Posts Tagged ‘bacon


Bourbon Barbecued Shrimp, Cheese Grits and Collard Greens

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Breakfast for Dinner: BLT Fried Egg and Cheese Sandwich with Oven Fries

BLT Fried Egg and Cheese Sandwich

Yes, it was delicious.  How can you go wrong with fried eggs, bacon and cheese?  And my personal favorite, tomatoes?  This is so fast to make. On the side I served another really easy side-dish solution:  Alexia Rosemary and Olive Oil Oven Fries.  I love Alexia’s frozen potatoes, including sweet potato fries – they come out really well every time.  I just toss them with some olive oil, put them in a pyrex baking dish (because my cookie sheets all tend to bend and warp at 450 degrees) and turn them once halfway through cooking.  Sadly, of course, you have to use more olive oil to make them resemble fries, but they are still pretty good if you keep it healthy by just using a minimal amount of oil.

I used Take and Bake Italian Peasant Bread (Cub and SuperTarget both sell this) for the sandwiches, just taken from the package and toasted.  I really like this bread because you can put the packaged loaf in the refrigerator for a day or two, unwrap it, bake it, and it’s like fresh.  It doesn’t take a trip to the store the same day to have pretty good bread.


Chicken Stew with Apples and Bacon

I started out with this Chicken Stew with Cider and Parsnips recipe from Food and Wine.  I made quite a few changes, some based on ingredient availability, some based on preference.

Ingredient changes:

-Halved the quantities to make 2 servings instead of 4.

-Used 3 cut-up chicken breasts instead of thighs and drumsticks.

-Added 4 chopped strips of bacon to add flavor and prevent dryness since white meat was used instead of dark meat.

-Used chopped apples instead of parsnips because it’s what I had on hand.

-Used 1/2 cup white wine instead of apple cider because it’s what I had on hand.  I reduced the total amount of liquid by about 1/4 cup to account for using apples, which release some water as they cook.

-Added 1 clove of minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary.

Process changes:

-My first step was to cook the bacon in the stew pot until crispy.  I then removed it from the pan and used the drippings to brown the  chicken pieces, and then removed the chicken from the pan.

-Next, I cooked the onions, garlic, carrots and apples in the pan for 3-4 minutes before adding the liquid.  I think I should have let them cook a little longer at this stage, particularly the carrots.  They were still a little undercooked when the rest of the stew was ready.

-At this point I added the white wine and then the chicken broth, and the thyme and rosemary, and simmered the mixture for 10 minutes, then put the chicken and bacon back in, and cooked it in the oven for 10 minutes.  It could have done with more time for the vegetables to cook and the liquid to reduce a little more, but the chicken was done after ten minutes and I didn’t want it to be overcooked.

I served this over white rice.  The bacon added what the chicken breasts left wanting as far as flavor and richness.  This turned out to be a flavorful and satisfying meal.


French Toast

I started out with this Alton Brown recipe for French Toast from the Food Network as a basis, but made various changes.  First, I wanted to make two servings instead of four, so I reduced the quantity of ingredients.  I added vanilla and cinnamon, used maple syrup instead of honey, and used skim milk instead of half and half in the egg-mixture for dipping  I used slices of leftover Italian peasant bread for the toast.  The Alton Brown recipe’s method for preparing and cooking the french toast worked well — draining the slices on a rack before cooking them in the pan prevented big chunks of egg in the pan.  Cooking the slices for an additional five minutes in a 375-degree oven helped them cook through and left the outside with the perfect degree of light crispness.  I served the french toast with maple syrup, bacon and scrambled eggs.

Here’s how the recipe ended up with my changes:

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup skim milk

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon maple syrup, warmed

4 1/2-inch thick slices Italian peasant bread

1 tablespoon butter

Follow directions from Alton Brown recipe for preparation and cooking.


Spaghetti with Bacon, Parmesan and Cheese

Spaghetti with Bacon, Parmesan and Cheese

This is a fast and easy comfort food recipe from Cooking Light.  It makes a lot of food, too – I halved the recipe and had enough for about five generous servings.  I usually make this pretty much by the book.  If anything, I add more peas.  Be sure to use good freshly-grated Parmesan.  I like to serve this with breadsticks and a salad or fruit like red grapes on the side.


Mahogany Short Ribs with Rosemary Noodles and Wilted Spinach Salad

I love this short rib recipe from the Washington Post.  It’s so easy to make and great for a buffet or football party.  The short ribs end up so tender they’ll fall apart on your fork, thanks to the tenderizing secret ingredient, prune juice.  Simple pasta with butter and rosemary is a great complement.  I served this with a wilted spinach salad.  The amounts I made served two with some leftovers.  I garnished the plates with a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary.  Nice how the peppercorns make the short rib look like it has eyes.  That was an accident.

Mahogany Short Ribs

I halved this recipe and used boneless ribs.  I marinated them for two and a half hours instead of all night and they were still fall-apart tender.  The short ribs took about an hour and twenty minutes to cook rather than the full two hours suggested in the recipe.  I sprinkled a few fresh rosemary leaves on top of the short ribs after pouring a little of the sauce on them on top of the noodles.

Pasta with Rosemary and Butter

I made ½ pound of fettuccine and added a tablespoon of butter, a teaspoon of minced fresh rosemary (leaves stripped from stems), and freshly ground sea salt and pepper.  The Washington Post short ribs recipe suggests wide noodles such as pappardelle.

Wilted Spinach Salad

This recipe turned out to be a disappointment.  The dressing was way too thick and lacked the right zing.  There’s no way you should add two tablespoons of flour to the dressing.  I’m not totally convinced there should be any flour.  After making the recipe exactly according to the directions, the dressing was way too thick and “floury.”  I added about 5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, one at a time, to thin it out and a tablespoon of honey to counteract the bitterness.  I also added bacon bits, from the bacon cooked to get the drippings, to the final salad for more flavor.  This recipe failed to live up to the wilted spinach salads I remember growing up, but I’ll try it again sometime, probably adding little if any flour.  The dressing should be mainly bacon drippings and vinegar.


Shirred Eggs with Roasted Green Chile and Cheese, Bacon and Sourdough Toast

I had never even heard of shirred eggs until I found this recipe.  Basically, it’s eggs baked in a ramekin on top of whatever else you want to put in.  The recipe I stumbled upon was Original Farmers’ Market Shirred Eggs from a cookbook called A Real American Breakfast (Copyright 2002 by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison, HarperCollins Publishers).  This is a great cookbook, by the way.  Their recipe called for placing tomatoes at the bottom of the ramekins, adding eggs, cream and a dash of hot sauce along with some fresh herbs before baking.  I thought this recipe concept would be a good way to use the green chile I just roasted.

1 tablespoon butter, melted
¼ cup bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup cream or half and half
4 roasted green chiles with seeds and peels removed
4 eggs
salt and pepper
1 crumbled piece of crispy bacon
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat insides of four ramekins or small oven-safe bowls with melted butter.  Coat with breadcrumbs.  Place a green chile in the bottom of each ramekin, spread out so it covers the whole bottom.  Layer in grated cheese on top of chile.  Break eggs carefully into each ramekin (leave the yolk intact).  Add a splash of cream or half and half to each ramekin.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle crumbled bacon on top of each ramekin.

Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes.  The idea is to have the egg whites set and still have a runny yolk.  I think the best approach is to keep a close eye on the eggs and remove them from the oven when they are cooked to the doneness you prefer.

Serve the eggs in the ramekins with toast and bacon on the side.  I garnished this with cilantro sprigs and also served salsa on the side. The eggs are so good spooned onto toast bite by bite.

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