Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cheesy Bacon Biscuits

Bacon, bacon, bacon.  I love bacon.  I love cheese, too.  And biscuits.  And to put them all together in one mouth-watering breakfast bite?  I'm in heaven!  I'm not a big breakfast eater to begin with and when I do decide to veer off course from my regular coffee and more coffee breakfast diet, it's usually something savory like these Cheesy Bacon Biscuits.

They were so easy to make!  See my post HERE for a less-messy way to cook bacon.  I cooked the bacon the day before, so on the morning I made these biscuits all I had to do was pull the 5 ingredients out of the refrigerator, put everything together, and throw it in the oven (not literally).  So simple!

Cheesy Bacon Biscuits
(adapted from Picky-Palate)

2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
1 Roll Refrigerated Biscuit Dough, 8 count
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup cooked, crumbled Bacon

Preheat oven to 350.  Brush a cast iron skillet with melted butter.  Place biscuits in skillet.  Top with crumbled bacon, shredded mozzarella, and shredded cheddar.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and biscuits are cooked through.  

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chopped Salad with Citrus Dressing

This is one of my all-time favorite salads.  I crave it.  The combination of the sweet, citrusy (is that even a word) dressing with the bacon and blue cheese is mouth watering.  Add in a little grilled chicken, walnuts, & cranberries, and you have a hearty weeknight meal.  

I'm not a big fan of cooking bacon (eating it, yes).  It can get so messy!  One day I saw Ina Garten cooking bacon on a broiler pan.  Genius!  I've never cooked it any other way since.  Just line the bottom of your broiler pan with aluminum foil (for super-easy clean up), and lay the bacon across.  Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes, turning once, until crispy.  When I know we're going to have this salad, I make the bacon ahead of time and store it it the fridge.  

You could just stop with the bacon, but since my meat-loving husband likes to have this salad for dinner as well, I like to add some grilled chicken.  My favorite way to make simple, grilled chicken is to flatten out chicken breasts, sprinkle on sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Drizzle liberally with olive oil.  

Grill over medium-high heat until cooked through and you have pretty grill marks. Ladies, don't be afraid of your grill!


Citrus Dressing

1 teaspoon Grated Orange Zest
3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper 
2/3 cup Olive Oil

In a jar, combine orange zest, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, Dijon mustard, maple syrup and pepper.  Shake vigorously.  Add olive oil.  Shake until combined.  

Chopped Salad 

8 slices thick sliced bacon, cooked and chopped
2-3 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced
Lettuce (I used a bag of Spring Mix)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces Blue Cheese (I used Roquefort), crumbled

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Creamy Carrot Pasta

This is so sneaky.  As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it.  I'm always searching for ways to incorporate veggies into things my girls will eat. They even thought (until I clued them in on the carrots) that it was mac & cheese!   And since I love garlic (nearly) as much as I love chocolate, this hits the spot for the adults in this house, too!

I have a little container herb garden on my deck and thyme is making its debut this year.  Last year I grew basil, rosemary and mint (mainly for Mojito's, of course).  I was so excited to be able to pick a few sprigs of fresh thyme for this recipe, but dried would work just as well.  

Have you ever tried roasted carrots?  They are fantastic!  We have them as a simple side dish quite often.  They lose a lot of their sharp carrot flavor and are sweet and yummy...

I almost didn't include this picture of the carrot puree, mostly because it just looks like baby food.  But I wanted to show how creamy this really is!  All that heavy cream is doing its job.  

Once the carrots are roasted and pureed, they take on a sweet and smooth flavor.  You could even turn this into an entree by adding bacon or diced chicken.

Creamy Carrot Pasta

1 bag of baby carrots (approx. 1 pound)
7 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried thyme
2/3 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup frozen garden peas
1 pound of pasta
1/4 - 1/2 cup milk
Salt & pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine carrots, garlic, olive oil, and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread on a roasting pan and place in a 400 degree oven.  Bake about 45 minutes, or until carrots are tender.  Toss once or twice during cooking to make sure the carrots cook evenly. 

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  While the pasta is cooking make the carrot cream.  In a blender, puree the carrots and garlic together with the heavy cream and parmesan cheese until smooth.  Place in a large bowl.  Toss in the peas and stir.  

When pasta is done, drain and add to the bowl with the carrot puree.  Toss gently to coat.  Slowly add the milk until all the pasta is evenly coated with the puree and is a nice consistency.  

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tangy Marinated Beef Kebabs

Who doesn't love food on a stick?  And aren't they pretty?  With the Memorial Day weekend coming up, I thought this would be a great first dish to blog about.  The marinade was sweet and tangy and a perfect complement to the sweet peppers and peppery onions.

You can put together so many different combinations of veggies for this.  I chose mushrooms, red onion, zucchini, and red bell peppers.  The most important thing to remember when making kebabs is to keep everything approximately the same size.  If you slice your zucchini too thin it will turn to mush before your onions are cooked through.  

I like to use sirloin for kebabs but you can use any cut of beef, really.  I think the sirloin has the right amount of fat marbled in to keep it from drying out.  

I like to marinate the entire kebab rather than everything separately.  After you assemble them, place in a large baking dish.  Pour the marinade over everything making sure each part is coated well.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.  I rotated them in the dish every few hours just to make sure they were equally coated, but I don't think that is absolutely necessary.  

Another thing to remember when making this kind of kebab is to grill them slowly.  You want to make sure all the vegetables are cooked evenly.  You don't want crunchy onions, mushy zucchini, and over-cooked steak!  

Try it out this weekend!

Tangy Marinade
(adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

1/2 cup Cooking Sherry
1/2 cup soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
3 Tablespoons Honey
3 Tablespoons Minced Ginger
5 cloves Minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes


1 1/2 pounds sirloin, fat trimmed and cubed
1 pound button mushroom
2-3 zucchini, cut into half inch slices
1 red bell pepper, uniformly cut
1 red onion, uniformly cut

For the marinade, combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Thread 1 meat cube onto skewer, followed by the remaining ingredients until skewer is full.  Place into a large baking dish and pour marinade over skewers.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours, or overnight.  

Preheat grill to medium heat.  Place skewers on the grill, rotating every 5-7 minutes until cooked to your liking and all veggies are done.  


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