Recipe Of the Week:Old Settlers' Baked Beans…

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Old Settlers’ Baked Beans…

This is the by far and away my favorite bean recipe.  We have made many different versions of it.  Sometimes with meat then sometimes with veggies only.  It is very easy to make and even easlier to expand.  We often make a large verison for  church functions, game nights with friends, etc.  But a word of warning, as we just found out, if you don’t let it bake for at least any hour it will be a little spicy but good just the same.  I believe that the spices need time and heat to mellow out.  Well I hope that you and your family enjoy them as much as my family does.


  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 (16 ounce) can pork and beans, undrained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained


  1. In a large skillet, cook beef, bacon and onion until meat is done and onion is tender. Drain any fat. Combine all remaining ingredients except beans. Add to meat mixture; mix well. Stir in beans. Place in a greased 2-1/2-qt. casserole. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until heated through.

The Best Burgers

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It’s no secret we like good food at the Thames house.  So here’s the start to sharing recipes.  Given that summer has finally reached us and you never know how long it will last I thought it quite important to share an awesome burger recipe with you.  The cream cheese makes these patties really moist.  We have talked about adding feta to them also because after all, it is feta.  We have been enjoying this one at home and on camping trips.  Greg found it on Allrecipes…here.

Mix together the following:

  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage

This will make 8 patties.  Cook them up as you would any patty.  Enjoy!

Confessions of a Hungry Man…..

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Hear ye, Hear ye!!!  I confess to one and all that I need to share how I have selfishly wanted to keep some really great recipes to myself.  And not share them with the world.  Well here is the story…

Our church is now producing a church cookbook and my wonderful, beautiful, kind, sweet, etc. etc. etc (Can you name the movie that used the phrase “etc. etc. etc.?  Hint it’s a classic)  wife wanted to share some of the recipes we have collected over the years.  She had decided on three (3) of our family favorites (which I will share later) .   While she was deciding which three recipes to share she told me and I thought nothing of it.  Until the day that she was transferring them to the form that the church needed three or four days before it was to be turned in .  So I decided to look over her shoulder and noticed that the ones she was sharing where ones that I had found.  I then went on to grab the papers from her fingers and run away like a little girl (sorry to all you little girls out there) and told her matter of factly,  that she couldn’t give THOSE ones (Yes I do know that it was God’s CHURCH.)  I am ashamed to admit that my selfish pride over took the idea that my wife enjoyed those meals and wanted to share them with those whom we love.  So with that said I want to share with all of you those recipes,  (And yes they were given to be put in the Church’s Cookbook).

First up is Cajun Chicken Pasta


  • 4 ounces linguine pasta
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 4 fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Place the chicken and the Cajun seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the chicken in butter or margarine until almost tender (5 to 7 minutes).
  3. Add the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, mushrooms and green onion. Sauté and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat.
  4. Add the cream, basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper. Heat through. Add the cooked linguine, toss and heat through. Sprinkle in with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
This is our hands down favorite meal.  Hey, it’s got two of my favorite food groups Butter,  Heavy Cream.  What more could you ask for (Bacon, and Sugar if you must know).  Oh one other side note is add extra parmesan cheese.
I will share the others at a future time.  You know I have to do this confessing stuff one step at a time.
~ Greg T

Bacon Makin' Day

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It has occurred to me we haven’t updated on the pigs.  Not sure how that got a way from me…oh wait…never mind, I do.  So, our piggies Saucy and Barbie.  WAY back in November we had the butcher come out to do the dirty work and hang them for us for a few days.  Greg really wanted to do the butchering himself so when we got our pigs back they weren’t wrapped in little white packages like the cow was but rather just cut in half.  It was rather odd to see them in the back of the truck but there they were.  Zoe really wanted to go with him to the butcher to pick them up.  When they got home they entertained the boys and I with a song they made up on the way home.  Sung to the tune of this old man:

This fat man

He ate two

He ate saucy and Bar-B-Q

With a mmm, mmm, Yum, yum gi’me another one

This fat man came rolling home.

What a great way to start our butchering day!  Or as Greg called it Bacon Makin’ Day!  It was a busy day but it was great.  Some experienced friends come over in the morning to get us started on the right track.  We had gone to their house when they did their pigs to get in a little practice and see the whole thing in operation but it was such a blessing to have them come out and get us going.  Greg was cutting outside and we were inside wrapping, grinding sausage, labelling and freezing.  We made 2 different types of sausage, breakfast and hot Italian.   Zoe was a total champ on the grinder.  Especially when our helpers had to leave.  She stepped right in and didn’t stop until we were done.

We took our hams in the next day to have them cured and smoked by the butcher.  Let me tell you…the ham was soooo good.  Huge!  And so incredibly tasty.  When all was done our freezer was over 3/4 full of just pork.  I absolutely love having all of it out the freezer ready to be used.  We will be doing pigs again this year.  We learned a lot and will be applying some changes to the whole process but we are excited to give it another go.

Now it must be said that Zoe loved Saucy best out of the two pigs.  She was a lot more active and loved to play in the mud and run around crazy.  I guess Zoe could relate to this.  So, any time we were eating pork (especially in the beginning) she would say we were eating Barbie.  We don’t eat Saucy.

Pizza Dough

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The following is the dough recipe I use most of the time.  One thing I have not yet tried but will next time is adding a few TB of Parmesan cheese to the dough.  I mean really, there is no way that could be bad.  We have also enjoyed this pizza sauce.  I only made one change and that was to reduce the amount of honey from 2 TB to 1 TB or a little less.  It’s great with a little in there but the full amount made the sauce a distraction to the rest of the flavors.  A lot of the comments also said they mix larger batches of the spices together and keep it on hand to mix with the wet ingredients when they are ready for it.  As for the pesto I just buy the stuff from Costco and add extra garlic.  Someday I’ll make my own and let you know how it turns out.  Enjoy your pizza making!

Pizza Dough:

2 1/2 C flour

1 TB sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 TB yeast

a couple TB olive oil (I just pour out a couple jiggers)

1 C fairly warm water

Knead it all together with a mixer or put it all in a bread machine and select the manual setting.  I usually use my Kitchen Aid and knead it for 5 minutes at setting #4 (med speed).  Kneading for the right amount of time will make a huge difference in your end result.  You want the dough to be sticky to start with.  You may be tempted to add extra flour but restrain yourself!  If it isn’t sticky add a little more water.  As it is kneading it will start sticking together and pulling from the sides.  Your end result will be a light, soft dough and a fluffy crust. 

Once the kneading is done use an oiled spatula and put it in an oiled bowl.  Or you can do what I do and drizzle some oil in the mixing bowl and role the dough around in it to coat all sides of the dough and bowl.  (I don’t like washing more bowls than I have to)  Let it rise for about 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  If you are using a pizza stone put that in the oven while it is preheating.  It will give you a crispier crust.   Spray some oil on your counter and form your pizza(s). 

Prebake your pizza crust for about 5 minutes then pull out, add your sauce and toppings and bake for about 12-15 min.  This recipe will make one large pizza with a thicker crust or two medium pizzas if you prefer a thinner crust.

3 P Pizza

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Something I can not believe I have not shared with you yet is the fabulous 3 P Pizza…Pesto, Pepperoni and Pepperoncini.  Oh, YUM!   A little mozzarella on there and you’re ready.  If your feeling really crazy add some feta on top.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Pesto on pizza is wonderful.  Pesto on just about anything is wonderful. 

Greg and I first experienced this pizza on a camping trip to Winthrop.  They have a great little pizza place called East 20 Pizza.  If you ever find yourself in Winthrop you must stop for pizza.  As soon as we settled ourselves from the trip we had to recreate the pizza.  You must try it.  Your taste buds will love you.

Carb Heaven

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Yesterday, a friend and I made bread.  All kinds of bread.  We were testing out new recipes and going crazy with them.  By the end of the day we had 4 loaves of whole wheat bread, 2 batches of dinner rolls, 2 pizza breads, 2 pesto/feta rolls, 2 batches of cinnamon rolls and a double batch of graham crackers.  Letsjust say I am in carb heaven.  Even with all that there was still time to take a break and enjoy the sun.  Although I did forget to take pictures of the organized chaos in the kitchen.  So, you’ll have to settle for a cute kid instead.  Thanks, Ruth, for your willingness to go crazy in the kitchen with me!