Green Beans with Bacon

Green Beans with Bacon

After years of not eating green beans, I decided to try something new to get my family to enjoy them.  We love bacon in the house so I thought, why not try some green beans with bacon.  It was a huge success so much so that we eat green beans with bacon at least once a week as a side dish.  Not only was the bacon the secret to success, but the Alpine Fresh french green beans from Costco also make this dish.  The french green beans are thinner, cook faster, and are more flavorful then regular green beans.  Of course, this is all my opinion, but I believe if you try these green beans with bacon you will agree.

You can make this dish with real bacon or even use bacon crumbles, but there is only one brand of bacon crumbles that is good.  Yes, it is the Costco brand of Kirkland bacon crumbles.  They are high quality, big chunks of bacon crumbles.  The best we have found.  These green beans with bacon not only taste great, but they are super easy to make especially if you choose to use bacon crumbles.

Green Beans with Bacon

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Super Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 2 Pound Bag of Alpine Fresh Tender Green Beans (we use 1 pound and save the other pound for another meal)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Cloves of minced Garlic
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Bacon Crumbles by Kirkland
  • Jalapeno Salt & Pepper to taste (not much salt needed due to bacon)

Directions:

  1. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a wok over medium high heat.  Add green beans and garlic, toss in the olive oil, and cover for 8-10 minutes to cook/steam.  Continue to stir green beans.
  2. Once the green beans are getting softer and brighter in color, you can add the bacon crumbles and seasonings.  Continue stirring the green beans and bacon.  At this point, you will have to judge when your green beans are ready.  It all depends on how you like them.  Taste them to see if they are ready.  Some like them a little crispier while others like them more done.  We’ve cooked them both ways, and the family consensus is they do not like them crispier.  I like them both ways.

*Note – If you decide to use real bacon, consider not cooking the green beans in the bacon grease so to help keep calories in check.  If you don’t care, then go for it!  However, I think the bacon adds a ton of flavor even without the grease.

Enjoy!

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Festive Oreos

Festive Oreos 2

Independence Day always gets me in the mood for patriotic foods. Some festive Oreos were on my mind since I saw this idea on Pinterest. We make a lot of red, white, and blue snacks at this house. This weekend was no different.  I had plenty of white chocolate on hand so I decided to try these festive Oreos out. Well, there is nothing easier to make except for a few broken ones from time to time.

These festive Oreos are a great snack to make with the kids too. Get in the kitchen, get a little messy, and have some fun!  Festive Oreos are sure to be a hit with the family or at any holiday get together.

Festive Oreos

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 Package of Nestles Toll house white chocolate morsels (12 oz.)
  • 1 Package of Oreos
  • Sprinkles (red, white, and blue)

Directions:

  1. Pour the whole package of Nestles Tollhouse white chocolate morsels in a microwave safe bowl. I use the microwave to melt my chocolate.  The key is to do it in 30 second intervals and stir after each 30 seconds in the microwave.  For a 12 oz package of chocolate, it usually takes 60-90 seconds.
  2. After the chocolate has melted, you are ready to start dipping Oreos.  Dip each Oreo half way on each side and place on a baking sheet covered with wax paper.
  3. Next cover the white chocolate Oreos with sprinkles.  It’s best to do this step right away before the white chocolate begins to set.
  4. Place Oreos in the refrigerator so the white chocolate will cool and set.  

Enjoy!

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Roasted Red Potatoes

Roasted Red Potatoes I never met a potato I didn’t like really it’s true.  I love potatoes! Did you know there are over 100 different varieties of potatoes sold in the US?  I had no idea.  Potatoes fall into the usual categories of russet, red, white, yellow, purple/blue, fingerling, and petite.  We cook a lot with russet and white/yellow potatoes.  Tonight it was time to bring back the cute little red potatoes.  I went for something basic – roasted red potatoes.  I’m really into roasting all my vegetables right now so why not try some roasted red potatoes!

Sometimes the best recipe for success is plain and simple.  These roasted red potatoes are so good and so easy.  In the past, I’ve used the Lipton onion soup mix recipe for my roasted red potatoes.  It’s a great one too but if you don’t have that soup mix and you just want simple, try these roasted red potatoes. This is a great side dish that will compliment any meat or fish. Check it out!

Roasted Red Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of Red Potatoes – cut in half or quartered
  • 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon of fresh ground Pepper
  • Sea Salt to your liking
  • 1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasonings (Basil, Oregano, Parsley)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 430 degrees. Meanwhile, clean and cut all potatoes in half.  Some larger ones might be best quartered.
  2. Put potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil and all seasonings. Arrange the potatoes, cut side down, on a large lipped baking sheet.
  3. Roast until tender and golden brown approximately 30 minutes.  Stir and flip potatoes halfway through cooking time.

Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Italiano

Spaghetti Squash ItalianoSpaghetti squash isn’t that common dish made in most households.  In fact, I never had it growing up.  I came from that meat and potatoes kind of family with all the common vegetable sides.

Plus, let’s admit it, big squash is a bit intimidating.  It’s heavy, and hard to cut.  Can I please have a saw to cut this baby? Not to mention, you don’t ever want to drop it on your foot.  But in all honesty, spaghetti squash is really pretty easy to make.

In my late 20’s, my husband came home with a recipe for spaghetti squash from a coworker.  That’s when we first tried spaghetti squash and loved it.  Since then we’ve been making it, but we’ve tweaked it a bit to our liking and we call it Spaghetti Squash Italiano or Dad’s “famous” Spaghetti Squash Italiano…as he likes to call everything!

It’s light so it can be an awesome side dish, or it can be eaten as a meal. For those non carb folks out there, this is a great dish for you.  Vegetarians will love this too.  We added all the awesome Italian spices and cheeses hence the name Spaghetti Squash Italiano. There are so many other awesome recipes out there for spaghetti squash, but Spaghetti Squash Italiano is a must try. Check it out!

Spaghetti Squash Italiano

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 4 Roma Tomatoes chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4-5 cloves of fresh Garlic; minced
  • 1/4 cup of Parsley
  • 1/4 cup of Basil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup of Fresh Parmesan/Asiago cheese mix

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds.  Place the cavity side down in baking pan filled with a little water. Bake 20-30 minutes checking that the water hasn’t evaporated.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and gather the other ingredients.  Combine the chopped tomatoes, garlic, and other seasonings.  Let stand at room temperature to marry the flavor.
  3. When squash is done, flip over in pan.  Fill each cavity with tomato mixture.  Top with cheese mix. Place back in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.  Remove and scoop mixture into a large serving dish.  Use a fork to fluff squash into spaghetti strands.  A small amount of olive oil can be added but it is optional.

**Check squash to be sure it is al dente.  Don’t over cook.

Enjoy!

Italian Sausage Spinach Soup

 

 

Italian Sausage Spinach Soup

Soup is the perfect comfort food, especially on cold winter days.  It’s also the perfect meal for a busy family that doesn’t have time to sit down for a meal.  Soup is always our “go to” meal when we have a night packed full of practices or meetings which happens a lot.  It was one of those kind of nights.  Time to make some Italian Sausage Spinach Soup, leave it on the stove, and eat at your convenience.

Italian sausage is used in this house at least once a week. I love Italian sausage!  It probably has something to do with my Italian heritage, but it also adds so much flavor.  You can taste the extra bold flavors and spice of the sausage in this awesome Italian Sausage Spinach Soup.  This soup is also very versatile. If you are looking for a low carb option, then leave the pasta on the side.  My husband eats the Italian Sausage Spinach soup with out the pasta. The kids enjoy it with the pasta so everyone is happy. Of course, we double the recipe because we like left overs. Italian Sausage Spinach Soup is a favorite in this house.  Check it out!

Ingredients:

  • 16 Ounces of Bulk Italian Sausage
  • 4 Cups of Chicken broth
  • 2 14 1/2 Ounce cans of Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano
  • 2 Cups thinly sliced celery hearts with leaves
  • 1 Cup uncooked Small Shell Pasta
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasonings
  • 4 Cups of bagged Spinach Leaves
  • 4 Tablespoons freshly Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1.  Heat a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the sausage to the pan and cook.  Stir the sausage, breaking it up to crumble for approximately 10 minutes, or until browned. Drain, and return to the pot.
  2. Add broth, tomatoes, celery, pasta, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until pasta is done.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in spinach until wilted. Sprinkle each serving with fresh grated parmesan cheese.  Serve with hot Italian bread!

Optional Low Carb – If you want to add the pasta separately, prepare pasta according to package directions.  Do not add pasta as indicated in step 2.  Leave the pasta on the side.  It can be added individually to each serving.  Another note, we used a larger shell pasta because that is what we had at home.  Remember, you can get a little creative and adjust accordingly to what you might have in your kitchen.

Enjoy!