an army wife's guide to life

food and homemaking goodness

Roasted Balsamic Broccoli with Onions, Garlic and Bacon

This is one of those recipes that can either be a side dish or a main course for one person. For me, it was that main course option, because cooking for one person is kind of miserable for me. But this was a dish that was worth the effort I put into it and I ended up enjoying eating more than I usually would. This was originally going to be a side for Bruschetta Chicken, but since it was just me, I nixed the chicken (at least for today).


This recipe is ridiculously simple, here’s what you’ll need:

→ 3 small heads of fresh broccoli, cut into florets

→ 1 medium onion, halved and sliced

→ 3 cloves of garlic, minced

→ 1/2 package of bacon

→ about 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

→ salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder


Step 1

Do Not preheat your oven. I’m serious, don’t do it. Do not skip ahead to see where the oven will be heated to, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go directly to jail if you peek. Seriously. Don’t do it. Instead, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and put a roasting rack (or a cookie rack) over it. Line that rack with bacon. Then put the bacon in the cold oven. I’m serious. Put the oven on 400º and set the timer for 20-25 mintues (25-30 for thick bacon). You will thank me for this when you realize you now have bacon jerky that’s perfectly cooked.

Step 2

While the bacon is becoming perfect, chop your veggies. Then wait, because you’ll have time left before the bacon comes out and you probably don’t want to stand in the kitchen smelling the perfection while you wait for dinner. Go browse Pinterest, or better yet, pin this just for fun.

Step 3

When the bacon has reached perfection, remove it to your cutting board with tongs, and remove the rack from the pan. Don’t get ride of the lovely bacon drippings, don’t touch any of that. Instead, line the bottom of the pan with the onions and garlic, and then layer the broccoli over that. This is also where I added the balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkling of salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. The vinegar will smell a little strong, even while it’s cooking, but it come out so, so sweet, so use a little more than you think you’d like.

Step 4

Slice the bacon. Try not to eat all of it before it you add it back to the pan. Sprinkle it over the mixture, if you have any left.

Step 5

Bake for another 15-20 minutes in your now-preheated oven. The broccoli should be a really deep greed with slightly brown edges and there shouldn’t be anything slightly burnt smelling, like mine was (I put it in for 25 minutes, oops).

Easy, right? There might be a bit of chopping involved  and a lot of self control, but this is a side dish (or main dish) that pretty much puts itself together. Now, if you wanted to cut down a bit on the fattiness of this dish (or you’re just not into bacon), you can omit it and drizzle olive oil along with the vinegar. It would still be really good, but the fat in it really was good. It wasn’t overly greasy, the broccoli does a good job of soaking it up, and the bacon was just a really delicious addition to it.


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S’more Cookies

This is another snack for my hubby. Because I seriously don’t like marshmallows, and he loves them. He really, really loves them. In fact, I bought the bag of mini-marshmallows for this project and I almost didn’t get to do it because he just sat there and ate them! But I saved enough to do this one

You can see what my husband likes to snack on, right? (the open marshmallows and chocolate chips should be a clue!) This is definitely one of those recipes that doesn’t need much in terms of stuff or work, and that is always nice for me. It was easy, just laying everything out and getting it into the oven.

This is where I veered off the recipe and tried my own thing. I thought, if I used the broiler, it would go quicker, and the marshmallows would get that pretty golden brown color that we all love. I was so wrong. I put them in and cleaned everything up and wanted to check something on my computer really quick, less than 5 minutes, really, and when I popped open the oven to check them, there was fire. (No, really, literal fire) Once I got the fire put out, this is what I was left with:

Lesson learned: marshmallows and broilers are a bad combination. The chocolate didn’t even attempt to melt and the marshmallows turned into little charcoal puffs. My house smelled like smoke for the next two days, even with the fan running and the porch door open (I hate that there is no way to have real air currants through the house!)

I did try again. Not that day (I was too annoyed to try again), but a few days later, I did it again, this time following the directions. With much, much better results.

Here’s what they should look like toasting in the oven. They got all round and very lightly brown before I pulled them out this time, instead of pulling live flames from the oven. And the chocolate was melty, but not too much. I could still see some individual chips after they were assembled.

I tried to coat them in chocolate like in the recipe, but I have never been very good with that. My chocolate ended up not melting very well and not coating the cookies. So one got thrown away in failure, but the rest are wrapped and waiting to be eaten!


The moral of this story is that, sometimes, following the directions is the best idea ever!

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