Monday, November 16, 2015

Autumn Apple Bean Bake

When we think of autumn and food, we think of slow-cooked meals, pumpkins, apples, cranberries, spices....

Now think of the colors of autumn...yellow, orange, red, and brown, right?

A famous saying around food people is, "You eat with your eyes." And it's true! Nothing says delicious fall flavors like the golden crust on an apple pie or the savory orange of roasted sweet potatoes.

This recipe I'm sharing today captures all of that and more. You get to use all of your senses with this one!

Apple Bean Bake
This is a recipe for your slow-cooker, and serves a crowd.


1/2 cup butter
3 large apples, chopped into 1/2" pieces (I used Gala and Granny Smith)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon salt

3 (15.5 oz) cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
3 (15.5 oz) cans Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed

ham or bacon (cooked and diced), optional

Melt the butter in a large skillet, then add the apples and cook until they're tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Add the brown sugar and white sugar and stir until the sugars are dissolved, just a few more minutes. Then stir in the ketchup, cinnamon, molasses and salt. (Doesn't it smell wonderful?)

Mix this concoction with the beans in a large bowl and stir well. Add the optional ham or bacon now.

Put it all in your slow cooker and cover. Cook on high for 3-4 hours.

This dish was perfect for our carry-in dinner at church! I put the ingredients together in the morning, and then let it cook away in the church kitchen until noon.

And it was so good! Just the right blend of sweet and savory flavors :)

Our autumn is slipping away in summer-like days! Over the weekend we had temperatures in the high-60's and low-70's and beautiful summery weather. Hubby and I have both been fighting our way back to health from the bug we caught last month, so on Saturday afternoon we stuck our weary bodies in the car and headed to Wyoming for a big dose of open spaces and clean air.

We enjoyed the afternoon's drive so much that I forgot to take pictures!!! But I'll share some photos from a few Novembers ago. Gone are the golden aspen leaves we enjoyed in October, but look at what remains! A feast for our souls. :)

 We came home from our drive refreshed and renewed!

What fills your tank?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I am so confused! LOL. Apples and brown sugar, yes. Beans and brown sugar and ketchup, yes. Apples, beans, brown sugar, ketchup and ham? I have to think about this.
    Once my husband saw a flat of canned beans at the store for a really, really low price. He brought them home (even though we usually just cook our own pintos by the pot). I didn't see one before he opened it and put it in some Tupperware for work. Well, it was actually pork and beans... which he'd never had. He was horrified. Apparently, sweet beans are an American thing. We still laugh about it. I actually like pork and beans, when they show up at picnics.
    I do want to try this but I'm afraid I'd be the only person eating it. :(

    So, do you know where this recipe comes from, Jan?

  3. I just Googled it and it's a very popular dish! One even had bacon slices baked over the top. Interesting!

    1. You know, when I think of beans Mexican style, I think of spicy or savory rather than sweet. Your poor husband! I hope he didn't starve that day!

      I got this recipe from a Taste of Home magazine, and then tweaked it for my own purposes (like I usually do!).

      And I was a bit leery of adding ketchup into that sweet, spicy apple concoction, but the ketchup gives it that baked bean goodness. At least, American-style baked bean goodness :)

    2. We're trying it tonight! I just told my kids about it and they're all for trying it out. LOL.

      (And excuse the first deleted comment. Typos. I was visiting way too late to type straight.)

  4. Oh my stars, I would have never thought of this!!!! Jan, thank you for posting this, it's something so different, and looks delicious! And total Fall extravaganza!!!!!!!!

    And Taste of Home rocks! And the recipes that were in Yankee Magazine... Old New England recipes, recipes from little Inns and fancy restaurants and home kitchens. I love that kind of stuff!

    1. Oh, nostalgic New England! Yankee Magazine is (or was - I haven't read one for a long time) complete Americana. And Taste of Home is like peeking into someone's kitchen and coming away with their favorite recipes and cooking tips. I love those magazines, too.

      Just another thing we have in common, Ruthy, dear. Which shouldn't be surprising at all, since we both spend our time here at the Cafe!

  5. Well I'm sort of intrigued...kinda...the whole whack of sugar and molasses and ketchup makes me a wee bit leery though. Not to mention apples. Who thinks of these recipes? I'm sure it tastes wonderful but just who sits down and says "hey lets through ketchup in with apples and see what we get."

    1. Hmmm. How can I make this sound appetizing? (Because it's delicious - it really is!)

      Okay, in your mind, put the ketchup and beans together. Then let the apples and brown sugar mingle together...let the apples melt into the brown sugar/molasses until you have kind of a cidery thing going on. Now combine the cidery thing with the baked beans thing. Is it working yet?

      You'll have to try a very small batch. I think you'll like it :)

    2. LOL -- okay, I'll be brave and try making this. Do you think it would freeze well?

    3. It should. The apples and beans will break down a little more with the freezing and thawing, but I freeze beans all the time (baked beans, bean soup, etc.)

  6. Things that make you go HMM. Apples and beans, you say? Sounds like a don't-knock-it-til-you've-tried-it kind of thing. However, I am a fan of sweet and savory, so we'll see.

    Time at the ranch or the mountains always fills my tank. So maybe when we finally move to the ranch, my tank will be filled all the time. That would be awesome. :D

    1. If you like sweet and savory, you'll love this recipe, Mindy! When I first read through it, I had my doubts, too.

      But I've found that the best place to try out a new recipe is at a carry-in dinner. There will be at least one person in the crowd who will love it, even if my family doesn't :) This one passed the test...everyone except my family liked it, LOL!

      Full time at the ranch. Oh, that sounds divine! You'll be there before you know it!

  7. Jan, I would have never thought to mix apples and beans! How unusual, but delicious! I can't wait to try it. I love using my Crockpot!

    I'm glad you're getting well. But so sorry it's taken so long! I got a bad cold last Monday and am just now feeling almost normal. Still a bit congested, though. Fall illnesses are rough!

    1. This bug that went around town last month was like a mini-flu. It had all the symptoms of the flu, but without the fever. But then my dear husband developed a sinus infection, so his recovery has been tough.

      I hope you like this recipe. If you like bean dishes, you certainly will!

    2. That sounds miserable, Jan! Thankfully I had no fever and no aches. Just a nasty cold and cough. I'm glad your husband is on the mend.

      I love bean dishes!

    3. And I'm glad you're feeling better! Maybe this is the last of the illnesses until after Christmas? Let's hope so!!!

  8. Jan, the apple and bean combination sounds interesting. And I like sweet and savory, so this should work for me. Laughing at your suggestion to take new recipes to the church potlucks. Definitely a good way to taste test a new dish.

    Going to the mountains recharges my spirit. Your Wyoming pictures (even from last year) are refreshing. We enjoyed our mountain and desert time in Wyoming for eight years. I regret I never made it to Sheridan, WY.

    Thanks for the recipe celebrating autumn colors and flavors! Glad you are feeling better!

    1. Thanks, Sherida!

      We love Wyoming - but my husband has never been to Yellowstone and the Tetons. It's on our list...but we love the Big Horns. So if we have a weekend getaway planned, we head toward Sheridan :) (Actually Buffalo - just a little ways south of Sheridan on I-90. A great little town, especially if you're a Longmire fan!)

  9. I'm laughing at all the reactions to apples and beans. I'll mix just about anything together, but my youngest and I are the only ones who would eat it. My husband and my eldest prefer their food separated. Isn't it funny how we inherit these traits?

    My reaction was more along the lines of - 6 cans! That's a LOT of beans!

    1. It filled my large crock pot! This recipe feeds a CROWD!

      Of course, you can downsize it :)