Grandma Esther's Baked Beans

By: Arlene Bronstein

My mother, Esther Michlin, is well known for her delicious cooking. So many of my friends have learned the art of cooking and baking from being in my mother’s kitchen and watching her prepare wonderful meals. This recipe is everyone’s favorite when you are having people over for a casual summer dinner. It is simple to prepare and a hit at every barbecue!

Truly, you don’t want to have to do everything last minute. This dish can be prepared early in the day, or even the day before. As you can see, there aren’t many ingredients so you won’t need a lot of time. These beans are thick, sweet and a perfect side dish to BBQ chicken or ribs or any other meat right off the grill!  


  • 4 15 ounce Cans of Vegetarian Baked Beans
  • 1Cup Sugar
  • 1Cup Ketchup
  • 1Cup Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Burgundy Wine (choose inexpensive brand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a large round casserole dish and cook for 1 hour in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Stir occasionally. Serves 6 - 8 . 

* If you want the beans to be even thicker, cook them longer and some of the liquid will burn off and your sauce will thicken.  

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In 1989, Arlene Bronstein wrote her first cookbook BEAUTIFUL BUFFETS, featuring many of the celebrated American Fashion designers. Her next cookbook, CARLOS: Contemporary French Cuisine was written for Carlos Restaurant, one of Zagut’s top Chicago restaurants, featured in Food and Wine Magazine and many other fine culinary publications. Arlene’s book, My Word Is My Bond, is a history of the Chicago Board of Trade told through 21 interviews of traders ages 40 -90. From that book, she took on the role of Executive Producer for the PBS documentary, “My Word is My Bond”, using clips from her book interviews to tell the story.  In 2013, Arlene wrote her first children’s book, How Did Nonnie Get to Heaven? The Chicago Tribune said, Nonnie conveys through exquisite imagery and the pure expression of children, that death and loss are natural parts of life.”  In the fall of 2014, BEAUTIFUL BUFFETS, II was published with 40 new recipes.