Easy Southern Baked Beans Recipe for the Perfect Reunion Dish!

Easy Baked Bean Recipe for Summer Get-togethers and BBQs.

Updated June 2024:  I am still a big fan of baked beans but no one in my household likes this side dish but me, so I always need an occasion to make baked beans.  I went through my archives and found this recipe I originally published in 2016. Summer is perfect for baked beans with hotdogs, burgers, or grilled protein. Baked beans are an American tradition dating back to the 17th century. Colonist adopted the dish from Native Americans, and the beans were cooked for hours over a fire with a complex sauce.

I originally made this recipe for a family reunion around ten years ago, and was assigned to make baked beans for the event. This was when the family matriarchs assigned food they grew up eating and wanted for this reunion.  

Honestly, I grew up eating my baked beans out of a can. It was a dish that my family rarely consumed. No one in my family ever baked beans. I researched hundreds of recipes for this reunion, and many recipes were too complicated and time-consuming for a brand-new mother who was far from a professional chef. 

I was in a pickle because the one thing I was not going to do was show up with just a bunch of baked beans from a can purchased at my local grocer. Also, this was when deli-prepared foods were not as common as they now are in 2024. 

The recipe I used for this event was simple and easy. You can start with BBQ baked beans, but I started with regular baked beans (nothing special about them) and added my own BBQ sauce. Add red onion, brown sugar, and bacon, and bake for 40 minutes or longer. Check often to make sure the beans don't burn. 

Southern Reunions:  Serving up Baked Beans

Southern Baked Beans with a HomemadeTwist 

4 cans of  Organic Baked Beans
3 strips of uncured bacon cut into pieces
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of vinegar-based BBQ sauce or BBQ sauce of your choice.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir and serve.

The baked beans were a hit. Of course, children always say the most truthful, candid things. One of my little cousins, who was in third grade at the time, said, "I love the baked beans because I love beans from a can." 

Dang, she was on to me with my canned beans!!! This recipe does taste better than just opening a can of beans. I like to say, "It dresses it up a little." 

Discover the Best Spring Vegetables at NC Farmer's Market

North Carolina, USA
One of my childhood memories is waking up at my Grandma's home and seeing her in the garden. She was not a farmer to earn a living, but her hard work provided some of the best veggies I had ever tasted for lunch and dinner.

I live less than two miles from North Carolina's State Farmer's Market in Raleigh. I also belong to Papa Spud's, where I can get produce from the farms straight to my door when I order. This is the time of year when I begin ordering and buying more produce. I buy from several stands when I visit the NC State Farmer's Market because each farmer's crop is different. In the next few weeks, I'll work to share some of my favorites. 

What's Fresh from the Farm in the Spring in NC? Spring Vegetables

My grandmother grew corn, turnips, collards, strawberries, butter beans, new potatoes, and green beans. They also had grapes. She would cook fresh vegetables every day for a lunch buffet.  She kept me while my Mom worked when I was little, and I developed a palate for fresh vegetables at a very early age. I would sit before the Price is Right with a TV stand and dine on a smorgasbord of fresh veggies from the garden. 

Farm Days
Source:  Who Remembers This? on Facebook 

I even helped her snap beans and shell peas. 

North Carolina has tons of pollen this time of year, but it also means that the gardens are ready for harvest. Below are some of the vegetables peaking this time of year. 

Spring Veggies in season in NC

Green Onions: Late March
Asparagus: Early April 
Strawberries: Early/mid-April
Arugula: Late April 
Lettuces: Late April 
Radishes: Late April 
Peas: Late April 
Bok Choy: Early May
Salad Mix: Early May
Blueberries: Mid May
Chard, Rainbow: Mid May
Salad Turnips: Mid-May
Snap Peas: Mid May
New Potatoes: Mid-May
Broccoli: Late May
Squash, Yellow: Late May
Squash, Zucchini: Late May 

NC State Farmer's Market 

1201 Agriculture Street 

The State Farmers Market is located at the corner of Lake Wheeler Road and Centennial Parkway, and it has easy access from I-40 in Raleigh, N.C.  From I-40, take Exit 297 to Lake Wheeler Road.  Head northeast on Lake Wheeler Road.  The market is located on the left, approximately 0.5 miles.  The market is open daily. 

NC FARM APP and Farmer Market Listings

I am fortunate to live in North Carolina because it is a thriving agricultural state. Very few farms remain inside Raleigh's city limits, so most of our fresh produce comes from rural Wake County and surrounding counties such as Johnston, Harnett, Nash, Edgecombe, and Wilson Counties. 

Visit Raleigh keeps an ongoing list of Farmer's Markets in the area, and Visit NC keeps a statewide market list. North Carolina also has an NC Farm App for download on Apple/Android. It lists farms and restaurants that use farm-fresh produce. It's a must to get the alls-star NC foodie experience. 

List of NC Farm Tourism Experiences

Updated April 1, 2024 

The Most Delicious Asparagus Recipe Ever for Spring

Raleigh, NC, USA
Whether planning a bridal luncheon or an elegant dinner party, this recipe for marinated asparagus will impress your guests. They will think you have slaved away in the kitchen for hours, but the secret is that this recipe takes little time to prepare.

This simple and delicious side dish is perfect for spring and summer when asparagus is abundant at the Farmer's Market. It's great for an Easter side as well. My kids love asparagus simply roasted or boiled, but this recipe takes asparagus up a notch for guests.

It's best when made the night before an event, which I love because it gives me less to do on the dinner party day. I'm also a big fan of asparagus because it's lower in carbohydrates.

the most delicious aspragus recipe. Perfect for Easter dinner. It marinates overnight in a balsamic vinegar dressing.

Elegant Marinated Asparagus

1 pound fresh asparagus spears
1 green onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning (used Good Season's Italian Dressing Packet)
2 tablespoons of diced pimento
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Cut the ends of the asparagus. Blanch the asparagus for 4 minutes until crisp-tender, then immediately submerge it in ice water. Pat the asparagus dry and place it in a shallow baking dish.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Pour the dressing over the asparagus, cover, and chill overnight. Drain any excess marinade before serving. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

*Versions of this recipe are in almost every junior league or church cookbook I own. I based this recipe on trying different ones and using the ingredients that I like best.

This marinated asparagus recipe would also be a great side to my Joey Burgers recipes. 

Pin for Recipe

The perfect asparagus recipe for Easter, a bridal luncheon or just for the family.  This Marinated Asparagus is the most delicious asparagus ever.  #springrecipes #recipes #asparagus #sides

This recipe was originally published in 2012 and was updated in March 2024


Wintry Green Salad Recipe - A Delicious Holiday Side to Dazzle the In-Laws

North Carolina, USA
Updated: December 23, 2023. After almost 13 years of blogging, I'm doing my best to update old content. It's not an easy task at all. I decided to update this post because I've been assigned "a green salad" for Christmas Eve dinner. This wintry green salad is easy to make and if you choose not to make your own dressing, it works well with any storebought dressing, too. 

Great Holiday Side Salad with Citrus and Cranberries. Easy to assemble and delicious.

I have been making this Wintry Green salad for a few years now. It's really easy, and it offers a great simple side to an evening meal, or serve it for lunch with chicken salad. The Mandarin oranges and cranberries make it colorful, and worthy for entertaining.

I had it on the menu for my tree-trimming meal last month, and my Mother-in-Law loved it so much that she requested it for our Christmas Eve gathering. I don't think you can go wrong with this salad. I have, however, cut the sugar amounts for the dressing from the original recipe, which was published in the 2003 Jr. Guild of Rocky Mount Cookbook, "A Dash of Down East." 

Wintry Green Salad with Citrus and Cranberries

Wintry Green Salad with Citrus and Cranberries

1-11 oz can of Mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
8 to 10 cups mixed salad greens

Sesame Cider Dressing:

1/3 cup sugar (Original recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 1/2 teaspoons of minced onions
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all dressing ingredients except oil in a bowl. Gradually whisk in oil.
Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Toss with dressing just before serving.

Be sure to visit all my favorite recipes in the HinesSight Blog Recipe section.

The Perfect Holiday Entree - The Beginner's Guide to Cooking a Beef Rib Roast

North Carolina, USA
Updated: December 2023. I saw my Mom this morning, and she asked me about cooking a Christmas rib roast. It was like Christmas De Ja Vu. I would not commit, but it got me thinking about this post I wrote in 2017. It may be time for a rib roast this holiday. We'll see, but after reading more cookbooks than I can count, the rib roast recipe I've posted below. My holiday looks a little different these days. I'm now a parent to teens.  This post was originally written in December 2017, 

Unlock the secret to the perfect boneless rib roast with our beginner-friendly guide. Learn the essential techniques and tips that will turn you into a boneless rib roast master in no time. Say goodbye to dry or tough roasts and prepare to impress your guests with juicy, tender results.

A week or two before the holidays, my Mom hinted that she would like prime rib by sending me online recipes every other day. The recipes would casually be slipped into my Facebook messages. This particular holiday marked our 12th Christmas without Dad. He used to make bone-in-prime every holiday. I had never made a rib roast before. 

"Learn the basics of perfectly cooking a rib roast with our beginner's guide. Our step-by-step instructions will guide you through the whole process to help you get the perfect result every time. Get an unforgettable dining experience - cook a perfect rib roast today!"

I read the recipes she sent, and they frightened me a little.  I would never commit to her, and still, two days before this Christmas, I still did not know what I would prepare for our holiday dinner. I pulled countless recipe books from my pantry and thought I might attempt some beef or pork tenderloin. When I went grocery shopping, I took two cookbooks to Lowes Food, and they sat in the cart while I looked at meat. There was not a beef tenderloin in sight for less than $80.

My wallet spoke up.  Boneless ribeye roasts were on a significant sale. A four-pound boneless ribeye roast was marked down from $52 to $32. I flipped through my cookbooks, surfed the internet on Lowes's free Wi-Fi, and decided to try it. It would be my meat entree and sides of corn pudding, macaroni and cheese, southern butterbeans, green beans, and rolls.

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