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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
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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.
- 1 Package of Nestles Toll house white chocolate morsels (12 oz.)
- 1 Package of Oreos
- Sprinkles (red, white, and blue)
- 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.
- 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.
- Next cover the white chocolate Oreos with sprinkles. It’s best to do this step right away before the white chocolate begins to set.
- Place Oreos in the refrigerator so the white chocolate will cool and set.
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I know Spring is not soup season, but I love soup year round. After spending some time on Pinterest I was in the mood for a Kale Sausage Soup, preferably with beans. I found a few recipes, but most of them lacked the spice so I came up with my own version of Kale Sausage Soup. It’s similar to many that I found, however I added the carrots and the extra seasoning for a little spicy Kale Sausage Soup.
At least once a week, we have soup for dinner. I’m a huge fan of broth soups. While I still love cream soups, the broth soups are much healthier. Plus, if they have any kick to them I will love it! Anything with a little spice is right up my alley.
The Kale Sausage Soup was a hit at this house. It combines some of our favorite foods of sausage, beans, and spices. It’s the perfect combination while also being light. Please check it out.
Kale Sausage Soup
- 1 lb. of Andouille Sausage (chopped and quartered)
- 3-4 Medium Carrots (chopped thin)
- 3 Cups of low sodium Chicken Broth
- 1 Can of Diced Tomatoes (undrained)
- 6 cups of coarsely chopped Kale (about 8 ounces)
- Jalapeno Salt (as needed but not necessary)
- 1 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper or more as needed
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage and carrots. Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chicken broth, tomatoes undrained, seasonings, and bring to boil over high heat.
- Stir in kale. Reduce heat and simmer until kale is tender.
- Stir in beans and cook for 8-10 minutes or until soup is cooked through.
I doubled this recipe so we could have left overs. My kids enjoyed this soup with some of their favorite toppings such as shredded cheese, and tortilla chips. There is a ton of options with this one. Enjoy!
During the Christmas holiday season, we hear a ton about gift giving, gift ideas, and nice gestures. It’s very rare that we talk about it in March. I know we are gearing up for Spring season, warmer weather, and baseball, but did you know the best time to give a gift is when it is least expected? That surprise present or gesture goes such a long way. I love to surprise my corporate clients with a surprise thank you gift. I’m not a big fan of gift cards except for the convenience of them, so I would like to share my top 2 favorite gifting options that I use both personally and professionally.
1) Harry & David is the king of the gift basket. You will find anything and everything for that special someone. Corporate giving with Harry & David is also ideal especially when keeping in mind your budget. There are gifts under $30, $50, and $75. Want to send a healthy gift to a friend or client, Harry & David’s fruit baskets are perfect especially their Classic Comice Pear basket which is what got their early start back in the early 1900’s. Wine and cheese baskets, chocolate and wine baskets, gift towers, bakery items, special occasion baskets, and even plants are just a few of the options available at Harry & David. It’s my go to company for my work clientele. I can easily stay within my budget based on the sales of my accounts. Harry & David’s options are endless and I love it when I can get in on a special sale or offer like this one:
Enjoy 20% Off, No Minimum Purchase with code: SAVINGS (2/17-5/31/16)
2) I’m a HUGE fan of personalized gifts. Anything and everything personalized is very special and usually gives that WOW factor. Monogram Online is your one stop shopping for everything personalized. I’ve used them several times, mostly for friends and family gifts. Their personalized necklaces are beautiful. I always get compliments when I wear my silver name necklace. You can find a variety of different jewelry items. Most recently, I purchased a silver name necklace for my daughter…shh….it’s a surprise. However I must admit my all time favorite product at Monogram Online is their personalized cutting boards. Considering we are the St. Louis cooks, cutting boards are a favorite item in our kitchen. Not to mention, they are a very unique gift for that special someone who enjoys to cook!
Next time you are pondering what gift to give your colleague, client, friend or family member, look no further then Harry & David and Monogram Online!
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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ready to bake casserole immediately or in the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake casserole for 70-80 minutes or until egg mixture is set in the middle and the edges are lightly golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.