6/13/14 ChefElla's Cowboy Calico Beans

I was invited to a picnic this week and I wanted to bring something a little different.  My Grandma told me about cowboy calico beans.  I told her I do not like baked beans because they are so sweet and syrupy.  My Grandma told me that recipes are not set in stone and that I could change the recipe to make it how I like it.  So I made my own version of cowboy calico beans.  I used turkey bacon and ground turkey meat so that there was less fat, and instead of using ketchup, bbq, sauce, and molasses, I used real tomatoes, brown sugar, and spices.  I guarantee you, you won't miss all the sugar, and with my recipe you can go back for seconds.

For this recipe you will need to use a knife and the stove.  If you are not allowed to use a knife and stove by yourself you can have a grown up help.

1. Wash your hands.

2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a knife, a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, sauté pan,  a medium sauce pot with lid, a strainer, and a cutting board.

ChefElla's Cowboy Calico Beans (This recipe will make 8-10 servings)


1 lb.            Ground Turkey

12 oz.         Turkey Bacon

                   -Open the package and put bacon on the cutting board.  Do not pull the bacon

                   strips apart, leave them in a brick.  Slice the bacon into thin strips.  This way you will

                   not need to cut each individual piece of bacon at a time.

1 Can         Pinto Beans, Drained and Rinsed (15 oz Can)

1 Can         Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed (15 oz Can)

1 Can         Great Northern or Cannellini Beans, Drained and Rinsed (15 oz Can)

1 Can         Petit Diced Tomatoes (14 oz Can)

1 Cup        Onion, Small Diced or Chopped (1 small or 1/2 medium onion)

                  -Chop the onion first and then measure in your cup.

1 tsp           Garlic Powder

2 tsp           Worcestershire sauce

1/2 Cup      Brown Sugar

1/2 tsp        Black Pepper

2 tsp           Yellow Mustard

1 1/2 Cup    Water

1 Tbl.          Olive Oil

3. Heat sauté pan on medium high heat.  Add turkey bacon and break pieces apart so that there are no large chunks and the pieces are separated.  Cook until the pieces are nice and crispy but not burnt.  Stir the bacon and spread around the pan at first.  As the bacon cooks, stir more frequently so that it does not sit for too long and get burnt.

4. Pour bacon into the medium sauce pot.  Return pan to the stove and add olive oil.  Add onions and stir occasionally.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.

5. Pour onions into the medium sauce pot.  Return pan to the stove and add ground turkey.  Mash and break up the meat as it cooks.  When the meat is no longer pink it is done.

6. Add the meat to the medium sauce pot.  Add all of the remaining ingredients to the sauce pot.  Heat mixture on the stove covered on medium heat for 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally.

7. Serve warm.

Serve this dish at a picnic, when you grill, or bring to a pot luck.  Your friends will never know you made a good for them bowl of cowboy calico beans.


- ChefElla