Overnight Crockpot Baked Beans

While I will admit to a fondness for baked beans, I’ve always shied away from the canned version because I am not a fan of sweet foods. Sure, I’ll indulge if I encounter the canned version, but I won’t buy them unless I have a serious craving.

Yeah, I crave baked beans.

If the craving is minor and time is plentiful — or I know I need a killer dish to bring to a barbecue — I go straight for my crockpot and let the beans cook overnight. The slow cooker does all the work of cooking the beans through while developing a rich sauce that is just sweet enough with some tangy and spicy flavors to balance that sweetness. Best of all: no soaking required! I just toss everything into the crockpot, and let it work while I catch up on TV and much-needed sleep.

Chile Verde

I love chile verde, and, despite all the steps in the recipe below, it’s pretty easy to make. A long, slow simmer on the stove (or, heck, you could do this in a 225 degree oven, if you prefer) brings lots of flavors together. The pork will be falling apart, and the whole dish is tangy with just a hint of heat.

While pork is traditional, chicken is also an option. My recipe for Chicken Chile Verde is right here.

Avocado Sauce

I love my avocados any which way. When they’re just ripe, nothing is better than sliced or diced avocado with just a smidge of salt. When they’re starting to soften, they’re perfect for guacamole because they still have a bit of body. And when they’re overly soft?

This amazing sauce. It takes just minutes, and is a great way to utilize avocados that aren’t quite firm enough for any other use. You can adjust the seasonings to suit your personal taste.

I’ve love this sauce with fish tacos, in a cole slaw, and with crab cakes. It also makes a fun salad dressing.

Butternut Squash Curry

Fall in Southern California is more a concept than a season. While my East Coast and Midwest friends talk about cooler temperatures and extol the virtues of casseroles and other cool-weather dishes, I often grill until January.

Still, I am not immune to cravings…and an overabundance of squash. And while I love a good soup, sometimes something more hearty, yet still light, is necessary. This curry — which can be made with any squash, to be honest — is filling, just spicy enough, and perfect for warm or cool evenings.

As a bonus, this recipe is vegan, making it a perfect dish for dinner parties or potlucks.