Ron Wilson

Ron Wilson

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Rita getting you ready for the 4th

To go along with your favorite grilled burgers, here’s a side dish that elevates baked beans to a whole new level. That’s why they’re called bodacious baked beans.

And for dessert, how about S’Mores in a jar? The bonus is they can be made ahead of time, and are totable.

Summer means heat, and we need to stay hydrated. I’m sharing my recipe for homemade vitamin water - cooling and good for you!

BODACIOUS BAKED BEANS

Ingredients

•1/4 pound bacon, cut into small pieces

•1 pound lean ground beef

•1 medium to large onion, chopped, plus extra for garnish

•1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped, peel left on

•1 can, 28 oz. favorite baked beans

•2 cans, 15 oz. each, favorite plain beans, drained (I use garbanzo and kidney beans)

•1 generous cup barbecue sauce

•1/3 cup packed brown sugar

•1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

•Squirt or 2 Dijon mustard

•Disposable 3 quart casserole pan

Instructions

1.  In large skillet over medium heat, sauté bacon until almost done.

2.  Stir in ground beef, onion and apple, smooshing with potato masher or wooden spoon to break meat up. Cook until beef is done.

3.  Stir in both kinds of beans, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, cayenne and mustard. Mix well and adjust seasonings.

4.  Preheat grill to medium high/375-400.

5.  Spray pan and pour beef and bean mixture in.

6.  Cook 25-30 minutes on covered grill, or until hot throughout and bubbly. Give it a stir a couple of times during cooking.

7.  Pass extra chopped onion after serving.

8.  Delicious hot or room temperature.

Yield: 12-16 servings.

TIPS:

Depending upon the kind of baked beans and barbecue sauce you use, you’ll have a savory and spicy casserole or a slightly sweeter one.

Swap turkey bacon for regular bacon.

Cook ground beef, onion and apple ahead of time. Refrigerate up to a day. Warm before adding rest of ingredients.

Swap chipotle chiles in adobo for cayenne. A little of these chiles goes a long way!

Light brown sugar vs. dark — the darker the sugar, the more molasses it contains and the deeper the flavor.

DIY produce wash for apples:

Make a solution of equal parts clear vinegar and water. Let apples soak a few minutes, remove, rinse and drain. Removes surface bacteria.

Don’t peel! The skin of apples contains a good amount of fiber and vitamins.

S’MORES IN A JAR

These can be made in either glass jelly jars or disposable plastic glasses. Traditionally, s’mores are made with milk chocolate. Go ahead and use your favorite. One of the most popular desserts at Disney resorts!

Recipe can be doubled.

Ingredients

•8 oz./1 cup good quality chocolate bars or good quality chocolate morsels

•1 cup whipping cream

•1 cup graham cracker crumbs

•1 cup marshmallow fluff cream

•Mini marshmallows

•Jars or disposable glasses: four jelly jars, 8 oz each, or equivalent disposable glasses (disposables can be a little larger if necessary)

Instructions

9.  Chop chocolate bars into small pieces. Place in heat proof bowl.

10.Heat cream over medium heat until simmering. Pour over chocolate and let sit a couple of minutes to melt chocolate.Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

11.Toast marshmallows in single layer on baking sheet by running under broiler a few seconds just until toasted on top. Can be done ahead.

Assemble the s’mores

•Layer ingredients as follows:

•1/4 cup cracker crumbs

•1/4 cup marshmallow fluff — this is a bit messy, but no worries, doesn’t have to be perfectly layered

•1/4 cup ganache

•Mini marshmallows

Best served the same day. Store in refrigerator and let come to room temperature before serving.

TIP:

To tote, leave mini marshmallows off and add just before serving.

VITAMIN WATER WITH MINT AND CITRUS

The kind of refreshing health drink you’d be sipping at a trendy spa. Vitamin C in citrus helps your immune system.

The mint aids digestion and the taste makes you want to drink up, so you stay hydrated and healthy.

Stevia is a natural sugar substitute, up to hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, non-caloric and diabetic safe. It makes a beautiful and useful garden, and house, herb. 

Master recipe:

Pitcher (2 quart)

Peppermint leaves

Lemon and lime slices

Water

Optional but good:

Stevia or honey to sweeten  

 

Add a palmful of mint leaves to pitcher. Add citrus and smoosh down a bit to release juices, and oil from mint. Fill with water. Let infuse 30 minutes or so. Sweeten to taste.


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