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Posts Tagged ‘bacon’

My parents make great traditional potato salad. You know, the mayonnaise-based kind that includes celery, onion and hard boiled eggs. I’ve tried to recreate it a few times but it never tastes as good as it does when they make it and I really don’t love old school potato salad unless it’s that recipe. So instead of trying to master their version, I like to try different variations of potato salad.

We attended a family cookout for Memorial Day last night and I volunteered to bring Feta Potato Salad. I was in the process of making my grocery list when this recipe for Bacon Ranch Potato Salad popped up in my Google Reader. I immediately abandoned plans to make a tried and true recipe in favor of trying something new (not that the feta potato salad isn’t amazing…you must try!).

I knew my audience and Bacon Ranch Potato Salad sounded right up their alley…especially with a large number of kids in attendance. This recipe is relatively simple with boiled potatoes being tossed in homemade ranch dressing and crumbled bacon. Actually, my favorite thing about this recipe was that the ranch dressing was homemade with a short ingredient list of things that are usually in my kitchen. I would make just the ranch dressing part of this recipe for salads. It was delicious!

This new twist on potato salad was a hit with my family and is sure to be a winner at any summer cookout!

Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
(Recipe source Confections of a Foodie Bride)

Ingredients:

2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain reduced-fat yogurt or sour cream
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped (plus more for garnish)
1 green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup buttermilk
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked to a crisp and crumbled

Directions:

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with 1-2 inches of cold water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring potatoes to a boil and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, herbs, green onion, garlic, lemon and buttermilk in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain potatoes and transfer to a serving bowl. Let stand for about 10 minutes and then pour half of the ranch dressing over the potatoes and half of the crumbled bacon and gently toss to combine. Refrigerate one hour and then toss with remaining ranch dressing. Top with the rest of the crumbled bacon and garnish with chopped parsley. Return to refrigerator until ready to serve.

Yield: 8-10 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 45

This might seem like a strange combination but just trust me on this one – it’s good. What was not good was my decision to start this risotto at 8:45 after I got home from yoga. I was so hungry I didn’t know if I’d make it through all the stirring! Risotto isn’t hard, it just requires constant attention and a block of time. I was expecting this risotto to be a simple weeknight dinner but it really surprised me. The flavors green pea and bacon flavors were great together and the addition of lemon zest and juice at the end added an unexpected brightness. I also really appreciated not having to open a bottle of wine to make this dish!

Unhappy to report that my left leg is not getting much better. After my run on Monday it was swollen and sore. Boo. I planned on running the RaceFest Half Marathon in April but that’s not looking good for me unless my leg starts feeling better. I’ve taken the rest of the week off of running but I’m going to test it out again this weekend to see how it’s feeling. The high here is 60 degrees on Saturday and Sunday and I can’t wait to get outside! It’s been such a cold and wet winter. I’m going to embrace the two days of nice weather to the fullest!

I taught BodyPump tonight and felt like pushing it a bit. Went super heavy on my weights for squats and back and hamstrings. Maybe the Olympics are inspiring me to be a better BodyPumper!? ;) (Seriously – did you see Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn win their gold medals? Amazing!)

And time for bed…up early tomorrow for my 6:30 hot vinyasa class. Can’t wait! Hope I’m not feeling too sore from BodyPump.

Risotto with Bacon and Green Peas
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, January 2009)

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 bacon slice, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons shallots, minced (my addition – omit if desired!)
2/3 cup Arborio rice
2/3 cup frozen green peas
4 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a small saucepan.

In a separate heavy saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic to bacon fat in pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat.

Add 1/4 cup hot broth mixture and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding hot broth mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Make sure each addition has been absorbed before adding the next. Rice is done when tender and creamy but al dente, about 20-22 minutes. You might not have to use all of your broth but  reserve leftover broth mixture to thin the ristotto before plating.

Add peas and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.

Stir in cheese, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. Thin risotto with some of reserved broth mixture if desired and season with salt and pepper. Top with bacon.

Yield: 2 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 21

I have to admit that I had a mini-meltdown during menu planning this week. I was all over the place and couldn’t make a decision. Sometimes menu planning is so simple for me – it all just comes together. Other times – not so much.  I was just really over thinking it for some reason. While we were unpacking groceries, I was rambling off the menu selections for the week. Brandon seemed pretty pleased with his options so I guess I pulled it off.

We decided to keep it simple tonight with salad and a baked potato. But not just any salad…Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs. I flagged this one in The Gourmet Cookbook because a) Brandon loves bacon and b) he thinks pretty much any food is even more delicious topped with an egg. One of his recent favorites has been a fried egg on hamburgers. Extra protein?

I actually made several changes to this recipe but it still turned out fabulously. First, we don’t love frisee – we usually pick it out of the salad mix or its left uneaten on the plate. You can’t even buy it on its own at the grocery store  where we shop and I was not going to make  a special trip for it. I had some baby arugula mix in the fridge so decided to go with that. Second, I realized I was out of red wine vinegar so I used a splash of white wine vinegar and a splash of balsamic instead. And last, I opted to use my egg poacher rather than use the written method for poaching eggs.

I will definitely be making this salad again. How can you not love this combination? And the warm bacon dressing is amazing…although I had to put it in the back of my head that it was essentially bacon grease and vinegar. This is a great easy weeknight dinner paired with soup or a baked potato. It would also be an impressive first course for a dinner party.

Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs
(Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, printed in Gourmet February 1999)
Printable Recipe: Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs

Ingredients:

1/2 pound frisée (French curly endive)
6 ounces slab bacon or thick-cut bacon slices (about 6 slices)
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons shallot, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions:

Tear frisee into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. If using slab bacon, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Then cut bacon slices crosswise into 1/4 inch thick strips (these are your lardons).

In a heavy skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat when bacon is golden and beginning to crisp. Set skillet aside.

In another skillet, place 1 inch of warm water and set aside. Fill up a 4-quart saucepan halfway with water and stir in white vinegar. Bring liquid to a simmer. Break each egg into a teacup one at a time and slide into simmering liquid. Immediately push white around yolk with a slotted spoon, working gently. Egg should be oval in shape and yolk should be completely covered by white. Using the same method, add the remaining 3 eggs. Simmer eggs for about 1 1/2 minutes for runny yolks up to about 3 minutes for firmer yolks. Immediately transfer eggs to skillet of warm water.

Reheat bacon in its skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook for about 1 minute, stirring often. Add red wine vinegar and boil 5 seconds. Immediately pour hot dressing over frisée and toss with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide salad among 4 plates and top with drained poached eggs. Season eggs with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 11

One of my favorite things to do is stay in on Friday night and cook a nice dinner. I’m usually pretty tired from a week of working and enjoy hanging out at home, cooking and watching a movie. We save going out for Saturday nights. Brandon commonly requests steak for our Friday night dinners. He used to love filets but since getting into grilling his favorite now is bone-in ribeyes.

Filets were on sale at the grocery Friday so I decided have Brandon grill them and I’d make a nice sauce. We love sautéed mushrooms with grilled steaks so I decided this recipe for Filet Mgnon with Mushroom Sauce from Gourmet sounded perfect.

The combination of the bacon and mushrooms in this sauce was great. The bacon really added an extra element of depth to the sauce and the lemon brightened it up. It was very simple to put together and holds well if your steak isn’t ready yet. The sauce was a nice addition to the grilled filet. I served our steaks with steamed asparagus and roasted fingerling potatoes. A perfect dinner for two!

Filet Mignons with Mushroom Sauce
(Recipe source Gourmet, March 1995)

Ingredients:

1 slice bacon
1 small garlic clove, mashed to a paste
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 white mushrooms, sliced thin
2 tablespoons Cognac or other brandy
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 filet mignons, about 1 inch thick

Directions:

Cook bacon over medium heat in a heavy 8-inch skillet (cast iron if available) until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel and pour off excess fat from the skillet. Crumble bacon and reserve.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter and garlic to skillet. Cook until butter is softened and then add mushrooms and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until liquid from mushrooms begins to evaporate. Add brandy and boil until nearly evaporated. Stir in water, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and boil until sauce is thickened slightly. Transfer sauce to a small saucepan and stir in reserved bacon and parsley. Keep sauce warm.

Pat filets dry with paper towels and generously salt and pepper. If you’re cooking steaks in skillet, heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium high heat and sauté filets for 4 minutes. Sear sides slightly and turn filets over. Sauté 3 to 3 1/2 minutes more for medium-rare meat. Internal temperature should be 125 degrees. Let steak rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

For the grill, preheat the grill to 400 degrees. Cook steaks for about 4-5 minutes per side, rotating half way through on each side if you want grill marks (a 45 degree turn). Pull steaks when they’ve reached 125 degrees for medium rare. Let rest 5 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.

Divide filets between 2 plates and spoon sauce over them.

Yield: 2 servings

And another filet suggestion…Bacon Wrapped Filet
http://bakinandeggs.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/bacon-wrapped-filet/

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 4

carbonara

This was another one of the easy weeknight dishes that Gourmet Editor-in-Chief Ruth Reichl mentioned on NPRs Fresh Air (explanation in the Spiced Chicken post). I’ve always wanted to try to make Spaghetti Carbonara because I thought it sounded like something Brandon would love. Bacon, eggs and cheese in pasta – seriously? It’s a strange combination but the final result is pure simplicity and deliciousness. How’s that for a description?

The method for putting this together is a little different. You whisk together the eggs and cheese and stir it into the cooked pasta. It creates a creamy mixture without actually using cream. You toss everything together with the cooked meat and onions.

This pasta is not fussy and you probably have the ingredients on hand in your pantry. It’s perfect for a comforting weeknight meal. The recipe makes a ton so it’s great for leftovers or to feed a family.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, March 2003)

Ingredients:

5 ounces  pancetta or bacon, diced into 1/3 inch squares
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 pound spaghetti
3 large eggs
1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (3/4 cup)
3/4 ounces Pecorino Romano, finely grated (1/3 cup) (I used all Parmesan)
1 teaspoon fresh coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Saute bacon or pancetta in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir until fat begins to render, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion and cook for another 8 minutes, until it becomes transparent. Add the garlic and continue sauteing for another 2 minutes. Add wine, increase heat to medium high and boil until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes.

Follow directions on package for cooking spaghetti. Make sure to cook in salted water.

While pasta is cooking, whisk together eggs, cheese, pepper and  salt in a small bowl.

Drain spaghetti in a colander and add to onion mixture. Toss with tongs over moderate heat until onion mixture is incorporated. Remove from heat and add egg mixture, tossing to combine. Serve immediately.

* NOTE: The eggs in this recipe might not be fully cooked. This may be a concern if you are pregnant or if salmonella is a problem in your area.

Yield: 4-6 main course servings

spaghetticarbonara

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bluecheesebacontomato

I was flipping through the July/August 2009 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen when I saw these Broiled Blue Cheese and Bacon Tomatoes.  After I wiped the drool off the page, I promptly went to the grocery to get the ingredients for this recipe.  I knew Brandon would be all about these too given his love for tomatoes, blue cheese and bacon.

This is a perfect side dish to use those delicious tomatoes that are in season right now. These tomatoes totally lived up to my lofty expectations. I really like that you don’t scoop out the tomato goodness but simply top the tomatoes with the blue cheese and bacon mixture. It was just the right ratio of topping to tomato, still letting the flavor of the fresh tomatoes be the star.

Broiled Blue Cheese and Bacon Tomatoes
(Recipe source Cooking with Paula Deen)

Ingredients:

1 sleeve round butter crackers, crushed (we used Ritz)
5 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 large tomatoes, cut in half crosswise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Combine cracker crumbs, blue cheese, bacon and green onion in a bowl. Add melted butter and stir to mix well. Place tomatoes cut side up on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide blue cheese and bacon mixture evenly among tomato halves.

Broil, 5 inches away from heat for about 5-8 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned.

Yield: 6 servings

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baconwrappedchicken

Bacon…cheese…chicken…BBQ sauce…all wrapped up together and grilled. What’s not to love about that combination? Brandon got the idea for this chicken from the Egghead forum a few months ago when I put him in charge of figuring out what to do with chicken breasts for dinner. I was super impressed by how great he did creating this. If you’re a bacon lover, this is a MUST try on the grill during the upcoming warm months.

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Chicken
(Recipes source Bakin’ and Eggs, inspired by the Egghead forum)
Printable Recipe: Grilled Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 slices of bacon
6-8 slices of cheese – mozzarella, cheddar, colby jack – anything you like! (off of a block of cheese, if you’re using pre-sliced for sandwiches 2 slices)
2 tsp barbecue sauce, plus extra for serving
Grilling rub of your choice (we use the Dizzy Pig’s Raging River)
Toothpicks, soaked in water (optional, to prevent excessive  burning while grilling)

Directions:

Preheat grill to 350 degrees.

Pound out chicken breasts (in a plastic bag or between two sheets of wax paper) to about 1/4 inch thickness. Coat the top of chicken with grill rub. Turn over so rub side is down on work surface. Spread one teaspoon of barbeque sauce in a thin layer over each chicken breast. Layer cheese in the middle of the chicken. Roll chicken tightly. Wrap with bacon, using as many slices of bacon as you need and using toothpicks to hold bacon in place.

Grill for 20-25 minutes, turning every 4-5 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken breast has reached 165 degrees.

Remove toothpicks and serve with barbecue sauce on the side.

Yield: 2 servings

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