#10DaysofTailgate: Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon

Green beans tossed on the grill with mushrooms and duck bacon get toasty and roasty. They are so delicious!

Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgate

This week I’m sharing quite a few tailgate recipes with some blogging friends as part of #10DaysofTailgate. Camilla did a great job organizing this event and wrangled 14 great giveaways for you guys! So check out the giveaway here. :)

#10DaysofTailgate Sponsors

Green beans are one vegetable that Ben and I both LOVE so we have them as a dinner side pretty often. Usually I just steam them on the stove. Occasionally I toss them in the oven to roast with some sweet potatoes, but that’s usually the extent of my green bean repertoire. Not anymore! Now, I’m gonna be grilling them up every chance I get! Especially when I have mushrooms and duck bacon laying around. Mmmm! You guys… that was just the most amazing combo ever! These veggies grilled up roasty and sweet, caramelized from the grill… and the salt of the bacon just made that taste even better! I know green beans and bacon are a thing, but I hadn’t had it very often so it was a new flavor combo for me. And the fact that it was DUCK bacon took this side over the top. Before #10DaysofTailgate duck bacon was pretty unfamiliar to me. Maple Leaf Farms [out of Indiana–woohoo!] is one of our generous sponsors and sent the team ground duck, duck bacon, and duck fat to try out. I was surprised at how tender and flavorful the bacon was. It definitely had a different flavor than regular bacon, but it wasn’t gamey at all–sort of similar to turkey bacon but with more oomph. The fact that it’s applewood smoked probably helped. :) I could have made an entire meal of these veggies! But I also had some beef skewers [this awesome recipe is coming soon!] to enjoy on the side. Rough life, huh?

Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgate

You might notice that I didn’t just throw the veggies on the grill. That’s my handy new stainless grilling skillet thanks to another #10DaysofTailgate sponsor, Mr. Bar-B-Q! Before this, our grilling was pretty frills-free… just us and our grill. The grilling skillet allows for a little more control of things, but you could certainly make this recipe sans skillet by wrapping everything up in a foil packet. I gotta admit that having some grilling tools is pretty fun though! I’m sure glad that grilling season in Tennessee lasts well into the fall so we can have more tasty outdoors with my new toys. If you want to check out our generous sponsors on their social media so you can get more info on their products here’s all the info you need: Maple Leaf Farms is on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, and you can find Mr. Bar-B-Q on Twitter and Facebook too. Thank you both so much for your generosity! But they also have great prizes in our giveaway so be sure to go enter NOW! :)

Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon | thepajamachef.com #10DaysofTailgateI just loved these veggies and duck bacon! Wish I had some to enjoy right now…even though it’s 8 am! :)

Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 1 pound green beans, washed, dried, & trimmed
  • 4 ounces Baby Bella Mushrooms, cleaned & sliced into large pieces
  • 4 slices duck bacon [from Maple Leaf Farms], sliced into eighths
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt

Directions: Add green beans, mushrooms, and bacon to a mesh grilling basket. Season as desired–I always use a lot of pepper and very little salt. Grill over indirect heat for 20 minutes, shaking every 5 minutes or so, or until bacon is fully cooked. If you don’t have a grilling basket, you can wrap ingredients in foil and grill in a foil packet. It won’t be exactly the same but the smoky flavors will still shine through.

Here’s what everyone brought to the table today…

Starters
Cheesy Maple Leaf Farm Duck Bacon Oven Chips by Making Miracles
Mango-Mustard Crock Pot Wings by Curious Cuisiniere
Cheesy Pulled Pork Egg Rolls by From Gate to Plate
Herbed Deviled Eggs by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Sips
Amaretto Spiced Apple Cider by The Spiffy Cookie

Dips
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

Mains
Green and Gold Grilled Chicken (Green Curry and Pineapple) by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Turducken Meatballs by Miss Laura’s Kitchen
Meaty “Beast Mode” Baked Beans by OnTheMove-In the Galley
Chicken Apple Bratwurst Burgers by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Sides
Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon
 by The Pajama Chef

Disclosure: I received a complementary stainless grilling skillet from Mr. Bar-B-Q and complementary duck bacon, ground duck, and duck fat from Maple Leaf Farms as part of my participation in #10DaysofTailgate. I was not compensated in any way–for my time, to create a recipe, or to publish positive comments. I was not required to use these products as part of my recipe. My opinions are my own.

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Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

These Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs are a fun topping to a garlicky, buttery base of spaghetti squash. Though this dish takes awhile to prepare, it’s totally worth it!

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash | thepajamachef.com

I don’t know about you, but I’m on a quest to eat as much pumpkin in the next three months as possible. It’s my goal to make/blog about at least one pumpkin dish per week! We’ll see how I do. :) So first…I have a confession to make. I made this dish last year. In fact, it was one of the first new recipes I made in our new Nashville kitchen after we moved here last year. And it just didn’t make it on the blog. Oooops! Moving to a new state and starting a new job kinda takes a lot of time. :) But despite the length of time between eating this dish and sharing it here, I think it’s utterly fabulous! Most people think of pumpkin as a sweet ingredient [helllooo pumpkin pie, cookies, bread, muffins, yada yada yada] but I love it when used at dinnertime. Though pumpkin by itself is actually a little bland, it can add some color, moisture, and substance to sauces, meatballs, or soups when used in a savory sense.  This was my first time using pumpkin in meatballs and I must say I’m super impressed! These meatballs were sooo flavorful and indulgent… if meatballs can be indulgent, haha.

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash | thepajamachef.com

And don’t forget about the spaghetti squash! It’s garlicky and buttery and just plain perfect. It was Ben’s first taste of spaghetti squash and he loved it… especially because of the bacon. Everything’s better with bacon, right? Even pumpkin! With this dish you’ll certainly have one of the more unique ways to enjoy pumpkin. And it’s awesome! Hope you enjoyyy!

one year ago: Autumnal Muffins
two years ago: Peach Raspberry Clafouti
three years ago: Peach Shortbread
four years ago: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 2 hours, most of that not active so don't freak out
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from We are not Martha

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound ground chicken [ground turkey would also work too]
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Star Fine Foods Butter Olive Oil – or regular butter or olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully poke holes all over the spaghetti squash with a sharp knife. Place in a baking dish and bake for 80 minutes, rotating halfway through.

While spaghetti squash is cooking, prepare meatballs. In a large bowl, mix together ground chicken, pumpkin, ginger, thyme, panko, parmesan, and egg. Scoop mixture into golfball-sized balls and place in a baking dish that has been greased with cooking spray. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and crisp on the outside. [Hint: put the meatballs in the oven after the squash has cooked for about 65 or 70 minutes–that’ll be good timing so everything is finished about the same time.]

After 80 minutes, remove squash from oven and let cool.

When cool enough to touch, carefully cut in half. Scoop seeds out, then use a fork to remove the “spaghetti” and set aside.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, add olive oil and cook garlic for one minute. Add squash, sage, and crumbled bacon, then cook for about 3 minutes until tender.

Serve meatballs over spaghetti squash with parmesan on top.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck, Foodie Friends Friday.

Mystery Dish: Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa + Cookbook Giveaway

These Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa are tied together with a creamy mint-almond pesto. An easy, healthy dinner that comes together quickly!

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa | thepajamachef #mysterydish

I had a really tough time with this month’s Mystery Dish. I’m not sure why–pretty much ALL the ingredients on the list are things I love. I was just uninspired I guess. But I don’t think my recipe reflects that… this meal was pretty darn delicious. Andi from Weary Chef was our host and she asked us to use three ingredients from this list: pistachios, wine, mint, gluten-free flour, red pepper flakes, fish, agave nectar, applesauce, blueberries, parmesan cheese, milk, and corn.

A couple weekends ago, we were going to grill turkey burgers [Ben makes a to die for turkey burger with Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper] but we were rained out and I had some ground turkey thawed in the fridge. We could have grilled indoors, but instead I decided to make some Mystery Dish magic with these Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa. And you guys… they are so good! I love a good turkey meatball anyway, but add some fresh mint to your typical garlic and onion mixture and they’re definitely amped up a notch. To fulfill the ingredient requirement, I used gluten free flour to help hold the meatballs together and red pepper flakes instead of normal black pepper. In hindsight, I wish I would have used more flour because the meatballs didn’t hold together super well. Though that was three ingredients, I decided to make the flavors even more apparent by making a mint pesto to serve over the meatballs and to toss with the quinoa I decided to serve on the side. If quinoa isn’t your thing, try rice, pasta, or some other grain/starch. Though my pesto wasn’t a true pesto it was still pretty addictive and a great sauce that was nutty, minty, and creamy all at once.

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa | thepajamachef #mysterydish

The mint in this dish balances perfectly with the crushed red pepper. I was somewhat generous with the red pepper flakes, but it was definitely an approachable level of spiciness so if you aren’t a spicy person you’ll be okay here. I was supposed to tell you that that description was Ben’s idea, and I was threatened with a lawsuit if I didn’t. :) Ha ha, a lawsuit from my husband. Moving on… I loved how minty this dish is… enough flavor to make things interesting but not so much you think you’re eating toothpaste. I love having a great repertoire of healthy, easy dinners and I know this dish will go into my usual rotation. Hope you give it a try!

And, as a special treat since we’ve been Mystery Dishin’ it up for a YEAR now [whoa], we have a special giveaway for our lovely readers… copies of cookbooks from MasterChef Season 3 Winner Christine Ha and Season 4 Winner Luca Manfe! I wish I could win! Go HERE to enter.

Enjoy!

one year ago: Roasted Peach Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel 
two years ago: Brown Rice, Feta, and Tomato Salad
three years ago: Healthy “Fried” Rice –> I make this ALL the time with different veggies, meat, and/or tofu. A must try!
four years ago: Cornmeal Pizza Dough in the Breadmaker

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients:

for meatballs

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour [or other flour, gluten free or otherwise + more if you need it]
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste

for quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water [or stock if preferred]
  • 1 cup prepared pesto [above]

for pesto

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint
  • 1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons half and half
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan
  • crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs–garlic, green onion, mint, flour, egg, turkey, and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste. Mix well with your hands, then shape into 16 meatballs. Place half the meatballs in the preheated skillet and cook on each side for about 2 minutes per side until browned all over. Remove meatballs from skillet and place in a large oven safe dish, misted with cooking spray if not nonstick. Repeat with remaining meatballs then bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.

While meatballs are cooking, prepare quinoa according to package directions. Bring rinsed quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes until all water is absorbed.

Prepare pesto by combining mint, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons half and half, and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until combined, adding more oil and/or half and half if desired. Stir in parmesan and red pepper flakes to taste. Pesto yields about 1 cup.

When quinoa is ready, pour about 3/4 cup pesto in the quinoa and stir to combine. Serve meatballs with quinoa and reserved mint pesto, along with sides like green beans or crusty bread.

Be sure to check out what my Mystery Dish pals whipped up this month:

Mystery Dish | thepajamachef.com

  1. Tuna Tacos with Avocado Corn Salsa by The Weary Chef
  2. Blueberry Scones by Yummy Healthy Easy
  3. Parmesan Crusted Tilapia by Culinary Couture
  4. Minty Berry Fruit Roll Ups by I Want Crazy
  5. Baked Blueberry Donuts by Chez CateyLou
  6. Hearty Minestrone Soup by Joyful Healthy Eats
  7. Blueberry Lemon Pannacotta with Pistachio Tuilles by Flavor the Moments
  8. Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa by The Pajama Chef
  9. Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake by I Dig Pinterest
  10. Pistachio Drop Scones with Blueberry Compote by The Well Floured Kitchen
  11. Grilled Corn & Blueberry Flatbread with Whipped Goat Cheese, Pistachios, and Basil Vinaigrette by Baking a Moment
  12. Pistachio Crusted Tilapia and Peach Salad by Blahnik Baker

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

So, I used to post once a month on a blog called Today’s Housewife. In fall 2012, the group decided together to stop posting due the busyness of life and families and such. Though sad, I enjoyed being part of the group. As of early January, the blog was officially taken down. But I don’t want to lose my recipes, so periodically I will be reposting them on here. Enjoy!

~

from April 14, 2011… this salad is delicious and I need to make it again!

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad | thepajamachef.com

My husband and I each take our lunches with us almost everyday, him to work and me to grad school. Not only is it less expensive to pack lunches, but it’s a lot healthier (and tastier) than eating out as long as you pack the right things. I discovered early on in our marriage that the best way to ensure that we each had delicious, filling lunches that would rival anything at a restaurant was to spend some time in advance doing some lunch preparation. So I started spending an hour or so every Sunday after church prepping our lunchtime vegetables and making a grab-and-go main course option. Then, every week night while we’re cooking dinner or cleaning up, we assemble our lunches for the next day. Having components in the fridge ready to go makes it a snap!

Pasta salads are one of my top choices for packed lunches as they are good served hot or cold, are customizable, and can be quite filling depending on the ingredients. I love that I can make a big batch to eat from throughout the week. This Greek-inspired dish was born out of the need to finish some random ingredients taking up space in my fridge such as a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives that I used in a recent dinner, Pantry Pasta for Two. Each bite is a little different, and the sweet tang of lemon and tomatoes coupled with the bite of olives and the rich flavor of feta cheese is incredible. You’ll have to try it to believe it, but one bite and you’ll be hooked. It’s like a trip to the Greek Isles without every leaving your lunchbox! Not that I’ve ever been… (hint, hint husband!) I’m not sure this is a super kid-friendly dish depending on picky eaters’ palates, but I think it’d be great for girls’ lunches or family gatherings. Enjoy!
three years ago: The Best Panini Ever
four years ago: Maple Pecan Pear Scones

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print
adapted from Allrecipes.com
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup orzo pasta, uncooked (or any small pasta)
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I used the oil that my tomatoes were packed in for extra flava!)
  • zest of 1 large lemon (maybe a couple tablespoons?)
  • juice of 1 large lemon (perhaps 1/4-1/3 cup?)
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/3 cup spinach leaves, torn and packed
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pasta water, reserved
Directions:
Prepare orzo according to package directions. Before draining, be sure to reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. If you’re like me and don’t have a fine strainer, place a (unused) coffee filter inside your regular strainer. Then drain your pasta carefully so as not to tear the coffee filter and spoon the pasta into a medium bowl. Immediately stir in sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, olives, lemon zest, spinach, and parsley. Mix gently to combine, then add lemon juice. Add feta cheese after a minute or so to let the pasta cool off (unless you don’t mind melted feta cheese). If needed, incorporate a little pasta water to make sure everything is fully coated, especially if you’ll be storing the salad for more than a day, as the sauce tends to be absorbed by the noodles over time. I used about 2-3 teaspoons of water. Season with black pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Baked Cauli-Tots [Two Ways]

These cauli-tots are cheesy and crunchy, the perfect appetizer or side dish! Make them with cauliflower and add in some yellow squash or zucchini if desired! 

Baked Cauli-Tots [Two Ways] | thepajamachef.com

Before last month, I don’t think I have ever purchased a head of cauliflower in my life. I eat it, sure. It was a constant staple in the holiday vegetable tray throughout my childhood. If it’s on a salad bar, I’ll have some. If it’s in the mixed veggies of the day at a restaurant, same deal. But I don’t really buy it. Oh wait! I have purchased cauliflower once, to make fakeout alfredo sauce. Ben wasn’t fooled–this recipe is much better. But anyways, you get the gist. Cauliflower and I aren’t BFFs, not really. More like acquaintances of convenience or chance. Until NOW [mwahahaha, sorry Benjamin].

Baked Cauli-Tots [Two Ways] | thepajamachef.com

I’m not sure what convinced me to buy cauliflower this time, except that it was on sale. After much deliberation about what to make, I was in the kitchen whipping up these cute little tots. They are cheesy with the perfect crunchy shell. Since my initial foray into caul-tot making, I’ve messed around with the recipe a bit, adding some fresh herbs and even subbing out some of the cauliflower for yellow squash or zucchini. These little tots are addictive and are a great way to sneak in some extra veggies to a meal!

Baked Cauli-Tots [Two Ways] | thepajamachef.com

I can’t wait to experiment with more flavor combos with these tots… different cheeses, different herbs, different spices… I can’t wait! #sendhelptoBen Apparently, they freeze well too, but my batches haven’t lasted long enough to try that! My leftovers made an excellent lunch. Hope you enjoy!

one year ago: Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce
two years ago: Summery Squash and Chicken Lasagna
three years ago: Kale Frittata for Two
four years ago: Jambalaya 

Baked Cauli-Tots Two Ways

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

adapted from Cupcakes and Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups packed shredded cauliflower, water squeezed out with a kitchen towel [I use the shredding blade on my food processor. You can use the stems as well as florets.] – this is about half a head of cauliflower
    • If desired, you can make these squash-cauli tots by REDUCING the shredded cauliflower to 2 1/2 cups and ADDING 1 small shredded yellow squash or zucchini, water squeezed out with a kitchen towel [approximately 1 1/4 cups squash]
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
    • If squash or zucchini is added, increase the cornmeal to 1/3 cup
  • generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, optional [I used Thai basil and oregano]
  • dipping sauce, as desired – this homemade Chick-Fil-A sauce is great!

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray two mini muffin pans with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together cauliflower, squash [if using], cheese, egg, cornmeal, pepper, mustard, and herbs [if using]. Spoon into prepared muffin tins, pressing mixture down firmly.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until crisp along the edges and golden brown on top.

Serve with dipping sauces as desired. We like honey mustard or bbq sauce best.

Linked up with Weekend Potluck.