While I was growing up we had family friends that lived almost right across the street. The daughter, Aimee, is my age and we went to school together for as long as I can remember. Once we were late for 3rd grade because we were playing on the snow banks in the church parking lot we had to walk through. I remember this vividly because I have always been, and will always be, a rule follower and walking into the classroom during the pledge of allegiance is not the action of a good little girl! We would play for hours with these plastic animals in her basement- my favorite was the family of white tigers. Sometimes when her mom and my dad were both out of town on business trips, we would combine the remainder of our families and head out to dinner at Ponderosa (don't even get me started on how terrible that place is...); the waitress once thought that Aimee and I were twins.
Because both of our extended families were located in states far away, there were many Thanksgiving that we would break bread together. I don't know why (I will hazard a guess because my sister HATES green bean casserole) but one year Sara showed up with these green bean bundles. Both families loved them and they have become a permanent staple of our Thanksgiving feast. These guys a lot less labor intensive than the traditional GBC (especially if you make it from scratch, which is yummy, but not good for the mushroom haters) but a third of the ingredients is bacon. Come on, you can never go wrong with bacon, right? So try them out, even your green vegetable haters (aka my dad) will eat a bundle or two.
Green Bean Bundles (from the kitchen of our childhood neighbor, Sara)
2 16-oz cans whole green beans, drained
12-16 slices bacon, cut in half
1 8-oz bottle French dressing
In the microwave, cook the slices of bacon until they are slightly cooked but still malleable (about 1-2 minutes total). Pat dry with paper towel.
Arrange the green beans into bunches of 8 and wrap a half slice of bacon around each bundle, securing with a toothpick. Place all the bundles in a large baking dish. Pour the dressing over the beans. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, turning over the bundles halfway through the cooking time. Serve hot.