Calico Baked Beans for Christmas Entertaining

Got My Reservations 25 Days of Christmas 2013 Medium Button17 days until Christmas! Did you have a busy weekend? We sure did here in our empty nest — music, shopping, decorating galore! That’s when a good crockpot recipe is just the thing, and today I’m sharing one of the best.

When your days are so busy that you don’t have time to cook, and when you need a potluck dish for a crowd, Calico Baked Beans are sure to be a hit. I shared this special crockpot recipe for entertaining a crowd last year. Please click here for the best hearty bean and meat stew that you will encounter all season!

Got My Reservations -- Calico Baked Beans

Click into photo for the recipe.

We were so busy decorating that I didn’t get time to take any good photos for this week’s posts, but I intend to remedy that soon. I snapped a few for Facebook, but we have some wonderful things to share with you WHEN they are totally finished and photographed. Thanks for joining us for 25 Days of Christmas in the Empty Nest.

Got my bags, got my reservations,
Spent each dime I could afford.
Like a child in wild anticipation,
I long to hear that, “All aboard!”

Music and lyrics by Bud Green, Les Brown and Ben Homer (1944)

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25 Days of Holiday Recipes: Calico Baked Beans

Shopping. Work. Cleaning the house. Going to the church potluck. Everyone needs a go-to recipe that fits into your holiday lifestyle, and Calico Baked Beans is that recipe.

Having absolutely no resemblance to the yucky baked beans people usually bring to events, your crockpot will be filled with a sweet and savory meat and bean melange that is more like stew than like beans. A teaching colleague brought this dish to every school potluck and if I was in the last lunch group, I was lucky to get even a taste of this. People seem to just inhale it.

This recipe is also one that is easily modified depending on what your family likes or what is in the fridge that needs to be used up (Using up stuff in the fridge seems to be a common theme in my recipes). We didn’t have any barbecue sauce in the house so I threw in extra ketchup and some mesquite seasoning. It worked just fine. We also added some aging tomato salsa and seriously considered opening our brand new bottle of peach salsa from Trader Joe’s. That would have been a tasty addition to the mix, but seemed unnecessary. You could also use a Rotel tomato product with chilis if you like your food a little spicier. I also used ground turkey and pancetta rather than the ground beef and bacon — I don’t think anyone would know the difference and Music Man liked it better that way.

Try it for your next caroling party — it will be ready when you get home!

25 Days of Holiday Recipes: Calico Baked Beans

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 8 Servings

Serving Size: 1 cup


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbs. butter or margarine
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked, drained, in 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tbs. prepared mustard
  • 2 tbs. molasses
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 16 oz. canned kidney beans, drained
  • 16 oz. canned lima beans, drained
  • 28 oz. canned pork and beans


In large skillet, brown beef and onion in butter. Drain well. Place in casserole with bacon.

In medium bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, molasses, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add kidney beans, lima beans, and pork and beans to casserole. Pour sugar mixture on top. Blend well.

Cover casserole and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover casserole and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

This casserole can be held, covered, in a low oven for 1 hour. It can also be baked and kept warm in a crockpot.

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