Brenda Stanley
Belle's Sweet and Smoky Bean Casserole is easy to prepare.

I have hundreds of recipes, and most are written on the original recipe cards, even decades after I jotted them down or someone gave them to me. The problem now is that my “reading” glasses have just become my glasses, and I find myself struggling to read the faded print. That was the case when I pulled out the card that holds the recipe for Sweet Bean Casserole. I ended up rewriting it so I could actually read it the next time. So, in the process I decided to share this family favorite.

A variety of different beans makes this dish unique. And it is as simple as opening cans — no soaking or sorting. The sweet and tangy sauce has a touch of bacon and gives it a delicious smoky taste. Beans are such a healthy and high protein food and yet we rarely enjoy them as our main dish. This casserole could change that and may have you begging for more.

Belle’s Smoky and Sweet Bean Casserole

1 small onion, peeled and chopped

½ pound ground beef

¼ cup chopped bacon

½ cup ketchup

¾ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

1 (15 ounce) can pork and beans

1 (15 ounce) can chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained

1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained

1 (15 ounce) can lima beans, drained

Brown the onion and ground beef and drain off the grease. Mix together the bacon, ketchup, brown sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar and mustard. In a separate bowl, combine the beans, ground beef and onion. Pour the sauce over the bean mixture and stir to coat well. Place in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of three. She is a cookbook author and novelist. Her website is at