Monday, December 16, 2013

A Bacony Christmas (Acorn Squash Risotto with Bacon)

'Tis the season, for some mighty awesome bacon gifts.  My first so far...in the non-edible, clothing category....Bacon Apron!  Next time I'm smoking up another pork belly (in about 11 days) I'll be sporting this baby... (Thanks Mark!)



In fresh bacon news this week...Santa read my letter...(even though I was quite certain I was on the naughty list)...and Merry Christmas! Bacon will get cheaper.  With the great corn crop this year pigs have had an abundance of cheap corn to eat and are happy as pigs in ...well, you know.  What does that mean for the bacon connoisseur like you?  Brace yourself, Bacon prices will drop.  (I don't know about you, but my bacon budget is pretty high, so this is great news!)  Businessweek reports that currently bacon prices are nationally over $5 per pound.  Since September 2013, the price for bacon has slowly been going up and a national crisis of a impending bacon shortage were predicted.  It is now estimated that wholesale pork belly (just like the kind I buy to make my own bacon) will drop to around $1.80 a pound.  What does that mean for you?  If your lucky and local, more bacon food to share from yours truly! What does that mean for me?  I need to get started on a business proposal on a start-up for my own bacon food truck.  I could be bringing that bacon to you...!  If that is not one of the best Bacony Christmas Presents ever, then I don't know what is.






Want to hear the best Bacon Christmas Story?  Read Twas the Night Before Bacon...

This was so very good, I had leftovers that I ate even!  (I don't usually like leftovers)

 

 Acorn Squash Risotto with Bacon
  • 3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled Acorn squash, divided
  • 3 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth 
  • 2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 5 ounces applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
Combine 2 cups squash and 2 1/2 cups water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Place mixture in a food processor. Process until smooth. Return mixture to pan. Stir in broth; bring to a simmer. Reserve 1/4 cup squash mixture. Keep pan warm over low heat. Heat a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 1 cup squash, 2 1/2 cups squash mixture, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining squash mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring until each cup is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in reserved 1/4 cup squash mixture. Top with bacon.



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bacon Christmas Gifts (Bacon & Potato Cupttatas)

Do you or a loved one suffer from Baconaholism?  Are you still in search of a bacon gift for Christmas?  There is a plethora of bacon products on the market, and I've seen just about everything out there...of course, I do spend my free time googling bacon....


Here's a few of my new bacony favorite things available for your or loved ones pleasure...
*Bacon Body Wash - for when you want to smell like you've been washing with breakfast.
*Bacon Ornament - I'm shocked and saddened there is no bacon on my Christmas tree yet!
*Bacon Stocking - Just like the bacon fat clogs my arteries, I hope Santa stuffs the bacon stocking full!
*Sizzlin' Bacon Candy - Bacon meets 1984 and Pop Rocks! 
*Bacon Love Desk top Calendar - Bacon 24/7, 365 Baby!
* Bucket of Bacon Game - Barrel of Monkey's meats (get it?) Bacon.  Mmm Monkey Bacon in a bucket!


This recipe evolved because I was hungry for breakfast, and I had potatoes.  My husband used to make the frittatas once in awhile, however, I think these were better.  Really though, how could you go wrong for breakfast?


Bacon & Potato Cupttatas
Ingredients
    2 cups finely chopped peeled baking potato (about 12 ounces)
    5 bacon slices (uncooked)
    1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
    1 teaspoon salt, divided
    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 cup chopped fresh chives, divided
    2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    7 large egg whites, lightly beaten
    3 large eggs, lightly beaten
    Cooking spray
    6 tablespoons fat-free sour cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°.
 

Place potato in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 4 minutes or until   almost tender. Drain.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add potato, onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and thyme to drippings in pan; cook 8 minutes or until potato is lightly brown over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; cool.

Combine the potato mixture, bacon, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons chives, cheese, pepper, egg whites, and eggs, stirring well with a whisk. Coat 12 mini muffin cups with cooking spray. Spoon about 1 tablespoon egg mixture into each muffin cup. Bake at 375° for 16 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool 5 minutes on a wire rack. Remove frittatas from muffin cups. Top each with 1/2 teaspoon sour cream and 1/2 teaspoon chives.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dishwashing the Turkey (French Toast Mini Cupcakes with Maple Butter Cream Frosting and Candied Bacon)

The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone and it was an awesome week for bacon.  (Bacon was one of the things I was thankful for this year, as I am sure it made your list of thanks as well)


While most people were up late Thanksgiving night or early Black Friday to shop, I took the time to do some shopping as well.  Except my shopping was at an empty grocery store, and the Asian food market, to pick up the 20 lb pig belly I'll be using to make Christmas Bacon.  (It's not a the flavor of Christmas, but the spirit.)  Santa's handing out bacon this year.



While I was not in charge of the Turkey for dinner (therefore it was not wrapped in a delicious bacon-weave blanket), I was asked to bring the Twice Baked Potato Bacon Casserole that I made a couple of weeks ago, and my grandmother's sweet rolls.  However, Lovin' Bacon seems to be a family trait, as my brother sent me this picture of his contribution to the Thanksgiving meal... check it out, Bacon-Wrapped Stuffing!



While perusing thru the Weird Wild World of Bacon, I came across this interesting piece of information.  According to Chef David Burke, you can cook your Turkey in the dishwasher.  (Yes, that's what I said.)  In the dishwasher.  Now, I'm not sure why you'd want to...my dishwasher is an under-performer. (It could be operator error on the loading of it, now that I think about it. I do  like to play tertris to see if I can get the entire sink, the grill pans, spaghetti pots, essentially anything that is too large to fit in, I find merely a challenge).  So what was I talking about again?  Oh yeah, cooking a Turkey in the dishwasher...check out the story here.  David suggests 4 cycles on the top rack.  The guy is a food genius.  I'll have to take his word on the Dishwasher Turkey though...How does that tie in to bacon, you ask....the article also talks about his Peanut Butter Maple Bacon Dates made with caramelized peanuts and fried grapes.  Now, I just gotta see if I can get my family to eat dates.

The week started off with a dessert food day at work.  Of course, my co-workers expected I would bring in something with bacon (I'm pretty predictable that way), and I did not disappoint.  French Toast Mini Cupcakes with Maple Butter Cream frosting and Candied Bacon.  These Cupcakes didn't make it home...all 50 mini cupcakes were eaten, and there were no leftovers.  (I guess they were good!)


French Toast Mini Cupcakes with Maple Butter Cream Frosting and Candied Bacon
 FOR THE CUPCAKES:
    12 slices Bacon, plus 1/4 cup of brown sugar
    1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
    1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
    ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
    ⅛ teaspoons Heaping, Nutmeg (or Pumpkin Pie Spice)
    ¼ teaspoons Salt
    ½ cups Unsalted Butter, Melted Then Cooled
    ¾ cups Sugar
    ¼ cups Brown Sugar
    2 whole Eggs, Room Temperature
    1 teaspoon Maple Extract
    ½ teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
    ½ cups Milk, Preferably Whole
    _____
    FOR THE BUTTERCREAM:
    2 sticks Butter
    4 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
    2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
    ½ teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
    ½ teaspoons Maple Extract
    1 pinch Salt
    2 cups Confectioners Sugar


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Place an oven-safe cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet and lay the bacon strips on the rack in one even layer. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, turning once. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and finish cooking for 5 mintues.  Turn the strips out onto paper towels when done and set aside to cool. Cut a couple of strips of bacon into 1 inch pieces on a diagonal, to be used as garnish. Finely chop the remaining bacon (yield approx 1/2 cup).
2. Turn oven down to 350F.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg (or Pumpkin Pie Spice) and salt into a small bowl.
4. In a large bowl or a stand mixer beat together butter, sugars and eggs on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the maple and vanilla extracts.
5. With the mixer running at medium speed, alternately add flour mixture (3 additions) and milk (2 additions) into the creamed mixture, starting with the flour mixture; beat until smooth. Fold in chopped bacon until evenly distributed.
5. Scoop batter into a muffin tin lined with paper cupcake liners. These cupcakes don’t rise as much, so they can be filled a bit fuller. I typically use 1 tablespoon for minis, and 1/4 cup for regular cupcakes. For this recipe, I just used heaping measurements of the above.
6. Bake minis 12-14 minutes; regular sized ones 22-25 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. After passing the toothpick test, keep baking until the tops barely turn golden brown. Let cool completely before icing.

Maple Buttercream Frosting
Frosts 40-48 mini cupcakes
1. In a bowl with an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add maple syrup, vanilla, maple extract, and salt, and beat until fully incorporated. Add confectioner’s sugar, one half cup at a time until reaching desired consistency. Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
2. Frost or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Garnish with the reserved inch-long bacon pieces.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Epic Bacon Christmas Tree (Late Night Snack Cookies)

Sure, Thanksgiving is next week, but I'm already thinking about putting my Christmas Tree up.  Especially since I came across this Epic Christmas Tree...A Bacon Christmas Tree, with fast food ornaments.  Yeah.  It happened...Wow!




My best ideas for recipes come out at night when I'm looking for a snack.  I made similar potato chip-based cookies previously, but these cookies blow those cookies completely out of the water in their epicness.  How can you go wrong with Snickers, Rolos, Chocolate Chips, Potato Chips AND Bacon!  Simple answer, you can't.

Next Bake Sale I get suckered into, I mean....I volunteer for, I'll be making these.  Simply one of the best cookies I've had in a very long time.  Enjoy!



Late Night Snack Cookies with Bacon
Ingredients

    1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
    1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
    1 egg + 1 yolk
    1 Tbsp heavy cream or milk
    1 Tbsp vanilla
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 cups chopped Snickers candy, frozen
    2 cups chopped Rolos candy, frozen
    1 cup chocolate chips
    4 cups thick cut salted potato chips
    10 slices of bacon, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350°

Place bacon slices on a broiler pan or cooling rack over a cookie sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes or until desired doneness.  Cool and drain on a paper towel.  Crumble and set aside.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer cream butter and sugar for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Turn mixer to low and add in egg, yolk, milk and vanilla. Increase speed to medium and mix until smooth.  Turn mixer back down to low and add in flour, baking soda and salt, mixing until combined.
 
Add in Snickers, Rolos and chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed. And finally add in potato chips and bacon and pulse until combined. Don't over mix, we want nice chunks of chips.

Drop by heaping tablespoon onto lined baking sheet and bake 9-10 minutes until edges are golden. Allow to cool 2-3 minutes on baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

For When You Sweat Like a Pig (Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies)

Here's something interesting.  Deodorant has been a part of our daily routines (or should be....ewe) since the late nineteenth century.  The most exciting thing to happen to the product has been the introduction antiperspirant.  And since then, nothing.  I'm not expecting flashing lights or bells and whistles, but where is the excitement?!?  Whether you like it or not, the news in the world of underarm fungus blocker is...wait for it....Bacon Deodorant.  Yes.  It exists.  I think this is one bacon bandwagon product that I'll avoid.  For now.  Check it out here.


If that wasn't enough to keep the Bacon News World rocking this week, I was advised by my friend Marcia that Jeff Probst, yes, Survivor Host Extraordinaire, would be appearing on the CBS show "Two and a Half Men", wearing nothing but bacon.  It's bacon news, so of course I had to investigate (for the bacon, yes, really, for the bacon).  Sure enough, Marcia tells no lies....check out what the Huffington Post had to say about it.

This week's recipe was requested by my friend Maggie.  She simply asked if I have ever made Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies before.  I said sure and asked if she wanted a recipe.  She really just wanted me to make the cookies.  I couldn't disappoint her.  You won't be disappointed either.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 5 dozen cookies

6 slices of bacon, cooked, crumbled
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (12 ounce) package Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake Bacon on a wire rack over a cookie sheet or on a broiler pan for 20-25 minutes or until desired doneness.  Cool, drain on a paper towel, and crumble.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition to the mix. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and bacon. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

As Seen On TV Bacon (Bacon Pierogi Bake)

You know those Bacon Bowls that are oh so popular now?  They are kind of a pain to make.  No lie, it takes patience, practice and time.  All which I run short on these days.  My friend Wanda came across this marvelous invention, Perfect Bacon Bowls.  What will they think of next for us Baconphiles?



Where I went to college, it's all about Basketball.  We had no Football team, so we ate, drank and breathed Basketball.  Both the men's and women's games had huge turnouts.  I'm in awe of Kansas State and there Bacon incentive to get bodies in for their opening Women's Basketball game this coming Friday.  According to the school, they have ordered over 300 lbs of Bacon to give away at the game, to every student that walks through the door.  Check out the article here.

 Want something easy and delicious to make on those busy work/school nights?  This recipe, which I just ate my fill on fits the bill.  Yum.


Bacon Pierogi Bake
1 16oz package of frozen potato pierogies
Cooking spray
5-6 slices of bacon, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup (3oz) cream cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farhenheit.

Arrange the pierogies in a large rectangular glass baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Cook Bacon in a saucepan over medium heat until crisp; remove from pan.  Set aside.

Add onions to drippings and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent and golden in color.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add 1/3 cup cream cheese to pan and cook for 1 minute or until the cream cheese begins to melt, stirring frequently.  Gradually add chicken broth to pan, stirring with a whisk until it is blended.  Pour the cream cheese mixture over pierogies.  Top evenly with 1/2 cup for sharp cheddar cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with bacon.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bacon Arachnid (Bacon Garlic Pumpkin Seeds and Twice Baked Potato Bacon Casserole)

Are you afraid of Spiders?  (Seriously.  It's just you who's reading this.  No one is going to see you silently nod your head yes as you reluctantly answer the question.  Your secret is safe.  Spiders can't read you know, but they do sit back in corners silently judging you.)  Does the very thought of spiders send you running for the nearest sneaker or spouse as you hoist yourself daintily up onto a chair, until the eight-legged invader is safely disposed of or nothing more than a splatter on the wall?

Let me ask another question.  Are you afraid of Bacon?  I didn't think so.  So maybe you won't be afraid of this monstrosity.....The Bacon Arachnid.  Huh, so this is what became of actor Tom Green.


In all it's fall glory, here's what came out of my kitchen this weekend.  Enjoy!






Bacon Garlic Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds from 1 medium pumpkin
1 tbsp Olive Oil or Bacon grease
1 1/2 tbsp Boss Hog Bacon Salt
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Onion salt or powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper or chili powder (optional)

Preheat over to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

In small bowl, mix together dry ingredients. (Add in Cayenne pepper or chili powder if you want to make your seeds spicy.)


In bowl, mix pumpkin seeds with the olive oil or bacon grease until the seeds are thoroughly coated. (If you are using stored bacon grease, you’ll want to warm it up in the microwave.)  Pour in dry mixture a little at a time and coat oiled seeds thoroughly.  Spread the coated seeds evenly on a greased cookie sheet (if you used bacon grease, you won’t need to grease the pan).

Cook in the oven for approximately 25-30 minutes checking every 10 minutes for desired crispness.







Twice Baked Potato Bacon Casserole

6 large potatoes
5-6 slices of cooked bacon, chopped fine and set aside for garnish
1-1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup butter
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded (1/2 cup for potatoes, 1/2 cup for topping)
1 cup hot milk
1/2 cup sour cream

Scrub potatoes, pierce skins and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes.

Cut potatoes and scoop out pulp; mash in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, butter and cheese; whip or beat well.

Add hot milk and beat until fluffy and cheese is melted. Stir in sour cream; blend.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spoon potatoes into an 11”x7” baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon.  Bake for 15 minutes.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Expeditions in Bacon (Bacon-Wrapped Cheesy Chicken Bundles)

Want to express your bacon love fashionably? Check out this awesome bacon site...http://bacontees.com/




This week's recipe was made up after checking out what ingredients I had left in the fridge, the night before a semi-monthly grocery shopping expedition. (Expedition makes it sound exciting, don't judge.)



Bacon-Wrapped Cheesy Chicken Bundles
1 large Chicken Breast (for 2 people)
4 slices of uncooked bacon (cut in half)
½ large White Onion
2 Slices of Provolone Cheese (cut in half)
½ cup of BBQ Sauce
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take the chicken breast and cut it into fourths (2 pieces per person).  Set aside.  Take 4 strips of uncooked bacon and also cut them in half.  (Two half pieces of bacon is used to wrap the chicken) Set aside.  Take the 2 pieces of Provolone cheese and cut them in half.  Set aside.

Slice onion into thin slices.

In a shallow baking dish, place one piece of chicken and season with salt and pepper.  Top chicken with cheese and then sliced onion.  Wrap 2 bacon slices around each chicken bundle, one piece going over the length and the other going over the width.  Repeat these steps for the 3 other pieces of chicken and assemble into bacon-wrapped bundles.

Top each bundle with a little BBQ Sauce and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Canadian Junk Food (Bacon Poutine)

 

This past month, a couple of different friends of mine mentioned this heavenly creation called Poutine.  Leave it to the Canadians, more specifically the Quebeckers (yes, that is what you call someone from Quebec, I Googled it) to create such a delicious 'Heart Attack in a Bowl'.  So, because I'm not one to ignore signs from the universe telling me to make the famed marvel, I opted to give them a shot.

First, what is Poutine? It's a common Canadian dish, made with french fries, topped with a light brown gravy-like sauce and cheese curds.  Claimed inventor,  Fernand Lachance, (from Warwick, Quebec, invented in 1957) is said to have exclaimed, "├ža va faire une maudite poutine" ("it will make a damn mess") when asked to put a handful of cheese curds on some fried potatoes. The sauce was allegedly added later, to keep the fries warm longer.





I made Bacon Poutine last night for dinner.  It went perfect with beer, which is why I think it's one of the top comfort junk foods of our northern neighbors.




Bacon Poutine
 
Ingredients:
10-12 strips of Bacon
1 small onion
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups beef stock
1 cup white wine
½ bag frozen french fries
2 cups cheese curds or any your favorite melting cheese
3 tbsp fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Gravy:
1. Chop up your bacon into relatively small pieces and fry them in a medium sauce-pot until they’re crispy. Remove the bacon onto some paper towel with a slotted spoon to leave the rendered fat any anything else that came off in the bottom of the pan.

2. Dice up your onion and fry it in the bacon fat until its super soft and golden. This should take a few minutes. Do this on medium heat so the onions don’t burn, but cook through.

3. Add your 4 tbsp of flour and mix together thoroughly. If you find that it’s really dry, you can add some butter, 1-2 tablespoons to loosen it up a bit. We are making a roux. The consistency should be slightly thicker than pancake batter. Continue to stir this on medium or about five minutes.

4. Little by little, add your stock and white wine while using a whisk to stir the roux. Keep whisking until the gravy comes to a boil and begins to thicken. If you want to make a larger amount of gravy, the golden ratio is 2 tbsp of fat, 2 tbsp of flour and 1 cup of stock make a nice, thick gravy. Add pepper.

You can leave this gravy on your back-burner on low to keep warm while you make your fries. Remember to stir it periodically so a film doesn’t build up. If it thickens up too much for your liking, you can add a bit of stock, wine or water.

Fries:
Deep Fry:
1. Preheat cooking oil in electric deep fryer at 400 degrees. Fill deep fryer not more than a half full of oil.

2. Fill fryer basket not more than half full of frozen french fries. Carefully lower basket into hot oil.

3. Fry 2-1/2 to 3 minutes. Cook to a light golden color.

4. Drain on paper towels. Season to taste. Caution: Ice crystals on frozen foods can cause spattering when added to hot oil. Add product carefully.

Cheese:
Chop up your cheese into ¼” to ½” cubes.

Assemble the dish: In a small bowl, put your fries, then a layer of cheese, smother in your delectably gravy.  Top with Bacon.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pumkinfest (Bacon, Ham & Swiss Stuffed Bread)

I love Fall.  Everything about it.  Upstate New York is one of the best places to view the changing leaves and everything that come about this time of year.  It's the season that insists that every food item on the shelves is Pumpkin-flavored, no matter how much I wish it weren't so.  Everything doesn't need to have the flavor of Gourd.  I like it, as last week's recipe will show, however, if ANYTHING needs the addition of another flavor to make it better, wouldn't the obvious choice be bacon?  
 Are you cold?  Could you or someone you love use a sweatshirt?  Wrap your family in the sizzling warmth that is a Bacon Sweatshirt?


In a epicness that matched no other, I attended the 10th Annual Pumpkinfest last night.  A traditional party thrown in celebration of good food, good music and good pumpkin carving.  Where $10, beer, a carved pumpkin and a dish to pass will open the doors to a great outdoor feast full of turkey, steamed clams, pig roast and stone hearth pizza matched with awesome music, the night stands out as one of the best parties of the year.  3 bands played and a surprise rendition of Micheal Jackson's "Thriller" broke out, including the zombie dancers.  The night had three large fire pits and burning carved wooden logs adding to the ghoulish vibe, and a pumpkin carving contest with categories and prizes.  Last night had more than 75 different pumpkins on display, topping all past years' parties by far.

So of course, my dish to pass had bacon in it.  It was sadly an under-supported food group at the party.  I only saw bacon on some Mac and Cheese and wrapped around pineapple.   So my addition was well received.  Went back at the end of the night and all the bacon pieces were picked out of the remaining slices of bread.  I can only take that as a compliment.


Bacon, Ham and Swiss Stuffed Bread
1 (1 pound) whole wheat refrigerated pizza dough
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
6-8 slices of bacon, cooked, drained on a paper towel
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices of deli ham
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook your bacon to desired crispiness. Drain on a paper towel.  Set aside.

Follow the package direction for readying the pizza dough for baking. Roll dough out in an oval shaped to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.

Mix olive oil, oregano, basil and garlic powder in a bowl.  Using a pastry brush spread 1 tablespoon olive oil mixture over entire dough, leaving 1/2 around the edge untouched.  The edge will adhere and seal better if it's free from oil. Lay out ham over oil covered area of dough.  Top with the six slices of Swiss cheese, and then bacon slices.

Roll dough, jelly roll fashion, into a tube shape, folding the long edge in first, then rolling up from the short end to the top. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, seam side down. Spread remaining teaspoon olive oil mixture over top of dough. Sprinkle with salt and bake until golden brown on outside and no longer doughy on the inside, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Kevin Bacon Squared (Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Maple Bacon Cream Cheese Frosting)

I came across an awesome video today with get this...Kevin Bacon making a Bacon Sandwich for an Mobile UK Commercial.  In all it's Bacon Epicness, this commercial does not fail to entertain.  (I've been under-utilizing the chainsaw in my Bacon Kitchen Endeavors.  I must try to correct that in the future.)
In other Bacon News, a piglet falls off the slaughterhouse truck, subsequently saving his own bacon.  Don't believe me?  They named the pig Yoda. 

This week's recipe is brought to you by the magic of pumpkins.  My friend Jon is a huge pumpkin fiend and covents pumpkin-flavored delicacies like Gollum does Precious.  So I thought I would trick out one of my favorite fall recipes, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, in celebration of his birthday.  These were incredible, I'm not gonna lie.  Using a smoky, Maple Bacon was the key to it's success.  They were sweet, salty, smoky and a little cinnamony.  They hit all the corners of your taste buds, leaving you asking for seconds.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Maple Bacon Cream Cheese Frosting
    1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    1/2 cup dark brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1/3 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup chocolate chips
    6-8 slices of your favorite bacon (I used Smoked Maple Bacon)
Maple Frosting
    1 can whipped cream cheese frosting
    1 ½ teaspoons of maple extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

On a cooling rack placed on top of a cookie sheet, lay out bacon.  Cook bacon for 20-25 minutes or until desired crispiness.  Once cooled, drain bacon on a paper towel.  Chop bacon into small pieces.  Set aside.

Spray two 12-count muffin pans with non-stick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
Make the cupcakes: In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice together until combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs together until combined. Add the pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do NOT over-mix the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter evenly into 14 cups; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping. Bake for 17-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:  In a bowl, whisk the whipped cream cheese frosting with the maple extract.  Place frosting in a large Ziploc/freezer bag.  Work frosting into one tip of the bag, snip off the tip of the bag and frost cooled cupcakes.

Top with bacon pieces.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bacon Crazed (Bacon Mac & Cheese Hot Dogs)

So it's not that I haven't been cooking with Bacon on this last hiatus, it's that I've been repeating bacon recipes.  It's that time of year...leaves are changing, weather is cooling down.  It was time to make Beef and Bacon Pies again. (Did you miss that recipe?  Check it out here.)  I always make too many pies, and end up having to give the extra pies to friends...who just seem devastated when the pies are gone.  If I ever get up enough money to start a Bacon Cafe, the pies will be the star of the show.  Sigh...one can dream.

Speaking of dreaming...why not advertise your love of the sweet meat treat....on an Epic level?



Bacon gets a bad reputation for it's unhealthy qualities, however, it's not as bad as say Peanut Butter.....Shocked are you?  Check out this latest study...4 Foods that are worse for you than Bacon.

Comfort foods....we love them, they might not be healthy per se, but they do something for our souls.  With the last touches of the summer sun in the sky, don't retire the grill just yet.  Grill up some of your favorite hot dogs, and top them with crunchy, cheesy bacony Mac & Cheese.  Watch your soul smile.


Bacon Mac & Cheese Hot Dogs
Hot Dogs
Hot Dog Buns
6 slices of cooked bacon
8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Cook bacon.  (Isn't that the beginning of all my recipes?) In a Pan on a stove, on a plate in the Microwave, in the oven on a cookie sheet (350 for 20-25 minutes), just get it crispy.  Break up into small pieces, set aside.
Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.
In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick. Put macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well.
Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover.   Tops with Bacon pieces.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.
Cook Hot Dogs.  Once Macaroni and Cheese has cooked and cooled for 5 minutes, then top your hot dog with Mac & Cheese and Bacon.  Devour.
  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fall and Football (Mini Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls & Bacon Caramel Apple Hand Pies)



It's that time of the year again.  School has started and the fall smell is back in the air.  It's my favorite time of year.  It's also Ray's favorite time of the year, as Football is back on.



In celebration of football I put these two recipes together to take with us for the annual opening Sunday football games, at our friend's house.  How could you go wrong with Mini Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls and Bacon Caramel Apple Hand Pies?  You can't.  You can't ever go wrong with Bacon!


Mini Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls
1 lb lean ground beef
8 -10 slices bacon

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 & 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (12 ounce) package of won ton wrappers (thawed)
1 egg


Cook Bacon on a broiling pan in the oven, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, or until desired doneness is reached.  Drain bacon on a paper towel.  Once drained, chop bacon fine and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook ground beef in a frying pan until browned, drain grease.  Add Worcestershire sauce and Cajun seasoning.  Add bacon bits to ground beef and mix well.

Beat egg in bowl. add 2 tablespoons of water.  Mix well. (Egg is used to seal edges of won ton wrappers; water works too).

Take won ton wrapper  and put large spoonful of hamburger and bacon on one corner of wrapper. Add pinch of cheddar cheese on top of meat mixture.  Take the wrapper and place it in front of you so it looks like a diamond rather than a square. You want the filling to go straight from corner to corner. Roll by taking the bottom corner and tucking it up and under the filling. Then bring in both sides and continue to roll up, until it looks like a little envelope.  Taking the egg wash, run it down the top of the free sides of the wrapper, the point, then roll the egg roll to the top to seal.

Repeat until you have used all the meat or all the wrappers, whichever happens first.

Place Egg Rolls on a cookie sheet and using the remaining egg wash, brush over the top of each roll.  Cook egg rolls for 25-30 minutes until a nice golden brown color.

Serve Egg Rolls alone, or with your favorite condiments, ie) ketchup, mustard or BBQ Sauce.


Bacon Caramel Apple Hand Pies
1 can of Apple Pie Filling
1 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon
1 package of refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts)
1/2 cup of flour
6-8 pieces of bacon 
12 Soft Caramel candies, removed from wrappers and chopped into smaller pieces
1 egg + 1 tbsp of water whisked together for an egg wash

Cook Bacon on a broiling pan in the oven, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, or until desired doneness is reached.  Drain bacon on a paper towel.  Once drained, chop bacon fine and set aside.

Leave oven temp at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In a bowl, mix apple pie filling (you might want to chop this down into smaller pieces, if the pie filling has larger chunks of apple in it.)  Mix cinnamon into apples.  Add Bacon, and caramels. 

Roll our pie crusts.  Using a glass or 2 1/2 - 3 inch circle cutter, cut out 2 circles for each hand pie.  Spoon a small tablespoon of apple mixture onto one circle, keeping filling in the center, not letting it go to the edges.  Using egg wash, go around the edges of the pie crust with the filling in the center, and place a top circle of pie crust over the top.  Sealing edges.  Using a fork, crimp the edges of the pie together to form a complete seal.  Place finished hand pie on cookie sheet, and repeat until the pie crust has been used up.

Using remaining egg wash, lightly brush over the top of each pie.  Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

International Bacon Day! (Cheese Burger Bombs wrapped in Bacon)

Did you know that it was International Bacon Day, yesterday, August 31, 2013?   According to the Wiki Gods..."International Bacon Day or Bacon Day is an unofficial observance held on the Saturday before Labor Day in the United States. (Labor Day is traditionally the first Monday of September). Bacon day celebrations typically include social gatherings during which participants create and consume dishes containing bacon, including bacon-themed breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and drinks."

So, how to celebrate such an occasion?  Why, you could always attend the BeerBaconBoobs Festival in Williamsville, NY.  It's a Beer & Bacon Fest held by the Breast Cancer Center Network of WNY Inc to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness.

I was in my glory.  It was a Mock Birthday party for me, see, as my b-day is today.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate than by Beer and Bacon.  The Festival had over 20 different Microbreweries from the New York and East Coast.  And the food, well, 8 different food trucks came to entice the pallets.  There was a hot dog truck, grilled cheese, Mac & Cheese, Chocolate Truffles, desert, Kettle Corn, and burger truck all featuring the delicious meat candy.  We walked around to make up our minds up on lunch and after much deliberation we settled on the busiest truck, The Roaming Buffalo.  We got the BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger (1/4 lb. burger, bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, drunken onions & homemade Flying Bison Aviator Red BBQ Sauce), the Cow8Pig Burger (Crispy Applewood Bacon-stuffed burger patty topped with Bacon Jam, Cheese, and Bacon) and Beer Bacon Cheese Fries.  The festival itself was worth it just for the Cow8Pig Burger alone!



Once lunch was happily digesting, it was time for beer.  We sampled a plethora of the best microbreweries in the area.  Beer and Bacon just belong together, don't be selfish and keep them apart.


By the time we were happily sated from the salty sweet meat candy and the wonderful blends of ale that complement the meat so well, it was time to head home, but not without bringing home something for the kids.  How about some Bacon Kettle Corn?  Or some Peanut Butter Bacon Cups?



So no matter how you spent this grandest of days, International Bacon Day, maybe next year you'll join me.  I'll be back in Williamsville.  Celebrating as only they know how!



Cheese Burger Bombs Wrapped in Bacon
1 can (16.3 oz)  refrigerated original or buttermilk biscuits 
1/2 lb lean ground beef
4 oz block cheddar cheese, cut into 8 slices, then each sliced is halved, making 16 squares
8 slices of bacon, uncooked, cut in half, making 16 pieces
Vegetable cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a broiling pan with vegetable spray, and set aside.
 

Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut each biscuit in half; roll each into ball. Roll out each ball with rolling pin or press with hands until about 3 inches in diameter.

In center of each biscuit round, place 1 teaspoon ground beef and 1 cube of cheese. Roll up dough to completely enclose beef and cheese; pinch to seal well. Set aside. 

Wrap each stuffed “bomb” with 1 bacon slice; gently secure loose bacon with toothpick by inserting it through bacon and halfway into “bomb.”  

Place each "bomb" on the broiling pan and cook for 20-25 minutes, until bacon is crispy and biscuits have turned golden in color.
        

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bacon is Red. Bacon is Rough. One Strip of Bacon is never enough. (Maple Bacon Waffle Cone Rice Krispy Treats)

One of the best things about the office I work in is the awesome food days that occur.  Food is a great work distraction.  My husband required my kitchen skills this week for a such occasion, and I had just received a recipe on Pinterest that was begging for some bacon to be added.  They were ooey.  They were gooey... and they had bacon.  What else could you ask for?  (Plus other Baconfiles brought in Hash brown Bacon-Weave Cups and Chocolate-Covered Bacon so this was a nice addition, or so I'm told). 






Maple Bacon Waffle Cone Rice Krispy Treats
2 sticks of unsalted butter
Two 10 ounce bag of marshmallows
24 ounces Rice Krispie cereal (approx. 4 cups)
12 waffle cones, crushed
1 pound of bacon, fried up and crumbled
½ cup maple syrup, grade B


Grease a 9-x-13 inch pan or 24 muffin tins using butter or Vegetable Spray. 

In a large pot, over low heat add butter and let melt.


Add marshmallows, stirring into the butter. Let them melt until almost all of the marshmallows are in liquid form, add maple syrup.


Once melted, take off of the heat. Add cereal, bacon and waffle cone pieces. Mix until all the ingredients are equally distributed (as best you can).  Pour into rectangular pan or equally split mixture between the muffin tins. Let firm up for an hour or so by placing in the refrigerator to cool. Cut into squares (if you used a rectangular pan) and enjoy.
 

 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bacon. It's Gonna Save the World Someday. I Don't Know How - But it Will! (Bacon Potato Chip Cookies)


Today bacon loved potatoes.  I've been making a lot of the sweeter bacon recipes, so I decided to go savory.  Took potatoes and quartered them, wrapped half a slice of uncooked bacon around the spud and secured with a toothpick.  350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Perfect accompaniment to slow-smoked pork spare ribs.


But tonight's show stopper recipe is something I just put together, after hearing about the cookie at work.  My friend Jon told me all about these delicious Potato Chip Cookies he had a couple of weeks ago.  Of course, while he's telling me all about them, all I can think of is "I wonder how they will taste with Bacon?"


Bacon Potato Chip Cookies
6 Slices of bacon, cooked
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup crushed potato chips
3/4 cup crushed toffee bits (or butterfinger)
1/4 cup sugar (for rolling)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Place bacon on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet in a cold oven, and cook for 20-25 minutes, our until desired doneness.  Remove from rack and drain on a paper towel.  Once drained and cool, chop fine.

Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt together with an electric mixer until fluffy.  On low speed, beat in flour until just incorporated.  Stir in Bacon, Potato Chips and Toffee.  Make balls of cookie dough (about 1 tbsp) and roll them in sugar.  Place cookie balls on buttered baking sheet and flatten with the bottom of a glass (about 1/4 inch thick).  bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.  Don't cool too long on baking sheet, the toffee will stick. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I used to think Bacon was bad for me. Then I stopped thinking. (Double-Chocolate Bacon Zucchini Muffins)







It's that time of year, where the farmer's markets are harvesting their squash and zucchini.  And the zucchini's I've seen so far this summer are HUGE!  I'm a big fan of sneaking veggies into other foods, like breads and cakes.  Add chocolate and even better, so why not add Bacon?!?  I adapted a zucchini bread recipe that I had used in the past.  Results are in, and taste testers approve.  So if you are looking for a way to sneak some veggies in, or just trying to get rid of the veggies you're growing, try it out.


Double-Chocolate Bacon Zucchini Muffins
6-8 slices of bacon
2 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or bourbon vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup All-Purpose Baking Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
1 2/3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini, gently pressed (1 Large zucchini)
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F, put slices of bacon on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet, bake for 20 minutes or until desired crispiness.  Move bacon to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Once cooled, chop bacon fine and set aside.

Lightly grease muffin tins or papers.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, honey, oil, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and flour, mixing until well combined.

Stir in the zucchini, chocolate chips and finely chopped bacon.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins or papers.  Bake the muffins for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean.

Remove the muffins from the oven, and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to cool.