There's something about a grilled hot dog that screams childhood and nostalgia to me. Growing up, I don't remember much variation from the basics: hot dogs, burgers, chips, fruit, veggies and dip. And really, what's not to love about that sort of picnic? Finger food, easy to eat, everyone loves it... perfect for an afternoon outside with friends.
Once we started having lots of people over for these cookouts, my mom started making some different things to go along as sides. One of those that has become a favorite is calico beans. The biggest draw for this dish? You can make it in the crock pot and freeze the leftovers. Well, I've heard you can freeze the leftovers... it doesn't happen often! But, you can mix this up in the morning, turn the crock pot on and then forget about it until party time. It's delicious and it's not going to heat your house up in the middle of the summer.
- 1 large can baked beans (Mom says that Bush's are the best)
- 4 cans of beans (any combination of black, kidney, pinto, lima, or white beans)
- 1/2 lb bacon
- 1 lb sausage (can use ground turkey, turkey sausage, Italian sausage)
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 T vinegar
- 2 t mustard
- 2 T Worcestershire sauce
- 1 c packed brown sugar
- 1 c ketchup
- Cook bacon and drain fat.
- Brown the sausage and drain fat.
- Saute onions and garlic.
- Mix beans, bacon, sausage, onion, and garlic together in crock pot.
- Mix up the sauce ingredients and pour over the bean mixture in the crock pot.
- Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
These beans have great flavor. Everything blends together so well in the crockpot and it's so much tastier than plain baked beans. The sauce is sweet and slightly tangy. Dip your potato chips in the sauce or use some chips to scoop up these beans. You'll love it!
What's your favorite thing to have for cookouts? If you're looking for some other tasty treats to round out your picnic table for Labor Day, try these!