Taco – Vodka – Kale Day

 

 

Today there are 3 items to celebrate: Tacos, Vodka & Kale. We do love our cheese taco shells. These are very tasty and you can put any of your favorite ingredients like catfish nuggets with tartar sauce.

 

 

 

 

Vodka is one of those alcohols that can be mixed with just about anything. Click this link for Lemon Mint Cocktail recipe.

 

 

 

We have been growing kale in our aquaponics garden. We like kale in salads or sauteed with onions or bacon. I have also tried making kale chips in a skillet with oil. That was dangerous with the spattering grease – ouch! The safest way to make kale chips is to bake them in the oven.

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Jalapeno Poppers

I really like a good jalapeno popper.  So I tried making them with Queso Fresco cheese and bacon.  Not a complete success but on the right track.  First I took some jalapenos and cut off the top and removed the seeds.  I did wear gloves because every time I work with hot peppers I either blow my nose with a tissue or scratch my eye and then I have a burning sensation.  Not this time – I got smart.

 

Then I stuffed them with the cheese and placed them in the refrigerator while cooking the rest of dinner.

 

 

About 15 minutes before dinner, I took them out and wrapped them in bacon. I buy pieces and ends of bacon because it is cheaper.  In this application, you should have strips of bacon and not pieces.  I used a toothpick to secure the bacon which then makes it hard to brown all sides of the bacon.  Next time probably will deep fry them. Now when frying I just used a little bacon grease in an iron skillet and fried the poppers.

Although very tasty, they were not completely successful but I learned several things.  First char and remove the skin from the peppers.  This will make them cook a little faster and won’t be so crunchy after frying. Once the skin is removed you could probably even coat them with a beer batter before frying and it would stay in tack.  Will have to give this a try. Secondly, I think the type of cheese is pretty important.  Queso Fresco does not seem to melt as quickly as say cheddar or mozzarella.  Which means it won’t all ooze out when being cooked. Next, make sure your bacon is nice long pieces that wrap completely around each popper. This ensures that the whole popper is covered and will cook through more evenly.  Last, is the way they are cooked.  If deep fryed, you won’t have uneven cooking even with the toothpicks inserted to keep the bacon on.

If anyone has any other suggestions, I would love to hear them.  This is a great appetizer and not too time consuming to make.  Can even be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to fry.  I’ll give you an update next time I make Jalapeno Poppers.

Happy Memorial Day

First off – Happy Memorial Day. Take this time to remember those that have given so much so we can have the freedom we enjoy.

Today is also Coc Au Vin Day. This is basically French for cook in wine. This classic recipe slow cooks chicken in red wine. Even though I made this in the slow cooker and it was edible, I probably won’t do it again. It was not that tasty and there was actually more onions than anything else. Below is the recipe from Ina Garten that I tried if you want to cook a classic French meal.

2 tablespoons good olive oil
4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
3 to 4-pound chicken pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
½ large yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
2 cups good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
3 tsp. thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced

Cook bacon over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the crock pot/slow cooker and continue to brown until all the chicken is done.

 

 

Add the carrots, onions, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned.

 

 

Add the bacon, carrots, onions, garlic and any juices that collected in the pan, Cognac, wine, chicken stock, and thyme into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

 

 

If you would like a thick sauce, in a medium saute pan, mash butter and the flour together over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Add to the stew. Add the frozen onions and mushrooms. Let stew cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

Hamburger Day

There are many ways to make a hamburger. I have made them in my Hershey’s Kiss silicone baking pan,

as cupcakes and of course free form in the skillet. I think one of my favorite burgers is this Peanut Butter Bacon Cheese Burger. I know it sounds sort of weird but it is amazing how the salty and sweet flavors work together. Enjoy!

1 lb. Ground beef
½ tsp. Onion powder
½ tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. Fresh ground pepper
½ tsp. Kosher salt
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. Cayenne pepper
6 slices bacon
1 whole sliced tomatoes
4 lettuce leaves
1 c. peanut butter
1 tbsp. Maple syrup
1 ½ c. sharp cheddar cheese

Place the ground beef in a mixing bowl and, using your hands, combine gently with onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, salt, Worcestershire and cayenne.

Make beef into 4 patties. Ensure the patties are the same thickness on the edges as the middle. Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

 

While burgers are chilling, cook bacon until crispy over medium heat in a skillet. The crunch adds a nice texture to the burger.

In same skillet, cook burgers to medium doneness or until the middle of the burger is 168 degrees F, about 4 min. on each side. Add cheese to each burger a minute or two before they are done.

 

While burgers are cooking, place peanut butter and maple syrup in a microwave safe bowl. Stir together and warm in microwave for about 25 seconds. Stir again. It should be slightly runny.

 

 

 

 

Remove burgers from skillet. Place bacon and peanut butter mix on burger.

 

 

 

To finish top with tomatoes and lettuce.

Quiche Lorraine

This is a great quiche for Mother’s Day which is right around the corner. I made my pie crust using coconut flour and coconut oil because we are still on the ketogenic diet. But you can use whatever crust you like.

4 large eggs
9” pie crust
1 c. Swiss cheese, shredded
1/3 c. chopped green onion
4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbles
¼ c. heavy cream
1 ¼ c. milk
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare pie crust by package instructions fro pre-cooking or pre-baking.

Cook bacon slices on medium-high heat until crisp. Pat dry with a paper towel and crumble. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, heavy cream and milk. Mix until thoroughly blended. Combine shredded cheese, chopped onion, bacon, salt & pepper in a bowl. Add to egg mixture and mix well. Pour egg mixture into pie crust and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Chicken & Bacon Florentine

Just made this delicious & easy chicken dinner.  Forgot how good it taste.  It is relatively easy to make and has that familiar Italian flavor.

Chicken & Bacon Florentine

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6 slices bacon
½ c. shredded Parmesan cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb) (I used chicken thighs  instead)
½ c. sliced green olives (I used kalamata olives instead)

1 jar tomato & Basil sauce ( or you can use 14 oz can tomato sauce with 1 Tbsp. dry basil)
10 oz. Pkg. Baby spinach leaves
1 clove garlic, finely chopped ( or 1 tsp. garlic powder)

Cook bacon in 12” nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon and reserve 2 tablespoons drippings. Mix together cooked bacon and cheese, set aside.

Meanwhile, heat sauce and olives in small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Season chicken with salt and black pepper. Cook chicken in reserved drippings over medium-high heat, turning once, 6 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm. 

Add spinach and garlic into same skillet and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted.


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Evenly spoon heated sauce onto serving plates. Top with spinach, then chicken. Garnish bacon and cheese mixture.

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Maple-Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Turkey

baconday-mainToday is Bacon Day which made me think of this tasty recipe for Maple-Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Turkey.  It’s easy to make and delicious.

2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 Tbsp. olive oil
12 lb. turkey
8 sage leaves or 2 Tbsp. dried sage
1 c. maple syrup
10 slices of bacon
3 Tbsp. flour (almond or coconut works)
2 c. turkey or chicken broth
1/4 c. parsley, chopped

Heat oven to 450F. Fit a large roasting pan with a rack. (I did not use a rack because I don’t mind the extra fat in my turkey.)

In  small bowl, combine salt, pepper and poultry seasoning (include dried sage if using). Stir in olive oil to form a paste.

Remove giblets and neck from cavity of turkey. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Place in roasting pan. If desired, tuck wings under turkey and the legs together with cooking twine.

Season turkey with spice rub all over the outside as well as under skin of breast halves. Tuck sage leave (if using) under skin and in cavity. Roast at 450 for 30 minutes.  NOTE:  Because the breast is usually dry I roast my turkey with the breast face down so it will receive extra juice.

Combine maple syrup with 1/4 cup hot water. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Roast for 1 hour, brushing with maple syrup glaze every 30 minutes. Carefully lay bacon slices over breast in a lattice pattern, roast 1 hour more until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove to a cutting board; let rest 20 minutes.

Place roasting pan over medium-high heat and whisk in flour, cook 1 minute.s Gradually whisk in broth and cook 5 minutes until gravy thickens. Strain into a gravy board and stir in parsley.  You can also just pour the liquid from the roasting pan to to a saucepan to make the gravy.

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