My take on Macaroni and cheese, bacon style!

A few food items are always in my fridge, cheese, eggs and bacon.

A friend posted a recipe she tried last week on Facebook and I tinkered with it a little and came up with this new recipe.
I made it for The Boy and Himself and they deemed it good for a repeat.
If you can’t find the cheese I used you can substitute with cream cheese, garlic and parsley.

ETA: rinsing the pasta under cold water will stop the cooking process and also avoid melting the cheese too soon.
Also letting the meat cool off a little helps in this process.

Creamy, bacon bake.

1 box pasta (elbows, bow-ties or rotini)
Boursin cheese (not the low-fat kind)

boursib
1 cup grated cheese, I use half parmesan and mozzerella
4 slices of bacon
8 ounces of chicken
1/2 cup heavy cream

Cook pasta to almost fully cooked, drain and set aside
Cook bacon until crisp, crumble and set aside
Sautee cut up chicken in bacon grease (or in 1 tbs butter, but trust me cooking it in the bacon fat enhances the flavor)
Drain fat from chicken and mix macaroni with bacon, chicken, cream and the cheeses.
Preheat the oven at 350
Coat an ovenproof dish with butter.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until all the cheese is melted.
Halfway stir the pasta so that the cheese coats all over (it stays creamier that way)
If you have a broiler give the dish a quick broil to get a crunchy crust.

Enjoy!

food

 

Slight chance of rain!

3 meat Chili!

2 small cans of beans of your choice (I used red kidney beans) or 1 big can
6 slices bacon
3 sausages, I use mild Italian kind
1.5 pounds ground beef
2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes, 28 ounces total
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbs cumin
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs paprika (I used the smoked kind)
1 small can of tomato paste
Optional: 1 small can of spicy Mexican tomato sauce, I used El Pato

I use a Dutch oven.

Brown bacon and set aside
Brown sausage and beef in the bacon grease, drain and set aside
Add tomatoes and let simmer, add tomato paste and let the sauce come to a boil.
Add beef/sausage and bacon
Add half of the seasonings to the mixture, add the beans
Let simmer for around 20 minutes and taste! before adding more spices.
Finish off uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes.

I found Chiplote powder and it gave it a really nice kick without making it too spicy.

Shrimp Scampi, easy and healthier

A past post but worth sharing, fast and easy.

I only figured this dish out 3 weeks ago when I was stuck for a meal.
It’s so simple and fast yet very tasty.

You need for 4 people:
3 to 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Garlic We like a lot of it, but 3 cloves is a good start.
1/2 cup white wine
Raw shrimp, I use 4 ounces per person. You can use any shrimp but the medium size is nice as it doesn’t get lost in the noodles.
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of a lemon, I got one of these neat grater thingies that also grates cheese.
Parsley Enough to make it look pretty, you can use dried or fresh. A tablespoon is a good measure.
Salt and pepper to taste

We eat the scampi with Dreamfields angel hair pasta, it’s lower on the Glycemic Index but doesn’t taste like cardboard. You can use whole wheat or your own preferred pasta.
If you are watching your carbohydrate intake you can use Shiritaki noodles too.

Melt the butter in a large pan together with the garlic, do not let the butter brown so use lower heat.
Add the wine and let it evaporate a bit.
Add the shrimp, depending on the size of the shrimp cook any time from 3 to 5 minutes until pink.(medium to large)
Add the lemon and the zest.
Sprinkle with parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you are serving this with pasta follow the directions on the package.
I always start cooking the pasta when I assemble my items for the Scampi.

Should you not want noodles I suggest to add raw spinach. Fold it in at the same time as the shrimp and allow it to wilt.

We always have Parmesan cheese and fresh pepper as a topper.

Summer Time and the food is good enough to share!

Wanted to share 3 recipes I made recently that were a total HIT at a recent party.
My daughter E. found 2 of the recipes and another came by on my Facebook page.

Smoked Mozzarella Dip

She is not lying when she says it’s amazing, creamy and tasty.
We served it with French bread.
Word to the wise…do not skip the non-stick spray in the pan, it’s a hot mess!

The other dish that was gone in no time was Lime Shrimp salad

Seriously using all the good stuff like avocados and shrimp makes a difference and it’s good for you!

And then there was the Mango Raspberry Rose Sangria my daughter found and was such a success we had to remake it 3 times!

INGREDIENTS per batch.

1 mango, peeled, pitted, flesh thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup raspberries
5 tablespoons raspberry liqueur
1 bottle (750 ml) rose wine
4 cups (32 ounces) chilled lemon-lime sparkling water
Ice

DIRECTIONS

In a pitcher or large bowl, combine mango, raspberries, raspberry liqueur, and rose wine. Stir to combine and refrigerate 1 hour.
Add ice cubes and sparkling water and enjoy!

Aye Spicy!

Last week my friend Kev. posted a picture of Jalapeno Poppers he brought to a party and I was slightly jealous. I wanted some and he wasn’t sharing any.
Time to make my own then.

The recipe is decidedly simple as all out but it packs a nice punch of flavor.
Added bonus, I ended up with 8 medium poppers at a grand total of 240 calories.
Excellent little snack if you keep to eating only 2 or 3.

poppers

You will need for 2 servings:

4 jalapenos
4 tbs of cream cheese ( I used Boursin)
1 package of Prosciutto or 8 slices of thin bacon (ask the butcher to slice for you)

Cut jalapenos in half, scoop out seeds.
Fill evenly with cream cheese
Wrap with bacon and put on a cookie sheet.

WASH YOUR HANDS REAL WELL!(trust me)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and allow poppers to cook a little for 10 minutes.
Set broiler on low and place poppers on the middle rack.
Broil for about 10 minutes making sure bacon doesn’t burn.
For an additional 3-5 minutes broil on high.
Let cool a little and enjoy!

You can easily double this recipe by doubling the ingredients.
I think you’ll want to because mine were gone as soon as TallOne found out I made them.

Chicken Alfredo

Sometimes the best laid plans don’t work out.
I work a long day on Monday and always fix something easy for the boys.
TallOne wanted pasta with Alfredo Sauce.
I was SURE we had canned sauce in the pantry only to find out when I got home we had none.
With no back-up plan for dinner that night I needed to figure out how to make Alfredo from scratch.
Turns out it’s pretty easy and very very good!
Most of the staples are in my fridge so after a little research I whipped up dinner pretty fast.
Theirs was served over spinach noodles, I had mine with arugula.

Easy Alfredo
2 chicken breast, cut in strips and pan sauteed seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
(keep warm while you make the sauce)

Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes, then add garlic and cheese and whisk quickly, heating through.
Stir in parsley and add to chicken.

Chicken Waldorf Salad

When I was in Culinary school I learned how to make this salad.
I can’t believe it took until today to make it again.
It has the sweetness of the grapes and the crunchiness of the apple making this a nice fresh salad for lunch.
I added chicken and swapped out one tbs of mayo for a tbs of yogurt.
(and until I find out what caused my allergy reaction there are no walnuts)

4-8 ounces of chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup chopped, slightly toasted walnuts
1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, sliced
1 sweet apple, cored and chopped
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt
Pepper

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and the lemon juice.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt,
1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper.
Mix in the chicken, apple, celery, grapes, and walnuts.

Enjoy!

Countdown to Halloween

Every year a friend of mine throws the Halloween party of all parties.
She has published two books on anything Halloween decor and it’s amazing how much she does for just one night.
She makes all her own decor for the party, comes up with scary foods and drinks.

You can find her on Facebook.www.facebook.com/EerieElegance
There is a lot to see on her website too.

We love her parties, and tonight is the night.

Britta has a contest for creepy food and I’m bringing some special deviled eggs.

Introducing Ogre eyes.

I think they’d be a hit at any party, but mostly so at a kid party!

Ogre Eyes
(I made 24)

12 hard boiled eggs
3 tbs mayonaise
1 tbs plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic
green food coloring
12 pimento olives

Cut eggs in half lengthwise and take yellow out and put in a separate bowl
Combine eggs yolk, mayo, yogurt, salt,pepper and garlic until you get a smooth mixture.
Add food coloring 4-5 drops at a time stirring in between until you get the color green you like.
I used “Neon” food coloring and got a pleasing lime green.
Cut olives in half on the wide side.
Fill egg white halves with egg mixture
Place an olive piece in the yolk part, pressing lightly to slightly immerse the olive

I used a few dashes of hot sauce to stimulate blood shot eyes for the picture. It’s my intention to offer it on the side.

Enjoy!

A very careful transport by the way, these guys are slippery.

Carne Asada

I hope my readers don’t mind a repeat recipe, I got food poisoning (undercooked chicken I didn’t cook but bought at a deli) and had to delay the cooking of flank steak I had.
I decided to marinate the steak for Carne Asada.

This recipe serves 8, it keeps well in the fridge for at least 3 days or until The Boy eats it all.
Really thin slicked steak is the key, it takes on the flavor so well.
If you are making this recipe outside the US ask your butcher for thin sliced beef, in France it’s called “Bavette”, in the Netherlands it’s “runder-rib lap”
It’s from the cows belly-side.

1-1/2 pounds flank steak
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 limes, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
In order to get the marinade on all the pieces of meat I just dip them in the marinade so they coat evenly.
Layer beef in an oven proof dish so they can sit in the marinade, cover with remaining marinade.
Cover with plastic wrap and marinade 24-8 hours.

Either BBQ over medium heat or pan sear for 2 minutes on each side.
Serve with beans, guacamole and sour cream.

Enjoy.

Hot hot weather!

The weather has turned incredibly hot, very unusual for the time of year.
Granted we get this thing called “Indian Summer” but with temperatures close to 100 Fahrenheit?
So into the archives I went for this easy, cooling soup.

Because I do not want peels in the soup I used a simple chefs trick to remove the peels.
You’ll need:
Pan deep enough to cover tomatoes with water
paring knife

Boil the water
Using your paring knife score the top of the tomato cross wise


Immerse into hot water, reduce the heat!
Peel will come off after about 5 minutes
Take tomatoes out of the water and once they are cooler gently peel the skin off.

For the Gazpacho
4 tomatoes, I prefer vine ripened for taste
1 shallot
garlic, 2-3 cloves
2 tbs olive oil
2-4 Basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste.
water
Prepare tomatoes
saute shallot with garlic in olive oil until soft
in a food processor mix all ingredients together but do not overmix.
Keep one basil leaf on the side, cut it fine
At this point you can decide how thick you want the soup by slowly adding water to the mixture.
Cover and chill, when you are ready to serve it taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
Garnish with basil.

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