Category Archives: bacon

BLT (Bacon, Leek, and Tomato) Quiche + a Quick Quiche Cheat Sheet

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I have been wanting to do something different for breakfast lately but Kevin, bless his heart, has taken over the chore of making breakfast on the weekends and he leaves too early in the morning to make breakfast through the week. It is not that I don’t love his breakfasts, it is just, well……it is “Man food”. You know what I  mean? Pure, simple, straight to the point. Eggs with sausage, hash browns, and toast. 
I have tried doing BFD (breakfast for dinner) but he hasn’t been real thrilled with that idea. So I decided I had to put my foot down and tell him that I was making something with veggies in it for breakfast. I did add the footnote that there would be bacon in it. I mean bacon, eggs, cheese? How can that be wrong? Right?
He also went along with it because I had picked up leeks for a recipe I made a few days ago and he hates wasting food even more than me. So when I said it was a  great way to use the leeks up he was on board.
When I was buzzing through the grocery store the grape tomatoes looked great so I new exactly what I wanted to do. Bacon, leek, and tomato, yummmm!!

I love quiche. My Mom used to make them when I was little. Although back in the day they sold quiche mix in cartons right along with the Egg Beaters. How simple could that be? Frozen pie crust, carton of quiche mix, hot oven, BOOM, breakfast! But seriously making quiche is so ding dang simple there is no reason to not give it a try. I will have a handy little “Quiche Cheat Sheet” after the recipe.
BLT (Bacon, Leek, and Tomato) Quiche
1 large leek, root end and dark green leaves cut off, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced into half moons
1 handful gape tomatoes, halved
4 slices thick cut smoky bacon, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
3 eggs
Kosher salt and cracked pepper
1 1/4 cup fat free evaporated milk
Pie dough (handmade or store bought)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the pie dough in a 9 inch pie plate and crimp the edges, chill for 30 minutes. Line with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights (can use dried beans if you do not have pie weights). Bake about 20 minutes, remove the foil and weights and continue to bake another 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool.
Place the chopped leek into a large bowl filled with cold water. Swish them carefully and allow them to sit a few minutes to release the dirt and grit that is between the leaves. Scoop out with your hands and lay them on a clean kitchen towel. Roll the towel and squeeze the moisture out. Set aside.
Meanwhile cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once bacon has rendered its fat and begun to crisp slightly, remove it with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the leeks and saute being careful to not brown the leeks. Once the leeks begin to soften add the halved tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes to let the tomatoes release some of their juices. Remove from heat.
In a bowl combine the eggs, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and evaporated milk. Whisk until completely blended. 
Spoon the leeks and tomatoes into the pie crust and sprinkle with the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top and bake on a baking sheet for 40 to 50 minutes or until the filling is set. Allow to cool 20 minutes before serving.
ENJOY!!
Easy Quiche Cheat Sheet
Make Your Crust
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the pie dough in a 9 inch pie plate and crimp the edges, chill for 30 minutes. Line with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights (can use dried beans if you do not have pie weights). Bake about 20 minutes, remove the foil and weights and continue to bake another 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool.

Choose Your Veggies
1/2 to 1 cup of up to 3 of the following veggies;
Roasted Asparagus           
Roasted or Steamed Broccoli     
Shredded Potatoes, sauteed     
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved
Green Peppers, chopped and sauteed
Mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
Onions or Shallots, sliced or chopped and sauteed  
Green Onions, chopped
Jarred Roasted Red Pepper, chopped
Spinach, chopped and sauteed (or frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained)
Frozen peas, thawed
Meat
1/2 cup of up to 2 of the following meats;
Bacon, chopped and cooked
Sausage, cooked and crumbled
Ham, chopped
Shredded chicken
Crab, picked clean
Now Some Cheese
Up to 1 cup of the following cheeses, crumbled or shredded;
Swiss
Gruyere
Fontina
Provolone
Gouda
Brie
Mozzarella
Goat Cheese
Cheddar
Jack or Pepper Jack
Feta
Parmesan
Now Let’s Make Some Quiche
Whisk 3 eggs, salt, pepper, and 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, half and half, milk, or evaporated milk in a  large bowl. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (if desired), seasoning such as chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, grated lemon zest (would be awesome with a crab quiche). 
Spread the vegetable/cheese mixture on the bottom of the prepared pie crust and pour the egg mixture on top. Bake until the filling is set, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

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Gumbo with Chicken Sausage, and Shrimp

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By now you know about my obsession errr love for soup. You also know that my dear boyfriend does not share this love with me. In fact it has gotten to the point that I don’t even mention I am making soup until the last minute. That way he can’t try to figure out something else to make for dinner! This little dilemma has led me to try to compromise a bit here and there. There either needs to be meat in the soup or I need to make something else on the side. 
Once I let this idea sink in (and stopped pouting because I wanted things to just go my way), I realized this wasn’t such a bad idea. I have been asked for more sandwich recipes, and soup and sandwiches is a nice casual dinner or lunch idea right? I mean I love going out and getting the soup and sandwich combos. So I started writing ideas and looking online and through my books/magazines for even more. Gumbo just popped into my head as a great place to start. I have been wanting to make it for one, and there is a ton of meat in it. I mean how could he argue with a meal that has chicken, sausage, and shrimp in it? Right, he can’t!

I found a recipe in Saveur (I love them) for a basic Gumbo, but I knew there were things I wanted to add. Mine might not be a “traditional” Gumbo, but it packed full of flavors with that little zing that we both love. I added shrimp and jalapeno, as well as some Franks Red Hot to boost the flavors. I already had andouille sausage and chicken thighs in the freezer so it was on!!

When Kevin came home from work the first thing he said when he walked through the door was “What smells so good?” YES….chalk one up for me!! Wow do I sound like a little kid or what? Oh well, I don’t care, I like winning hehehe!

Sorry for the awful pictures, this was taken right when we first moved and there were boxes everywhere and no place but the dimly lit kitchen to take the pic. 
Gumbo with Chicken Sausage, and Shrimp
adapted from a recipe in Saveur Magazine
½ cup canola oil
1 lb shrimp, peeled and cleaned

2 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz. andouille sausage, cut into ½” pieces
4 slices bacon, cut into ½” pieces
1 cup flour
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tsp. cayenne
1 28-ounce whole peeled tomatoes in juice, drained and crushed by hand
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
10 oz. bag of frozen sliced okra
4 cups chicken stock + more stock if needed to thin soup (can use water)
Several dashes of hot sauce to taste (I used Franks Red Hot)
Cooked white rice, for serving



Heat ¼ cup oil in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, season chicken with salt and pepper, and add chicken to pot; cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add sausage and bacon, and cook, stirring, until their fat renders and bacon is browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to plate with chicken. 


Add remaining oil, and reduce heat to medium-low, stir in flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until this mixture is reddish caramel, about 8 minutes. Add celery, onion, and pepper, jalapeno, and cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add thyme, cayenne, tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaf, and cook for 3 minutes. Return chicken, sausage, and bacon to pot along with okra and stock, and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, okra is tender, and gumbo is thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove and shred meat, and stir meat back into gumbo. Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce, and add shrimp. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the shrimp is pink through. Serve with white rice on the side. 

Serves 4 to 6

ENJOY!!!

Maple Bourbon Pork Chops and Whipped Potatoes with Apples and Onions

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Maple Bourbon Pork Chops and Whipped Potatoes with Apples and Onions

Do you ever have those moments when you are doing something and out of the blue ideas for something else just pop into your head? This has been happening to me quite often lately. When I am driving ideas for a recipe will just BANG hit me,which is awesome right? Well it would be if my ADD wasn’t so dang bad. I mean just driving is a serious challenge for me at times. I have been known to be driving somewhere that I have been to a million times before, and at some point take the wrong exit on the freeway or turn down a wrong road. It is bad enough when I am alone, but when someone is with me it is a tad bit embarrassing! SO when these ideas pop into my head I have to say the ingredient list out loud over and over to try and help me remember. Again, not so bad when you are alone but if you have passengers they really think about exiting the car once it slows down to about 30 MPH!!

This idea started out because when we went shopping the other day, Kevin picked up a couple packs of buy one get one free center cut pork loin chops. He loves pork chops but I don’t make them very often, A-because he constantly complains that the pork chops now aren’t as good as the old ones were. He loved big fatty pork chops and hasn’t seemed to accept the health news that fat is bad for you. Although the fat is pretty darn tasty!! And B- well I just haven’t been that moved by pork. My Dad wasn’t a big pork fan and neither were my kids so unfortunately Kevin was out numbered. Now that it is just the two of us he gets his way much more often. In fact I think he is getting a little spoiled. I had better make sure he doesn’t too cocky about getting his way!
Now, due to my lack of pork cooking, I was a tad clueless as to what I wanted to do with them. I can make a mean roast but my extent of chop cooking was, regretfully a throw back to the old days of smothering them in a can of pork and beans, or frying them. I know that is OK once in a while (p.s. I will be frying the other batch soon!) but I wanted to make them special

After racking my brains for a while I just put it to rest and went off to run some errands. In mid drive the light bulb went off in my head BING I knew what I wanted to do with them. The true test was to remember the plan and then run it past Kevin to see what he thought. Since the chops really were for him I wanted them to be something he would really enjoy. In other cooking he doesn’t get as much of a vote. So I was pleasantly surprised when his face lit up with a smile when I ran down my game plan. He even got into the kitchen with me to help get everything together. 
The result was one fantastic meal. The sauce for the chops was so tasty, sweet with that little bite of bourbon flavor, and the mashed potatoes with the onions and apples? YUM! Mixed with the sauce from the pork chops they were heavenly. I had made 3 chops and it is a good thing because Kevin went back for seconds, after cleaning my plate!!
Maple Bourbon Pork Chops and Whipped Potatoes with Apples and Onions
Served 2
3 1/2″ inch center cut pork loin chops 
1/4 onion, minced + 1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 strips of bacon, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, separated

1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup Maple Syrup (can add more if you want a sweeter sauce)
1/4 whole grain mustard 
salt and pepper

2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 apples (I used honey crisp), peeled, cored, and chopped into chunks
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (if you want a bit of tang in the potatoes)
1/3 cup corn starch
1/3 cup warm water


Place chopped potatoes apples and onions in a large pot and add enough water to cover them. Boil until potatoes are fork tender. Drain in a colander and return the potato mixture back to the hot pot. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and whip the mixture with a hand mixer until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the Greek yogurt if desired.

Meanwhile, salt and pepper chops and set them aside. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the fat renders. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. 

Cook the pork chops in the skillet, about 3 to 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the chops  and the doneness you desire(we like our chops a bit pink in the middle now that it is safe to do so). Remove chops to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. 

Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and once it has melted add the minced onion. Cook onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Return the bacon back to the pan and continue to cook another minute or so. Add the bourbon to the pan (remove pan from heat while adding then return to heat), then add the maple syrup and mustard. Mix completely and bring the sauce to a simmer. Adjust seasoning adding more syrup if desired. 

Stir the cornstarch into the warm water and pour into the sauce. whisking until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Carefully place sauce into a blender or use and immersion blender to blend the sauce and break down the onions, garlic, and bacon. 

Place a scoop of potatoes on a plate, top with a pork chop and pour sauce over them both.

ENJOY!! 

Redneck Eggs Benedict

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When I came up with the idea for this dish, I knew from the start I wanted to call it Redneck Eggs Benedict. Why? Well because it just brought me back to my time living in the South, although I was concerned that the word “redneck” might offend some people. However, after speaking with many of my followers on Facebook and Twitter, and reflecting on my own experiences with the use of the word. I decided to go for it. I know in my mind, and the minds of the wonderful people I met in the South, redneck is not an insult, it is a way of life really. Rednecks work hard to provide for their families, they celebrate life, and put on no airs. They are who they are, plain and simple, take it or leave it. I respect that! I enjoyed my time in the South and honestly, life was much easier when you lived by those ideals. 
I love Eggs Benedict  It is probably one of my favorite breakfast foods right up there with frittatas, quiche, and a big plate of grits with cheese, bacon, and that yummy egg yolk from and over easy egg mixed in mmmmmm. I have had the “Seattle” version of Eggs Benedict with a salmon cake in place of the muffin, and I made salmon patties the other night, so my mind started mixing the two together. Salmon patties/cakes scream Southern to me, but I knew that I couldn’t use them in an Eggs Benedict because that is just classic to the Pacific Northwest. So where do I go? My little mind started thinking and thinking of the things that would really bring back my Southern experience. 

I decided to take the things I love about the South and then Eggs Benedict and BAM smoosh them together! 
OK list it off Bobbi…
If I can’t use salmon cakes then we will do potato cakes, yes yum. 
Sausage or bacon? Well the traditional is Canadian bacon so lets use some nice thick cut smoky bacon, OK this is getting good. 
Poached egg of course, nothing can beat a perfectly poached egg! 
What to top it with? I though of gravy at first. but I adore Hollandaise sauce. Hhhmmm how do I make Hollandaise fit in with my vision of this dish? Ahhhh I have it……hot sauce!!!! 
Most of the people I knew during my time in the South loved Tabasco on their eggs. It was something I had to learn and wasn’t a real fan of at first. Now I adore hot sauce or salsa on my eggs. In fact you would be hard pressed to find an egg on my plate without some heat to go with it now. So it just seemed a perfect idea to make a Hot Sauce Hallandaise, ya? With that my Redneck Eggs Benedict was born!!

Redneck Eggs Benedict 
For the Potato Cake:
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and grated
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup flour (add more if needed to bind cakes)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, copped
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 green onions, greens only only chopped for garnish
For the Hot Hollandaise Sauce:
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks), cubed
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more
Kosher salt and black pepper
Hot sauce (I used Franks Red Hot) to taste, I used 1 tablespoon
8 slices bacon
8 poached eggs (step by step instructions from Smitten Kitchen)
Paprika for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Rinse shredded potatoes in cold water and squeeze water out. Pat dry with paper towels. Place potatoes in a large bowl and add the onion, flour, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix well. 
Spray a large skillet with non stick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Form patties with the potato mixture and carefully place them in the heated skillet. Press down with spatula to make sure the patty is firm. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the patty is golden brown. Carefully turn the potato cake with a wide spatula and continue to cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the cakes and place them on a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.
Cook bacon in the same skillet just shy of crisp. Place in oven with potato cakes to keep warm.
Poach eggs, place on paper towel while you prepare the Hollandaise.
Fill blender with hot water, set aside. Melt butter over medium heat until foaming, remove from heat. Drain blender and dry very well. Put egg yolks and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in blender, cover and blend to combine. Working quickly remove insert, and with blender running, add the butter in a thin stream of droplets, discarding milk solids in the bottom of the pan. Blend until a creamy sauce forms. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and hot sauce to taste. Serve immediately.
To put the dish together, lay two potato cakes on a plate. Rip the bacon slices in half and place the halves criss crossed on potato cake (1slice of bacon per cake). Top bacon with a poached eggs, and pour Hollandaise sauce over the top. Garnish with chopped green onions and a sprinkle of paprika.
ENJOY!!!

Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Brussels Sprouts, and Apples

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I have been trying to come up with some new side dishes that include ingredients that you might not think about using together. I of course have a difficult time not using pasta or rice because, well I a just a huge pasta lover. Rice runs a close second. So I knew I wanted to start with one of those as a base. Pasta of course won the battle. Caramelized onions are another love of mine and I like to use them in many of my dishes. Shoot, sometimes I just caramelize a bunch of onions to have in the fridge so I can use them on sandwiches or in omelets.
Just over this past year or so I have discovered that I really enjoy Brussles sprouts. When I was a child I couldn’t stand them. Mostly because all my Mom did was steam them with no seasoning. I didn’t like that strong cabbage flavor, I didn’t like them hard, and I surely didn’t like the smell of them cooking! So when Kevin and I were looking through some food magazines before Thanksgiving last year, we ran across a recipe using Brussels sprouts and Kevin told me liked them and wondered why I had never made them, I decided I needed to let my childhood aversion of them go and give the little green guys another shot.
OK so now I have pasta, onions, Brussels sprout, but I knew I wanted another level of flavor. I decided with the bitterness of the Brussels sprouts, and the smokiness of caramelized onions, i wanted to add something sweet to balance it all out. What came to mind? Apples. I mean I do live in Washington and right now you have a difficult time going anywhere without tripping over an apple! OK I am exaggerating a bit, but there are a butt ton of apples available in Washington right now!!

I had the major players for the dish but now had to think about how I wanted to put it all together. I of course turned to my favorite liquid, wine! I don’t know which I do more of, cook with wine, or drink wine. I am a huge wino errr wine connoisseur and really enjoy trying different wines to boost the flavors in some of my day to day dishes. While I was cooking with Heather (my son’s girlfriend) last night she asked me what things she could do to pep up some of the less expensive dishes she might be making. I told her that a little splash of wine, fresh herbs, or even lemon juice, can give a dish a whole new life.
So now we are down to make this dish. When Kevin came home and asked what was on the menu I told about the dish I had come up with. He gave me a funny look. When I questioned him as to why the look. He said it sounded good but he would have never thought to put those things all together in a dish. He said he was still very excited to try the dish, especially when I told him I had decided to add bacon as well. Bacon makes everything better right? I just thought the saltiness would be a nice addition and remembered a dish I made last Christmas that had Brussels sprouts as well as bacon in it and they played very nicely together.
Now we are down to make this meal. I was making my Pesto and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts as well, so I had many dishes, pots, and ingredients all over my kitchen counters. OK remember I told you my new kitchen is small? I mean it is seriously small! Like so small you have to go outside to change your mind small!! Now that you know that, picture counters covered, and two people in the kitchen, one of which is on the verge of a panic attack! Why was I loosing my cool? Well again you have to remember I have never cooked on an electric stove. WOW who knew that it is sooooo different from gas and why did they not beat  this information into my head?
I prepared the chicken easy enough, minus the heart attack I damn near gave Kevin (see above linked recipe for my attempt on Kevin’s life), and had all of my veggies chopped and ready to go. I cooked the bacon and removed it to drain. Then place my little green buddies cut side down in the bacon dippings to get a nice browned edge on them and crisp them up a bit. Once they were browned I was going to add my onions and then cook them both down a bit to caramelize them. However my stove had another plan for the dish. After placing just a few of the sprouts in the pan I realized that they were going to burn before I could get the others in the pan to join them. Now I am trying to grab sprouts out of a hot pan and panicking trying to figure out how I am going to get them to cook evenly. Kevin calmly stepped in and took over. He removed the pan from the heat long enough for me to place all of the Brussels sprouts in it and then returned it to the heat. 
I know it seems simple, but at the time I was arguing because the pan should be hot to sear the Brussels sprouts and I was cooking it the way I always do. Mind you I was saying these things in the middle of bouncing around and muttering like a mad woman saying things like “wait..will that work” “but….I never do it that way” “God bless America this is going to burn” and (almost in tears) “I am going to ruin this dish”. Yes, not my coolest moment folks. But I allowed Kevin to take over for a bit, and he smoothly took me to a calmer place and I was able to step in and take over. Finishing the dish without another hitch, and feeling like a complete idiot for my previous freak out. He just smirked at me. Hey he owed me one right?
Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Brussels Sprouts, and Apples
6 slices of bacon, chopped
10 to 12 ounces of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and vertically halved
1 medium onion, sliced
3/4 cup chicken broth (can sub Vegetable stock for a vegetarian meal)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 apple (recommend Honeycrisp), cored and chopped
1/2 box of spaghetti noodles
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Cook bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, reserve.

 Increase heat to medium-high, place Brussels sprouts cut-side down in the pan and cook without stirring, until sprouts begin to crisp and brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and toss to combine with the sprouts, cooking and stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn a golden brown. Add the broth, wine, andapples, scraping up any fond from the bottom of the skillet, and bring to a fast simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium,  cook 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta per package directions, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. Transfer pasta to the skillet with the sprouts and liquid and toss continuously over medium-high heat for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add reserved cooking water a bit at a time if needed. Add the Parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper and  top with reserved bacon.

ENJOY!!

This post also shared on Morsels of Life

Chicken Parmesan BLTs

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Hello to you fabulous foodies! Have you missed me? I sure have missed you!! I can’t believe this move has kept me away for 2 weeks! I can tell you that moving blows and I will never move again if I have anything to do with it. If we have to move, we will hire someone to do it next time instead of thinking we are 20 years younger and our backs, among other parts, were up to the task. My chiropractor asked me if I had been in a car crash!!! 

I am still trying to find places for all of my kitchen stuff, as this kitchen is waaaay smaller than my other one. It is proving to be quite difficult but I will prevail! I refuse to have my butt kicked by pantry items and pots and pans!! I am also having to learn how to cook on an electric stove, something I am not happy about I can tell you. Luckily Kevin had an electric stove before we met so he is helping me figure it out, but as soon as we can you can bet we will be installing a gas stove!!

Since I am organizing, and learning, I have not been able to cook any meals for the blog in my new home. I cooked our first real dinner in the new place last night. A simple pork loin with rosemary and garlic, mashed potatoes, and sauteed asparagus. After eating on the go for the last few weeks it was so nice to sit down to a nice quiet meal, just the two of us.

This sandwich was one of the last things I made in the old house. I am a bit obsessed with BLTs right now. I have been trying to turn everything into a BLT. Some are good, others not so much, but this was amazing, but a warning, is not a meal for those that don’t like mess. This is a great messy in your face sandwich. We loved it! I guess you could of course use a knife and fork if you want, but we didn’t and laughed at each other through yumms and mmms about how good it was. We have a few sammies on our list of ones to make again, and this is on it for sure! I hope you give it a try.

What is your favorite sandwich?

Chicken Parmesan BLTs
adapted from a recipe by Rachael Ray

  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 15-ounce can whole tomatoes (squish them in a bowl with your hands to break them up a bit)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Fresno chili pepper, thinly sliced with seeds (can sub 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt (to taste)

  • For the Chicken Parmesan Cutlets:
  • 1 chicken breasts, halved across, 2 cutlets total
  • Flour, for dredging, in shallow dish
  • 1 large eggs, beaten in shallow dish
  • cup Panko breadcrumbs or homemade coarse breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt 
  • Coarse ground pepper
  • Olive oil for frying

  • For the BLT Topping:
  • 4 slicesthick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup light or fat free ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fat fee evaporated milk (can sub half-n-half)
  • A drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt 
  • Coarse ground black pepper
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced to desired thickness
  • Lettuce, torn
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 2 crusty style hoagie rolls, toasted 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To prepare the sauce heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and chilies, cook until fragrant and garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes. Season with salt and simmer over low heat partially covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pound chicken cutlets to about 1/8 inch. Season them with salt and pepper. Set up three dishes, one with the flour, one with the eggs and another with the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, lemon zest and garlic. Coat chicken in flour, shaking off any excess then dip them in the egg and then in breadcrumb mixture. Fry in shallow oil over medium to medium- high heat until deeply golden. Keep cutlets warm in the oven on a rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet.

Combine the ricotta cheese in a bowl with thyme, lemon zest, olive oil, evaporated milk, and salt and pepper.

Remove the chicken from the oven and place rack at center of oven then switch on broiler. Toast the rolls and remove. Arrange chicken on roll bottoms in this order: cutlet, sauce, 2 slices mozzarella cheese. Broil until mozzarella is bubbly. Top with bacon, lettuce, tomato. Generously apply ricotta mixture to roll tops and set into place. Have lots of napkins!

ENJOY!!

2 servings

Tarragon Pea Salad with Shallot and Bacon

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I have missed having my own garden this year. The last year I just planted way to much and couldn’t keep up with the weeds (in Washington they are hyperthyroid!!). Next year I am planning on doing some container gardening, but this year I have been lucky enough to have my son’s girlfriend Heather bringing us little treats here and there from her Mom and Dad’s garden. That was where I got the zucchini for my Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats. And the peas I used in this fabulous salad. There really is nothing better than vegetables that are just fresh from the garden!
When Heather brought me this big bag of snow peas and another bag of snap peas my mind started going all over the place. Most of the snap peas were eaten raw before any game plan could be dawn up for those and that is OK. But I knew I wanted to make a nice cool side dish for steak night. We have actually had a record summer this year in Washington. 40+ days with no measurable rain, and temps in the 70’s to 80’s. Being from San Diego you know I have loved it. I have been trying to plan a trip to visit CA but with the weather so nice here I have decided to put it off until I can escape the rain. So outdoor dining has been happening quite a bit. I think I have driven Kevin a bit batty with constantly wanting to be outside. I mean almost until the sun goes down! I just don’t want to miss a minute of it because I know I won’t see it again (except when I escape to San Diego for a few days) for 10 months.
So the BBQ was fired up, we did some baked potatoes and steaks on the grill and I whipped up this cool crisp salad. I am trying very hard not to say good-bye to summer, but if I had to this is the meal I would do it with!
Tarragon Pea Salad with Shallot and Bacon
1 pound snow peas, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 shallot, minced
4 slices of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/4 olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
Salt
Pepper
In a large bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the shallot, snow peas, tarragon and bacon. Stir to combine.
ENJOY!!

Spicy BBQ Baked Beans for #SundaySupper

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Ah yes, football season is back!! Be still my heart! I have been an avid football fan since I was 16. Now we wont discuss how many years that is. Let’s just suffice to say that it has been a long damn time!! In our house there are only two things that will bring everything to a dead stop and you will find all faces glued to the TV. NASCAR and football. Both of which I have enjoyed for the same amount of time.


Growing up in San Diego I became a Chargers fan and I when I did I did it full force. I can remember the year they lost in the playoffs to the Bengals. I, as well as thousands of fans, went to the stadium to wait for them to fly back. It poured the rain, we didn’t care. People started BBQs and a band showed up. There were TVs and people gave a us a run down as to where the Chargers were and when they would be there. It was midnight by the time they arrived, but we didn’t care. Now I live in Western Washington and have developed a love for the Seahawks as well. I have sat in the rain, snow, freezing wind to watch them play. Yes my friends I guess die hard could also mean a bit obsessed. 
Those years have passed. I enjoy the games in front of my TV on a comfy couch. No rain and I get instant replays!! BONUS! But I have never lost my love for tailgating. I love to have friends over, cook up a bunch of grub and have a few cold ones, all while arguing over who is going to win and if that was a bad call or not.  But football, fun, and great food always go hand in hand for me!
Spicy BBQ Baked Beans

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 slices of bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 jalapenos, chopped (seeds and ribs removed if you want to bring down the heat level)
BBQ sauce (recipe below)
6 cans Great Northern Beans, drained
BBQ Sauce
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cups cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (we add more since we like it EXTRA spicy)

Add the ingredients for the BBQ sauce to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile in a large heavy bottomed pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until the fat renders, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeno and cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the drained beans and BBQ sauce. Heat to a simmer, then cover and reduce to low. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally). Remove the lid and cook until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

ENJOY!
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http://bobbiskozykitchen.blogspot.com/2012/09/turkey-sausage-stuffed-zucchini-boats.html

Roasted Potatoes with Red Peppers, Garlic, and Bacon

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Roasting potatoes and veggies is one of my favorite ways to cook them, aside from grilling. The flavors gets concentrated and the outside gets crispy, just the thought of it makes my mouth water! I am so happy that I finally learned to love vegetables. I am sad it took me so long, I was missing out on so much! Of course if you throw a little bacon in there it doesn’t hurt either right? But like I say, everything in moderation so as long as you aren’t eating bacon with every meal (which I sooo could) you are doing fine. 
This night was one of those refrigerator clean out meals. Find a protein, find a side, and awaaaaay we gooooo! Those kinds of nights used to scare the bejeeezus out of me. I used to get frazzled “Oh no, no recipe? What the heck am I going to make? Aaaahhhhhh someone call Domino’s!!!” But now I embrace te challenge of coming up with something off the cuff. The other night I grabbed odds and ends out of the fridge that needed to be used up. I ended up making chicken in herbed rice pilaf with red peppers and peas and added a bit of leftover marscapone cheese at end. Who knew creamy rice pilaf would be so good? Plus WALA no leftovers!! I love it when nothing goes to waste!!

One thing I know I can never go wrong serving here is potatoes. When my father was alive he would be happy to just make a meal out of those. Whenever he wasn’t so sure about what was on the menu and if he would like it, he would ask
Dad – Are you making potatoes
Me – Yes Dad
Dad – Oh good, at least I know I will have something to eat
Me – Thanks for the vote of confidence Dad
Dad – Well hell a guinea pig needs to eat something right?
Me – Ya Dad, don’t you have a wheel to run in somewhere?
Dad – Yup you are mine, a total smart ass!
Me – Love you too Dad
I miss my Dad!!

Roasted Potatoes with Red Peppers, Garlic, and Bacon
2 pound baby Yukon gold potatoes, cut into quarters
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, minced
8 slices of bacon, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
Kosher salt,
Pepper
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large skillet, cook chopped bacon over medium high heat until it begins to crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove it from the skillet and set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Allow the bacon fat to cool a bit
In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, red pepper, garlic, shallots, and bacon fat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, turning the mixture once halfway through. 
Remove from the oven, top with chopped bacon and parsley.

Mom’s Creamy Pea Salad for #BeatTheHeat #SundaySupper

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I know I have mentioned, on more than a few occasions, that my mother didn’t do a lot of cooking. We had mostly boxed or canned food for dinners. But there were a few things that she made to take to parties, picnics, or pot lucks, that people requested over and over again. Her pea salad being one of the most requested. Every time we went to these functions more and more people fell in love with this salad, to the point that she would quadruple the recipe just to make sure everyone was able to get their share

I never made this salad once I was married and had kids because neither of my kids liked peas, I know, crazy kids! But just recently my son Seth has decided they aren’t so bad. The rest of us here love them so as soon as the weather warmed up I knew exactly what I wanted to make…..Mom’s Pea Salad!

This is such a simple recipe you will love it! I didn’t change it up a bit (of course) but it is still her basic recipe.  It was really a great feeling to be in the kitchen making something that reminded me of my Mother. She has been gone now for 7 years, and you know as the years go on you miss them but everyday life takes over and you think about them less and less. As soon as I decided to make this recipe so many thoughts of my Mother flooded my head. It was like she was with me all day. It really was a wonderful feeling. I even caught myself saying to her “Mom I hope you don’t mind I changed your recipe, but you know me” I know she would have laughed and shook her head.

As I said this is a simple recipe with a lot of love. I hope maybe it can become one of your family’s summer favorites! You may want to make a double batch though because a single batch went so fast people were actually licking the bowl!!

Creamy Pea Salad
1 bag frozen sweet peas (10 ounces)
5 slices smoky bacon, fried crisp and crumbled or chopped
4 green onions sliced thin,whites and greens
1/2 cup low fat mayo
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Combined all ingredient in a medium bowl and stir to combine well. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least and hour so the flavors meld. Adjust seasoning if needed. Allow to stand at room temp for 30 minutes if softer peas are desired.
Serves 4
*My mother would take the salad immediately to the picnic once combined so the frozen peas would keep the salad cold longer.

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