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Easy slow cooker baked beans full of delicious flavor and spices. Much better than the store bought kind!
One of my favorite memories growing up happened when we were visiting my grandparents in northern Idaho when I was pretty young. My grandpa said that he was going to take us to a beach, and I couldn’t believe it. How could we go to the beach if we were nowhere near the ocean? Well, I was pleasantly surprised when we pulled up to a huge, beautiful lake with a large beach. I remember having so much fun splashing in the water, building sand castles, and probably eating yummy snacks. It was exciting for me, in my young mind, to discover that you could go to a beach even if you didn’t live near an ocean (which, living in Colorado, we obviously didn’t!)
We’re pretty lucky to live near a lot of outdoor, family-friendly areas — tons of parks, great places for camping and BBQ’ing in the mountains, and Utah Lake. However, I have only been to Utah Lake a handful of times, and it’s usually been at night, or just for a brief visit. This last weekend, Forrest and I decided it would be a lot of fun to go check out the beach and lake there, especially since Jack has been loving water a lot lately. We thought about going to one of the free access points, but figured it would cost about the same amount in gas to get to one of those, as it would just to pay at the entry point near our house, so that’s what we did! We brought our portable gas grill and a bag full of food and fun. It was the perfect weekend getaway!
I wanted us to have a yummy hot dog, baked beans, and potato salad meal — you know, classic summer foods. However, I didn’t just want to heat up a can of baked beans (even though I do love those!) So, I decided to make them in the slow cooker. I think making them in the slow cooker is great for when you are going to the beach or party, because you can start them the night before, and they’ll be perfect when you leave early in the morning to make it to the beach. I found several recipes online, but none of them really fit my criteria for “easy.” They all required multiple steps, taking them in and out of the oven, and doing lots of random steps over a period of 24 hours. Who’s got time for that?! Not this mama.
So, I just decided to take a few that looked good, combine the ingredients, and then just throw it all in the slow cooker. Easy as pie. It had all the essential ingredients that baked beans should have (beans, onions, spices, bacon, etc.), and all I had to do was wait.
I did use my Ninja Cooking System, and I baked them at 350 in that for about 10 minutes, but that’s not necessary. It was just easy to do since my Ninja is a slow cooker and oven in one! Our beach party was really fun! We dined on the hot dogs, baked beans, and potato salad, and thankfully, Jack ate everything! But to be honest, I think that Jack’s favorite was the dairy free ice cream sandwich bar we brought him as dessert! After eating, we played in the water, and we also played a little bit of paddle ball. I love games like this, and it was definitely perfect for the beach.
- 2 cans white kidney beans
- 2 chicken bouillion cubes
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 4 tablespoons corn starch, divided
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder, optional
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
- 2.5 cups water
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- Combine all ingredients, minus 2 tablespoons of corn starch, in a slow cooker.
- Cook on low for about 10 hours (on low) or 5 hours (on high)
- One hour before it's done, stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of corn starch. Stir, and let cook remaining hour.
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.