School is out and summer is here – kids everywhere are rejoicing! When warm weather hits, I take full advantage of dining outdoors, because here in Wisconsin, summer does not last long enough.

Now that the grill is out and the parties are lined up, it’s time to start planning menus. Not much goes better with a summer BBQ than the classics: corn on the cob and baked beans.

In the Midwest, these summer staples are found at most BBQs and outdoor picnics. They are kid-friendly classics that don’t need to be complicated or take a lot of time. You can cook both sides easily in a slow cooker, freeing your grill space for all the delicious burgers, chicken or skewers you might be making.

Did you know you can make baked beans from dry legumes without having to soak them first? This method saves time (no presoaking) and money (dry beans are cheap!). Crock Pot Baked Beans can easily be assembled in the morning, then cooked all day, making this side dish a simple addition that doesn’t take much effort at all.

Corn on the cob is a child favorite. For your next summer party, consider offering a corn on the cob bar. Simply set out different toppings, along with aluminum foil, and let guests create their own corn on the cob flavors. Kids will have a blast choosing their own toppings and can get creative. Our favorite?! Bacon Cheeseburger – mayo, shredded sharp cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon! Check out these 3 ways to flavor corn on the cob.

Flavored corn on the cob requires no recipe. Simply set out toppings and use as much, or as little, as you please. If cooking in the crock pot, place wrapped corn into slow cooker, no water is needed. Cook on high for 1 1/2- 2 hours for a 3/4th-filled crock pot (about 6 ears). Increase your time by an hour if the crock pot is full of corn.

If you have room on the grill, use the same method, then simply place the foil wrapped corn on the grill for about 18-20 minutes.

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 hours
Serves: 12

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. bag dry Great Northern Beans, rinsed
  • 2 (29 oz.) cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 Tbsp. dry mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. salt

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker and stir. Cook on high 8-10 hours. Adjust salt if needed. Water can be added to get the consistency desired.