Recipe of the Week: Baked Beans, by Mrs. Kangaroo

Hello to you all.

My family and I have been readers of your blog for many years and have enjoyed all the posts and the many tips that people send in. When you started the recipe part on Mondays a little while back I was a little confused, “Don’t people know how to cook,“ I thought? A couple times since then as I was cooking I have thought to my self, “Oh, this would be a good recipe to send in”, but then I never did, thinking that long time readers the likes of Enola Gay, Pantry Paratus, and Rural Revolution already knew how to do all of these things. This weekend I was making supper and through some life changes we are tightening our belts, but I still have to feed our family of eight. So, hot dogs it was, since that’s what was in the freezer. Now I know that hot dogs are not your typical TEOTWAWKI food, but what am I to serve with it? The chips were gone, the fruit was reserved for lunches, and there was no easy frozen veggies to whip out. Hmmm…”Baked beans” I thought. Beans I have. Now Calico Beans I have done from scratch but not baked beans. They had always come out of the can already flavored. So where did I turn? My trusty Better Homes and Garden cookbook from our wedding 21 years ago. That’s when I thought to myself, “This is what people need, to learn how to cook…” So here is my eating after it all falls apart advice: Learn how to cook now, try recipes now, read cook books now. Cooking, like everything else, is a skill that takes time to learn. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Why store fancy prepackaged foods when no one in your home likes them? MRE’s will only work for so long before people around your table are going to want “something normal”.

What’s normal is different for every family, and what you will need to buy to put on the table is also different. Part of that is learning what you can make and keeping those things on hand so you have a stocked pantry. Can you go two weeks with just eating from what is already in your home? The other part is changing your view of normal, replace take out and frozen pizza with something that you can duplicate. The thing is though that you have to start eating like that now so that later homemade baked beans are normal and your family looks forward to rice four times a week. Any how, here are some of my favorite cook books: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery, More with Less, and any cookbook with Amish or Mennonite anywhere near the title is going to be a good choice for good old-fashioned cooking and skills.

Here is the baked beans recipe:


1 pound navy beans (I used canned beans; it’s much faster!)

¼ pound bacon (we had bacon grease)

1 cup chopped onion

½ cup Molasses or maple syrup

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard (I had regular spicy mustard from the fridge)

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper


  1. Cook bacon and onions.
  2. Add in beans if they are canned, or add cooked meat and onions to mostly cooked beans if you are starting with dry beans.
  3. Add in other ingredients and stir and cook liquid until beans are tender and flavors are good; adjust as you see fit.

Those are not the directions that are in the cookbook, but I think you get the gist of it. This recipe will take you any where from 3 hours to 45 minutes depending on which version of beans you are using.

So learning how to feed your family with regular food is fun, adventurous, and mostly cheaper than take out and frozen things. What it does cost you is time. Time reading, time picking out recipes, time shopping for what you need, but it is for sure time well spent.

Well, this turned into more than just a recipe and a list of some cookbooks, but I hope that it is inspiring and at the least gets folk thinking in a different direction. The next step after all of this is a step back in the chain: Can you grow or locally source through trading/bartering your basic ingredients that you use to cook to put on the table before your family of loved ones. That is a whole ‘nother topic.

Sincerely, Mrs. Kangaroo

o o o

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