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Ground Beef & Baked Bean Casserole (aka Cookout Casserole)

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Baked Beans. Burgers. Typical cookout staples, right? Once upon a time, I never had any idea that they could be improved upon. Then a little fairy Godmother served these at a get together on a silver platter. Ah-mazing! I savored every bite. It was an intense, but brief affair. The clock struck 12, and just like that they were gone. The magic faded, but even after the party I couldn’t forget about them. It took some tracking down, but I found the maker of the magical beans, and there was no going back. This became a dinner, and cookout staple. Obviously, our family lived happily ever after in the kingdom of Beef & Beans.

Debut this cookout season in style. Be the belle of the ball by bringing these babies.

P.S. I’ve gotta tell ya, that these are great slathered on a hamburger bun too!

Ground Beef & Baked Bean Casserole (aka Cookout Casserole)

4 Sons 'R' Us: Ground Beef & Baked Bean Casserole

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped, about 2 cups
1 pound ground beef
2 15-ounce cans Boston-style baked beans
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped, about 1 cup
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
6 slices of your favorite bacon

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion; cook about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the beef; cook about 10 minutes or until brown, breaking meat up with a fork as it cooks.
3. In a large bowl, combine the beef mixture with the remaining ingredients except the bacon; mix well. Pour beef mixture into the prepared casserole; arrange the bacon slices on top. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake about 45 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Uncover dish and preheat broiler. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bacon is nice and crisp.

Crunchy Pea Salad

Spring has sprung. Or so we thought here in the good Old Dominion, but Spring apparently only decided to hang around for seven days, before high-tailing it back to parts unknown. That however, and the much cooler temps, didn’t stop the first BBQ get together of the season. I always have a few go-to barbecue, grill-out get together style go-to dishes to make for any function we’re going to or get invited to. While a pasta-based salad may be more traditional, this pea salad doesn’t disappoint. A cool twist on an old classic, with a great crunch from both the peas and the crispy bacon bits.

I know you may be looking at this recipe and thinking ‘a whole salad made out of peas’? really?! Well, it’s true you really can make a totally tasty salad out of peas! On first reading this recipe, you will have no idea how good it is. So don’t read it. Don’t doubt. Just plow ahead, make it, and see for yourself.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crunchy Pea Salad

recipe adapted from Sugar N Spice Gals

2-3 cups frozen peas
1/4 thinly sliced green onions
1 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper, to taste
1/8 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp soy sauce

Directions

1. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, & soy sauce.
2. Stir in the remaining ingredients, mixing well.
3. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Optional add-in ingredients: 1 cup chopped cauliflower, 1 cup craisins, 1 cup peanuts or sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup diced celery. Keep in mind though that if you opt for add ins you will need to increase the sauce ingredients to compensate.

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