Posts tagged bacon

Breakfast sliders

Breakfast slidersWe have brinner a lot around my house. Breakfast for dinner works for my busy crew since it’s quick to put together.

 

Ingredients for breakfast sliders:

Mini-buns–I get them in my grocery store’s deli section but Pepperidge Farms has slider buns available, Hawaiian rolls work well, too

Breakfast sausage patties and/or bacon slices–I’m hooked on Costco’s precooked bacon

Eggs–Whisk them and then cook as you would an omelet, removing them from the pan so that you can slice into squares to place on the patties

Cheese–optional, I like mine sans cheese but the kids prefer a thin slice of American cheese to meld the ingredients together

Tomatoes–sliced thin

 

Put ‘em together:

Cut the buns in half and let your kids layer what they want in their mini-sandwiches.

Heat the sliders in the microwave for a few seconds before serving. Option: We like to grill the sausage patties and then put them on the buns so they have more of a smoky flavor.

 

Add ons:

Make it a meal by serving the sliders with fruit salad and tater tots or homemade hashbrowns.

 

Dessert:

Waffle brownies, of course!

 

 

 

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Bacon bleu cheese guacamole

Here in Cleveland, people utter the words bacon bleu cheese guacamole in hushed tones. Celebrity chef and Cleveland native Michael Symon featured this guacamole in a Food Network episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. The place where he sampled the guac? Lopez on Lee an unassuming restaurant in Cleveland Heights where Rick Bayless once donned the head chef hat.

I haven’t been to Lopez on Lee (the night Mr. Squid and I decided to go we ended up at a Cambodian restaurant instead). But as a guacamole fan, it’s easy to imagine how to pull off this recipe: good guac IMHO is a matter of mixing together half of your ingredients first while saving the other half to stir in. The half-and-half method makes for a creamy guac that still has chunks of flavor tucked inside.

Here’s how we make bacon bleu cheese guac at our house:

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4 (easily doubled)


Ingredients

2 avocados

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

4 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled

1/4 cup bleu cheese, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 clove garlic, minced (optional)

1/2 serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced (optional of Sriracha)

Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In bowl, add the inside from one of the avocados and the Greek yogurt. Mash and blend using a fork.
  2. Mix in the cumin, pepper, garlic, and half of the bleu cheese; combine until smooth.
  3. Slice the other avocado into small pieces, then stir into the smooth mixture along with the bacon and the rest of the bleu cheese crumbles.
  4. Adjust seasoning and serve with tortilla chips.

Kids’ reactions:

My teen liked the pungent flavor of the bleu cheese mixed with smoky bacon and creamy avocado. My younger two sampled small tastes but weren’t real anxious to try more. This guacamole is definitely for more grown-up taste buds. If you’re looking for a 4th of July showstopper, this is it.

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The BEST turkey bacon club

Sometimes it’s true, sandwiches are a thrown together meal. They’re something you make if you run out of time to make something good. But they don’t have to be. And it’s not much more work to make a restaurant-worthy dish. I’ve found that what separates your average, blah sandwich from a kid-wowing version is a matter of construction (and if you have those party toothpicks to put in them, that helps too).

Sandwich construction? I know–you probably haven’t spent much time thinking about this. My hubby, who happens to be the official “constructor” around our house, sets up a sandwich-making station. Sandwiches are serious business for him. He believes you have to put on the mayo just so and put the ingredients on in the right order for the sandwich to stay together. At first I teased him about this. But then, I had one of his sandwiches and I had to admit—he had a point. His sandwich, packed turkey and bacon, didn’t fall apart on the plate.

Now my kids look forward to sandwich night. Sometimes we mix turkey and bacon for a club. Other times we pair ham and sharp cheddar cheese. Of course you can come up with whatever meat, cheese and veggie combo that your family likes, but instead of throwing it together, put a little time into crafting a towering sandwich that your kids will love, and ask for again. Bonus for you–easy clean up!

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

1 loaf of sandwich bread (white or wheat or some of both)

1 pound deli-sliced turkey breast

1 pound bacon

Hot sauce (optional)

Mayo

Tomato

Lettuce

Directions

  1. Cook the bacon according to the package directions (alternatively, you can use deli ham or precooked bacon).
  2. Toast three slices of bread for each person.
  3. Cut the tomatoes into slices.
  4. Shred the lettuce into long strips.
  5. Put out a plate to construct each sandwich.
  6. Slather two pieces of bread with mayo (if you want, add a few drops of hot sauce). On the first piece place one slice of turkey.
  7. Put the second piece of bread with mayo on top of the meat. Add lettuce, then tomato, then a strip or two of bacon and another piece of turkey on this layer.
  8. Top with the third piece of bread (the one without mayo).
  9. Push the top piece of bread down with your hand and then cut the sandwich in two parts.
  10. If you have decorative toothpicks, insert now!
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Amish Nachos

Well, not technically. I don’t know that you’ll find any folks down in Amish country (only about a hour or so south of us) serving these at the next barn raising, but we dubbed our latest creation ‘Amish nachos’ purely because of the key ingredient–Amish bacon.

You haven’t tried Amish bacon? I hadn’t either until I found a meat shop at Cleveland’s West Side Market that offers it by the pound for $3.49. Amish bacon comes thick slices imbued with a heavy smoky flavor that’s less salty and, oh, forced than your regular variety (less greasy too).

So here’s how we put our nachos together–start with quality nacho chips (we stopped at the only Mexican market in city, Mi Pueblo, to track down our favorite brand). Then make up a pot of refried beans and cook up a batch of bacon. Have shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (yes, I know real Mexican food doesn’t use yellow cheeses, but hey nachos aren’t authentic either–gotta play with your food, right?), diced tomatoes and cilantro on hand to finish the dish. Once you have all of your ingredients gathered, the rest is easy: place an individual serving of chips on each person’s plate, followed by beans, bacon, then cheese. Melt the cheese in the microwave on high for about 55 seconds and then top with tomatoes and cilantro.

Sure bacon goes with eggs or sandwiches, but the smoky flavor and the quick cooking make it easy to include in other dishes too. I don’t know if this really qualifies as Amish-Mexican fusion food or not, but it’s tasty. Have you done any crazy fusion meals lately? Asian-Italian stirfry anyone?

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Brownie Bacon Cookies—You know you want to try it!

MMmmmm, brownie bacon cookies.

So we had a little bacon left over from BLT night, and of course I thought, Why not add it into cookies? The idea isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. I’d watched some Food Network show with my kids a while ago where they featured chocolate-dipped bacon served at some high-end restaurant. There’s something about adding a bit of smokiness and salt to chocolate that intrigued me (and my crew). Since then, I’ve been wondering how adding a some bacon to my favorite chocolate cookie recipe would go over.

My kids were game—in fact, my oldest has been bugging me for weeks to give the cookies a try ever since I mentioned the idea. You see at her middle school cafeteria table there’s a bit of a competition going to see who can bring in the most unusual—and tasty—foods. Last week one classmate brought in blueberry-banana smoothies in a couple of thermoses, while another girl brought Korean sushi and another treated the group to ribs. This is no typical middle school group—they’re a table of foodies-to-be. (Those who have the audacity to buy the cafeteria fare have to share their French fries with the group as penance.) She’s thrilled to take in the brownie bacon cookies to school (I think they’ll go over better than the spinach brownies, but we’ll see).

Now just how do you add bacon to cookies? I chose a cookie recipe with plenty of melted dark semi-sweet and then upped the chocolate flavor with some black onyx powder (I buy this at a local spice shop but you can substitute Espresso powder or even cocoa powder to get the same kick).

Chocolate bacon bits!

The recipe also calls for mini-chocolate chips. I never seem to have minis anyway, so I always use the food processor to crush down regular-sized chocolate chips. This time, I added the cooked bacon pieces to the processor first, gave it a few pulses and then added in the chocolate and pulsed until the chips were broken down and infused with bacon. I folded this mix into the dough as the last step before forming logs of cookie dough that went into the fridge.

Dough formed into logs, ready for the fridge.

The rest was easy—I cut the cookies and put them on baking sheets then played with some of the toppings. To some, I added pecans for extra texture; others got a dusting of raw sugar.

The cookies turned out perfectly shaped, nice crispness and without an overwhelming bacon flavor. Instead, the bacon adds a hint of earthiness to the cookie with the initial bite and then a stronger smoky flavor as an aftertaste. I was surprised my oldest daughter had a so-so reaction to the cookie, my middle daughter asked for seconds—and thirds (my youngest just asked for more Cheerios because that’s truly her favorite dessert anyway, but that’s another story). I would definitely make these cookies again to serve as an unusual dessert after a casual meal.

Recipe
Ingredients
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + ¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons Espresso powder or Black Onyx powder (optional)
4 pieces fully cooked bacon

Directions

  1. In a large, glass measuring cup melt together the sugar, butter and 1 cup chocolate chips in the microwave. Heat at medium-power for 2 minutes, stir and then repeat in 30-second intervals or until the mixture becomes smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture. Mix the dry ingredient into the chocolate mixture using a hand mixer at medium speed.
  4. In a small food processor, pulse the bacon slices a couple of times then add in ¾ cup of the chocolate chips. Pulse until the pieces become broken up to the size of mini-chocolate chips. Stir the chocolate-bacon bits into the dough.
  5. Divide the dough in half and form into two, 9-inch logs on wax paper. Roll the logs in the wax paper and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  6. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a sharp knife cut the cookies into 3/8” slices. Add these to a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 9 minutes or until the edges become just barely browned. Allow to cool a few minutes on the pan before removing. Eat! Our crew found that the cookies were much better on day two.

*Makes about 3 dozen savory-sweet cookies.

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