My husband and I are total foodies. While we are generally frugal in nature, food is a place where we tend to spend way too much money.

We live in an area with some really great restaurants that make fantastic food and many times source ingredients locally and seasonally. While we mostly go out for happy hour, a good meal can still get pretty pricey.

Typical happy hour dinner of small plates

Since I have been really focused on our food bill lately, my goal has been to recreate some of our favorite meals from a variety of restaurants. Last night, I decided to take on Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.

Growing up I absolutely hated Brussels sprouts. 

We had then often enough as a dinner side, but always steamed. They were mushy and bland, and I avoided them every time. Only recently did I try them again and found that done right (NOT steamed), I actually really like Brussels sprouts.

I feel that they are actually a really underappreciated vegetable, in large part because of the way they typically get cooked. I may love them now, but I will still never eat them steamed or cooked plain. Brussels sprouts need some love to be really delicious.

I’ve cooked them occasionally at home, and while they’re always eaten, they tend not to be a favorite. But we’ve ordered them a few times at various happy hours and they’ve been delicious.

So last night, I replicated the very best of these happy hour entrees to the best of my memory. I purposefully made extra so I could pack the leftovers to take to work the next day.

My leftovers…
Next time, I’ll make twice as much so I actually do get to have some the next day. Most surprisingly, our long term roommate went back for seconds when he generally avoids Brussels sprouts like the plague.

My husband and son both devoured their portions (my husband went back for seconds), and I cleared my plate as well. We all agreed that it was a meal I need to make again.

I served it last night as a side to Italian sausage and ravioli, but I will probably just make it in bulk next time and serve it as the main course. The rest of the meal was good, but it was completely outshined by the Brussels sprouts. 

Making restaurant quality meals at home has been key to us slowly bringing our food budget down without sacrifice. When a home cooked meal tastes as good or better than one from a fancy restaurant, we will choose to stay home every time.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (serves 6 as a main dish for $ $1.59/serving*)


  • 12 slices thick cut bacon $4.00
  • 2 small sweet onions, diced $1.00 (free from the garden)
  • 1 head garlic 50¢ (free from the garden)
  • 1 large stalk Brussels sprouts $3.49 (Trader Joe’s has the best price, hands down)
  • 1TSP sea salt
  • 2TSP black pepper 10¢
  • 3TSP smoked paprika 40¢

*If you have a basic garden, you can get this down to $1.34/serving. 


  1. Cut bacon up into 1″ slices and pan fry until they start to get crispy. Drain bacon grease into a cup to save for later.
  2. Add diced onion and garlic to the pan with the bacon and cook until onion and garlic is browned.
  3. Slice Brussels sprouts into fourths lengthwise and add to the pan with the rest of the ingredients. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until soft.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. (I always use high quality, local spices because they are fresher and tastier than their mass produced counterparts)
  5. Uncover and cook on high, adding back bacon grease as needed, until Brussels sprouts are browned.
  6. Serve hot and don’t expect leftovers.


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