I offered to bring a few things to Thanksgiving with my in-laws this year, including these rolls, a pie (still undecided on what I’m going to do) and a green bean dish. I thought about doing these green bean salads, but my sister-in-law is bringing a green salad and I didn’t want to double up. So I went in search of a green bean dish that wasn’t a rich heavy casserole, even though I love the stuff, but was still special. These green bean bundles are the perfect compromise.
I wanted something that wasn’t going to occupy too much stove or oven space and wouldn’t take too long. You can blanch the beans in advance, and partially cook the bacon beforehand, which means a quick 15-20 minutes in the oven is all you need to finish these off.
The original recipe I found here on Williams-Sonoma’s site. I changed a few things and was amazed at the results. The bacon becomes almost candied in the butter and maple syrup sauce, so these are a bit decadent but since you’re eating vegetables you’re going to be fine. It’s Thanksgiving after all. Nothing wrong with candied bacon on Thanksgiving.
I think these are adorable in their little individual bundles. It does require more work, but nothing too intense. With all the other sides you really only need one bundle per person, but make some extra just in case.
With Thanksgiving just a week away I wish you happy and stress free meal planning, traveling, prepping, baking and cooking. But most of all I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you thoroughly enjoy the day with family and friends!
Rosemary and Maple Bacon Green Bean Bundles
Makes about 12 servings
1 1/2 pounds green beans (6-8 green beans per bundle)
8 strips of thick-cut bacon cut in half crosswise, 16 pieces total
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Trim and blanch the green beans: Trim the end off of the beans. Boil a large pot of water and prepare a big bowl of ice water. Cook the beans for 3-4 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain, then plunge into the ice water. Remove from the water and pat dry with towels. Proceed with the recipe or store beans in the fridge for up to 1 day.
Cook the bacon: Heat a skillet over medium heat and fry the bacon partially, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Do not let it get crispy or you won’t be able to wrap the bacon around the beans. Proceed with the recipe or store the bacon in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
Melt the butter and whisk in the syrup, salt and rosemary.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
Wrap 6-8 green beans in one piece of bacon and lay on the parchment seam side down. Repeat with all the beans.
Drizzle each bundle lightly with the butter mixture. You may have some leftover, which you can either drizzle on the beans or toss depending on how much sauce you want.
Bake the bundles for about 15 minutes, until bacon is crisp. Move to a platter and serve.
My husband was recently gone for work for a month, making a visit home one weekend. It was rough having him gone, but we had a ton of help from friends and family. People have asked how I did it, and the answer is that I didn’t! I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who visited, let us invade your homes and watched my kids.
One of the things that fell by the wayside when I was home with just the kids was cooking dinner for myself. I’d almost always have some random meal of snacks or a frozen dinner. But when I saw this dish I knew I’d be putting it together for dinner and enjoying it for a few meals.
When cooking for one I find it best to make something that is either good cold or good reheated as leftovers. As much as I love to cook, I don’t want to prep and cook a meal every evening. Having a couple nights a week where I can eat what I’ve already prepared is really helpful. This pasta salad is best the day you make it, but is good cold or warm as leftovers.
This recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman. I followed it almost exactly. I added 6 slices of cooked, chopped bacon and then changed the cooking a little. The reason for changing the cooking is not because I thought it would be better or easier, but because I didn’t read through the directions fully before I started…
I really like kale, but only when it’s been softened with some kind of dressing or if it’s been cooked. It’s lightly cooked here, which makes it less bitter. It’s also chopped into fairly small pieces, so it’s not overwhelming. Full disclosure though, if you don’t like kale at all you probably won’t like this. You could leave out the kale completely, but I think that it makes this dish not only lovely but also at least just a little good for me.
This garlic oil is incredible. You could end the dish here and be good. I’ll be using this again on other pasta dishes.
The combination of pine nuts, bacon and parmesan is perfect.
Serve this up right after assembling and eat any leftovers either cold or heat it up a bit.
6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped. drippings reserved
1 bunch of kale, washed, dried, ribs removed and chopped fine
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh cracked black pepper
3 ounces of shredded parmesan
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and toast the pine nuts, shaking them frequently to keep them from burning. Once they are golden brown remove from the pan.
In the same pan heat oil over medium-low heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently to keep the garlic from burning. Once it begins to turn golden turn off the heat and add in the salt and pepper and set aside.
Cook the pasta noodles according to package instructions, drain and rinse in cold water. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
In a large pan heat 2 teaspoons of bacon drippings over medium heat and add in the kale. Cook until softened to your liking, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
Add garlic oil, kale, bacon, parmesan and pine nuts to the pasta and toss to combine.
There are some great food blogs out there, and with a mere 39 food blogs in my Feedly I know that I haven’t even scratched the surface. I keep discovering new ones and it’s so much fun to see the yummy and creative things people come up with and the amazing photos people take of their food! It’s both inspiring…and a little frustrating! Where do you find the time to make a meal in the middle of the day and photograph it so it looks beautiful?!
I came across Seasons and Suppers a few months ago and it never disappoints. The recipes always look and sound delicious. While some are totally approachable, others are those I plan to just drool over from afar rather than attempt myself. But this recipe for deep dish pizza was something I knew I had to try.
This pizza crust is crazy delicious and has a terrific chew thanks to the cornmeal. I didn’t make the pizza sauce from the original recipe, but plan to sometime! It seems simple and delicious. I used the sausage and bacon called for in the original recipe, but you could use any toppings (I guess they’re more like fillings in a pizza like this) that you like. Jennifer says to add a layer of pepperoni for a meatier pizza…genius.
I wouldn’t bake this ahead of time, it’s best right out of the oven, bu there are some things you can do to make dinnertime less stressful. Cook the bacon and the sausage and slice the cheese (if you need to) earlier in the day and store in the refrigerator. You can also do those things while the dough is rising.
I topped our slices of pizza with some fresh basil and a little extra parmesan. Paired with a green salad you have a dinner that won’t disappoint. Unless someone you’re serving doesn’t like pizza, in which case I’d reconsider your friendship…but not really…but maybe.
Check out Seasons and Suppers, you will not regret it. Thanks for the recipe, Jennifer!
Freshly grated Parmesan for topping, at least 1/2 cup, plus a little extra
Freshly chopped basil for garnish
Combine warm water, yeast and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl. Mix together then let sit for 5 minutes until it’s foamy.
Fit your stand mixer with the dough hook. Combine 1 cup of the flour with the cornmeal and sugar in the bowl of the mixer. Add in the yeast mixture and stir on low to combine. Stir in the oil. Add in remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until dough holds together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Oil a large bowl, then transfer the pizza dough to the bowl, cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for about an hour.
Preheat your oven to 425°F.
Grease a cast iron skillet with olive oil, then lightly dust with cornmeal.
Flour a clean work surface and dump out the pizza dough. Knead a little to bring it together in a nice ball. Then roll it out in a circle just larger than your skillet. Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the skillet. Tuck excess dough underneath or trim it off.
Cover the bottom of the pizza with a layer of mozzarella cheese, but don’t use it all.
Layer the sausage and bacon next, followed by the rest of the mozzarella.
Pour the pizza sauce on top, then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
Bake the pizza, uncovered, for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes check the crust, if it is getting too dark, then cover the pizza with foil and bake for 5-10 minutes more.
Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing or removing from the skillet to a cutting board to slice.
Serve sprinkled with some fresh basil and extra parmesan.
Sometimes I have one ingredient that I really need to use and the rest of the meal comes about because of it. That’s exactly what happened last night. The ingredient…BACON.
Ben bought some really amazing thick-cut bacon last week when we grilled burgers. I had more than half of the package left and it needed to be used in the next couple of days. I could have frozen it, but when something goes into my freezer it may never come out. And there was no way I was going to waste good bacon! In college my best friend used to order the chicken, bacon, ranch sandwich at Quizno’s and she’d add either avocado or guacamole. I might have some details a little confused here, but it was something like that. With the bacon and some leftover grilled chicken in my fridge I knew exactly what we’d be having for dinner.
We eat panini a lot, and usually I’m using leftovers to make them. It’s one of the main ways we use any leftover steak. As with most panini recipes the ingredient list is short, and prep is simple if you’re using leftovers. All you need is some bread (I used sourdough) some cooked chicken, a few slices of cooked bacon, avocado and swiss cheese. You can use any kind of cheese that you like, but I thought the swiss paired well.
You can spread some mayo on the bread, or if the Quizno’s addition of ranch sounds too good to pass up you can either spread some ranch dressing on the bread or dip the sandwich in it after it’s been cooked. If you have some guacamole around, then use that instead of the avocado.
For a nice and crunchy exterior, and terrific color, I like to either drizzle the bread with olive oil or, if I’m feeling really crazy, spread it with softened butter. It’s up to you.
You don’t need a panini press, but if you have one that you don’t use very often I highly encourage you to dust it off and make it a part of your life. To make these without a press, just heat a skillet over medium high heat and while one side is cooking, press down on the sandwich with another heavy pan, then flip and do it again. Like a smashed grilled cheese, although I guess pressed does sound better than smashed.
The recipe below makes 2 sandwiches, so adjust the ingredient amounts as needed for the number of paninis you plan to make.
Ben and I both really enjoyed these panini and I can see myself planning my weekly meals with some extra chicken and bacon in the future. Enjoy!
Chicken, Bacon, Avocado and Swiss Panini
4 slices of thick cut sourdough bread
1 cooked chicken breast, sliced
4 slices of cooked bacon
1 half of an avocado, sliced
4 slices of swiss cheese
mayo or ranch dressing, optional
olive oil or butter for grilling
Preheat your panini press or a large skillet over medium heat.
Set out your bread (spread with mayo or ranch) and layer 1 slice of cheese, chicken, bacon, avocado and top with another slice of cheese. (I tear the slice of cheese so that it covers the bread.) Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
Drizzle olive oil or spread butter onto both sides of the bread.
Place on the panini press or on the heated skillet and press until bread is golden brown and cheese had melted.
The forecast for this past week boasted 3 days in a row of cool and rainy weather. Time to make some soup! I started looking around for a potato soup recipe but most looked so heavy, full of sour cream and cheese. I wanted a soup that would leave us full and satisfied without being totally weighed down. I finally found a terrific recipe from The Pioneer Woman (are you at all surprised?). Instead of cups and cups of whole milk and sour cream, there are cups and cups of chicken broth, with a little dairy to round out the soup and add creaminess. It is heavenly.
I was immediately excited about the celery, onion and carrot in this soup. Made me feel like I was eating even healthier with those extra vegetables. And they add such wonderful flavor. I used shallot instead of onion because I didn’t have one. Next time, though, I will use a regular onion. Less peeling and chopping. Everything else in the recipe is unchanged. I might cook a few extra pieces of bacon because, if you are anything like me, having some of those crunchy bits on top is necessary. The 6 pieces aren’t enough for the entire pot of soup. Maybe this says something about our love of bacon. I’d say 10 pieces would be good, and if you have extra, well, there is not a thing wrong with extra bacon bits.
After cooking the soup you puree about half of it in the blender. This creates a nice balance of smooth and chunky so that every bite has something to chew on, which is what I like in a soup. I used a sharp cheddar on top of the soup, but a sharp white cheddar would also be delicious, or whatever cheese you like on a baked potato.
Top this soup with a little bacon, cheese and green onion and you have all the flavor of a hearty baked potato soup but without the bulk of it. This is definitely a recipe I’ll be making again.
Note: When reheating you might need to add some chicken broth or milk to thin it out since it does thicken as it sits in the fridge.
1 whole medium onion, diced (I used 4 large shallots)
3 carrots, diced (I used about 20 baby carrots)
3 celery stalks, diced
6 whole small russet potatoes (or 3 large) peeled and diced
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
Balck pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt (I used Lawry’s)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 cup grated cheese
4 green onions, sliced thin
Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add in the chopped bacon and cook until crispy, being careful not to burn it. Remove from the pot and place on a paper towel-lined plate and wipe out some, but not all, of the bacon fat.
Over medium high heat cook onion, celery and carrots for a couple minutes, until they begin to soften. Add potatoes and cook, stirring things around a little, for about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and seasoning salt.
Add the broth to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
In a bowl whisk flour and milk and add to the pot. Stir together and cook for about 5 minutes.
Puree about half of the soup in a blender (I filled my blender almost full). Be sure to remove the center piece from the top of the blender and cover with a dish towel. If you don’t, you could make a big mess since you’re pureeing hot liquid.
Pour the puree back into the pot, taste and season as needed. Add in the cream or half and half, and the parsley.
If you know me or have searched around on the blog much, then it comes as no surprise that I love macaroni and cheese. I’ve made it more than a couple of times and have tried lots of variations. But I have two basic recipes that are my favorites, this one from Martha and this one from The Pioneer Woman. Both are great jumping off points for creating different types of meals based on what you choose to add in. They are similar, creamy baked pasta dishes but Ree’s uses an egg, less milk and cheese, Martha doesn’t use an egg but uses twice as much milk and more cheese. They have similar cooking processes and both yield tremendously tasty results. Pioneer Woman doesn’t call for bread crumbs, but if I have them around I almost always use them. There is just something about a crunchy topping on a creamy pasta dish that does me in. Heaven.
For this macaroni and cheese I used the Martha recipe as my base and added in cooked crumbled bacon, caramelized shallots and fresh thyme. I made 4 of these individual servings and had plenty left over to fill a 9×13 casserole. If you don’t make any little servings it will still all fit in a 9×13. I sometimes make two smaller casseroles and freeze one for a day when I know I won’t have time to make dinner. If you do freeze it don’t go through with the baking step prior to freezing. Wrap your pan in plastic wrap then foil. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight then bake (with foil only!) for 20 minutes, then uncovered for another 20-30 depending on the size of the pan. This macaroni can be served as a main course, which is what I usually do, paired with a green salad. Or it can be a side dish and is a great addition to a pot luck table.
The thought of making a roux is one that may seem daunting if you haven’t done it before. It does sound like a fancy cooking skill, but it’s really simple and kind of wonderful. I love the way the butter and flour smell together as they’re cooking. This whisk from Pampered Chef is the one I always use when making a roux or sauce. It doesn’t scratch my pan and can get up next to the edges of the pan like a normal whisk cannot. It’s also great at breaking up lumps. But it’s a pain to clean, so soak it right after you’re done with it to avoid stress at dish washing time. In addition to a good whisk, you also need a nice big saucepan and uninterrupted time. You can’t go browse Pinterest or finish that episode of whatever you were watching while you make the roux and cheese sauce. Do that while the macaroni is in the oven. If you don’t whisk it fairly constantly you run the risk of getting a lumpy sauce or even burning it and having to start over. It doesn’t take a terribly long time, but it is active time. The first step of cooking the butter and flour happens especially fast. So just be attentive.
The cheese. It’s an important factor in macaroni and cheese, of course. You can tell if you use really good cheese. But your macaroni won’t be at all bad if you use normal grocery store cheese. I used Target brand sharp white cheddar and a nice little block of real gruyere. Use whatever you want, cheddar, colby, sharp, mild, etc. But don’t use low fat cheese. That’s just plain silly. And remember that changing cheeses changes the final product, so mix cheeses and additions that pair well.
The milk. 2% is just fine. You can use whole if you’re really going to go for it, but it’s not necessary to achieve a nice creamy sauce. Do not forget the salt! If the sauce tastes a little too salty, that’s ok because you’re mixing it with a pound of non flavorful pasta.
The pasta. I like penne, a little more adult of a pasta than elbow, but elbow is just fine. You can use fussili or farfalle (bowtie) but I personally like the tubular pasta noodles for macaroni and cheese.
The bacon. I used center cut, baked it in the oven then chopped it up. I used 6 slices (sorry I don’t have the ounce amount!) but could’ve easily done 8 and maybe even 10. Leave the bacon out if you’re looking for a meatless dish, or substitute ham or another meat.
The shallots. I love shallots. They’re sweeter than onions are are a wonderful addition to this dish. I used 3 large shallots, sliced them thinly and sauteed them in a little butter and olive oil over medium-low heat until they were nice and evenly browned without burning. If they begin to darken too much, add a tablespoon of water to the hot pan and continue cooking. You can use a yellow onion, the flavor will just be slightly different but still delicious.
This creamy, cheesy and delicious baked pasta dish is real comfort food and something that is sure to please just about everyone. Enjoy!
Bacon and Caramelized Shallot Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves 6-8 as a main dish or 10-12 as a side dish
6-8 slices of center cut bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled
3 large shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
8 tablespoons butter, divided, + 1/2 tablespoon to saute the shallots
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound penne pasta
1/2 cup flour
5 and 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
16 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (1 cup reserved for topping)
6 ounces gruyere cheese, grated (1/2 cup reserved for topping)
1 and 1/2 cups panko crumbs
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Caramelize the shallots: Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan over medium heat, add shallots, stir and cook for a couple minutes until shallots start to gain some color and soften slightly. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are caramel in color and very soft. Do not let them burn. If they are browning too quickly you can lower the heat slightly or add a tablespoon of water and continue to cook. This should take 10 minutes or so. Set shallots aside.
Heat a large pot of water to cook the penne. While it is coming to a boil, make the cheese sauce. Heat 6 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over medium heat, once it is melted add the flour and whisk for a minute. Slowly pour in about 1 cup of the milk and whisk until mixture thickens, being sure to whisk out any lumps. Continue adding the milk, a cup at a time, whisking until slightly thickened until the last addition of milk (this can be 1 1/2 cups). Whisk until slightly thickened.
Remove from the heat and add in salt (at least 1 teaspoon) pepper to taste, thyme, and all the cheese except that reserved for topping. Stir to combine and melt the cheese until mixture is smooth. Taste and season.
Salt boiling water and add the pasta. Cook 2 minutes fewer than the package instructs, then drain and add to the cheese sauce along with the shallots and bacon. Stir well to combine everything. NOTE: You may reserve some of the shallots to sprinkle on top, 2 tablespoon is enough.
Grease ramekins or casserole dish and spoon pasta into the dishes. Top with reserved cheese, then shallots.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with the panko crumbs. Spread crumbs evenly over the cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Ramekins can bake for about 20, make sure to place them on a baking sheet to catch drips.
A good friend of mine made this when we met up for a playdate at her house a while back. I say “a while back” because it feels like just a few months ago but I think it might have been over a year ago, which reminds me just how quickly a year goes by. I can’t believe it’s almost 2014.
Candace paired this rich and savory tart with a spinach salad loaded with berries, which made for a well balanced lunch. I’m still amazed that she fixed this lunch for us since she’d recently had a baby. My meal of choice when having people over for a playdate is Chick-fil-A…or goldfish and raisins.
The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen and is something I can definitely see myself making again, especially for a lunch or brunch. It’s impressive but not too time or skill intensive. It’s also fine served room temp, so you can make it hours ahead or even the day before and re-warm it. I added bacon to the original recipe because I don’t see anything wrong with adding bacon to pretty much everything. Maybe my new motto for 2014 will be, “Put some bacon on it!” inspired by Portlandia… But of course it’s amazing without the bacon and fits into a vegetarian diet that way.
Other than the bacon, the rest of the recipe is unchanged. You can use a tart pan or pie plate for this. I had planned to use a tart pan because it’s just prettier than a pie plate. Something about that fancy fluted edge. But the dough recipe provided wouldn’t fit in my 10 inch tart pan, so I used a 9-inch pie plate. Thankfully the lovely filling makes up for the unimpressive pie plate. The dough wasn’t impossible to work with, but it was a little crumbly so I had to do some patching up in places. It was delicious and not hard to whip up in the food processor, so I’d definitely recommend it over a store bought crust.
If you don’t like blue cheese you probably haven’t read to this point in the blog post, and if for some reason you have I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be a fan of this tart. Which makes me sad, because it’s delicious…if you like blue cheese. I think you could use goat cheese, but haven’t tried it so I’m not sure how that will effect the final product. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!
A few tips:
Refrigerate your crust before filling to minimize shrinking during baking.
For making ahead, you can prep everything, store it in the fridge and assemble right before baking.
If using bacon, this cold oven method of cooking it has become my new favorite. No greasy pan to clean and your house won’t smell like bacon for days.
Make sure to let the tart cool or otherwise the filling won’t have time to thicken and could be runny.
1 Savory Tart Shell, recipe below, in a 9-inch tart or pie pan and ready to use
1 pound small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
4-8 slices of good bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoons finely chopped thyme and rosemary
Fine sea salt for sprinkling
1 and 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, diced
1 large egg
For Tart Shell
Combine flour, cornstarch and salt in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
Add in butter chunks and pulse until butter is in pea sized pieces.
Add egg and pulse until dough comes together. It will still be slightly crumbly.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times so that it comes together. Flatten into a disk.
Roll out into a 12 inch circle then transfer to your 9-inch tart pan or pie plate. Press out any air bubbles and trim or crimp edges as desired. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before filling.
Preheat oven to 350°F
Cook potatoes in a medium sized saucepan, just covered in water, over medium heat. Simmer until tender, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the water and drain. Lay the slices out on a clean dishtowel and gently pat dry with another clean towel or paper towels.
Arrange potatoes in concentric circles on the bottom of the crust, overlapping slightly, covering the crust entirely.
Sprinkle cheese over potatoes, followed by bacon and herbs.
Whisk egg and cream in small bowl and pour over everything.
Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake tart for 45 to 50 minutes until bubbly and browned. Cool on wire rack. Serve the tart warm, room temp or cold.
The more I cook, the more I realize how much I absolutely love cooking comfort food. And eating comfort food. I really love eating comfort food. And I’ve been doing a lot of it lately. This meatloaf has been one of our favorites.
Covering your dinner with bacon can’t be a bad thing. This meatloaf is covered in 10 strips of bacon which give it great flavor and create a great slicing guide. I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman, my go-to for comfort food. Try her pot roast! It makes me smile just thinking about it. The only change I made to this meatloaf was to add some caramelized onion.
I’ve made this twice now. The first time I followed the recipe exactly, but felt that the bacon was kind of soggy. So the next time I baked the meatloaf without the sauce at the beginning of the cooking time at an attempt to crisp it up a little before putting the sauce on. I think it was better, not so much that I could definitely tell a difference but enough that I will do it that way in the future. Either way the bacon is a great addition and makes this meatloaf spectacular. It would still be good without the bacon, so leave it out if you must.
I don’t have a roasting pan. Not sure why. I should probably get one. So I baked the meatloaf on a shallow baking pan lined with parchment. It releases a lot of juice, so I soaked it up with paper towels after it came out of the oven. I can see why a roasting pan would be helpful, but don’t fret if you don’t have one. You don’t need it.
This would easily feed 8 people, possibly 10. Ben and I can easily make 3 meals out of it. Sliced for dinner the first night, then meatloaf sandwiches for lunch or dinner a couple of times. Few things can beat a meatloaf sandwich on some soft white bread. Enjoy!
Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Caramelized Onions
From The Pioneer Woman
1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
6 slices white bread
2 pounds ground beef (I used 1 pound of 85/15 and 1 pound of 93/7)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup minced Italian parsley
4 whole eggs, beaten
10 slices Thin/regular Bacon
1 to 1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 to 1/3 cup brown Sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Caramelize the onion: Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and drizzle of olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the sliced onion and stir the onion to coat with butter. Sprinkle with kosher salt and a generous pinch of sugar. Let cook, stirring occasionally and monitoring the heat so the onions do not burn, 10-15 minutes. Onions should be brown and soft. If the onions begin to crisp and burn and there is no moisture left in the pan, add a few teaspoons of water. Remove from the pan from the heat and let cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.
Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, onion, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.
With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan, which will allow the fat to drain. (Line the bottom of the pan with foil to avoid a big mess!)
Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf.
Cook meatloaf for 15 minutes.
While the meatloaf is cooking, make the sauce: stir together ketchup, brown sugar and mustard in a mixing bowl. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon.
Bake for 30 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes. Slice and serve with remaining sauce.
Oh, how I love quick breads. They are delicious, easy and, most importantly, quick. This month’s challenge was quite versatile and so fun. I was able to make one loaf of savory bread to serve with dinner and then a sweet loaf a couple days later for breakfast. Getting started on this challenge more than a day before the posting date was immensely helpful and I hope I can do the same thing next month. But we shall see…I have a history of acknowledging how great it was to work on something and get it done early and yet still managing to go back to my old ways of procrastination.
The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.
This jalapeño bread was a big hit. I made a meal of barbecued chicken, creamed corn and cole slaw (all recipes I’d never used before and all of which were flops) and then this bread. My husband told me the bread was the best part of the meal, and he was right. I used a sharp cheddar cheese, pickled jalapeños, crumbled bacon and a bottle of Shiner. We ate it with dinner warm from the oven and the next couple of mornings toasted with butter. I’m bummed it’s all gone, so I’ll probably have to make another loaf.
Jalapeño, Bacon and Cheese Beer Bread
3 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup chopped pickled jalapeños
1/2 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup grated cheese
12 ounces beer
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
Measure and then sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl.
Mix in the the chopped jalapeños, cheese and bacon.
Pour one can of beer into the mixing bowl and mix until blended.
Pour mixture into the loaf pan, then pour half of the melted butter over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes, then pour remaining butter on top of the loaf. Bake for another 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool an additional 10 minutes.
The blueberry almond bread recipe came from Joy the Baker. She used raspberries in her bread, and I might try that next time, or maybe a mix of berries. I used frozen blueberries that I’d thawed out and drained, and dried as much as I could on paper towels. I added a buttery almond streusel to the top of this bread that was so delicious, sweet and crunchy. It might have been my favorite part of the loaf.
Blueberry Almond Streusel Bread
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cups sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small chunks
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
Mix together all ingredients except for almonds and butter.
Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives until the butter pieces are mostly the size of small pebbles with some larger pieces, then mix in the almonds. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup blueberries, fresh or thawed and drained if frozen
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and sugar a 9×5 loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the flour and sour cream. Fold in the crushed fruit and almond slivers.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, then top with streusel. Bake in the center of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the bread in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, turn right side up and cool completely.
Once it starts to cool down just a touch, as in highs in the 80’s or so, I find that it is time for roasting vegetables at every possible chance. I saw this recipe in the October issue of Martha Stewart, and immediately added the ingredients to my grocery list.
I changed a few things. More bacon, of course. I’m pretty sure I doubled it, but I wasn’t really keeping track. I also roasted some brussels sprouts along with the other vegetables. I didn’t think I liked brussels sprouts until about 5 years ago when my husband’s aunt cooked them for Thanksgiving. It was a huge eye opener for me. I guess I’d just always thought I was supposed to hate them, so I did, without any good reason. Thank you, Lynn! They might be one of of my favorite vegetables now. I also opted to use medium pasta shells because I was not about to pay $8 for a bag of orcchiette. Not going to happen, Martha. I shaved big hunks of Parmesan into the pasta but I wished I’d grated at least some of it, as the recipe suggests. It’s nice to get those big pieces of salty cheese, but I think smaller pieces that can make their way into the nooks and crannies of the pasta would’ve been better. A few shaved pieces on top are all you need.
This was a lovely dinner. A definite comfort food that fed 4 quite generously. I will be making this again as the weather continues to cool off. Enjoy!
Roasted Vegetable Pasta with Bacon and Parmesan
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 ounces bacon, preferably slab, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 head cauliflower, trimmed into 1 1/2-inch florets (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 bag of brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 ounces orecchiette or other medium pasta shape
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/2 ounces), plus more, shaved, for garnish
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels using a slotted spoon. Reserve drippings.
Toss sweet potato, onion, brussel sprouts and cauliflower with reserved drippings. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until tender and caramelized, about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot with cooking water, and toss with grated cheese and vegetables. Stir in parsley. Sprinkle bacon over top. Garnish with shaved cheese.