Tag Archives: bacon

Pan Seared Salmon with Sun Dried Tomato Bacon Cream Sauce

I know this is hard to believe with a recipe title as such, but this meal took less than 30 minutes to prepare and have on the table.  Yes, I tell no tale, less than a half of an hour.

What’s also great about this quick, and arguably almost healthy meal, is that since it’s so quick to cook up, it can be in your weeknight dinner rotation.  Plus, since it’s flavors are so “high-end”, it is also a no-hassle recipe for a dinner party or perhaps even an at home date with your loved one.  *One extra thing, my five year old son ate this up TWICE and even proclaimed, “I just love this stuff”.  Again, I tell no tales…

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon fillets
  • 3 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4oz sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained, sliced (Plus 2 Tbsp of the oil)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (regular will work as well)
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup vegetable (or chicken) stock
  • Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil, torn (garnish)
  • Parmesan Cheese, shredded (garnish)
  • Penne pasta, for serving

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Let the Salmon come to room temperature for 15 minutes. Gather all of the ingredients and bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil (for the pasta) while you begin to sauté the diced bacon in a large non-stick skillet.  Remove the rendered, slightly crisped bacon to a paper towel lined dish and set aside.  Also (if needed) drain all but 2 Tbsp of the bacon grease.  *When the stockpot of water is boiling, add in the penne pasta and cook to the package directions.  Drain and set aside till plating.

Bring the skillet with the bacon grease to medium heat and sear the salmon fillets for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Set aside.

To that same skillet, add in the onion, garlic, sun dried tomatoes + oil, paprika, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper.  Sauté together for about 2 minutes.

Add in the vegetable/or chicken stock over to deglaze the pan and let simmer for a couple minutes.  Pour in the half & half along with the 1/4 cup parmesan and stir together, salt & pepper to taste.  Add the seared salmon back into the creamy, fragrant sauce to bring back up to temp.

Serve this delightful dinner individually plated or family style…Coat the cooked penne in the creamy sauce, place the salmon overtop and sprinkle the freshly torn basil, parmesan and crisped bacon overtop!  Enjoy!!

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Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Cheese Soup

Growing up in my home, my parents and I being from the mid-west, comfort food was key.  Warm soups, braises, steak and potatoes, you get the idea…Yes, even in the hot Arizona desert, I knew I was at the right address when the smell of meatloaf waft towards the drive as the street lights turned on.

Now, when we did have the occasional dinner out, we loved Marie Callendars.  Remember that place?  It has since closed so, so many of its doors that it makes me literally sad.  So many memories growing up eating their comforting dinners after cheer and football practices, dance recitals, a great report card…which was always followed by one of their fantastic slices of homemade pie!  *Sorry Marie, I love you but your frozen meals and pie do not hold a candle to your restaurant staples I enjoyed as a child.

That All being said, I was apparently craving my comfort food!  The warm, always delicious potato cheese soup I would just short of lap up from Marie’s salad bar was on my mind.  Now they didn’t garnish theirs as I do mine (I win here), but the flavor is so close that I no longer have to mourn my childhood chain restaurant…well, that is until I figure out their Frisco Burger and Lemon Cream Cheese Pie.

*I really recommend buying chicken STOCK vs chicken broth.  It’s just a bit more in cost but thousands more in flavor!

The Starting Lineup

  • 5-6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I love Velveeta’s new original shredded)
  • a HEFTY pinch of kosher salt and a pinch of pepper

Garnish

  • Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (I love Velveeta’s new shredded Cheddar)

potatosoup

Spray your slow-cooker with a bit of non-stick spray.  Next place in the peeled chunks of potatoes, diced onions, sliced celery and minced garlic.  Pour the chicken stock directly over top and add in that salt and pepper!  (The stock will not fully cover the potatoes..and that’s perfect!)

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Cover and set to low for 8 hours!  ..here is where you head off to work, tend to the home and loved ones or take yourself a nap and relax!

About 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat you will remove the lid of the now tender potatoes and with a potato masher, mash away!  I like to leave a bit of chunks in mine however for texture.

To this, stir in the heavy cream along with the 2 cups of shredded cheese.  Replace the cover and allow to come back up to heat (20-30 minutes).

While it is heating, if desired, crisp up some bacon and slice the green onions and shred your cheddar (if not pre-shredded).

Ladle into large bowls (trust me…no need to get up for seconds when you have a big bowlful!) and top with your favorite garnishes!  Serve alongside warm crusty bread with softened butter and you will have you and your family quite the comfort meal!

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Slowcooker Maple Apple Bacon Pork Tenderloin

It’s a rainy day here in Texas.  A glorious, cool, rolling thunder sort of day, perhaps my very favorite kind of day there is.  Now rainy days (or any day really) make me want to bake, broil and roast in my kitchen for as long as humanly possible…but there’s just something about that slow-cooker on making the home smell of divine aromas!

So that is exactly what I chose to use on this puddle jumping day!  Let me tell you, I chose to walk outside numerous times just so I could return in to that smell of tenderloin, bacon, maple and apples.  I mean really??  What screams comfort and Fall more than that?!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg pork tenderloin (they often come with two loins)
  • 6-8 strips bacon
  • 1 Apple, cored & sliced
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 cups carrots 
  • 2 cups red potatoes 

We will begin by spraying your crockpot with a bit of non-stick spray, rinsing and chopping your produce and cooking the bacon.  Once bacon has crisped, remove from pan and rough chop.

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, balsamic, Dijon, soy sauce and minced garlic. 

Next, place the onions, carrots and potatoes in the crockpot followed by the pork tenderloin(s).

Pour the maple glaze over top and then toss on the apple slices and chopped, cooked bacon. 

Cover and cook on the low setting for 6-8 hours… dinner is ready, enjoy!! xo 

German Potato Salad

Lesser known fact, in Germany they serve potato salad one of two ways.  If you live in the northern part, it will have mayo (similar to here in America), but if you’re in the southern region it will not.  So in honor of my German heritage I’m preparing it MY favorite way..the southern!

Now we grew up with this side dish staple at, I’d say, every single family get together ever, of all time, of eternity…and it was then and now always a hit with us and the newbies to try it.  However, much to my mom, aunts, grandmas and great-grandmas dismay I steered away from the northernn variety due to my distaste for mayo.  Given I love bacon, cider vinegar and mustard, this authentic style fits the bill for me!

*This is fantastic for a warm day grill-out with the family, as it has no mayo and won’t spoil nearly as fast!

*You can add a 1/2-1 cup of mayonnaise if you just MUST have it that way 😉  It will still be just delicious and no need to  tweak anything else!  You’ll just be eating northern Germany style!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3lbs potatoes
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • Green onion, sliced
  • Parsely, fresh, chopped  

In a large stockpot, add in the scrubbed potatoes (I like to quarter mine for faster cooking/no need to peel) and cover 1-inch over with water.  Add a liberal amount of salt and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, cover and reduce the heat a bit and let sit for roughly 20 minutes, until just fork tender.  Drain and set aside to cool slightly.  Once cool enough to touch, the skins will easily come off and chop the potoes into bite size chunks.  *Personally, I like just a tad bit of the skins still.

Meanwhile, chop up the bacon and place in a pan, cook till crispy.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon (when done to your likeness) to the bowl of warm potatoes.  You want all that glorious bacon grease to remain! 

 

While the bacon is cooking is when you can chop up the veggies. 

 

Transfer the sliced and diced up celery and red onion the the hot bacon grease and saute for 3-4 minutes.   


Once softened, add in the apple cider vinegar and dijon mustard and cook for 2-3 more minutes. 

Finally, whisk in the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper.  Pour this hot dressing directly over the warm potatoes and cooked bacon pieces.  Toss together careful not to smush the potatoes too much. 


Lastly, fold in the green onion, parsely and season again with a bit more kosher salt & ground pepper to taste.  (remember potatoes can benefit from salt).  Enjoy friends! 

   

Seared Pork Chops w/ a Southern Bacon Tomato Gravy

You get it by now..we LOVE our comfort food in this house!  If I’m not devouring a taco or 5, you can often find me with a big ol plate of braised meat, mashed potatoes and gravy!  Oh my….

This is actually a pretty quick recipe that you don’t have to let stew all day long, but will still gives your home a wonderful aroma and a family pleasing meal..  So even consider this for a filling weeknight dinner!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 lbs pork chops
  • 4 strips of bacon, grease reserved
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 14.5 oz can of tomatoes (w/ onion, celery & bell pepper)
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk (*you can use all milk instead of chicken stock if desired)
  • 1/2 chicken stock 
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive oil  

Begin this recipe by liberally seasoning the pork chops with a bit of oil and the paprika, salt & pepper and set aside. 

 In a large heavy-bottomed-pot or pan, begin to cook the bacon over medium heat till just crisp.  Remove the cooked bacon to a paper towel lined sheet while reserving the bacon grease.   Next, to that grease, add in the 1 tbsp of butter, the onions and cook till slightly translucent and then add in the garlic. 

   Turn the heat down to medium-low and follow this up by sprinkling the flour over the onion/garlic mixture and stirring to make a rue.  Slowly pour in the milk (& chicken stock if using) while stirring continuously.  Get those flour lumps out!   Finally add in the can of tomatoes (with juice) and brown sugar.  Bring to a low boil and then down to a simmer, stirring occasionally. 

    

I wanted to mash up my tomatoes just a bit here..

 If you’re really good at multitasking, while you’re making the above Bacon Tomato Gravy,  have another pan set on medium-high heat with a tbsp of oil in it.  Once hot add in the pork chops (2-3 at a time/don’t overcrowd pan) and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side.  Immediately after each pork chop has been seared, add straight to the gravy, cover, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes to cook through. 

   *During the simmering of the pork chops, I like to complete my side dishes, which are typically fresh, sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes.

Time’s up!!  Spoon a good amount of mashed potatoes onto a plate and place a juicy pork chop on top.  Ladle that warm Southern Bacon Tomato Gravy over the chop & potatoes and top with the reserved bacon and some parsely…just don’t forget the veggies!!  Enjoy! 

 

Glazed-Bacon Wrapped Hawaiian Pork

A few months back our family went to a local restaurant here in Texas and my husband had this fun appetizer with ‘sweet-heat’ ingredients.  After I helped myself to a sample bite of his meal, I knew I had to recreate and tweak it into dinner form…and I have to say, it’s not too shabby!

You have sweet and savory flavors from the honey glaze, bacon and pork tenderloin and a wonderful FRESHNESS from the pineapple..lets also not forget the heat of the jalapeno and pepper jack cheese.  Now you can absolutely use a plain jack cheese and seed the jalapeno, but when you roast hot peppers the heat actually subsides a bit..so pick your heat level, but I could even do hotter! (Duh)

These flavors together remind me of the Hawaiin rice, veggie and meat bowls I used to get when living along the coast of San Diego.  So naturally I paired the main dish with a heaping of rice and drizzled the juices overtop.  It’s quite the pairing!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg bacon
  • 1 pork tenderloin 
  • Pineapple, fresh preferred
  • Jalapeño, sliced in half lengthwise (I prefer to keep the seeds in)
  • Monterey Jack or pepper jack cheese

Glaze

  • 4 Tbsp Honey
  • 3 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Chili sauce
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & pepper  

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil and a rack overtop.

In a small bowl whisk the honey, balsamic vinegar, chili sauce, garlic, EVOO and a pinch of salt & pepper together.  Set aside. *Taste the glaze to tweak any ingredient to your taste. 

  Now lay the bacon stips, touching, on top of the wire racked baking sheet. 

 Next, butterfly the pork tenderloin and stuff with the pineapple, jalapeños and cheese.  *To make it fit a bit better, I’ll get pepper jack string cheese or cut a block into strips and stuff into the jalapeño before putting into the pork.  Shredded cheese could be used as well.  Season with another pinch of salt and pepper.

Transfer the stuffed pork onto the layed out bacon strips.  Coat a good amount  (about 1/2) of the prepared glaze allllll over the pork.  Wrap up the entire stuffed tenderloin with the bacon.  *If needed, you can use toothpicks to secure, just remember to remove before eating! 

 After the pork has been fully wrapped in delicious bacon, coat the entire thing with the rest of the glaze. 

 Place into your oven, uncovered for 45-60 minutes (meat temperature at least 145degrees and bacon done.  *About halfway through check on the bacon.  Depending you may need to lightly tent the wrapped tenderloin with foil.  Though we like ours more on the crisp side.  To each their own! 

 Remove the cooked tenderloin from the oven, lightly tent with foil, and let rest for about 5 minutes.  Carve into 1-2″ slices and serve over rice.  Spoon any drippings over the pork and rice.  Enjoy!! 

 


Buttery Soft Pretzels w/ Serrano Bacon Cheddar Sauce

Soft pretzels have to be one of my favorite snack foods ever. As a child, I would stand in line at the “snack bar” of my k-8 school every lunch with the 75cents I somehow managed to find that morning for one. Sorry mom, I wasn’t eating the lunch line’s green beans and hamburger steak..  

As an adult, it’s what I nosh on at every sporting event, fair or concert…and don’t even get me started on how many I quite frankly inhaled during the pregnancy of my second son. I’d load my first child up (who was about 8 months old) in the car and take him and my fat butt up to Target just to buy 1 or 2 warm, large pretzels at their snack bar. I’d then put my baby in a cart and walk around aimlessly stuffing my also fat face while contemplating on buying just one more. Yes, I may indeed have a soft pretzel problem.

Now some may argue it’s a bad idea that I can now make my own. I’d normally tell them to be quiet but..well….my mouth is so full of soft pretzel that I physically can’t ;).

*Hey, if you’re going to do it right, serve it alongside my homemade spicy cheese sauce and save the mustard for the baseball game!

The Starting Lineup

Pretzel Dough

  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 rounded Tbsp brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt 
  • 2 cups bread flour 
  • 2 cups all purpose flour

Baking Soda Bath

  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 2 cups warm water

Garnish

  • Kosher/rock salt
  • and/or cinnamon and sugar mix
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted 

Serrano Bacon Cheddar Sauce (optional)

  • 2 Serrano peppers, seeded and finely diced (I, of course, kept the heat in mine 😉
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled (reserve 1 Tbsp of the grease)
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Pinch each of salt, pepper & garlic powder  

To start your pretzel dough, combine 1 1/2 cups of warm water and the yeast into the bowl of your mixer. Gently mix together and allow to sit for about 5 minutes till it starts to foam up a bit.  

   Next, add in the brown sugar and the salt to the yeast mix. Stir together until it’s dissolved. Now add in both types of flour (all 4 cups), and using the paddle attachment mix on low for about 15 seconds to combine. Switch the attachment to the dough hook and mix in high for 5-6 minutes to knead the dough. 

     Lightly oil a large bowl and place the kneaded ball of dough into it. Cover and let sit in a warm spot for 1 hour to rise. 

 Immediately after setting your dough to rise, make the baking soda bath. This part is easy, simply combine 2 cups of warm water with 2 Tbsp of baking soda. Stir often throughout the next hour. 

 After the dough has risen, cut off about 1 cup of dough at a time and roll into a 1/2″ thick rod shape. (*do not flour the counter here, damp hands work best). 

   Now here you can either cut that long strip of dough into 1-2″ pieces OR shape into your traditional pretzel shape. Once to your liking, carefully give each a quick dunk into the baking soda bath and set onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat till dough is gone. 

 Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and let the pretzels rise again for about 15 minutes (while the oven gets to temp). Bake for 10-12 minutes. While these are baking you can melt the 4 tbsp of butter. Remove from the oven and brush the pretzels/pretzel bites with the melted butter and either sprinkle with kosher or rock salt OR toss in a large ziplock bag with a cinnamon-sugar mix. 

   Serve immediately with a dipping sauce and enjoy!! 

 

Serrano Bacon Cheddar Sauce (optional)

In a sauté pan fry up the bacon, remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Drain all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon grease…that stuff’s good as gold! 

 Add 1 tbsp of butter to the reserved bacon grease and melt. Once melted stir in the flour to form a rue and then quickly whisk in the milk. Whisk Whisk Whisk till smooth! Now slowly whisk in the two cups cheese till creamy and then fold in the cooked, crumbled bacon and the finely diced Serrano peppers. Pour into individual ramekins and serve alongside some warm, soft pretzels!  

           

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