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Turn beans into a main dish

"Hearty Bean Bake" is a great main dish with ground beef and baked beans!
"Hearty Bean Bake" is a great main dish with ground beef and baked beans!

Typically, beans are served as a side dish with little fanfare. We've all grown used to serving this vegetable pretty much as is and without a lot of added spice. The only exception to this rule is when we make baked beans or a bean casserole. Why not take both of these exceptions and turn them into a main dish that crosses baked beans with a casserole? With this combination, we can make "Hearty Bean Bake".

This recipe makes a hearty and filling dish, which also serves about twelve. It contains ground beef, and as popular as this meat is, there's no doubt as to how good this dish is! You begin by browning ground beef and onion, which is then drained. You also add flavor with cooked bacon! This goes into the meat, along with four different types of beans: baked beans, kidney beans, wax beans and cut green beans. If you don't really care for one certain bean, feel free to exchange one for another, if you'd like. This also gets the "baked bean" treatment with brown sugar, ketchup, honey and cider vinegar. This is all baked together and with a salad and a hot bread, this completed the meal!

If you wanted to, you could use ground turkey breast instead of ground beef. You may have heard me say before that if you use ground turkey, be sure to use ground turkey breast. This has a lower level of fat, since some regular ground turkey contains turkey skin, which I personally wouldn't like. This is a trick you can remember in any recipe that calls for ground beef and is handy to do if you're cutting back on your red meat consumption or watching your diet. It still turns out great either way you make it!

I passed along another great ground beef recipe for "The World's Greatest Meatloaf" a while back. This is a great recipe and if you missed it earlier, here's the link to get it:


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. sliced bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
  • 1 can (28 oz.) baked beans
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) wax beans, drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) green beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

In a large skillet, cook the beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain the excess fat. Stir in the bacon and beans. Transfer to a greased 2-1/2 quart baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, ketchup, honey and vinegar. Pour over the bean mixture. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until heated throughout and is bubbling. Let stand for 10 minutes, then stir before serving. Yield: about 12 servings.

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