:

There is something undoubtedly convenient about having a few cans of food on hand in your kitchen for when you haven't gotten a chance to go grocery store and are low on the daily necessities, or of course, if there is a natural disaster, you'll have plenty of canned corn and diced tomatoes to go around. However, like many things we buy pre-made in the store, it can come with a host of unnecessary calories and devoid of nutrients. Alternatively, try doubling this recipe and freezing a few containers of your own homemade goods.

This recipe (and hundreds more!) came from one of our Cook This, Not That! books. For more easy cooking ideas, you can also buy the book!

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