The Perfect Baked Bean Recipe

I’m not one for baked beans.  In fact, normally I avoid them.  I don’t know why that is.  I like beans.  I like baked things.  But, for the most part, baked beans don’t do it for me.

My wife found a recipe that so far has been a big hit.  Everyone we’ve served it to who does like baked beans loves this recipe.  And even me, who doesn’t like baked beans….loves it!

Courtesy of the Food Network:

Note: The original recipe is posted below.  My wife doesn’t like bacon so we make it without.  My mom actually made this as well and cut the molasses down to somewhere between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup and it was awesome.  Lessons learned: Tweak to your liking!

Ingredients

  • 4 (16-ounce) cans baked beans
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoon yellow or brown mustard
  • 5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 (6-ounce) can french-fried onions, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl, mix together beans, pineapple, molasses, BBQ sauce, mustard, 1/4 of the bacon, and 1/4 of the onions. Add some salt and pepper, to taste. Pour beans in 9 by 13-inch casserole dish and sprinkle remaining crushed onions and bacon on top. Cook in oven for 1 hour or until beans brown and bubble. Serve warm.

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Homemade Shamrock Shake Recipe

I live in the Metro Detroit area, so Bargains to Bounty has become one of my favorite websites.  They provide coupon links, information about grocery stores, and a variety of money saving ideas that are often (but not always) specific to saving money around town.

Hopefully each of you is lucky enough to have a site like that which can save you some bucks.

If not, it’s time to move to Detroit!

Anyways, one of the latest things that they posted was a recipe for homemade Shamrock Shakes, originally posted at Saving Dollars and Sense  I think I had one a while back, though it’s been a few years.  Everybody raves about them, though, so they must be good.

If you want to treat your family and save some money, check out the recipe at the link above.  I’d be interested to know how they turn out!

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An Awesome Change By Restaurant.Com

We’ve used Restaurant.com for years.  The way it works is that you buy a coupon that gives you a dollar amount off the meal, and the price you pay for the coupon is way less than the face value.  Typically, you can get a $25 certificate for $10 or a $10 certificate for $4.  Towards the end of the month, they’ll often run 70% or 80% off specials (all you have to do is enter the promo code that they distribute to their e-mail members) so you can get them much cheaper.

We’ve run into very few problems over the years.  One time we had a restaurant refuse to honor the certificate, saying that they had opted out of the program but that Restaurant.com had not removed them from the site, but they later sent us a gift card as an apology.

They recently made a change that I think is awesome.  In the past, you had one year to use a certificate after purchasing it, otherwise it expired.  Now, they have removed that restriction, so as long as the restaurant is open and still participating, you can use the certificates.  From what I understand, any previously expired certificates are now valid as well.  There are two certificates that we never got around to using that I had written off (I think they were $10 certificates that we’d paid $0.80 each for) but I’m now going to go back and attempt to print them, as I know both restaurants are still open and both participate.

So, if your eyes were bigger than your stomach and you never got around to using some of your certificates, go back and check, because you may be in for a pleasant surprise!

Thanks to my dad for passing this tidbit along!

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The Great Ranch Dressing Conspiracy

I love ranch dressing.  When I have a side salad, it’s automatically ranch dressing for me.

Your house dressing is great today?  No thanks.  Got an out of this world balsamic vinaigrette?  Good to hear, now please pass the ranch.

mb-201003dressingThe good thing about my love of ranch dressing is that I don’t use a lot.  I always ask for my dressing on the side, and I usually only use a couple of tablespoons worth, and it’s always much less than what the restaurants would normally add to a salad.

Still, there’s one mystery that often leaves me totally puzzled, and that is “Why does the ranch dressing taste so much better at restaurants?”

It does!  I’m not lying.

At first, I thought, it’s because I used light ranch dressing at home.  We generally try to eat with reduced fat varieties of things that are normally rich in fat.  In most cases, we adapt and feel better that we’re avoiding some of the negative.

So, I thought that must be it, and opened up a bottle of regular dressing.

Better?  Yes.  Good as a restaurant?  Not even close.

It never fails.  I go to a restaurant, eat a salad, and marvel at the ranch.  I eat one at home and I’m left wishing that I could get my hands on whatever it is that restaurants are serving.  They must have some secret stash of dressing that they’re working from that is not allowed to make it’s way into any home.

Maybe the secret ranch is the foundation of the entire restaurant industry.  Without the great ranch, sales would plummet and restaurants far and wide would close down.

It’s got to be some conspiracy, right/

Or is it just as simple as maybe things just taste better at a restaurant?  I don’t know, but while you’re coming up with your answer….

Could you please pass the ranch?

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