Zucchini and Corn Chowder

zucchini-and-corn-chowderIt’s another gray and cloudy day here. So I decided to make  some zucchini and corn chowder to warm up my belly. I also needed something to blog this week, so two birds, one stone kind of deal. For my vegetarian friends out there, substitute vegetable broth and omit the bacon pieces.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated for garnish
  • Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. About 6-8 minutes. Transfer to paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in the same stockpot and add onion, carrots, celery, potatoes and garlic. Cook until tender about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stir in dried thyme, basil, and rosemary cook until fragrant about 1 minute.
  4. Whisk in flour until lightly browned. About 1 minute.
  5. Add in chicken stock, milk bay leaf, zucchini and corn.
  6. Cook stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
  7. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and bring to a simmer.
  8. Simmer for about 7-8 minutes or until zucchini is tender.
  9. Remove the bay leaf. If the chowder is too thick for your liking, add a little more milk to thin out.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with bacon pieces, grated Parmesan cheese and parsley leaves.
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Spiced Lentil Soup With Bacon

lentil-soupI made this soup on a rainy and windy day. And boy, can I tell you that it hit the spot! Nothing like a hot bowl of soup with just a little kick of curry to warm your tummy. For my vegetarian friends, use vegetable broth and skip the bacon and add 1 cup of chopped kale or collard greens instead.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into thin slices or cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • chopped fresh parsley or celery leaves for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Fry the bacon in a large pot over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp.  About 4-5 minutes. Drain the fat.
  2. Add the olive oil, onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent. About 5 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots, garlic, curry powder and thyme, stirring constantly and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add in the diced tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring often.
  5. Pour in the lentils and the chicken stock. Season generously with fresh ground black pepper.
  6. Raise heat and bring to a boil.
  7. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45-50 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  8. Transfer 2 cups of soup to a blender. Protect your hand from the steam with a kitchen towel placed over lid and purée the soup until smooth.
  9. Pour the puréed soup back into the pot. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  10. If you are making this vegetarian style, now is the time to add 1 cup chopped kale or collard greens and cook for 5 minutes more or until your greens are tender.
  11. Serve with chopped parsley or celery leaves.

lentil-soup-pot

Frijoles Charros (Mexican Cowboy Beans)

frijoles-charrosI’ve been on a Mexican food kick lately. Whenever I eat something at any restaurant, I always think to myself, “I wonder what they used to make this?” I’ve had these beans numerous times at my favorite Mexican restaurant. And I finally decided to try to recreate their recipe, but of course make it as easy and simple as possible. They turned out delicious! I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. For my vegetarian friends, substitute with seitan bacon or use a few drops of liquid smoke and use vegetable broth instead of beef broth.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 4-5 slices of bacon, chopped into small strips
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Over medium high heat, add bacon pieces to large saucepan. Stir bacon pieces 2-3 minutes until mostly cooked. Drain excess fat from pan.
  2. Add diced onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro and tomatoes to bacon in pan. Stir until combined.
  3. Next add pinto beans and beef broth. Stir well and bring liquid to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Garnish with additional cilantro and serve as either the main course or a side dish.

frijoles-charros-pot

 

Bacon, Chicken and Spinach Linguine

Bacon and Chicken Linguine PlatedSo one of the ways I get my son to eat things he normally says he doesn’t like to eat is to disguise them. Well more like hide them by mixing them with other foods he really likes. For instances, bacon. By adding bacon to this dish he doesn’t seem to notice the spinach or tomatoes or the cream sauce. But at least he gets one of his favorites in this dish. I remember when I was little and my mom tried to pass of cooked daikon radishes as potatoes. She straight up lied and said they were potatoes! Right then and there I told myself if I ever had kids I wouldn’t lie to them about food. Disguise maybe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, cut up in pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water
  • grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Italian parsley or basil for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook linguine noodles according to package until al dente. Drain and reserve 2 cups of pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook chicken until cooked through. Depending on thickness, 4-5 minutes per side.  Set chicken aside on a cutting board and cut into bite size pieces or strips.
  3. To the skillet, add garlic, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning and spinach. Stir well.  Add heavy cream and the reserved pasta water. (Use 1 1/2 cups pasta water to start. Add more if needed.) Combine and season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Lower heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add linguine and toss until noodles are fully coated.
  5. Add chicken and bacon to skillet and toss.
  6. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and Italian parsley or basil.

Bacon and Chicken Linguine

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie platedEver get in a dinner rut? I know I do. The same 5-10 dinner recipes on rotation week after week? Sometimes because they are quick and easy and other times just out of necessity.  So there I was. Staring at a pound of ground beef. What do I make? Stick to the routine or change it up? I say change is good.  Now I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this recipe on the back of a pancake batter box years ago.  But I don’t have any pancake batter mix, so I decided to make my own. But if you have some on hand, by all means feel free to substitute and save yourself a few steps.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cooked bacon slices, chopped into small pieces (optional, if you leave out then you are making cheeseburger pie)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. In a skillet, cook ground beef and onions until beef is browned and onions are translucent. 8-10 minutes. Drain fat from skillet. Add Worcestershire sauce to meat and mix.
  3. Spread ground beef and onions onto prepared pie plate.
  4. Using either a food processor or hand mixer, mix flour, sugar, salt and butter together until it forms into small pebbles of dough. (If you have pancake mix, use 1/4 cup and go to step 5.)
  5. Add milk and eggs. Mixing until combined.
  6. Pour into pie plate with meat mixture.
  7. Top with cheese and bacon pieces.
  8. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Or until inserted toothpick in center comes out clean.
  9. Serve with all your favorite cheeseburger sides.

 

Bacon Cheesburger Pie

 

 

Meatloaf and Cheesy Mashed Potatoes Casserole (Or Cowboy Meatloaf version 3.0)

Cowboy Meatloaf With Cheesy Mashed PotatoesSo I was reading What’s For Dinner Moms? blog recently. And she had created a version of Cowboy Meatloaf from the Ore-Ida recipe. And suddenly a mishmash of both recipes plus a little change-up came to my mind. Thus, Cowboy Meatloaf Version 3.0 came about.  In my version, I added spicy Italian sausage to the ground beef and like What’s For Dinner Moms?  I made my own mashed potatoes. Here is a link to What’s For Dinner Mom’s? recipe: Cowboy Meatloaf With Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole. And here is the Ore-Ida recipe: Cowboy Meatloaf and Potato Casserole. Both are great recipes. Be sure to check them out.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 cups potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup cooked bacon bits
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican Blend cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, coat a 13 X 9 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine: ground beef, Italian sausage, diced onions, Panko bread crumbs, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, eggs and chili powder until well mixed.
  3. Gently press meat mixture to the bottom of the baking dish. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the hot, boiled and mashed potatoes with butter, milk, garlic powder, bacon bits and 1/2 cup of Mexican blend cheese.
  5. When meatloaf is finished cooking, drain any excess grease from baking dish.
  6. Spread the mashed potatoes mixture over the meatloaf evenly. Add the remaining 1 cup of Mexican blend cheese over the potatoes.
  7. Place baking dish back in oven for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.  I like my cheese just melted, but if you want your cheese browned, you can turn up the oven to broil and place the casserole under burners for 2-3 minutes instead.
  8. Remove the casserole from oven and let sit 3-5 minutes before serving.

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

Bacon Wrapped Hotdog 3Okay, let me warn you that this recipe is not for the faint of heart. I do not claim that it is healthy or good for you in any way. So now that full disclosure has been stated, let me just say one word, bacon. Crispy, tasty bacon. The star of this recipe. It’s not really even much of a recipe. You need one piece of bacon per hot dog and a little brown sugar. That’s it.

First wrap a piece of bacon around your hot dog. Continue to do this until you have wrapped desired amount of hot dogs. You might need toothpicks to hold in place.

Bacon Wrapped Hotdog 1

Heat a skillet on medium high and add a tablespoon of butter. Add hot dogs to skillet and sprinkle bacon with a little brown sugar. Turn over midway, when the bottom side has browned and the bacon has begun to get crisp. Fry until the bacon looks cooked. Note: You might need to drain some of the grease from the skillet at this point. Remove hot skillet from heat. Carefully lift out the cooked hot dogs with tongs or a spatula. Place on paper towels to drain excess grease.

Bacon Wrapped Hotdog 2

Serve in your favorite type of bun with your favorite condiments. Do I get any stars for serving these in whole wheat buns?

Bacon Wrapped Hotdog 4

Remember, I warned you this wasn’t going to be a healthy recipe. But everything in moderation, right? Look past the tater tots. See the grapes? Did I mention, the whole wheat bun?