My Dad’s Baked Beans

Hi and welcome back to the Library Life Hack test kitchen! Just so we’re clear, this baked bean recipe doesn’t belong to my Dad. It’s the culinary invention of the Dad of Leanne Brown, who wrote “Good and Cheap”, the cookbook that we’ve been exploring for quite some time now. (My Dad could cook, but his specialty was vegetable soup.)

My Dad's Baked Beans

My Dad’s Baked Beans
Just watch out for the sugar

If you’re flipping through the print version of “Good and Cheap”, this recipe is on page 48. (You won’t find it in the free PDF edition, which you can download at

Ingredient Notes
The recipe calls for:

  • chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (or any chile sauce)
  • canned baked beans
  • mustard
  • brown sugar

I stuck to all of the ingredients except for the chipotle chiles. I like them, but they’re just not something I’ve learned to cook with regularly — and I didn’t know what I’d do with the leftovers after taking 2 teaspoons out of a 6 oz can. Instead, I used a teaspoon of Vietnamese chili garlic sauce.

How Did It Taste?
This was another recipe cooked in the expert company of my friend Peter. (His Dad was professional chef.) He thought the beans were too sweet, and after some extra mouthfuls, I had to agree. The conversation went something like this:

“Did the recipe call for sugar?”
“Yes, brown sugar.”
“You know that there’s already a lot of sugar in baked beans, right?”
“Oh. I didn’t think about that.”
“See? There’s your problem. You probably only needed a bit of sugar to balance out the spiciness.”

So … if you’re making this recipe yourself, have a look at the label on your beans and see how much sweet stuff has already been added. Other than that, I thought they were really good. Next time, I’d just do some taste-testing as I was adding the sugar.

Money and Time
Beans are one of the all-time great cheap foods. No surprise that they make for a very economical side or main dish. And by removing the chipotle chiles from the equation, this recipe rang in at $2.92, or $1.46 per serving, which is actually slightly cheaper than the estimate in “Good and Cheap.” (Because of the exchange rate between U.S. and Canadian dollars, it’s rare that my Canadian versions come in close to the same price — or lower — than what’s in the book. But today is one of those magical days!)

Between putting the ingredients together and heating the beans through, the total cooking time was a scant 15 minutes. This was the third dish in a summer lunch for guests (the other two were Taco Salad and Mexican Street Corn) and I have to say that out of the three times I’ve made meals for friends using “Good and Cheap” recipes exclusively, this was the best yet.

But Wait! There’s More!
There’s actually a second baked bean recipe included in the book. The first one is designated as “super quick and cheap” and the second one is designated  “quick and cheaper” because it uses dried beans. I haven’t tried the second one out yet, but it sounds pretty good too.

And that’s it. I’m hanging up my pots and pans for a few days while I journey out to San Diego for a birthday party — but I’ll be back soon!signature

2 thoughts on “My Dad’s Baked Beans

  1. Why, thank you! Actually, there’s eight different popcorn recipes coming up quite shortly that I thought I could run a library taste test for. Maybe you should drop by — I’ll let you know what day! Ha ha!


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