Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Green Bean Bundles With Bacon

Love her or not, Paula Deen has done a lot for the world of food.   I am a huge fan of the Food Network and have learned so much about cooking and being more adventurous through the years by watching people like Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence, Paula Deen and Rachel Ray just to name a few.

We know now that everything does not have to be boiled to death to be edible, that fresh chopped garlic is a good, good  thing, and there are a myriad of ways to prepare just about anything.  I have learned about all kinds of spices and cooking techniques which has definitely changed the way I cook through the years.  Most of us learn how to cook from our mothers and that doesn't always mean there isn't a better or easier way to do things.  It also means that things can taste better than the way mom fixed them and I love trying new recipes!  My mom never owned a cookbook.  I have a shelf full and now we have the internet at our fingertips.  Hallelujah for progress and the genius who came up with the Food Network.  I mean seriously, did we ever think we would watch shows about cooking?  Thank you Julia Child for being a pioneer in the world of food and television.

I tend to wake up early (a lot) and on weekends I turn on the Food Network to see "what's cooking" or who's cooking.  I have my favorites - Giada, Bobby, and Paula.  I can hear you saying, but she uses butter - lots of butter.  Uh huh.  And?  Just kidding, but butter is better for us than margarine and olive oil is even better.  My mother never had a bottle of olive oil in her life.  Did yours?  In our house, it was bacon grease and lard until she finally switched to vegetable oil.  My grandmother never used anything but lard or bacon grease in her life and lived to 96.  Makes you wonder doesn't it?

Anyway, one Saturday morning Paula made these green bean bundles and they looked so good, I just had to try them.  I have been making them ever since.  They are super delicious.  Yes, they take a little time to make, but if you get an assembly line going, you are done in no time.  I made a huge pan of these for Dan's birthday dinner on Saturday and they really didn't take very long at all.  It all depends on how many bundles you are making, just adjust accordingly.  Here is what you need:

Fresh green beans (I used about 2 lbs)
Bacon (cut strips in half)
Olive Oil

First, blanch your green beans for about 3 minutes.  You do that by dropping them in a pot of boiling water.  When time is up, drain them in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.  This helps them be a beautiful bright green color and tender.

Put the green beans in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Using your hands, mix the beans around until they are all lightly coated with olive oil.  Now, the fun begins.

I put 5 green beans in each bundle.  First, line the ends up and trim the stems off.  Reverse and trim the other ends.  Using a half piece of bacon, wrap it around the bundle and put a toothpick through the bacon to hold the bundle together while it cooks.  Keep going until you have bundled all of your green beans.  You should figure at least 2 bundles per person.  This is my pan of bundles.  I think they are so pretty and its a different and yummy way to fix green beans.
Place your bundles on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes until bacon is brown and crispy.   Remember to remove the toothpicks before serving!!  Anyone remember the toothpick joke from childhood?  We don't want that to happen.

We like to cut the bundle through the middle of the bacon so that you get a yummy bite of bacon with every bite of green beans.  Oh, these are good and they can be served with many different entrees.  Deeee-lish!  They also reheat nicely in the microwave, so make extras.

If you are having guests for dinner, these look so pretty on a plate and they look like you took hours and hours of your time to prepare them.  What a wonderful way to make guests feel special.  Make the same effort for your family!  They are more than worth it.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Back in the day, hours of boiling green beans to make them "tender" was the only way to cook them.  Now, there are lots of options!

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