When we bought our house, there were two items other than location and school district at the top of my wish list: a front porch and double ovens. I didn't get the front porch, but I got double ovens and I love them. I don't know how I ever cooked without them!
Although I've had double ovens a number of years, I still find myself planning meals that can be cooked at the same temperature, even if not for the same length of time. This double duty cooking comes in handy, especially during the holidays when there's a lot of cooking to be done all at once. Since the holidays are upon us, I'm sharing two side dishes that can be cooked simultaneously.
My family expects turkey and all the trimmings at Thanksgiving so I always serve ham at Christmas. For as long as I can remember, I've always paired ham with macaroni and cheese. To me, those two foods go together like peanut butter and jelly, fish and chips, bacon and eggs. In addition to macaroni and cheese, I also serve green bean bundles. The macaroni and cheese cooks in half the time of the bean bundles so I put the bean bundles in to cook first.
Green bean bundles may sound complicated, but they're nothing more than whole green beans wrapped in bacon, covered with a sauce and baked in the oven. You can use a whole slice of bacon on each bundle or you can slice the bacon in half. The bundles are easier to wrap if you put the beans at the end of a piece of bacon and roll everything into a bundle.
The sauce uses a hodgepodge of ingredients, but when combined gives the beans a wonderful flavor. You don't have to be precise; you can add more or less of an ingredient to suit your taste. Once the sauce is on the beans, the pan goes in the oven for 45 minutes. The bacon needs to be thoroughly cooked so you might have to cook the beans a little longer, especially if you use a whole piece of bacon to wrap the beans. For a nicer presentation, transfer the cooked bean bundles and sauce to a serving dish after you take them out of the oven.
The other side dish, macaroni and cheese, isn't difficult and is tastier than anything you get from a box! When you cook macaroni -- or any pasta -- you want to add enough salt to the water so it tastes like saltwater. If the water isn't salty enough, the cooked pasta won't be either.
Most macaroni and cheese recipes use regular or canned milk. This recipe uses nonfat dry milk instead. The milk powder is mixed with flour, butter and water to form a sauce.