side dishes

Holiday Sides From the Nation’s Top Chefs

Gobble, gobble is just a few weeks away. Now is the time to finalize your plans for cooking your Thanksgiving dinner. Some of the country’s best chefs go together at the Aspen Food and Wine Festival and literally talked turkey. Check it out:




New Recipe: Bama Baked Beans

Bama Baked Beans

Boston is famous for their Baked Beans and though they are good they hardly stand up to my hug-worthy Bama Baked Beans.  These beans will make a ridiculous side dish for your next BBQ or pool party but they are hearty (and meaty) enough to stand alone as an entree.  They feature crispy bacon lardons, ground beef and strips of bacon as garnish.  You know if bacon is used as a garnish it’s gotta be good.

Recipe: Bama Baked Beans

Bama Baked BeansIngredients

  • 3/4 lb. bacon, diced (lardons)
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 (28 ounce) can baked beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can baked beans
  • 2 TBL Dijon mustard
  • 6 TBL packed brown sugar
  • 4 – 6 slices bacon
  • 1 tsp BBQ rub or Cajun seasoning or to taste
  • Cinnamon to taste


  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees (American).
  2. Render bacon lardons in a large skillet over medium-low heat until very crispy adding the onion for the last 3 to 5 minutes of cooking. Remove the bacon mix and reserve.
  3. In the same pan (wiped free of excess grease) cook the ground beef, seasoned to taste with BBQ rub and a dash of cinnamon, until done. Drain most of the liquid and add 2 TBL brown sugar then stir until dissolved. Add the bacon mix and stir to mix. Fold in the baked beans, mustard, 3 TBL brown sugar and another dash of cinnamon.
  4. In a 9 inch square baking dish spread the last TBL of brown sugar. Pour in the bean mixture. Lightly season the top of the bean mix with BBQ rub then top with slices of bacon.
  5. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes in the preheated oven or until the bacon is crisp and the beans are bubbling hot.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Bama Baked BeansVariations

Try substituting maple syrup for some of the brown sugar. Finely diced bell pepper will add a fresh flavor punch and a burst of color.

This recipe is worthy of inclusion on Denny’s new Baconalia menu which features all kinds of bacon-centric grub like Bacon Flapjacks, Bacon Meatloaf or the Maple Bacon Sundae.  In fact this entire post was created as part of the Denny’s/Foodbuzz BACONALIA challenge and is an entry for a chance to win some Denny’s swag.  So there.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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