Tag Archives: bacon

A Party? In a Bowl? Why yes, thank you! (A Super Bowl Party Appetizer Wrap-Up)

As many of you know I love to entertain, mostly because I love to make mini-foods. But really because I enjoy hanging out with friends while celebrating something special. So, it’s been a pretty long tradition–ok so it’s only been 4 or 5 years, but what ‘evs–of hosting a small group of friends for a Super Bowl Viewing Party.

Normally, I will make a couple of heartier dishes and ask the other families to lighten the load by bringing a dish to share. Here are some of my favorite Super Bowl Go To Party Faves!

Nothing like a hot dip to get the party started, yeah? P1050450Baked Green Chile Artichoke Dip
Simply fresh flavors make this one pop.

P1050799Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
You’ve got to have something for the kiddos, too.

Pizza Pop 'ems
Pizza Pop ’ems

Pizza Pop ’ems
And, who doesn’t love bacon? P1040448

Bacon Carmelized Onion Pinwheels
Ok, maybe the vegetarian doesn’t love bacon? Real men do eat quiche.P1030196

Spinach and Feta Quiches

I really don’t care who wins, FYI.

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Five Favorite Soups for a Chilly Week

IMG_3824I rarely meet a soup that I don’t like. They are a bit like people, you know. Some are smooth and refined, while others are rough around the edges, and yet others are just too darn spicy for me. To me soup is always just a bowl of comfort, really. And, it’s such a non-threatening way to introduce an unfamiliar veggie to kids that I made it my Fall/Winter Mission to get my kids to eat a small bowl of soup at dinner time. Continue reading Five Favorite Soups for a Chilly Week

Jamie Oliver’s Bacon and Mushroom Cream Sauce

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer. I mean really, what’s not to love, the fruits and veggies are wonderfully vibrant and flavorful, the weather is awesome and I don’t have to rush out of the house everyday to work. But, I also look forward to the cooler temps of the fall when it’s socially acceptable to fill my plate with a pile of carbs and gobble it all up.

This sauce is a speedy sauce that you can whip up in a matter of minutes to put a quick dinner of pasta on the table, and it’s delicious. Thanks, Jamie Oliver! Continue reading Jamie Oliver’s Bacon and Mushroom Cream Sauce

Bacon and Carmelized Onion Pinwheels

In my former life when I held dinner parties for adults, rather than kids, I used to pull out every stop to make an impression with some star ingredients. And I think I kind of do the same thing now, but with a more realistic working-mom approach. With that idea I still love to include food that caters to adults, but with flavors that kids will enjoy too. And the icing on the cake is that I’ve come to realize that a few shortcuts that help to make it seem like I’ve fussed a lot, is certainly worth it.

So one of my favorite shortcuts that makes everything fancier is puff pastry dough. You can easily throw anything in there, and it tastes like you’ve slaved for hours because of the buttery richness of the dough. So, this classic pinwheel appetizer marries some wonderful flavors that certainly impress and at the same time is pretty easy to throw together with a kid or two underfoot. I guess I will need post some of my other favorites with puff pastry, like empanadas and custard pies.

Shopping List:

2 sheets puff pastry thawed

1 onion, carmelized (see instructions below)

1 cup crumbled cooked center cut bacon (see this post for a simple technique)

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

4 Tablespoons deli mustard

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Whisk together the egg and water, then set it aside to use later.

3. Lay out the puff pastry sheets on a floured surface to prevent sticking.

4. Spread 2 tablespoons of mustard on each sheet. You want to try and leave a 1/2 inch border on one of the short ends, but otherwise paint a thick layer of this good stuff.

5. Divide the carmelized onion in half and evenly distribute it on top of the mustard.

6. Again, divide the bacon in half and chuck it on top of the onions.

7. Now here’s the tricky part, start rolling it all up from the short end of the pastry. Try and make it as tight as possible, so pull and stretch if you need.

8. Using a serrated knife cut each roll into 1/2 slices. Try to use a gentle sawing motion, so as not to rip the dough. I ended up cutting about 15 slices in each of mine.

9. Place them cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. The brush with the egg wash and sprinkle the parmesan on top.

10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden on top. I ended up baking both sheets at the same time, to save a bit of time, but if you do the same, just make sure to rotate your trays half way through so that the bottom tray gets some sun too. Also, it allows for even baking. Enjoy!

CARMELIZED ONIONS: a lovely base to many a good dish.

In a large saute pan on high heat pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat the oil for a minute so that the oil is hot. Meanwhiile slice your onion. Slice them however thick you like, but know that the thinner you slice the faster they carmelize. Once the oil is hot, add your sliced onion, and coat it in the oil. Let it cook for a couple of minutes until the onions become translucent. At this point you can turn the heat down to medium-low, and let it cook away–ignoring it slightly.  You do want to make sure you stir them, so they brown evenly though. It will take about 30-45 minutes for them to get really sticky, so if you’re short on time, do a big batch to use all week and they will definitely freeze well in a freezer safe bag. Having these on hand certainly comes in handy when at the dinner crunch. You can slap them on a burger or sandwich for sure, or you can plop them on some chicken for French Onion Chicken or use them as the starter to a French Onion Soup or slide them inside a tortilla for an inspired take on a quesadilla. The possiblities are endless.

Simple Technique: Bacon in the Microwave

A long time ago (Oh gosh, maybe 20 years ago now) I learned somewhere how to cook bacon in the microwave, and that began my steady decline into a love affair with bacon. Whether it was bacon wrapped shrimp, a BLT or simply a side nestled next to my eggs in the morning, bacon was my temptation.

Then more than a decade passes, and I have a picky eater who refuses to eat hot dogs, but scarfs down bacon at any given moment.

That’s when I knew I had to bring this technique to it’s full potential. Yes, it was a dangerous food to be playing with for a toddler, but I went head first into a diet of daily bacon for the little guy. Eating bacon every day is not good, but I was pushed to my limits. Well, that lasted a few months when I realized he might go into overload, so we took a break from it. But now we’re back in action and adding bacon to other parts of a meal.

Although this blog is all about expirmenting with flavors for the whole family, I think you’ve got to start with what’s familiar first.  So by adding a little bit here and there, I’ve been able to get my kiddo to try new things. And that was the goal. But in all honesty, who can argue with the crispy decadence that comes with a meal sprinkled with the smoky, saltiness of this meat.

Shopping List and Tools:

1 package of REAL center cut bacon

paper towels

microwave-safe plate

microwave

A Simple Technique for cooking bacon fast.

1.  Simply place the bacon on a layer of paper towels on top of a microwave-safe plate. Leave a little space between each slice.

2. Cover the layer of bacon with one paper towel.

3. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Depending the thickness and/or type of bacon, you might need to cook it for an additional minute. With this technique all of the fat soaks into the paper towels, so if you like your bacon more chewy rather than crispy then err on the shorter time frame.

Much less mess to clean up!

If you like bacon like I do, check out these other posts that include it.

Egg Salad-Club style

Club Hot Pocket

Stuffed Potato Chowder

Bacon and Apple Stuffing

Brussel Sprout Salad

For a super-cute Father’s Day idea with bacon, check out Our Best Bites’ Bacon Bouquet.

© Suzanne Brown and The Family Style Chef, 2011-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Suzanne Brown and The Family Style Chef with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Shrimp and Bacon Fried Rice

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe. Honestly, between work and play it’s been hard to get inspired in the kitchen. But what better way to get out of a rut than just man up and force myself to do it, right?  It’s time for a little change in my family’s dinner repertoire.

I don’t want it to seem like I am normally trying new recipes with my family all of the time, but I do try to mix it up a bit and introduce something new once a week, but in the recent past my inspiration was zapped.

For a while there it seemed that every recipe I tried went up in flames…literally. That happened a few times when I was working with the barbecue. I mean what cook wouldn’t become despondent over multiple meals being tossed in the trash. Thank goodness for takeout and frozen meals. But part of my mantra has been to get rid of those premade meals and eat out of the box. So it here it is… time for change and a chance to experiment with flavor. So with this recipe I am trying to add more veggies to our diet and vary our proteins by experimenting with shrimp.

Shopping List:

1/2 orange juice

1 tablespoon crushed garlic, about 5 cloves

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp honey

1/4 tsp .  crushed red pepper

5 slices of bacon

1 lb. peeled deveined raw shrimp, 21-36 count size is preferred

1 cup carrots roughly chopped

2 cups of cooked rice

1 bunch brocollini, tops only

5 slices of bacon chopped

Instructions:

1. While the rice cooks (about 15 minutes), marinate the raw shrimp in the orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, honey and red pepper.

2. In a large saute pan on medium-high heat cook the bacon until crispy. Do not drain the fat when it is finished cooking, this imparts wonderful flavor to the rice.

3. Add the cooked rice to the pan and coat it with the bacon drippings. Then add the carrots and brocollini and stir fry 5-7 minutes, until the carrots are cooked to desired tenderness. I prefer them crunchy, so I would only cook them about 5 minutes. That is about how long it will take to cook the brocollini too.

4. Add raw shrimp to pan and cover the pan to steam for 3-5 minutes. Shrimp should be opaque and pink throughout when cooked.

Serves: 3-4 people

Brussel Sprout Salad

So by now I'm sure you none of you reading this are surprised that this salad will include two of my favorites: bacon and blue cheese. My hubby and I recently went out to a nice French restaurant where we ordered a salad similar to this. I've seen a ton of brussel sprout salads in mags lately, but often they are served raw and shredded, like coleslaw (see here for my thoughts about this salad), so when this came to our table I was surprised that it was in fact a wonderfully savory and sweet way for me to eat this often shunned, now celebrity-like veggie.

I have to say I was pretty impressed with this salad. Since it is one that can be made ahead and is full of nutrients, I wouldn't be shocked if it started to make an appearance at the holiday buffet for my family. You have been warned!

Shopping List:

1 pound brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved

3 slices of bacon

1/4 cup of walnuts

2 green onions, sliced

1 apple, peeled and sliced

1-2 tablespoons light blue cheese dressing

Instructions:

1. In a 8 x 8 baking dish toss the brussel sprouts with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and roast at 475 degrees for about 20 minutes.

2. When the brussel sprouts have cooled for about 10 minutes, toss in all the other ingredients and serve.

Serves 4 as a side dish