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Category: side dish

Quick and Easy Cold Green Beans and Bacon

Quick and Easy Cold Green Beans and Bacon

This cold green bean recipe takes about one or two minutes to prepare. You eat it right out of the dish you make it in and store your leftovers in. A simple, one-person snack that’s not crap. It’s also a nice, refreshing dish when the weather is hot. Of course, you could make this as an easy side dish for two or more people. You could even serve this as an alternative to a salad.

Here’s how it came about…

When I get really hungry and have to eat something right this minute, one of the easiest things to do is open a can of French style green beans, drain it, and eat them right out of the can standing in the kitchen.

It works, and I actually like them that way, but a couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted a little more substance. So, I added bacon bits. The real bacon kind. I stirred them up in a container I could eat them from and then just seal up and put in the fridge to save the leftovers for tomorrow. Oh, and I actually sat down to eat them. At my desk, but I was sitting.

Today I decided I wanted to do something a little fancier. I wanted more flavor, but I didn’t want to alter it to the point that it was no longer a really fast and easy thing. I decided to look up recipes for ideas of what I could add, and everything I found started with fresh green beans! NOOO!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for starting with fresh vegetables most of the time, but in this case it completely defeats the purpose. All of the recipes I found require cooking. That means too much time, too much effort, and it uses dishes.

This is about as quick and easy as it gets.

Ingredients:

  • One can French style green beans
  • Bacon bits – real, fake, or homemade if you have them*
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic salt

Equipment:

  • Can opener
  • Bowl or container with a lid
  • Fork

Instructions:

  • Open your can of French style green beans.
  • Drain it.
  • Dump it in a bowl or container that has a lid.
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt.
  • Toss in a couple handfuls of bacon bits.
  • Stir with a fork and eat.

When you’ve had enough, put the lid on it and put it in the fridge. Now you’ll have an even quicker snack waiting for you tomorrow.

* When it comes to the bacon bits, you have options. The very best are homemade from nitrate-free bacon. Of course, that only works if you’ve already got some in the fridge. Short of that, real bacon bits work great. Fake bacon bits will work, but they will get soggy if you don’t eat it all right away.

 

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Lemon Mustard Roasted Potatoes

Lemon Mustard Roasted Potatoes

I like to watch cooking shows while I’m doing other things. I put them on in the kitchen while I’m cleaning up or cooking, and sometimes I have them on while I’m working. The result is, I miss a lot. Sometimes I notice that I missed the one thing I wanted to see and I rewind and play that part again. And, very often I still miss it and have to repeat the process several times before I finally catch it. This recipe was inspired by one of those episodes.

I was watching Giada at Home. The episode was My Grandfather’s Favorites. So, Giada and her Aunt Raffy are recreating some of Dino De Laurentis’ favorite recipes. Giada has revamped the recipes in her own style, and it irritates Raffy to no end. They bicker. Giada grins at the camera a lot. And it feels a little weird that she’s the one in charge, instead of her aunt, given the theme of the episode. But hey! It’s her show. I think it would be interesting to see them make both versions, side by side. And, much more interesting to actually taste test both versions!

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My lemon mustard roasted potatoes are inspired by her lemon-mustard potato salad. Hers sound really yummy, but I was after roasted potatoes that could be reheated, rather than a salad dish with greens and other fresh stuff. Plus, it was important that I could use ingredients that I had on-hand. That is often a major factor in my adaptations and I hope that you will follow suit and take my recipes as an inspiration and a guideline to be adapted to the ingredients that you have, can easily get or just prefer!

Lemon Mustard Roasted Potatoes – Ingredients

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1 ½ pounds potatoes

Zest of one large lemon

Juice of 1 large lemon

3 tablespoons extra light tasting olive oil

2 tablespoons stone ground mustard

1 tablespoon fresh chives

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Shredded parmesan

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Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Chop chives or cut with kitchen scissors

In a bowl large enough for tossing the potatoes, whisk together all ingredients except the parmesan and potatoes

Scrub potatoes and cut into large bite-sized chunks

Dump the potatoes into the bowl with the dressing and toss until thoroughly coated

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Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper (you don’t have to, but it will make your life much easier)

Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet

Spoon any dressing remaining in the bowl over the potatoes

Bake for 20 minutes

Top with shredded Parmesan

Baked for another 20 to 30 minutes, until golden and tender

Transfer back into the bowl and toss with remaining chive fragments

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I served this with baked chicken breast and Ranch on the side. Some kind of vegetable, like steamed Brussels sprouts, broccoli florets or artichoke hearts would go great with the meal, since they are all easy to make and great for dipping.

What will you serve your lemon mustard roasted potatoes with?

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Garlic and Onion Soup

Garlic and Onion Soup

This is so easy, and so, so good. The only drawback is that it takes a long time, but it’s not hands-on time, just lots of waiting. It is kind of like French onion soup. I eat it as a soup on its own. My husband uses it for French dip sandwiches. It starts with homemade beef bone broth. I have been making it in a pressure cooker lately.

Ingredients:

Beef bones (5 or 6)

Onions (about 4)
Garlic (2 bulbs)
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Coarse sea salt

Roasting

The key to this recipe is roasting the bones, onion, and garlic first. I do this in the oven at 400, for 45 minute to 1 ½ hours. You can use a glass baking dish or oven-proof bowl. A bowl seems to work best for the bones. Put all the bones in a glass, oven-safe bowl and drizzle some olive oil on top (just to keep them from sticking). Slice the onions into thirds. I don’t bother peeling them. Slice the tops off the garlic bulbs. Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of a glass baking dish. Put the onion and garlic in the baking dish. Roast the bones, onion and garlic. The onion and garlic will be done before the bones.

Making the Broth

Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Toss in one bulb of garlic and half of your onions. Save the rest of the onions and garlic, and the oil they roasted in, for later. Toss in the bones and the oil and fat from the bones. Add some lemon juice (maybe ¼ cup), sea salt (about a handful or so), and cold water. My pressure cooker has a line that shows you how much water you can add.

Let this sit and soak for 30 minutes before starting the pressure cooker. Bring the pressure cooker up to temperature, then turn it down, or do it however your model works. Cook in pressure cooker for 90 minutes. Strain the liquid into another container, put the bones, onion and garlic back into the pressure cooker, add some more lemon juice, and cook it all again for another hour and a half. Strain the second batch and press all the juices you can out of the bones, onion, and garlic.

Discard the bones, onion and garlic (not the onion and garlic you saved for later).

If you don’t want all of the fat from the broth, put it in the fridge overnight. The fat will rise and congeal on top and you can just pull it off and toss it.

Finishing the Soup

If your broth is chilled, it will be a jiggly lump. That’s good; it means it came out right. Place about 6 cups of broth in a pot on the stove. Store the rest in the fridge or freeze it for other recipes or just to sip on. Peel the onions and toss them in the broth. Squeeze the garlic out of its shell, into the broth. Simmer, uncovered, for about an hour. It will reduce.

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Zucchini Cakes

Zucchini Cakes

These zucchini cakes are similar to latkes. They make a good side dish or snack. I glop on some butter before reheating them in the oven, and they reheat well. They are yummy topped with homemade ranch dressing. The cheese is optional because I did not notice a huge difference in the flavor with or without cheese. I expected it to make a bigger difference.

Zucchini

Green onions
Parsley
Garlic
Eggs
Cheese (optional)
Rice flour
Bacon grease
Salt

Grate your zucchini, wrap it in a towel, and squeeze out as much water as you can. Chop up green onions, garlic, and parsley in a small food processor. You can do it by hand if you have to. Beat your egg or eggs in a mixing bowl. Add everything except the bacon grease, and mix well.

 
Heat the bacon grease in an iron skillet. You’ll want it to be about ¼ inch deep or so. When the grease is hot, spoon or ladle your zucchini mixture in, about ¼ cup at a time, and flatten. Flip when the bottom is browned and brown the other side. Remove to paper towel-lined plate to drain excess grease.

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New Potatoes

New Potatoes

I love new potatoes. They are one of the few foods that really come off well with almost no preparation.

The easiest way to serve them is to simply rinse the potatoes and steam them whole with the skins on. When they are on your plate, cut them open with a fork, sprinkle on a little salt, and you have a wonderful dish.

The other day I decided to get a little fancier with it (I had some homemade chicken broth that I needed to use up, that was too salty, so used that and did not need to add salt).

New potatoes, whole, rinsed, with skins on
One or two carrots, rinsed, ends cut off, broken into halves or smaller
Chicken broth
Bacon, cooked, cut up (I used kitchen scissors)
Onion powder
Salt

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and boil gently until the potatoes are fork tender. You do not have to use enough broth to cover the potatoes. If your broth cooks away before the potatoes are tender, add water and keep cooking.

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Balsamic Glazed Beets and Greens with Feta

Balsamic Glazed Beets and Greens with Feta

This is really great with baby beets, but still very good with full grown beets. You will rarely find beets with their greens still attached at the grocery store.

Beets
Preheat oven to 375. Cut green off beets and save. Rinse beets. Roast, covered, for about one hour (should pierce easily with a knife). Allow to cool. Remove skins.

Glaze
2 tablespoons butter
3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper

Simmer all ingredients together for a few minutes stirring occasionally.

Cut up beets into bite-sized pieces. Simmer in the glaze for about 10 minutes, tossing and stirring occasionally to coat.

Greens
Cut up greens and stems. Slice up about 4 cloves garlic. Cook in about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease, covered, stirring occasionally.

Putting it all together
Pour glazed beets over the greens and top with a bit of crumbled feta cheese. Keep covered on warm until ready to serve.

I served these with deep fried chicken livers.

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Barley and Brown Rice

Barley and Brown Rice

1 ½ cup cooked barley
1 ½ cup cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons pico or salsa
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Turmeric
Cayenne

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT nutritional yeast in an over proof bowl. Heat for 15 minutes. Stir. Heat for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and stir in nutritional yeast. Can be served immediately or kept warm in a warm (not hot) oven.

You can add meat to this dish to make it a main dish. It goes really well with my Black-eye Peas and Greens combo.

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Fried Rice

Fried Rice

3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 – 1½ cups peas and carrots
1 – 1½ cups leftover meat (cooked)
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Ginger
3 cups cooked brown rice
3 eggs
Tamari sauce (or soy sauce)

Heat coconut oil in skillet on med-high. Add meat, vegetables, rice, onion powder, garlic powder, and ginger powder. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Beat the eggs. Make a well in the center. Pour in eggs and cook for about one minute. Gradually incorporate the egg into the rice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until egg is done. Add tamari sauce to taste and cook for 2 more minutes.

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Light and Easy Sauce for Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, and Other Steamed Vegetables

Light and Easy Sauce for Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, and Other Steamed Vegetables

I originally mentioned this sauce in response to a comment on Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce.

This is the easiest sauce I’ve come up with for steamed vegetables. I used to serve them with Ranch dressing, which is a tasty way to eat them, but it can clash with other sauces, and it tends to overpower the vegetables. Some things I love about this sauce are:

  • You don’t actually have to do the work of making a sauce
  • It does not dirty another dish
  • It is very versatile – you can adjust the flavors to compliment your main dish
  • It is not a heavy sauce, which is nice sometimes especially if your main dish already uses a thick sauce

Here is how to make it.

After you put the vegetables in the steamer basket, before you turn on the heat, place some pats of butter and some spices (whatever you like!) on top of the vegetables and splash them with a bit of lemon juice. When it has finished steaming you will have a tasty sauce in the bottom of the pan that you can spoon over the veggies.

That’s it! Very easy.

Usually I use garlic powder and salt (I like that best for Brussels sprouts) but you can go crazy with the spices. When I make asparagus, I usually add dill. If you don’t like or don’t want the lemony flavor, you can skip the lemon juice. Adding a little soy sauce instead might work. I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know if it will try to stick to the pan, but you could always add it after the steaming is done.

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