Easter is about the best holiday ever. I remember how I used to look forward to chocolate rabbits. They never tasted as good as they looked and they were hollow, but I thought they were wonderful. Dying Easter eggs was always a big deal and I remember taking my son to Ohio so that my father could dye eggs. Everyone got their name written on one. Some were dyed in stripes and some went into the egg-orater – I don’t remember exactly what it did, but we still have it in the attic. Even though my father is no longer with us, we still dye the eggs. I have written a note in my recipe book to add a teaspoon of Salt to the water so the eggs don’t crack. That way I see it when I check to see how long it takes to cook the eggs. The other important thing to remember is to buy your eggs a couple of weeks before Easter since fresh eggs don’t peel at all well.
For us Easter Dinner usually involves only our immediate family. After sunrise service we put a ham in the oven, sometimes basting it with a mixture of honey and mustard. It smells wonderful. I usually make potato salad, except for adding the eggs, the day before. I add them after we come home from church and admire the Easter baskets. To complete our picnic I make baked beans. This was one of my mother’s favorite meals and we think of her as we sit down to dinner. We have changed our baked bean recipe through time and have adjusted it to suit our taste. There are certain things that are constant and certain things that we vary according to what we have on hand and what we feel like. It is always a variation of the ingredients listed below.
4 cans of beans, 15 to 16 ounces each
1 red kidney beans
1 black beans
2 white beans, I like to use butter beans and navy beans. Not garbanzos
½ pound of bacon or 1 cup of diced ham
1 medium onion chopped
1 Tablespoon of dried Mustard
1 cup of brown sugar, or some honey can replace part of the brown sugar. How much you add will depend on how sweet your family likes things.
1 8 ounce jar of salsa – medium or hot depending on your taste.
Drain and rinse the canned beans in a seive. Put them in a large dish.
If you are using bacon, cut two strips in half for the top, and the rest into smaller pieces. . (using kitchen shears makes cutting easier)
Sauté the onion and bacon and add to the mixed beans, reserving the larger pieces of bacon or some of the ham.
Add the salsa, mustard and sugar. Mix well and transfer to a large greased casserole placing the reserved bacon or ham on the top.
Cover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for an hour and a half. Remove the lid for the last fifteen minutes and check the mixture. If it seems to have more liquid than you want thicken with some cornstarch stirred into cold water and mixed into the beans, returning them to the oven for the last fifteen minutes.
Adjust this recipe to your own family’s taste by changing the beans, the salsa or the sugar/honey mixture.
Enjoy and have a happy Easter.