Tag Archives: bacon

Tasty Tuesday – Chicken Broccoli Foil Packets

We’ve had a bit of a change in my house and I’ve been making dinner at midnight or so most nights.  I can’t really spend hours cooking, well actually I guess I could, but I don’t really want to at that time of night, so I’ve been hunting for hearty, quick and easy to prepare meals.  I found a recipe for a Chicken & Broccoli Foil Packet Meal that I loved so much I had to pin it to Pinterest.

This recipe reminded me of a fantastic recipe that my grandmother “created” called Chicken Thing.  It is not the same as Chicken Thing, but it does have the same homey meal feeling that I remember from my childhood.  The foils packets are also much easier to prepare, which is a big plus at 11:30pm.  I gathered all of the ingredients: 1 package Chicken Flavor Stuffing mix, 1 1/4 cup of water, 24 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, 4 cups of broccoli, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 4 slices cooked bacon, and 4 tablespoons of Ranch Dressing (I accidentally left this out).

Chicken Broccoli Foil Packets Ingredients

First I cut the foil to size and sprayed each piece with cooking spray.

Prep the Foil

Then I mixed the stuffing and water together.  Once it was combined well, I scooped some stuffing onto each piece of foil.

combine stuffing mix and water start building your food pyramid with stuffing

Next I trimmed the chicken and laid half a boneless skinless breast on each pile of stuffing.

Layer 2 Chicken Breast

After the chicken I added some broccoli.  The original recipe gave actual amounts to use.  I didn’t pay any attention to the measurements.  I went by sight and what my family will eat.

layer 3 broccoli

Then 1 crumbled strip of bacon gets added to each packet along with some shredded cheddar cheese.

Layer 4 Cheese  Layer 5 Crumbled Bacon

This is where I was supposed to add the ranch dressing and forgot all about it.  I blame the omission on the time of day I was making the meal.  Once the stuff was all stacked, I closed the packets (leaving enough room for air to circulate inside each one).  I placed the sealed packets on a jelly roll pan and stuck them in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees.

Foil Packets Ready to Bake

They were ridiculously good, and I will totally be making these again, and I may even have to break out the Chicken Thing recipe and give it a whirl.

Chicken & Broccoli Foil Packets

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Tasty Tuesday – Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad

I’m not usually a fan of mayonnaisey salads, I’m more of a leafy green kind of girl, but this one struck a chord with me when I saw it on Pinterest.  I am a big fan of anything Chicken Bacon Ranch, so this salad was a clear must try recipe for me!

The original blog post that the recipe came from can also be found on WordPress!  I started following her blog as a result of this recipe.  I can’t wait to see what else she offers.

I was very excited to try this out, so I was very lucky to have all of the ingredients on hand!   It called for: 3 cups chicken, cooked and chopped, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (I didn’t like the way these looked, so I left them out), 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon ground mustard, 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/4 cup finely diced red onion (I don’t like raw onion, so I left these out), 6-8 slices cooked and chopped bacon, shredded cheddar cheese for garnish.

chicken bacon ranch salad ingredients

Before I could assemble the salad, I had to cook the raw ingredients.  I cooked the bacon and chicken in a small skillet on the stove top.

cooking the bacon   cooking the chicken

When the chicken and bacon were cooked, I moved on to mixing the dressing for the salad.  I combined the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  I mixed everything until it had a nice creamy consistency.

mayonnaise  sour cream

onion powder  garlic powder  salt  ground black pepper dried mustard   lemon juice

Once the dressing was mixed, I added the cooked chicken and bacon.  Then I stirred everything together so that it was well coated.

add the chicken  then add the bacon and mix

When everything was mixed together, it was time to make a sandwich.  I cut a hoagie roll, scooped on some of the salad, and garnished it with shredded cheddar cheese.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad Sandwich

This is a definite repeat!  I think I’ll make a batch of it the next time we have a chance to take the dogs to the park for a picnic/play-date.

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Tasty Tuesday – Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Anything but Grits

Gwen is out of town, and I finally get to make something especially for me!  SHRIMP!  I love them, but Gwen won’t even touch them and that makes getting to enjoy them a rarity.  I decided to take advantage of Gwen’s absences and make some, but I wanted to step outside of my regular repertoire a bit.  With that idea in mind, I went trolling through the boards at Pinterest and found a recipe for Lemon Garlic Shrimp and a Grit-like substance.

How is a standard dish a step away from the norm, you may ask…  I hate grits.  The texture is just not my cup of tea, so the idea of finding a recipe that willingly substitutes them and still lets me enjoy the lemony garlic flavor of the shrimp was quite a find.

To get the great flavor I wanted out of the shrimp, I needed to marinate them.  The recipe called for a 1-4 hour soak, but I left them in overnight.  I gathered the needed ingredients and got to work peeling the little buggers.

Shrimp Marinade Ingredients  Peel and Devein Shrimp

I placed the peeled and de-veined in a glass bowl with a cover.  I added the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the equivalent of 2 cloves of garlic minced, the zest of a lemon and 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano to the bowl with the shrimp.  I covered the bowl and shook it to mix and coat everything.  You can use a ziploc bag instead of a bowl.

Olive Oil  Dried Oregano  Minced Garlic  Lemon Zest  Ready to Cook

Now that the shrimp was well flavored, it was time to cook.  The recipe gives directions on making mashed cauliflower, but I decided to use mashed potatoes instead (they are easier to make and super yummy).  After my potatoes were ready to go, I set about cooking the shrimp.  I gathered my ingredients:  2 strips of bacon, 6 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of white wine, 1/2 sweet onion thinly sliced, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, a pinch of dried oregano, the juice of my previously zested lemon, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Shrimp Sauce Ingredients

Now that I had everything together, I cooked the bacon and set it aside.  Then I added the butter to the rendered bacon grease and melted it over medium high heat.  Next, I added the sliced onion and cooked them until they were soft.

cook the bacon  melt the butter  cook the onions

Next in the process of building the sauce comes the spices.  I added the minced garlic, crushed red pepper, and dried oregano.

crushed red pepper  a pinch of oregano  minced garlic

After the spices sauteed for a minute or two, I added the white wine and let it reduce by about half.

reduce the white wine

Next I added the shrimp and stirred them frequently to turn the shrimp.  Be careful not to let them over cook, they turn rubbery.  As the shrimp are almost finished cooking, juice in the lemon.

add the lemon juice

I took the bacon that I had rendered earlier, and chopped it up.  Then it was time to eat!

Shrimp and Not Grits

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Tasty Tuesday – Crock Pot Loaded Potato Soup

Being of significant Irish heritage (I’m Irish on both sides, even if my dad swore he was Italian through and through his mother’s maiden name was McCulley, I mean come on…), it seems like I’ve always know how to make corned beef and cabbage, the traditional American St. Patrick’s Day meal; however, I no longer eat beef, and Gwen is away, so this year I’m going to forgo the traditional meal.  Despite my no beef meal plan, I’m still going to tip my hat to the Irish by making this awesome Loaded Potato Soup recipe I found on Pinterest.  That’s not an Irish meal, you say?  Maybe, but you don’t get anymore Irish than potatoes…

I found this recipe on one of the coldest days this year, while I was looking for something to warm me up.  I ended up making a pot roast, but I banked this one for another time and this is the perfect opportunity to try it out.  I headed to the kitchen to make sure I had everything I needed: 7 cups of cubed potatoes, 1 cup of diced yellow onion, 3 cloves of minced garlic (I used the already cut up stuff, it’s much easier), 3 cups of chicken stock, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper, 1 cup of heavy cream, 6 pieces of thick cut bacon (any bacon will do, it doesn’t really have to be thick cut), and shredded Monteray Jack cheese (I used cheddar, because that’s not only what I had in the fridge, but I like it better).

Crock Pot Loaded Potatoe Soup Ingredients

Now that I had everything together, I read the recipe directions all the way through.  Man, was I surprised when I found out it wasn’t really a set it and forget it crock pot meal.  First you prep your veggies – cut up the potatoes and onion, mince the garlic (if you don’t cheat like I do).  Then put them all into the crock pot.

7 Cups of Potato   1 cup Yellow Onion   About 3 cloves minced Garlic

Then you add the salt and pepper.  The original recipe gave measurements, but I just went by eye and experience.  I also like my potatoes on the saltier side of life.  After the veggies are seasoned, you add the chicken stock.  This is where the original recipe gets sneaky.  It says to cover the pot and cook it on high for 3 1/2 hours, but if you don’t keep reading to the next direction you won’t end up with that really good cooked in bacon flavor that makes the soup taste loaded.

Fresh Ground Pepper   Salt the Potatoes   3 cups of Chicken Stock   Cover and cook for 3.5 hours

Once I had the crock pot set on high, I head over to the stove and cooked the bacon.  When It was nice and crispy, but not crunchy and burnt, I removed it from the frying pan and set it aside to cool it’s heels until the potatoes were ready to be garnished.  Then I took the bacon grease (what an amazing smell!) and added it to the crock pot of simmering potatoes.  When the bacon grease is in the pot, you can take a walk until the remaining cook time elapses.

cooking bacon   add the bacon grease

Ok, so now the 3 1/2 hours have gone by, and you’re really hungry a1nd anticipating just scooping out a nice helping of creamy soup.  Umm, no.  We never added the cream.  That’s because you now have to remove half of the cut up potatoes and puree them with the cup of heavy cream.  The recipe say to do it in a blender, but I used and immersion blender instead (it’s much easier to wash a bowl and the head of the stick blender than try and get my fingers into the blades of the regular blender).  Once that’s all cream and smooth, it has to go back into the pot and mingle with the remaining potatoes and stuff for an additional 30 minutes.

1 cup cream   1/2 the cooked potatoes   blend the heck out of it   put it back in the crock pot

30 agonizing minutes later, the soup is finally done!  I hate to say it, but it was totally worth the wait and the non-traditional slow cooker style preparations.  I dished up a bowl, garnished it with the chopped up bacon from earlier and some shredded cheese.

Loaded Potato Soup

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Tasty Tuesday – Fool’s Gold Steak Salad

I’m sorry for the delay in posting this week’s Tasty Tuesday entry, but life got in the way…  Last Friday’s Quest to Read Them All entry was about an awesome cookbook written by one of my favorite authors, Susan Mallery, which is what inspired this week’s recipe choice.  (Well that and being really sick of take out and slow cooker meals, because we still have an unusable kitchen!)  I read each of the recipes in this cookbook, along with the intermingled romance.  I haven’t done that with a cookbook in quite some time.

The book is divided into seasonal sections; however, we all know how good I am at following direction, so I chose to make one of the summer recipes in November.  The recipe I picked was from page 82, and is called Flank Steak and Balsamic Spinach Salad.  I chose it not only because it sounded really yummy, but because it seemed (and was) really straightforward and easy to put together.  This was only an influence in my choice, because of the current state of my kitchen. (you really don’t want to get me started on that issue right now…)

First I made sure that my stove was usable (uncovered, plugged in, cleanish …).

Then I gathered all my ingredients.  (Olive oil, 1 1/4 pound flank steak, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, and chopped walnuts)  Most of the items are pantry staples in my house, which meant I had to dig through some packing boxes, but it wasn’t too expensive to put this meal together.  I did have to buy the steak and fresh veggies.  I was a bit worried about finding the spinach, but grocery stores seem not to be hindered so much by the seasonal nature of vegetables these days.

photo(4)

The next step was pretty easy (if you discount how long it took to find my grill pan).  I heated up the grill pan, added some olive oil and cooked the steak (about 6 minutes on each side).  I also added some strips of bacon, because bacon makes everything better!

photo 1

Then while that was cooking, I worked on the dressing for the salad.  My whisk and measuring cups are burried in boxes in the garage, so I measured by eye and whisked with a fork, but such is my life at the moment…  I started with the balsamic, then added the mustard, garlic, a bit of salt & pepper.  Once I had those combined in the bowl I slowly added the olive oil and stirred it to combine.

photo 2  photo 3  photo 4  photo 1 (2)

The steak was just about done when I finished putting the dressing together, so I dumped the spinach into the dressing, added the walnuts & the bacon.  And tossed the salad!

photo 3 (2)  photo 4 (3)

Once that was all tossed together, I sliced the steak and plated everything to serve!  All in all the recipe was a quick, easy and yummy meal!!!

photo 5 (2)

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Tasty Tuesday – Stuffed Steak

I found this interesting recipe for Rolled Stuffed Steak on Pinterest, and decided I would serve it at a fun family gathering, and boy was it a hit!

The recipe was pretty straight forward. I used a 2 pound flank steak, bacon, blue cheese, chopped spinach, cooking twine, salt, pepper, cooking spray, and garlic.  This isn’t exactly what the recipe called for, but I’m not so good at following directions to the letter.

First I pre-cooked the bacon.

image (33)

Then I chopped it up, and defrosted the chopped spinach.  While I was waiting on the spinach and bacon, I butterflied the steak.  That means I cut it open like a book, but not all the way through.

image (35)

Once it was cut, I laid it open, and spread the bacon out on it.

image (27)

Then I added the Blue Cheese crumbles, salt, pepper, and garlic.

image (26)

Next came the chopped spinach

image (24)

Once everything was all spread out, I rolled the meat (like a sleeping bag) and tied it up.

image (29)

Then it was off to a 425 degree oven to bake for 35 minutes.  Followed by a quick (10 minute) trip to the broiler.  This is the finished product!

image (60)

I let it rest for a few minutes, removed the string, put it on a platter and served it to rave reviews!  My family likes their meat medium rare, so if you like it a bit more well done, I suggest that you bake it for a few more minutes.

 

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Tasty Tuesday – Bacon Wrapped Honey Mustard Chicken Strips

We’re back out by the grill for this week’s Tasty Tuesday experiment.  I found a recipe on Pinterest for baked honey mustard chicken wrapped with bacon, that sounded amazing.  The only problem, it’s the middle of summer and my oven is on vacation until September when I have to start making Birthday Cakes.  So, that meant I had to modify a recipe a bit.  I know you are all ridiculously surprised that I would actually do such a thing, but alas I did and let me tell you it was so totally worth it!

The original recipe was intended for young children, but there aren’t any of those in my house, so I went with a spicier option.  I took a regular sized bottle of spicy deli mustard, image (37)

added about 4 oz. of honey image (36)

and 2-3 tsp. of Worcestershire Sauce.  image (35)

Once those were all in the bowl I poured about 2 tbsp. of red wine vinegar into the mostly empty mustard container image (49)

and shook it up to get some more out and added that to the bowl and whisked it all together.

image (48)

Time for a taste test, it needed something, so I added a bit more honey and stirred again.

image (47)

It took less than 5 minutes and man did it taste yummy.

I put my quartered boneless skinless chicken breasts in a giant resealable plastic bag

image (46)

and added half the honey mustard sauce.

image (45)

Then I smushed it all around and stuck it in the fridge for a few hours until it was time to make the rest of dinner.

Once it was nice and marinated, and everyone was home, I took the bag out and set about wrapping the pieces of chicken with bacon! image (44)

I used 1 pound of maple smoked bacon to wrap the chicken strips and I had 2 pieces leftover. (They were grilled, crumbled and thrown into the salad.)

Then it was off to the trusty stove of summertime, and a medium high heat for 6 minutes a side.

image (43)

With little to no poking or prodding.  Just a few minor bacon draping repairs when I flipped them, and a nice basting with the reserved sauce from earlier.

image (42)  image (40)

Once everything was cooked all the way (no raw chicken at my table, please) we sat down to eat.

image (39)

I was a big hit.  Some of the gang even plan to take the leftovers for lunch!  Definitely a success.

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