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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Italian Garden Breakfast Casserole

Italian Garden Casserole (1)

It was a cold Sunday morning in January.  We didn’t have any games. We went to mass the night before, and we were in the mood for a big breakfast, a big Italian Garden Breakfast Casserole. I checked the refrigerator.  I had a ton of eggs and some bulk Italian sausage. Next I found some green and red peppers. I always have cheese in the house…always!  A bag of hash browns were in the freezer so it was then, the making of the Italian Garden Breakfast Casserole came to fruition.

Growing up, I never cared much for breakfast unless it was pancakes, french toast, or cereal.  Of course, I loved the sweeter side of breakfast as a kid.  I didn’t eat eggs…any kind of eggs. My Dad loved eggs…any kind.  He liked them prepared any way.  In fact, everyone in my house liked eggs, but me. Finally in my twenties, I slowly started to try some egg casseroles and omelets. I figured the cheese, veges, and meat must help with the taste. Well, I was right. I liked it. I married my husband, who, by the way, loves eggs…any kind, so I started to cook them.  I still do not eat eggs over easy, scrambled, or poached.  But, I have definitely grown quite fond of omelets and casseroles. On this particular weekend, I decided to make a casserole without the bread and use the hash browns as a base.  It really worked out well.  The Italian Garden Breakfast Casserole was a huge hit.  Plus it can be a Make Ahead Italian Garden Breakfast Casserole. Check it out!

Italian Garden Breakfast Casserole

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of bulk Italian Sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped Onion
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 3-4 cups of Frozen Shredded Hash Browns (country style)
  • 3 cups of Shredded Cheese (I use the Kirkland Costco Mexican blend)
  • 1 cup of diced Green Pepper
  • 1 cup of diced Red Pepper
  • 1/2 cup of diced Green Onions (from about 6-8)
  • 12 Eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup of Nonfat Milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Dried Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • Add Pepper and Crushed Red Pepper
  • Bacon Bits (Kirkland Costco brand – best bacon bits around)

Directions:

  1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, onion, and garlic.  Stir the mixture to break up the sausage into smaller pieces.  Cook until sausage is no longer pink about 10-12 minutes. Drain any liquid.
  2. Coat a 9×13 glass pan with cooking spray. Layer potatoes (unthawed), sausage mixture, 1 1/2 cups of cheese, green/red peppers, and green onions.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, parsley, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture evenly over casserole.  Season with pepper and crushed red pepper if you like. Sprinkle the top with some of Costco’s bacon bits. If you are planning to make this in the morning, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
  4. Ready to bake casserole immediately or in the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Bake casserole for 70-80 minutes or until egg mixture is set in the middle and the edges are lightly golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Enjoy!

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto

Asparagus wrapped Prosciutto

My newest addiction is grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.  It’s the perfect side dish, snack, and appetizer.  I usually make the asparagus wrapped in prosciutto on the grill stove top, but of course you can do these asparagus wrapped in prosciutto right on the grill outside.  I add a little brown sugar for that sweet and salty taste.  They can be wrapped individually or in pairs as I did this time.  Sometimes it all depends on the size. The thicker asparagus work better wrapped as individuals while the smaller ones are better wrapped in bundles of two, three, or four.

Going to a party, bring these grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and you will be the hit at the party! They are so darn good and so easy to make! Check it out!

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 16-20 Asparagus Spears (1/2 to 3/4 thick) with ends trimmed – I like Costco’s asparagus
  • 16-20 Slices of thin Prosciutto – I like Costco’s
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. Trim off the ends of the asparagus spears, wash thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Wrap asparagus with thin prosciutto either as doubles or singles depending on the size of your asparagus. Place on a cookie sheet.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, add the olive oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste.  Mix together.
  4. Brush the olive oil/brown sugar mixture over both sides of the asparagus spears.  Add more salt and pepper as desired.
  5. Over medium/high heat add the asparagus bundles to the stove top grill.  Flip the asparagus at least once and cook until prosciutto is crisp and asparagus is tender.  Be careful not to over cook the asparagus.

Enjoy!

Bacon in the Oven

Bacon

There is nothing better than the awesome aroma of bacon being cooked at home.  The smoke alarm goes off almost every time we make bacon.  We love bacon at this household.  We cook it at least twice a week.  Bacon is a very common ingredient in several of our dishes. Some may think bacon is very easy to cook, but there’s really quite a science to perfecting bacon.

First, your bacon selection is key.  It’s ok to be picky about your bacon. I’ve learned it’s worth paying a little extra money for good quality bacon. Recently, we’ve become fans of the Farmers Applewood Bacon sold at Costco.  It’s a great choice for bacon in the oven because it’s a thicker cut.

Secondly, how you cook your bacon is super important as well. For years, I cooked it on the stove top which I still enjoy.  Of course, I’ve used the quick and easy microwave at times too, but it fails to get crisp.  Most recently my husband has been cooking our bacon in the oven on a broiler pan.  It’s amazingly delicious, crisp, and close to perfection.  Bacon in the oven is super easy with less mess.  Check it out!

Ingredients:

  • Bacon – any kind of your choice – thicker cut works best for the oven.

Directions:

  1. Set the oven to 450 degrees.  While the oven is preheating, arrange slices next to each other on a broiler pan.
  2. Cook the bacon in the preheated oven for 12-16 minutes. The time depends on whether you have a thicker cut of bacon or how crisp you like your bacon.  Keep a close eye on it so it’s cooked to your liking.

Enjoy!

Marshmallow Fudge Brownies

 

Fudge Brownies

Today, Jack Sievers, child #2, was the chef in our kitchen.  He decided he wanted to make desert!  That’s no shocker.  We both pondered a few different recipes based on ingredients we had at home.  We decided to go basic, but something with big and rich flavors.

There’s one thing you will always find in my kitchen – a big box of Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix from Costco.  In my opinion, it’s the best brownie mix out of a box.  They are rich with big chucks of chocolate.  Jack decided he wanted to top them with marshmallows.  I told him that was a good idea and maybe we could add another topping.  So there you have it – Marshmallow Fudge Brownies!  This is an easy recipe to involve the kids in the kitchen and they will love the end result.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pan (9×13) Brownies, baked and cooled – we use Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie MixJack putting on marshmallows
  • 3 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1/4 Cup of Milk
  • 1 Square Ounce unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
  • 1 (3 ounce) Package of Cream Cheese, cut in cubes
  • 3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 Cups Miniature Marshmallows

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Let brownies cool completely.Jack making frosting
  2. In large sauce pan, combine, butter, milk, unsweetened chocolate, and cream cheese. Cook over low heat, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat, stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Sprinkle marshmallows over brownies and bake for 2-5 minutes until puffed. Remove brownies from oven and immediately pour frosting over marshmallows.  Lightly swirl to a marble with a knife.
  4. Refrigerate for one hour or until firm.

Enjoy!

Jack's Brownies