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I originally made this recipe for a family reunion around ten years ago, and was assigned to make baked beans for the event.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


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