Cooking with Ease: Bacon-Tomato Tartlets

(ROCKWALL, TX — March 6, 2019) A longtime dream of mine is to one day write a cookbook. And not just any cookbook. A cookbook filled with more words than pictures and more feelings than ingredients. A paperback book overflowing with short stories about food, family, fun, and then ending each story with a recipe that reminds me of those people or that time in my life. One you can carry in your purse and get a quick read in every now and then. One you would sit down to a cup of coffee with and catch yourself laughing out loud or maybe even wiping a few tears. Basically, the same thing I am writing to you all every month – a love letter about meals and memories.

I’ve fallen head over heels for books like “Home Cooking” by Laurie Colwin and “Bread & Wine” by Shauna Niequist. Colwin’s last book was published in 1992, the year she passed away. Her stories of kitchen mishaps and self-taught culinary skills ring true to so many of my present day quirks. Niequist speaks from the heart about her desire to have a child and the devastation she experienced during that season of her life. Often times, I find myself day dreaming about my book – what stories I will tell, what recipes I will use and what the name will be. One night I thought of the perfect name for my cookbook, “Goodness Gracious”! It reminded me of how the old time dinner prayer starts, “God is great, God is good…” and how I truly have witnessed so much goodness and grace in my own life. A quick Google search revealed that the name had already been taken. In 2002, Roxie Kelley wrote a beautifully designed and illustrated cookbook with that exact title.

I figured since I couldn’t have the name, I might as well buy one of her cookbooks. And so I did. I had no idea what to expect because I really hadn’t done any research on the book. I had only purchased it because of the name. It is the loveliest book. There are no photographs, only hand-illustrated drawings by Kelley’s friend and publishing partner, Shelly Reeves Smith. Each recipe includes a little note of who it came from and how the ladies knew them. Each section ends with a “Grace Note.” Kelley’s note for the appetizers section concluded with this: “If someone were to ask me what purpose I wish this book could serve, I hope that way beyond the pleasure of food and the subject of hospitality, that families everywhere could learn to move above their past failures, judgements, and disappointments with a grace and love that surpasses all understanding.”

And the only thing I can think to say to that is… Amen. So, today, I am sharing one of my favorite recipes from Goodness Gracious by Roxie Kelley, Bacon-Tomato Tartlets. These can be served for breakfast with a side of eggs and a coffee, for brunch with a cup of soup or for dinner with a nice salad and a simple dessert.


Melissa Tate

1 (16.3 ounce) can flaky layered biscuits
6 slices of bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 small purple onion, diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate each biscuit into three layers. Spray a 24 count mini muffin tin with cooking oil, something like PAM and not Baker’s Joy. Press each biscuit layer into a muffin tin. Mix the remaining ingredients together. Drop a little more than 1/2 Tbsp of mixture into each biscuit cup. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Mine took a little longer.
*I cook my bacon in the oven, so I start that process first so it can be cooking while I do the other steps. To do this, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place a cooling/baking rack on a foil lined sheet pan. Place bacon slices on baking rack. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Using tongs, turn the bacon over and cook for 10-12 more minutes or until slightly crispy. This method cuts down on grease splatter and clean up. It also drains the fat off the bacon as you cook it.

Melissa TateBy Blue Ribbon News guest columnist Melissa Tate of Rockwall. Melissa is a freelance food writer and owner of Photo-Wagon mobile photo booth. She also helps her husband run their family farm, Tate Farms, and event center, Summerfield at Tate Farms. They are currently managing the Smirl Chapel Relocation & Preservation Project. Find Melissa on Facebook or Instagram at @melissatatetx to follow the adventures. Headshot by Kelly Alexander Photography.

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