Memorial Day is coming up soon and the sides you serve are as important
as the meat that you grill!
We’re all looking forward to grilled chicken, steak and tri tip (my favorite) but those beans and pasta salads are what we crave too so taking a little extra time to make them special will ensure that your meal will be awesome.
Why take baked beans out of a can and warm them up when you can add a few other ingredients and serve a dish that everyone will savor? Spicy Baked Beans are my favorite dish to bring to family and friend gatherings such as barbeques and picnics. The turmeric in the yellow mustard gives this delicious dish both a golden color and a tangy taste. Including black beans and kidney beans adds to the color combination that your guests will relish but most recently I left out black beans and cooked the beans longer than before. The result was a tasty, dark brown and caramel style bean dish that everyone loved.
While the photo shown below is before the beans go into the oven, take my word for it…cooking it longer in the oven makes a huge difference in taste.
Spicy Baked Beans
- 1 lb ground pork breakfast sausage
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 2 (28 ounce) cans baked beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup bottled bbq sauce
- 1/3 cup yellow mustard (a must)
- 1 ts black pepper
- ½ ts ground red pepper (or more)
- 1 ts garlic powder (or more to taste)
- Cook sausage in a large oven proof skillet over medium heat until done (drain all liquid but 2 teaspoons)
- Stir in and cook onion for about 5 minutes with sausage
- Add the rest of the ingredients
- Cook on the stove top with a lid until thick and bubbly,then without a lid until most of the liquid is gone (about 45 minutes). Place in the oven with foil covered and bake at 250 degrees for another hour or so until the beans are carmeled with a browned crust.
Colorful Crunchy Macaroni Salad
Macaroni Salads are always a crowd pleaser and this one is so simple to make.
Two years ago I published a recipe for Cool and Creamy Macaroni Salad and really loved the results. Even though I’ve made it several times since then I’ve decided to make it more appetizing this time by adding a healthy crunch with more vegetables. The peas, basil and bell pepper really add to the flavor of this salad but you can add other veggies too. Change the flavor by adding different spices and fresh herbs…in fact, add whatever you have in the fridge and cupboard that you think would be fun. Just try to stick to a profile of flavors and so you don’t cloud the delicious taste.
When I published this recipe last year, I had prepared it for a picnic for Greg’s mother and she loved it. So…just made it last weekend for Mothers Day and once again, she took leftovers home!
Colorful Crunchy Macaroni Salad
Don’t drain the macaroni too well before adding the other ingredients – a little extra moisture will keep it from drying out.
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- ½ small red onion, minced
- 2-3 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 1 package frozen peas, thawed
- ¼ cup minced fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon or 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 – 1 ½ cups mayonnaise – as preferred
- Pepper and Salt to taste
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta into the boiling water and cook, stirring often, until nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water until cool, then drain briefly so that the macaroni remains moist. Transfer to a large bowl.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and let sit for 5-10 minutes. If made ahead of time, refrigerate and stir again before serving, adding more mayo if it needs more moisture . This dish tastes better the next day so preparing the salad the day before will improve the results.