•Schoolhouse Baked Beans•
A perfect standby for any picnic, potluck, or cookout. Any meal with a "k" sound in it, really. And all the ingredients are pantry or long-term fridge stable.
Now, think flexibly. If you're feeding a small group, say six, you might want two large cans of baked beans. But a larger group might require five cans. I always buy the vegetarian, I'm not interested in the little chunk of mystery meat.
Open, and if you're cooking for a crowd, keep opening the cans of beans. Drain most of the sauce into the sink, then tip the beans into a large pan. Don't worry about every drip of sauce; you don't want your beans to fall in the sink because you're trying too hard.
When you're satisfied with the quantity of beans in your pan, get out some dry mustard powder. For a small batch, use about a teaspoon (this is all very casual, there *is* no wrong amount); for a large batch, two tablespoons. Dump on top of the beans.
And follow with some ketchup, aiming for about 1/4 cup for a small batch, 1/2 for a larger batch.
Same with the brown sugar.
At this point, if you're feeling fancy, you can dice some onion or green pepper, though I rarely do.
With a rubber scraper or wooden spoon, fold everything together gently. Lay a few slices of bacon on top.
Slide into the oven. If you have just an hour, set the heat to 400. If you have longer, use a 350 oven and keep them in til it's time to go. A small pan will need an hour, a large pan twice that. You want them to bake and bake until most of the liquid has cooked off. They will become candied and dark brown, and the bacon will be crisp. Your patience will be rewarded, and if you do this right, you will soon be *required* by your friends to bring this dish with you the next time you come.