Wow! What a year it has been! It’s been absolutely incredible if you ask me. What started as a little hobby for myself (and a sort of New Year’s Resolution), has become so much more. Yes, From James to Jamie, is still just a hobby, but I still can’t believe how far it has progressed since I first started it.
Looking back to my first post, it’s crazy to think that nearly a full year has passed (technically I started on January 5th). It’s even crazier to think that I actually accomplished my goal. I mean, I know that I’m two recipes short from reaching my 100+ new recipes goal, but I’m allowing myself a little grace with the timing. I’ve made well over 100 new-to-me – and completely new – recipes this past year, but I’ve been picky about what gets posted. Just this week I made two dishes that, though passable, weren’t up to the set of standards I’ve set for myself.
So the goal has essentially been reached, even though technically one or two shy. In the process, I’ve met a ton of interesting people, started to form contacts with members of Food Bloggers of Canada, received a free cookbook as the only invited male guest at a special blogger meet and greet (can you tell that was a major highlight for me?), and drastically improved my food photography skills.
I’ve also started to build my own little list of followers, I’ve flung myself headfirst into the world of Instagram, I’ve somehow persuaded people – other than my mother – to “pin” my (yes, MY(!!!)) recipes on Pinterest. and complete strangers have shared my posts on Facebook.
At the same time, I’ve been able to enjoy a tonne of great food (tonnes being the slightly larger metric cousin to tons). It’s come at the cost of my waistline and my wife’s sanity (I sort of talk about the blog 24/7 at this point), but It’s been absolutely worth it.
So, to celebrate the progress that’s been made and the goal that’s been (essentially) reached – I’m still posting 99 and 100 before I stop this silly numbering, but probably not before January – I’m sharing with you one of my all-time favourite party foods.
These Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts are a tradition in my family, always served Christmas Eve. My mom has used the recipe for probably over twenty years, after getting it from a co-worker. I have no idea where it originally came from, but whoever first discovered this flavour combination, just know that I owe you unending gratitude. Also, though they’re a family tradition, I’d never attempted making them myself.
As a disclaimer, I made this recipe using a 375 g. pack of bacon (roughly 13 oz.), but with the amount of sauce and water chestnuts left over, I could have used more bacon had it been available. The recipe posted below takes that into account. As for the sauce, note that it’s simply equal parts of the three ingredients. Because of this, you can very easily scale down or increase the amount of sauce if desired. Personally, I wish I’d had a full pound of bacon to work with (375 g. is the standard size in Canada, and I couldn’t justify buying the larger package), because these suckers disappeared so quickly when they were served.
Anyways, as I have with pretty much every post this year, I’ve run long – so let’s get to the recipe:
Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts
- 375 – 500 g. good quality bacon (preferably medium thickness)
- one 8 0z (227 g.) can whole water chestnuts, drained
- 1/2 cup Heinz Chilli Sauce
- 1/2 cup Kraft Catalina dressing
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. On two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, lay out your bacon in rows. Once the oven is up to temperature, place the trays in the oven and cook for 7 minutes.
- Remove the trays from the oven and flip the bacon. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. You’re looking to cook the bacon fully, while still leaving it soft enough to roll up around the water chestnuts.
- Remove the bacon from the trays and place on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess grease. Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Once the bacon has cooled enough to work with, get started on the assembly. Cut each slice of bacon in half, and wrap each half around a water chestnut, securing each piece of bacon by using toothpicks passed through both the bacon and the water chestnuts.
- Repeat this process until all the bacon is used up.
- Place the bacon in a medium-sized baking dish.
- In a bowl, combine the last three ingredients together and stir/whisk until well-incorporated. Pour this over the bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, and give them a gentle stir to ensure they are well-coated.
- Place the baking dish in the oven and bake, uncovered for about 25 minutes total, making sure to remove from the oven and flip them halfway through this process.
- Serve immediately, or let cool, then refrigerate for later. If prepping for later, reheat in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes until the sauce is bubbly.
Serves 3-6 as an appetizer