Originally published in 2013, these recipes are still some of our favorites. We hope you enjoy!

Minnesota Baked Beans

Minnesota Baked Beans: The best "baked beans" in the existence of man, right here.

Minnesota Baked Beans: The best baked beans in existence.

Elizabeth served these at the Whitland Ave 4th of July Patrons Party last weekend to rave reviews. I made them for my family specifically for this answer and Mariann, everyone LOVED these!

  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 4 green onions, chopped or 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ cup  vinegar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • ½ t. dry mustard*
  • 1 t chili powder*
  • 3-4 drops Tabasco, or to your own flavor
  • 1 16 oz can green beans drained*
  • 1 16 oz can lima beans*
  • 1 16 oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 16 oz can pork and beans

Cut bacon in pieces and brown. Remove bacon and sauté onion in some of the drippings. Add the next 7 ingredients to onions and simmer 20 minutes.  Combine bacon and beans with onion mixture. Place in crock pot or casserole and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 -2 hours. Salt and pepper to taste.

*Note: I buy frozen green beans and lima beans instead of canned. I double the dry mustard and chili powder, and I also add 1 T of Worcestershire sauce.

Serves 12

Feel free to embellish this in any way … add a variety of beans, not just kidney and pork and beans.

Prosciutto and Brown Sugar-Covered Bread Sticks

Ready for the baking sheet: Prosciutto and Brown Sugar wrapped bread sticks

Ready for the baking sheet: Prosciutto and Brown Sugar-wrapped bread sticks

  • Bread sticks – Pillsbury
  • 6 oz Prosciutto
  • Light brown sugar-1-2  cups

Wrap bread sticks in Prosciutto, one slice per bread stick. Then roll in brown sugar, making sure to really pat the sugar in. Put on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (it can be refrigerated at this stage). Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes. Watch because they can burn and you may want to turn them. Remove quickly and place on wax paper; they will stick due to sugar.

Prosciutto and brown sugar covered bread sticks--loved by kids and adults alike!

Bread sticks loved by kids and adults alike!

Tomato-Mozzarella Skewers

Tomato Mozzarella Skewers with vinaigrette. What could be easier for an appetizer or side? Add a blue plate for 4th of July perfection!

Tomato Mozzarella Skewers with vinaigrette. What could be easier for an appetizer or side? Add a blue plate for 4th of July perfection!

You can not get any simpler than this:

  • Heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • Mini mozzarella balls
  • Fresh basil
  • Vinagrette dressing

Use bamboo skewers or these fancy toothpicks that I picked up at World Market.

Alternate tomatoes and cheese. Place on a blue patter and drizzle with vinaigrette dressing and chopped basil. It’s easy and patriotic!

Tomato Watermelon Salad

Tomato Watermelon with Blueberry Salad. Red, White and Blue and perfect for summer and 4th of July!

Tomato Watermelon with Blueberry Salad. Red, white and blue — perfect for summer and 4th of July!

This salad is simple to make and highlights the best of summer: tomatoes and watermelon. For the 4th of July, I would consider adding blueberries as your toppings would be red, white and blue! (Inspired by this recipe at Epicurious.)

  • 8 cups 1 1/4-inch chunks seedless watermelon (about 6 pounds)
  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes (preferably heirloom) in assorted colors, cored, cut into 1 1/4-inch chunks (about 6 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped assorted fresh herbs (such as dill, basil, and mint
  • 6 cups fresh arugula leaves or small watercress sprigs
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • Blueberries–you decide how many!

Combine melon and tomatoes in large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon fleur de sel and toss to blend; let stand 15 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and herbs to melon mixture. Season to taste with pepper and more salt, if desired.

Toss arugula in medium bowl with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Divide arugula among plates. Top with melon salad; sprinkle with feta cheese and toasted almonds and serve. Serves 4 – 6 large salads. Plenty for 10 side salads.

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