Fourth of July Feast

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Fourth of July Feast

After 73 hours of powerlessness (in many senses of the word), yesterday we finally got back to reality. Everyone was still out of sorts, but we trucked on. Unfortunately, today Husband had to work AND work overtime for the Fourth. Lame. The poor guy had an awful birthday without power and had to spend his favorite holiday at work. He can’t catch a break. Originally, Ben and I were going to go and visit and head out to dinner with him. But, a friend and wife of one of Husband’s coworkers came up with the genius idea of bringing a Fourth of July Barbecue to the boys at work. Hence, these wonderful recipes!

Growing up, one Fourth of July (or any summer BBQ) staple in my house was my mom’s famous baked beans. As a child, I was incredibly spoiled in the culinary arena. My mom is an amazing cook and does NOT believe in store-bought. She makes everything from scratch. I had no idea that baked beans came in cans until I was old enough to remember Bush’s Baked Beans commercials. These, my friends, are better than Bush’s Baked Beans. Like 10,000 times better. One of the best parts about this recipe is that it’s not inherently difficult, it just takes awhile to bake. I’ve left out one ingredient for proprietary reasons 🙂 Can’t share ALL the family secrets. 🙂

Mom’s Better than Bush’s Baked Beans
Serves 8 as a healthy-sized side dish
1 1 lb. 4 oz can of Campbell’s Pork and Beans and 1 16 oz. can of B&M original beans (rinsed and drained)
6 oz. turkey bacon (Mom uses real bacon)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup chili sauce
2 Tb. molasses
1/2 tsp salt
1 small can of crushed pineapple in its juices (do not drain)
Brown sugar, to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 F.
  2. Cook bacon until crispy. Drain off excess grease. If you’re using turkey bacon, you likely will not have to drain the pan. Saute the onions in the remaining grease (yum!). Crumble the bacon.
  3. In a small bowl (I used my Pyrex measuring cup), combine the sauces, molasses, and salt. Mix together well.
  4. In a 2 1/2 qt dish, combine all of the ingredients (beans, bacon, onions, pineapple, and sauce). Sprinkle with brown sugar.
  5. Bake for at least 1 hour. The top should be a dark molasses-y color and the beans should bubble. Boom.

In addition to the baked beans, I marinated 3 chicken breasts in 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 6 Tb of olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, and 1 tsp of rosemary. Husband grilled it when we got to the office. This is a super tasty way of cooking plain old boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

What barbecue is complete without a tasty dessert? None. Because it’s blueberry season and I am a little obsessed with blueberries, I stumbled upon a fantastic crisp recipe from Williams-Sonoma. Holy Amazingness, Batman. We didn’t have any vanilla ice cream with us at the “BBQ”, but that would put this dessert over the top. Enjoy!

Blueberry Crisp is the perfect addition to any summer meal

Williams-Sonoma Blueberry Crisp
Serves 6
4 cups (2 pints) fresh blueberries (rinsed and partially dried)
2 Tb lemon juice
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 Tb unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
3/4 cup rolled oats

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a 1 1/2 quart baking dish, spread out the blueberries in an even layer. Drizzle the top with the lemon juice.
  3. With a fork or pastry cutter, cut together the remaining ingredients until well-combined. Spread evenly over the blueberries.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes (this is critical or else it will be a goopy mess) and serve either hot or warm. Adding vanilla bean ice cream would be amazing.
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