3 Bean Stew

3Beanstew1_ByrdBitesOne of the best ways to keep my picky-eater husband happy is to fix the food he grew up with — like this 3 Bean Stew his mom used to make him. He began raving about the recipe when we began dating in high school, and it has since made it into my go-to list of meals for him.

The only hitch I had with the original recipe was the astonishing amount of meat in it – a whopping pound of ground beef and an entire package of bacon. I try to limit the amount of meat we eat (have you seen the prices at the grocery store lately?), so my version of the recipe includes smaller portions of ground turkey (less fat) and turkey bacon (less expensive). Feel free to use whatever ground meat and bacon you have on hand, however – I promise I won’t judge you!

Prep: 15 minutes

Servings: 4


  • 15 oz. can of lima beans (or the dried & soaked equivalent)
  • 15 oz. can of kidney beans (or the dried & soaked equivalent)
  • 28 oz. can of baked beans
  • 1/2 lb. ground meat (I use ground turkey)
  • 1/2 package of bacon (I use turkey bacon)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 Tbsp mustard
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar
  • -1 tsp onion powder

Chop the bacon and onion into small bits, and add to a pan with the ground meat. Cook until the meat mixture is no longer raw. (Hint: When I use pork bacon, it tends to tint the ground beef/turkey a reddish pink. That’s normal, but it can be hard to tell when the meat is cooked. Cook the meat as long as you think it would normally take, and let the Crock-Pot do the rest).

While the meat is cooking, fill a medium Crock-Pot with the remaining ingredients. Add the cooked meat mixture, and stir. Place the lid on the pot and cook on low all day or overnight.

The most recent batch I made simmered from about midnight until late morning — and it was perfect. If my husband’s enthusiasm is any indicator, I’m pretty sure any meat-lovin’ member of your family will think it’s perfect, too.


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