I thought I’d share a few favorite recipes and food ideas for your 4th of July gathering.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes and Nancy’s Baked Beans
When I think of Independence Day, a particularly memorable celebration comes to mind. One of these holidays in my youth was enjoyed at my Uncle Allen’s house in rural Ohio. My dad had a huge family – 10 siblings, each with big families of their own and would get together as often as they could, but especially on holidays. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles gathered in the shade in their favorite lawn chairs to catch up on the latest news. The cousins would all play croquet, badminton, volleyball and whatever else kept us busy. The younger kids got to climb up in the tree house and everyone grazed on amazing food all day. This particular year, one of my aunts made pineapple-upside-down cake, which I tried for the first time.
Now I’m not really a cake person, because I generally don’t like the sugary too-sweet frosting. But as you may know, Pineapple-upside-down cake doesn’t have frosting. It just has scrumptious slices of pineapple, swimming in a brown sugar glaze…and I LOVED it! Over the course of that day, I ate SEVEN – yes SEVEN pieces of that cake. Not sure what everyone else had, because I ate so much of it myself. It was heavenly! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that much cake in one day before or since then (thankfully).
So, in honor of that memorable Independence Day treat, I’m posting this link to a recipe for Pineapple-Upside Down Cupcakes (pictured above) Doesn’t that sound like a great idea? I’ve never made these, but I love the cupcake idea for a potluck, picnic, barbecue or even a nice dinner with friends. So much easier to transport and lovely to serve. These are probably big enough for at least 2 people to share (unless of course, they love pineapple-upside-down cake as much as I do). Let me know what you think.
And in looking through my old posts, I’m amazed that I’ve never shared my crock pot “Baked” Beans recipe, so here it is below. This one is so quick, tasty, colorful and easy. It is the hit of any casual gathering. I serve it all year long and often get requests to bring it to potlucks. This week, my husband was asked to bring something for an “All American” themed potluck at work, so I’ll help him make this recipe to share.
In case you’re wondering…the current most favored theory about the origin of Baked Beans notes that American Indians cooked beans with maple syrup and bear fat. Now how much more American can you get!
Since we don’t have bear fat, let me offer this variation of a baked beans recipe. It’s much more colorful and has added protein to make it more filling as well. The great thing about it is that it’s so flexible. Feel free to experiment to find your favorite combination, then you can personalize it as “Amy’s Beans”, “Emma’s Beans” or ________________ Beans [Insert your name here].
Nancy’s Beans Recipe
- 1 can Pork-n-Beans or Ranch Style Beans (do not drain)
- 1 large can Baked Beans (Bush’s or your favorite brand) (do not drain)
- 1 can butter beans (no need to drain)
- 1 can black beans (drained), 1 can kidney beans (drained) 1 can Cannelini or Great Northern beans (drained), Navy or Pinto beans
- 1/2 to 1 pound of cooked and chopped bacon
- 1/2 to 1 onion (sauteed)
- 1/2 to 1 pound of cooked ground beef (optional)
- 1 Tblsp mustard
- 1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, molasses or maple syrup
Really you can use nearly any combination of beans in addition to the first 2 cans. The more variety you have, the more colorful the dish is.
Empty the first 3 cans of beans into a large crock pot without draining. The sauce in these adds to the flavor and thickness.
After you drain the liquid from the Black, Kidney, Cannelini, Great Northern, Navy or Pinto beans, add them to the crock pot. Easiest is to pour all the beans that need to be drained in a colander and rinse with water. This should also wash away some of the excess sodium that comes in canned products.
Add the cooked onions, bacon, and/or ground beef
Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar(or molasses or maple syrup)
Stir everything together and set to low for 4-5 hours or until hot. Everything is already cooked when it goes in, so all you’re doing is warming it up and allowing the flavors to blend together. It can even be warmed in a microwave if you’re in a hurry. It does seem to taste better after it sits together for a few hours. If you’re cooking it in a crockpot and it seems to be too watery, just take off the lid and let it cook for a while with the lid off. The sauce will thicken more the longer the lid is off.
This will fill a large crockpot and serve 10-15 at least.
I hope you try these out. Let me know how you like it and if you have ideas for ways to make it better.
MORE JULY FOURTH RECIPE IDEAS:
Here are more recipes from some of your favorite magazines to check out for your Independence Day celebration:
Better Homes and Gardens: Festive Fourth of July Desserts and Cooling Cocktail Recipes
Bon Appetit: Fourth of July Picnic Menu or The Perfect Slaw
Cooking Light: Fourth of July Celebrations
The Daily Green: Delicious Summer Recipes
Food & Wine: July 4th Chef’s Celebrations
Good Housekeeping: Fun and Festive Fourth of July Recipes
Martha Stewart: Fourth of July Recipes
Taste of Home: July 4th Entertaining
Happy Independence Day!