Grilled Cheese & Bacon Sandwich

March 31, 2014 by

Those of you who know us well, know that we watch The Food Network channel religiously.  Saturday I was in the kitchen and the TV was on for noise. Mark happened to stop in front of it and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives was on.  He says, “baby, we have to make this”.  I didn’t get a chance to see it, but he told me what the sandwich was and I said “hell yeah”.  I have been wanting to try a BLT grilled for some time now and just haven’t done it.  So here is the recipe the way I made it. We just kind of made stuff up as we went.

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Ingredients (For 2 sandwiches)

10 pieces of bacon, fried crisp
Texas Toast
Sliced tomato
4 slices of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Mayonnaise
Butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat your pan or Panini press (which is what  used) to grilling temperature.  Meanwhile, butter all 4 slices of bread on the outside.  Spread mayonnaise on all 4 slices of bread on the inside, put a slice of cheese down, the bacon and then add a couple slices of the tomato.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, add another slice of cheese and the other slice of bread.  Grill until golden brown.

 

 

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

March 28, 2014 by

I have to give our friend Lisa J. credit for this recipe.  She posted it on her Facebook page and I couldn’t wait to try it.  I made them last night and sent them to work with Mark so I could use his co-workers as guinea pigs.  Evidently they were a big hit.

So I want to give you a little history about my deviled eggs.  I make awesome deviled eggs.  Every holiday my family expects to see deviled eggs as part of the meal, and what my kids want they normally get.  Many, many times during the process there are many cuss words and some extreme anger.  And sometimes even a thowing of the eggs, and yes I do have an anger issue.  Every time I have a problem with the eggs not peeling right and they end up being mutilated. They look like Freddy Krueger just got a hold of them.  So after the last holiday I got to thinking, I just didn’t understand why they do that.  I have tried every trick on the internet and it didn’t help.  Every other time when I make a hard boiled egg, like for sandwiches, they turn out perfect.  So I got to experimenting and I have come to the conclusion that I am putting too many eggs in my pan.  I tried boiling them in smaller quantities in two different pans last night and they turned out perfect…..So, on with the recipe.  See notes below

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Ingredients
  • 12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1½ tsp rice vinegar
  • ¾ tsp ground mustard
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 6 pieces bacon, cooked, crisp, and crumbled
  • paprika
Instructions
  1. Slice the hard boiled eggs in half, lengthwise
  2. Remove the yolks and put them in a mixing bowl
  3. Mash the egg yolks with a fork
  4. Add the mayonnaise, rice vinegar, ground mustard, and sugar to the mashed egg yolks and stir until well combined
  5. Mix in the jalapenos and bacon
  6. Put the mixture in a ziploc bag and cut a small hole in the corner of the bag
  7. Fill each egg hole with the mixture
  8. Sprinkle with paprika
  9. Chill until ready to serve

Notes:

  • I did not use the vinegar or sugar.  Normally I make a recipe exactly by the recipe instructions the first time and then modify it later.  Besides that, rice vinegar isn’t something you normally have on hand in the kitchen.  I just couldn’t add these ingredients to my eggs.  So if anyone tries the rice vinegar and it turns out good, let me know and I will try it also.
  • I always use regular French’s mustard for my deviled eggs, not the ground.
  • Next time I will use more jalapeno, there just wasn’t enough heat for our taste.

Creamy Pork and Vegetables

March 23, 2014 by

Creamy Pork and Vegetables

Diets suck.  Fat free, sugar free, flavor free…there is a lot of truth to it.  Replacing things you like with suitable substitutes can be both difficult and interesting.  I came up with this recipe looking to not use chicken (which my wife does not like), but having an Alfredo-type sauce.  It turned out real good.  Creamy Pork and Vegetables

  • 10 oz lean pork loin, cut into strips then into 3/4″ squares
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp oregano flakes
  • 1 cup zucchini, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz spaghetti, 3″ lengths, cooked to package instructions

Cut pork into strips, then into about 3/4″ squares.

Prepare vegetables.  Cut tomatoes into 1/4″ cubes. Cut zucchini into 1/4″ squares. Cut broccoli into about 1″ florets. Cut mushrooms into slices.  Chop parsley finely.  Chop onion.

In a large skillet, cook the pork, garlic and onions and about half of the oregano together in the olive oil over medium-high heat until pork is cooked through.

Cook the spaghetti, drain.

Add the butter, vegetables and parsley to the skillet.  Cook for several minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the spaghetti, salt and remaining oregano.  Stir thoroughly.

Add the half and half and Parmesan cheese. Stir until sauce starts to thicken and coats other ingredients evenly.

Serve immediately.

Potato and Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

March 23, 2014 by

This is a nice side dish that has a very light vinaigrette and mustard flavor.  The recipe makes about 4 servings, but can be easily scaled.  Can be served hot or cold.  Potato and Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1 lb red potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/4 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped about 1/4″ square

Vinaigrette sauce

  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • dash salt
  • dash pepper

Cube unpeeled potatoes and cook for 8 minutes in boiling water and butter.  Add green beans onion and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Drain.

Make the vinaigrette sauce and chop the basil.

Place drained potatoes and beans back in the pot, add the sauce and basil.  Stir until evenly coated.  Can be served immediately or chilled for cold salad.

Brown Sugar Lil Smokies

March 10, 2014 by

And here is another excellent recipe that I made for Sara’s baby shower.  It is so simple and tastes wonderful and so inexpensive to make.  I had so many compliments on this one, I think it was a hit.  And, once again, I apologize for jacking someone else’s photo.  I like to have my own but there wasn’t time.

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Ingreditents
1 pound bacon
(16 ounce) package little smokie sausages
1 cup brown sugar, or to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cut bacon into thirds and wrap each strip around a little sausage. Place the wrapped sausages on wooden skewers, several to a skewer. Arrange the skewers on a baking sheet and sprinkle them liberally with brown sugar.
  3. Bake until bacon is crisp and the brown sugar melted.

Ranch & Cheddar Cheese Ball

March 10, 2014 by

Yet another dish that I made for Sara’s baby shower.  This is my favorite.  It is so yummy. If you like ranch dip and cheddar cheese, you will love this cheese ball.  You won’t believe how simple it is to make an elegant cheese ball.  Of course the styrofoam paper plate I put it on to transport looked awfully redneck, but oh well.  And again, it is a triple batch so it wouldn’t normally be as large as it is in the picture.

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Ingredients

2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix (I used Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix)
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped pecan
Assorted crackers

Directions
In a medium size bowl, mash the cream cheese.  Mix the dressing mix and cheddar cheese into the cream cheese.  Shape the mixture into a ball.  Roll the ball in the chopped nuts.  Refrigerate covered until ready to serve

Smokey Cheese Ball

March 10, 2014 by

This is another dish that I made for Sara’s baby shower.  Keep in mind that this is very large, but I tripled the recipe so it wouldn’t normally be the size of a basketball cut in half.

Smokey Cheese Ball

Ingredients
8 ounce package cream cheese
1 cup shredded smoked Cheese (I used Tillamook)
1 cup margarine or butter ( I cut that down to 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoons steak sauce
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (I used the toasted almond slices)
Assorted crackers

Directions

  1. Shape mixture into a ball.  Roll in the nuts.  Serve with crackers
  2. Combine cheeses and margarine or butter in a medium mixing bowl; bring to room temperature.  Add milk and steak sauce; beat until fluffy.  Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.

Caprese Pasta Salad

March 9, 2014 by

This is one of the recipes that I made for Sara’s baby shower.  Pardon the fact that I had to jack someone else’s picture, but I just didn’t have the time to take my own.  I usually do, but I was on the verge of being a psycho at that point in time.  This recipe is delicious, light and refreshing and so easy to make.   See my notes below.

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Ingredients

    1 (10 ounce) box Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Ties
    1/2 cup Basil Pesto, store bought or homemade (recipe below)
    1 cup Slow-Roasted Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, store bought or homemade
    8 ounces Mozzarella Pearls or Bocconcini
    Aged Balsamic Vinegar, optional
    sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Cook pasta until al dente in a large pot of boiling, salted water, 7-9 minutes. Drain pasta, shaking to remove excess water, and then place the pasta into a medium-sized bowl. Add the basil pesto, and toss until the pesto coats each and every piece of pasta. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature, 30-40 minutes (you don’t want to melt the mozzarella).
Once the pasta has come to room temperature, add the slow-roasted tomatoes and mozzarella pearls. Toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
You can serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (it’s good cold or at room temperature). If you like, drizzle the salad (or the edges of the plate) with a little Balsamic vinegar to taste, just before serving.

Homemade Basil Pesto (about the amount you’ll need for this recipe):

    4 ounces fresh basil leaved, rinsed gently and patted dry
    2 tablespoons (or so) extra virgin olive oil
    1 fat cloves garlic, minced
    1/2-1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    few grinds of black pepper
    scant 1/2 cup (scant 1 ounce) finely shredded Parmesan cheese
    2 tablespoons lightly toasted, unsalted pine nuts

Combine basil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Turn on low speed while drizzling in the olive oil. Process until everything has come together, stopping to scrape down the bowl once, if needed.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Ingredients (1 scant cup)
  • 1 pint Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • few springs fresh marjoram
  • olive oil
  • kosher or coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Notes:
I used regular bow ties, not whole wheat.  I also used store bought pesto and I made my own Slow Roasted Tomatoes.  And we don’t do our pasta “al dente”, we cook it done.

Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry

March 8, 2014 by
Beef Vegetable Stir Fry

Beef Vegetable Stir Fry

This recipe is easy to make, very tasty, and is rich in vegetables and vitamins.  Here is the PDF of it.  Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry

  • 1 lb lean beef, cut into strips about 1″ long
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb aparagus, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 lb broccoli florets, about 1″ diameter
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, quartered

Sauce

  • 1 package Sun-Bird Beef and Broccoli Seasoning Mix (other brands will work)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp beef bouillon granules or 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 Tbsp Kikkoman stir-fry sauce
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Use a 2 cup measuring bowl to mix sauce ingredients together.  Stir thoroughly, making sure there are no corn starch clumps.

Prepare vegetables.  Cut broccoli into pieces about 1″ diameter.  Cut asparagus into 1 1/2″ pieces.  Slice carrots thinly.  Quarter the mushrooms (or sixths if they are very large).

Slice beef into thin strips about 1 inch long.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add beef and garlic and cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.  After 5 minutes, stir the sauce and add about 1/4 cup to the beef.

Add carrots to beef mixture and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add asparagus and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add broccoli.  Stir up the remaining sauce and add to the skillet.  Cook for 5 to 7 minutes.  Serve with rice or noodles.

Easy Banana Nut Bread

March 8, 2014 by

banana nut bread

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: Makes one loaf.

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans

Method

 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda, cinnamon and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Stir in Pecans or walnuts.  Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.


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