Bacon Makes It Better: Bacon-Y Bean Bundles

french green beans bacon evoo

Nestled and Oven Ready

Everyone’s family has different rules about what and how much a child must eat at any given meal. Some families go with praise cheering their kids who are members of the ‘clean your plate club’. Others threaten punishment if kids didn’t finish every morsel on their plates.

Salisbury steak

Salisbury Steak ’70’s Style

In our house, we just had to try what was served. I’m not saying that if we hated it that something else would be served. I’m just saying that even the most detestable of dishes had to be at least sampled. Once taste tested, we could decide whether to eat on or go hungry. There were a few key dishes in the dinner rotation at our house – your basic chicken, fancier chicken and dumplings, Salisbury steak, breakfast for dinner – all easy and kind to the pickiest of kids. But, for the most part, we were pretty easy to feed. OK my type-A brother had to change forks and plates between courses, cuz like one food can’t touch another – but that was probably the biggest challenge.

There was really only one staple in my mother’s dinner table rotation that killed us….Liver. Like pan fried liver ’70’s style. It was dry and sorta smelly and chewy and….Hated it.

So, charged with having ‘at least one bite’, my brothers and I had a strategy. Cut the tiniest of tiny pieces of the stuff, wrap it in 4-5 pieces of bacon, fill a large cup with water and swallow the bacon wrapped ickiness whole.

Since then I’ve known that I can eat almost anything if it’s wrapped in bacon. Bacon makes the worst things tolerable and the best things even better. I like green beans and have noticed that they tend to go unfinished when served alongside other sides like potatoes. One way to ensure that your beans are consumed is to wrap them in bacon.

Bacon-Y French Bean Bundles (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • green beans pricechopper

    Pre-Washed is the way to go

    1 bag of prewashed french beans – yes, you can use regular green beans, but I like the smaller more delicate taste of the French beans – they sell these bags everywhere now. Ours were from Price Chopper upstate.

  • 9-10 pieces of bacon cut in half
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TSP of freshly grated parmesan cheese

You can also sub out the EVOO + Parmesan Cheese and use an Italian Parmesan Salad Dressing instead….

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1. Wrap 5-6 beans in one half-slice of bacon and lay in a baking dish

green beans and bacon

Wrapped and Ready

2. Repeat until 2-3 bundles per person are created and the bundles are nestled in the pan

3. Sprinkle the bacon-y bean bundles with the olive oil and parmesan cheese

side dish bacon wrapped beans

Gently Sprinkled with EVOO and Parm

4. Bake for :45 mins to 1 hour – until beans are well roasted and bacon is fully cooked

french beans in bacon recipe

Beans & Bacon Well Crisped

5. Serve 2 – 3 bundles per person

That’s really it.

In my own apartment, I do subscribe to the ‘just try one bite’ philosophy. Doesn’t always work. But if I can eat ’70’s style pan fried liver, the toughest of taste buds can certainly give bundles of bacon-y beans a try.

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Rack up Lamb…Not Debt

whole foods lamb chops

Lovely Lamb Chops

I may have mentioned this…but, I’m half Italian. That means a lot of things. And, it also means that I didn’t have a credit card until I was 25. See, the Italians like to have cash; ‘Cash is king’, my dad would say. Once I got stuck for 7 hours at LaGuardia with only $4 (pre-ATM cards) – no proud Italian would ever make this mistake. I learned the hard way that it’s always good to have some cash around.

So, when the credit card companies bombarded all of us in college with invitations to join their elite debt-amassing clubs – I simply wasn’t allowed. OK, sounds odd. Here I am 19 years old and I’m … ‘not allowed’ to have a credit card. Well, yeah. See, parents had to co-sign for the cards and mine refused.

Good thing too.

Very early on, a few of my best friends learned the hazard of credit card debt…Actually, a bunch did. Some had racked up bills by charging things like spring break in Mazatlan or Jamaica or South Padre Island. Others spent their credit fortune on cases and cases of really gross, cheap beer and wine coolers. And, the cards had interest rates of like 25%. I don’t claim to be a math scholar, but you don’t have to be one to realize that the debt grew really quickly for my minimum-only paying pals.

Others waited until after we graduated from college to use credit cards to live well beyond their means.

lucy i love desi arnez

‘Luuuuuuuu-cy!’

One friend who had really over done it…ended up having to declare bankruptcy. Like before declaring bankruptcy was all the rage. Sure, he tried to avoid this.

He had always been inspired by Lucille Ball (chronic over-spender / negotiator), who in one episode wrote on the back of a check she was cashing at the bank: ‘Be a lamb, please don’t process this check until Thursday’. He, like Lucy, tried to negotiate with his creditors…but, alas, to no avail. And, at 24, he had declared bankruptcy. No one would just…be a lamb.

Years later…he’s all fancy, has a big business – But, he had to overcome the bankruptcy to get there. Now instead of asking creditors to ‘be a lamb’ he’s dining on rack of lamb.

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb  (Serves 8)

Ingredients:

  • 3 8-rib lamb chops – we got ours at Whole Foods and the nice butcher guy trimmed them up for us
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh leaf parsley chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme – finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp rosemary – finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Progresso italian style bread crumbs
  • Extra Virgin olive oil
  • salt / pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over high heat.

2. Pat the lamb dry and season generously on all sides with salt and pepper

lamb chops epicurious

Should probably trimmed a little more of the fat..

3. Add the ribs to the hot oil and brown on all sides – about 5 mins per side – meaty sides only

lamb chops whole foods

Searing in the juices and flavor

4. Transfer the ribs to a broiler pan

5. Make the herb coating by mixing together:

  • lamb chops

    Yummy Herb Coating

    Minced garlic

  • Chopped thyme
  • Chopped rosemary
  • 2/3 tsp of salt
  • 2/3 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Progresso Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

6. Coat the meaty parts of the seared lamb with the mixture – you may need to gently press the mixture into the lamb chops

herb crusted lamb chops

Herb Crusted and Oven-Ready

7. Roast uncovered for :15 minutes

8. Cover with tin foil and cook an additional :10 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 120 degrees

9. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest – the internal temperature should rise from 120 to 130 degrees

NOTE: The thermometer may not be your best friend here: The ribs were extremely rare even though they registered at 130 degrees….So, I had to cut the chops and broil them about :02 mins on each side until they were safely cooked through…

10. Serve – I served with bleu cheese mashed potatoes (YUM!) and roasted balsamic Brussels sprouts

whole foods lamb chops

Served with bleu cheese mash and roasted sprouts

As a credit-card free half-Italian college student, I was lucky: When I got my first card at 25, my friends were still paying off bills for beers and, sadly, wine coolers long since consumed. Credit card companies, bank tellers, utilities people probably aren’t gonna just ‘be a lamb’ – so better to rack up lamb, instead of debt.