Slow-Cooked Beans _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- For an economical and tasty dish, try Slow-Cooked Beans.

My husband I and joke about our early years together when the budget was especially tight and a night out meant a hamburger at the local college fast food establishment.

We remember and commemorate those days every so often with what we call “beanie weenie night.” The menu, of course, is canned pork and beans with a few cut-up hot dogs.

While not an especially exciting meal, it still makes us both smile.

Our food roots include a lot of memories. Some make us laugh; some make us cringe, but they all play a part in what we like and, sometimes, what we don’t.

My column has featured a few pork-and-bean recipes over the years, but there’s always room for another and the story that goes with it.

One, in particular, became a signature dish for a friend’s brother. He delighted in bringing it to each family reunion.

In general, bean recipes are always popular for lots of family functions or when you have to bring a side dish to a neighborhood gathering.

Be careful if transporting in the slow cooker. The cookers with the latched lids are especially good if you often take your cooker to office functions or other venues.

If not, be sure to secure the lid well and use an insulated carrier.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at