Posts Tagged With: Bacon

Lightened-Up Spinach & Artichoke Dip

In a last minute effort to create something delicious and nothorribly unhealthy for the Superbowl last week, I found a lightened-up version of Spinach and Artichoke dip…with bacon.  Yes, bacon.  Yum.

This recipe was delicious and was a hit at the party probably because most didn’t even know that it was low fat (my kind of party food).  It was also super easy, so watch out, you may be finding yourself making this on a regular basis.

Enjoy!

  • 1/3 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) package fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 c. (about 2 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 5 center-cut bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry

Preheat oven to 350°.

Arrange baguette slices in a single layer on 2 large baking sheets, and coat bread with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned.

Place mayonnaise, garlic, 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, and fat-free cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended and creamy. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, bacon, artichoke hearts, and spinach. Spread mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Serve with toasted baguette slices.

Cooking Light

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Categories: American, Appetizers, Breads, Recipes, Snacks | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Risotto

Oh hey, guess what? I found another yummy risotto recipe.  Surprised?  You really shouldn’t be.

This one is a bit different – its got this awesome combination of pumpkin and goat cheese (I really, really love goat cheese) all topped with applewood smoked bacon.  Oh gosh, I’m salivating!

Enjoy!

  • 4 c. low-sodium organic chicken broth, plus extra for moistening, as needed
  • 1 c. canned pure pumpkin
  • 4 slices applewood smoked bacon, chopped
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 leek (white and pale green part), thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ c. Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 2/3 c. dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
  • ½ c. freshly grated Parmesan
  • ⅓ c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. (generous) freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 ½ c. coarsely crumbled soft fresh goat cheese (about 6 ounces)

Whisk together the broth and the pumpkin in a heavy medium saucepan and simmer over medium heat. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low to keep the pumpkin broth warm.

Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel with a slotted spoon to drain.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook until almost tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the thyme. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until completely absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the pumpkin broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to absorb before adding the next. Cook until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, and the mixture is creamy, 20 to 25 minutes, adding additional warm broth by 1/4 cupfuls if risotto is dry. Mix in the Parmesan, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, the remaining salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from the heat. Add more salt to taste.

Divide the risotto among 6 shallow bowls. Sprinkle each with the bacon, goat cheese and remaining parsley and serve

Giada DeLaurentis

Categories: Entrees, Italian, Recipes, Sides | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Breakfast Twist: Bacon Maple Waffles

I’m always up for new breakfast ideas, so when I stumbled upon this recipe that offered combining salty bacon and sweet maple syrup I was intrigued.  These were really yummy and I think I’m going to use them next time as a base for Chicken ‘n Waffles – I just need to master the art of fried chicken first!

Eat these up fresh as Branden informed me that they were awesome the first day and not so awesome the second day.  He said they had a “weird” taste?  I don’t know, but that’s the rumor on the street so eat them while they’re hot and you won’t be disappointed.

Tip: Only use real maple syrup.  Honestly, once you start using real maple syrup, you’ll never want to go back to Mrs. Butterworth EVER again!  Promise!

And a final side note…a Belgian waffle maker is optimal for these waffles, but we only have my parent’s waffle maker that they got when they got married…30 years ago.  It still works (it heats so hot you could fry an egg on the lid!), so I can’t really justify replacing it yet.  When the time comes, I definitely have my eye on a Cuisinart waffle iron/griddle/grill!  Christmas is coming (hint, hint)!

Enjoy!

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 c. 2% milk
  • 3 TBS maple syrup
  • 2 TBS butter, melted
  • 4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; stir with a whisk.  Make a well in the center of mixture.  Combine milk, 3 TBS syrup, butter, bacon, and eggs, stirring with a whisk.  Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.

Preheat a waffle iron.  Coat iron with cooking spray.  Spoon 1/3 c. per waffle (in the case of the old school waffle iron, I did 2/3 cup to cover my iron more evenly).  Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until steaming stops; repeat procedure with remaining batter.  Serve waffles with fresh butter and maple syrup.

Cooking Light

Categories: American, Breakfast, Entrees, Recipes | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Don’t Throw it Away: Bacon Grease

Branden and I usually make Saturday morning breakfast every week (okay, so its more like Saturday lunch, but its breakfast food nonetheless).  That being said, we love Bacon and its become a staple on Saturdays…yummy, crispy bacon. Our favorite method of cooking it, in case you’re interested, is in our cast iron skillet that has become Branden’s little pet project. I think we honestly started consuming so much bacon because cooking it was an easy way to season the skillet but now we are addicted to the wonderful, salty cut of pork.  Now I’m hungry…

So now we are cleaning up. The cast iron is good and greasy, but we have to dispose of all the leftover liquid fat. When we first got married, we had many battles over bacon fat protocol: I wanted to let it cool and solidify and then throw it away while Branden insisted on keeping it in a sawed off Diet Coke can in the fridge. His solution was not ideal in my mind because first of all, I was terrified that I was going to get tetnus from the jagged can that he created with kitchen shears and put next to all the condiments in the fridge (which I do NOT recommend).  Secondly, what on earth was I going to do with all that bacon grease?! I must have been complaining to my Mom about this when she mentioned a simple solution: use it to pop popcorn.

I know what you’re thinking: “Gross.” But just go with me for a second on this one…

We love popcorn in our house. Since I try to not have junk food around, popcorn has become a “healthy” evening snack although it was healthier before I discovered what Branden and I now call Bacon Fat Popcorn. At least I have good intentions.

So here’s how it goes.  Heat 3 TBS bacon grease in an 8 quart or larger sauce pot that has a lid over medium-high heat.  Once melted, add 1/2 cup popcorn (varietal of your choice) and cover. Shake the pan frequently and do NOT uncover. Corn will begin to pop; continue shaking the pan so the popped kernels do not burn. Do not remove from heat until popping has almost stopped. Now for personal preference of seasoning…may I suggest only salt? Don’t get me wrong, I love buttery popcorn just as much as the next person, but you won’t need butter if you used bacon fat. The bacon fat already packs enough flavor that if you only season with salt, you won’t be disappointed.

So now you’re probably thinking, “I don’t want my popcorn to taste like bacon!” Relax, it doesn’t at all. Instead, you have popcorn that almost has a smokey flavor to it that is hard to resist. Please try it just once if you don’t believe me, I really don’t think you will be disappointed.

Categories: Recipes, Snacks | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Hurry Up Summer: I’m Hungry for BURGERS!

I can’t take credit for today’s post at all.  I had a REALLY long day starting at 5 a.m. last Friday and didn’t get home until 8:30 p.m.  I had asked/demanded that Branden prepare dinner before I got home so I could just relax after my day upon arrival.  He’s a really good cook and his dinner he came up with didn’t disappoint at all!

We are both incredibly ready for warm weather and all that comes with it- grilling, summer veggies and fresh herbs, eating outside, and fires in the back yard.  Seriously, I can’t wait and Friday’s dinner didn’t help me with my patience.  About a month or so ago, we got a Williams-Sonoma catalogue in the mail that had an absolutely incredible looking stuffed burger on the front.  My mouth was watering and we’ve been dying to try it.  Branden was able to track down the recipe and ended up making his own creation based off the original.  Our burgers were accompanied by grilled green onions and asparagus and roasted sweet potato fries (a weakness of mine, especially with some homemade aioli!).

I’ll start with the sides first before I move on to the burgers.  We love grilled veggies.   Quite frankly, my favorite way to make asparagus is on the grill- I just love the little bit of char that forms on the spears.  I also really like the fact that its pretty hard to make asparagus mushy on the grill.  I like my veggies crunchy, so grilling (or broiling in the winter) is my cooking method of choice.  Toss in some fresh garlic, sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, and olive oil and you’re good to go.  I’ve been known to grill a whole bundle of asparagus and eat the entire thing myself– no fork needed!  This method also works wonders on green onions that almost turn sweet on the grill (a perfect way to use those leftover onions in the crisper that often go to waste).

Now for the burgers.  Yum.

Branden mixed his 80/20 ground beef with chili powder, cayenne, cumin, white pepper, fresh cracked black pepper, minced roasted garlic (from a jar), and Worcestershire sauce.  I wish I could give you exact measurements, but he kind of threw things in as he went (and did a wonderful job, I might add!).  The original recipe called for stuffing the burgers with pepper jack cheese, but we had an “incident” last summer with stuffed burgers, so Branden decided to play it safe and melt the cheese on top.

And for the fixin’s!  Branden grilled fresh kaiser rolls from the bakery that were rubbed with a bit of olive oil to make them toast up nice.  He also grilled fresh red onions.  And if it couldn’t get any better, he fried thick-cut peppered bacon until crisp.  And even better yet was the avocado mash!  The combination of the heat of the burger seasonings and pepper jack cheese with the cool avocado, salty bacon, and sweet grilled onions was bliss in my mouth!  I instantly was reminded why I yearned for summer and the opportunity to create magic on the grill.  These burgers were amazing.  I know that it helps that my husband knows his way around a grill, but the unbeatable flavor combination here helped knock this burger out of the park.  We will definitely be making these again and will probably have to have some friends over to enjoy as well because they’re too good to keep to ourselves!

Avocado Mash/Guacamole:

  • 2 large avocados, preferably Haas, peeled and pitted
  • 1 TBS fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro

In a bowl, combine the avocados and lime juice and mash them together with a fork. Season with salt and stir in the cilantro.

Categories: American, Entrees, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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