"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A New Way for Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

This one is specifically aimed at the parents out there who have a difficult time convincing their littles to consume anything green. A friend of mine made this recipe for me last night and I scolded her for not making more. It's ridiculously easy and I can almost guarantee it will get your kids (and my BFF) to eat their green beans.

It's also a great dish to make when you're busy in the kitchen, maybe preparing chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes. Let's face it, you can only tend to so many pans at once. This one doesn't need tending. In fact, the less attention it gets, the better. If you stir it too often, your beans will fall apart completely and you'll end up with very tasty mush. The only reason you stir it is to get it to caramelize somewhat evenly.

This concoction is very much a southern dish. It's fried in a skillet and utilizes bacon grease, so it may not be an every week staple as is. My brain is already hacking at this recipe to make it more healthy and keeping it kid friendly, so I bet I'll have an alternative that you can serve guilt-free on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, however much you think you need when you make it . . . double that. We had five cans of beans collecting dust in the pantry, but didn't want to use them all up at once. Normally, three cans should be enough for six people, but we all wanted seconds and there was none to be had.

For now, however, I will stick to the recipe as it was given to me. Sorry, y'all! The beans didn't last long enough to take pictures.

Skillet Green Beans

4 slices (about 1/4 lb.) bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 to 1/2 medium-sized onion, chopped
3 (14.5 oz) cans cut green beans, drained
4 T butter
up to 1/4 c sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Brown bacon and onions in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat then remove
Remove all but 1 Tbsp of the grease if you find it excessive (or leave it in, it's up to you)
Add beans
Drop butter on top and allow it to melt on its own
Stir occasionally, and gently, with a wooden spoon, while you tend to other things
When you're almost ready to take it off the stove, return bacon and onions to the pan, then add sugar, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine
Give it another few minutes to let the sugar caramelize

Do not panic if the edges of your beans or onions get dark; they should. However, if at any time, you fear they're getting away from you, or cooking too fast, reduce the heat. It's ready when everything else is. Just remove it from the stove, and serve.

This recipe is also budget friendly because canned green beans are often on sale. My local mom and pop grocery store has at least one brand on sale every week. That's probably why they ended up in my pantry. (I've never been a big fan of canned veggies.)

If onions are a deal breaker for your kids, then leave them out or use onion powder instead. That will give you that sweet, oniony flavor and the kids won't see it.

Rest assured, I will be playing with this in the near future and figuring out a way to make it a bit more healthy without skimping on the flavor. We could probably start by switching out the sugar for honey or agave nectar. In fact, I bet honey would taste even better than the yumminess I tasted last night.

Happy Cooking!


  1. Thanks for the recipe! Only 2 out of my 4 likes green beans and this looks like a really easy and yummy veggie dish. I'm doubling it right away because we are a hungry family of 6. :) With the exception of butter, I'm glad it is also food allergy friendly. Good thing we have our dairy and soy free butter substitute on hand. :) Cheers to more veggies!

    1. Hey Roz! Thank you for stopping by. The easy soy free, dairy free alternative would be EVOO, but since we had butter, why not? When I was at the store today, I almost bought more beans just to experiment with. Instead, I chose to hold back and lay off the extra fats for a few days. I may try this with Brussels sprouts (my favorite veg).