Dear Jeanne:This is a great recipe to cook for a crowd and keep warm in a slow cooker, but it certainly doesn't look healthy to me. Would you "fix" it? — Ellen, Ventura, Calif.

Dear Ellen: This recipe has lots of good attributes, and we can cut down on the less-healthful ingredients so that it's much better for you. This makes a very big batch, so if you don't want so much, cut all the ingredients in half except the chili powder.

If you are concerned about salt, look for low-sodium ketchup, barbecue sauce, beans and tomatoes. You also may use dried beans; soak and cook them ahead of time. After browning the meat, this may be cooked in the oven, on top of the stove or in a slow cooker.

BEST IN THE WEST BARBECUE BEAN BAKE

1 pound ground beef

1 whole onion, chopped

1 pound bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/4 cup butter

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

2 cans tomatoes

2 cans kidney beans

2 cans pork and beans

2 cans butter beans

Brown the beef, onion and bacon in the butter. Drain excess fat. Add all the other ingredients, except the beans. Stir in the beans and mix thoroughly. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour.

Makes 20 servings.

BETTER IN THE WEST BARBECUE BEAN BAKE

1 pound lean ground turkey

8 ounces turkey bacon

1 whole onion

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

4 teaspoons prepared mustard

4 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon chili powder

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cans (15 ounces each) low-sodium kidney beans

2 cans (15 ounces each) pork and beans

2 cans (15 ounces each) butter beans

2 cans (15 ounces each) no-salt-added stewed tomatoes

1. Spray a large pot with nonstick cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, brown the turkey and turkey bacon. Add the onion and cook for another 5 minutes.

2. Add the ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, molasses, chili powder and pepper, and mix well.

3. Add the beans and tomatoes, and again mix well. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to simmer and cook for about 45 minutes. Alternately, place in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours. Or, place in an ovenproof pot and bake for 1 hour at 350 F.

Makes 20 servings.

Each serving contains approximately: Original Recipe: 375 calories; 21 gm fat; 48 mg cholesterol; 1,277 mg sodium; 29 gm carbohydrates; 18 gm protein; 7 gm fiber. Revised Recipe: 217 calories; 5 gm fat; 28 mg cholesterol; 712 mg sodium; 31 gm carbohydrates; 14 gm protein; 8 gm fiber.


Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently "Cooking From the Cupboard" (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her Web site, jeannejones.com. Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, Deseret Morning News, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (63 cents), self-addressed envelope. © King Features Syndicate Inc.