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Warm up with bean bake

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Dear Jeanne: This is an easy and tasty dish that I serve for dinner or casual get-togethers. It's perfect to keep warm in a crockpot, and it's a nice change from the usual chili. Can you tell me how many calories it has? Maybe you could find a way to keep the flavor and lose the fat? Thanks. — Paula Davis, Kansas City, Mo.

Dear Paula: You're right — this is very tasty and different. Of course, whenever you use canned food, unless you use the no-salt-added variety, you will have a high sodium content. I could not find any of the beans except the kidneys with less sodium; tomatoes without added salt are pretty common these days, and I even found stewed tomatoes with seasonings but no added salt. I suggest that you brown the meat, bacon and onions separately if you make the original version. The fat seemed to be reabsorbed by the meat and onions, and even pressing with a spoon couldn't get it to come out again. You may add more or different kinds of beans, or more tomatoes as you prefer; these additions won't negatively affect the nutritional profile. This is a good, easy meal for a cold winter's day. Enjoy!


1 pound ground beef

1 pound bacon, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons prepared mustard

4 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon chili powder

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1 (16-ounce) can tomatoes

2 (16-ounce) cans red kidney beans

2 (16-ounce) cans pork and beans

2 (16-ounce) cans butter beans

1. Brown the ground beef, bacon and onion in the butter. Drain the excess fat.

2. Combine and add all of the other ingredients except the beans. Stir well. Add the beans and mix thoroughly. Bake for 1 hour at 350 F or put in a crockpot for 3 to 4 hours. Makes 20 servings.


1 pound lean ground beef or turkey

8 ounces turkey bacon, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

4 tablespoons ( 1/4 cup) prepared mustard

4 tablespoons ( 1/4 cup) molasses

1 teaspoon chili powder

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cans (15-ounce) no-salt-added stewed tomatoes

2 cans (15-ounce) no-salt-added kidney beans

2 cans (15-ounce) butter beans

2 cans (15-ounce) chili beans

1. Over medium-high heat, brown the ground meat in a large soup pot. Remove from heat and drain the fat. Set meat aside. Using the same pot, brown the turkey bacon. Drain the fat and set aside.

2. Wipe out the pan, removing everything but a thin film of fat to cook the onion. Cook the onion over medium heat until softened. Return the cooked meat to the pot with the onion, then add the ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, molasses, chili powder, black pepper and tomatoes. Stir well. Add the beans and place in the oven at 350 F for half an hour, or leave on the stove over medium heat for about half an hour, stirring often. (You can also place the mixture in a crockpot for an hour or two.) Once the meat is cooked, it's just a matter of heating the beans and mellowing the seasonings. Makes 20 servings.

Each serving contains approximately: Original Recipe: 374 calories; 21 g fat; 48 mg cholesterol; 1,250 mg sodium; 29 g carbohydrates; 18 g protein; 7 g fiber. Revised Recipe: 245 (beef) or 217 (turkey) calories; 8 (beef) or 5 (turkey) g fat; 30 (beef) or 28 (turkey) mg cholesterol; 711 mg sodium; 30 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein; 8 g fiber.

Beans are now getting their rightful recognition as one of the most healthful and nutritious foods available. My booklet "Beans and Legumes for Every Occasion" is full of cooking tips and tasty recipes. To order, send $3 (check or money order) and a stamped (60 cents), self-addressed, No. 10 envelope to Beans, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Jeanne Jones is a consultant on menu planning, recipes and new-product development for major hotels and spas. She is also the author of 32 cookbooks, most recently "Jeanne Jones' Homestyle Cooking Made Healthy" (Rodale Press, $27.95). Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, Deseret News, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (60 cents), self-addressed envelope. © King Features Syndicate