New Favorite

Pasta with Chard and Bacon

A few years ago I watched the Rachel Ray episode where she made this dish, sharing it was one of her husband’s favorites.  It’s easy peasy and so delicious!  It reminds me of a pasta with bacon that I made when the kids were small.  Delicious!

PASTA WITH CHARD AND BACON

1 large bunch or 1.5 pounds large, leafy Swiss chard
1/2 pound meaty bacon
2 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 onion, white or yellow
1 leek
4 cloves garlic
salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons thyme
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup stock, optional
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup pecans
about 3/4 cup heavy cream
about 1 cup grated Pecorino cheese, plus more for serving

  • Gather your ingredients.
  • Place a large pot of water on to boil for pasta.
  • Stem the chard. Chop the stems. Coarsely chop the greens and keep separate.
  • Stack the bacon and cut the bacon into batons 1/8 to 1/4-inch wide.
  • Peel and chop the onion. Halve the leek lengthwise and trim the tough green tops. Run the leek under the water and wash thoroughly. Chop the leek, whites and light greens. Peel the garlic and grate or chop.
  • Heat a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and render, then remove from pan, if desired. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in pan, drain off excess if there is any.
  • Add EVOO or butter to pan and add the stems, onions, leeks and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and thyme and soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add wine and stock if using and let it absorb.
  • Salt boiling water and cook pasta to 1 minute less than package directions for al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup starchy water.
  • Toast nuts while pasta cooks in small skillet over moderate heat.
  • Add cream to sauce, wilt the greens into stems and add a little nutmeg. Return bacon to pan. Drain pasta and add to sauce and greens with reserved water and cheese. Toss pasta 1 minute. Adjust seasoning and serve topped with chopped toasted nuts and pass more cheese at table.

Recipe adapted from RachelRay

Book Club · New Favorite

Crock Pot Beef Bourguignonne

Beef Bourguignonne is savory, hearty meal of tender beef with rich flavors.  I’ve enjoyed it many times with friends in their homes or in a restaurant but this was my first attempt to make it at home.  It was easy to make and even better to eat.

CROCK POT BEEF BOURGUIGNONNE

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
5 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 thick bacon slices, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 yellow onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
6 fresh thyme sprigs
6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 lb. white button mushrooms, halved
1 bottle Pinot Noir
1 tbps. beef demi-glace

  • Place the flour in a large bowl. Season the beef with salt and pepper, add to the flour and stir to coat evenly. Transfer to a plate, shaking off the excess flour.
  • In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until almost smoking. Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a slow cooker.
  • Add the bacon, carrots, onions and garlic to the sauté pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker along with the bay leaves, thyme, parsley and mushrooms.
  • Off the heat, pour the wine into the sauté pan and set over medium-high heat. Whisk in the demi-glace and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Add to the slow cooker, cover and cook until the meat is fork tender, 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Discard the bay leaves.
  • Transfer the beef bourguignonne to a platter and serve with steamed potatoes. Serves 10.
Family Favorites · New Traditions

Big Country Breakfast Bread Pudding

Breakfast casseroles are always a treat and easy peasy when you make it the night before.  This casserole has a wonderful cream cheese surprise in many bites.  Why have I never thought of that?

Serve this dish with a wonderful fruit bowl, a cup of hot coffee (or tea), and great conversation.

BIG COUNTRY BREAKFAST BREAD PUDDING

1 loaf Brioche bread, cubed (I used French Bread)
1 cup heavy cream (I used half & half)
1 /2 cup milk
9 eggs
4 oz. can chopped green chiles
2 c. + 1 c. shredded sharp white cheddar (or any shredded cheese of your liking)
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
10 oz. browned breakfast sausage (optional)
5 strips of applewood smoked bacon, cooked until crisp, chopped (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or 1 tsp. McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning)

  • Spray a 9×13″ extra deep baking dish and place 1/2 to 2/3 of the bread cubes in the dish.
  • Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl, add cream, milk, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.  Reserve 1 to 1.5 cups of mixture and pour remaining over the bread cubes.
  • Spread green chiles on top of bread. Sprinkle with 2 cups of shredded cheese.  Lightly press the bread down to aid in absorption of the egg mixture.  Top with cream cheese, sausage and bacon, if desired.
  • Top with remaining bread and pour reserved egg mixture over the bread. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper, if desired.
  • The next morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Bake on middle rack for 45-55 minutes or until the center is firm. Cover the bread pudding with foil about halfway through the cooking time and remove for the last 5 minutes or so.
  • Serves 12.

Recipe adapted from foodforayear.com

 

 

New Favorite

OMG Scrambled Eggs…with Pesto, Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes & Peppers

OMG Scrambled Eggs were an experiment, a gamble that paid off.  ‘OMG’ was the first thought that came into my head when I took the first bite. Adding the coincidentally roasted fresh tomatoes and peppers was a fantastic addition.
I also made this recipe combining the tomatoes and peppers into the egg cups and loved them as well.
The recipe could be adapted easily to add more bacon, cheese, pesto or whatever floats your boat. Worth trying!  I may be dreaming of this tonight.

OMG SCRAMBLED EGGS

3 slices bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 bunch swiss chard (or kale) stemmed and chopped
1 dozen eggs, whisked
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons pesto
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
roasted tomatoes and peppers (optional)
  • Sauté the bacon in a non-stick skillet until cooked about half way.
  • Add onions and cook through.  Drain most of the bacon fat off.
  • Add Swiss chard and cook until it wilts.
  • Add the eggs, salt and pepper, and pesto.
  • Stir the eggs often to assure they cook through.
  • Add cheese when eggs are about half way cooked.
Serve with warm roasted tomatoes and peppers.
MUFFIN EGG CUPS: Mix all ingredients together, including the chopped roasted tomatoes and peppers. Grease muffin tins and bake egg cups at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until done in the center and golden brown.
New Favorite · New Traditions

Roasted Stuffed Kobacha Squash (or Pumpkin)

Stuffed pumpkin (or in my case Kobacha Squash) was a novel idea I heard about from friends. I found this wonderful recipe and adapted it to use the Kobacha squash I’d recently purchased from Trader Joe’s.

It was a fun, and delicious, experiment and one I’ll try again, shaking it up with different ingredients. This is a great way to use leftover pumpkins from Halloween or Thanksgiving. A new tradition perhaps.

IMG_7582

ROASTED STUFFED KOBACHA (OR PUMPKIN)

1 pumpkin (I used Kobacha squash), about 3 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, shredded
2-4 garlic cloves (to taste) coarsely chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you’ll have to serve it from the pot—which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn’t so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I’ve always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I’ve been lucky. (Note: I baked my squash in a round Pyrex casserole lined with parchment paper)

IMG_7561

  • Using a very sturdy knife—and caution—cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). It’s easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.
  • Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper—you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure—and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little—you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It’s hard to go wrong here.)

IMG_7567

  • Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
  • When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully—it’s heavy, hot, and wobbly—bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you’ll bring to the table.

IMG_7579

  • You have a choice—you can either spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I’m a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls, it’s just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.
  • It’s really best to eat this as soon as it’s ready. However, if you’ve got leftovers, you can scoop them out of the pumpkin, mix them up, cover, and chill them; reheat them the next day.

Recipe Adapted from Epicurious.com

Family Favorites · New Favorite · New Traditions

Egg and Bacon Cups

Let me send a huge compliment to one of my favorite blogs, Iowa Girls Eats. Not only is she from Iowa but she eats gluten-free and has many great ideas.  While browsing for egg recipes I saw that she had tried bacon egg cups and I decided to give my own version a whirl. Most of the recipes on the web show that you use a whole egg in each cup but I decided to scramble the eggs and add ingredients.

Next time, I would either cook the bacon even longer or I would precook the bacon and crumble it in the bottom of each cup.  I like my bacon crispy so I’d prefer my bacon slices to be the same.  You’ll also see that the bacon was not on the outside of the eggs cups since the bacon shrinks while precooking but they come out beautifully as cups just the same!

BACON EGG CUPS

6 slices of bacon
6 eggs
1/4 cup cheese (I used cheddar)
pinch of Herbs de Provence
salt & pepper

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Wrap a slice of bacon around each of six muffin tins.  Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until almost done to your liking.
  • While the baking is cooking, beat eggs and add cheese, herbs and salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  • Remove muffin tins from oven and carefully pour or remove the bacon fat.
  • Carefully pour egg mixture into each of the six muffin tins.
  • Bake another 15+ minutes or until eggs are completely cooked through.

 

 

New Favorite

Zuppa Toscana…Copycat of Olive Garden recipe

My daughter, Megan, told me this was a great recipe.  As mentioned in my Roasted Fennel post of last Friday, we garnished the soup with bits of the fennel and loved it. From now on, it will be a traditional side served with the soup, and a slice of hearty Italian bread.

The original recipe called for heavy cream, but we liked the soup without the cream and without the extra fat. Next time I would add chopped carrots and celery.

ZUPPA TOSCANA…COPYCAT OF OLIVE GARDEN RECIPE

1 lb. Italian sausage
2 large russet baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup bacon, chopped (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream (I omitted)

  • Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces.
  • Brown sausage in your soup pot.
  • Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir.
  • Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in the pot.
  • Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
  • Add bacon.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Turn to low heat.
  • Add cream (optional) and heat.
  • Tear pieces of kale into bowl and pour steaming soup over the top.

Recipe slightly adapted from Food.com

Family · Family Favorites

Potato Bacon Chowder…Family Fave!

Potato Bacon Chowder is officially a family favorite, shared with me by my sister Carolyn. It’s a quick fix for a weeknight meal and GREAT as leftovers. Need I say more?

POTATO BACON CHOWDER

8 slices bacon (cut in 1 inch pieces)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup water
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)

  • Fry bacon until crisp in a 3 quart saucepan; add onion and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Pour off fat.
  • Add potatoes and water. Bring to boil; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

  • Stir in soup and sour cream; gradually add milk.
  • Add salt, pepper and parsley.
  • Heat to serving temperature. Do not boil.
New Traditions

Baked Risotto with Bacon and Kale…comfort food

Baked Risotto with Bacon and Kale (and many other yummy ingredients) is a comfort dish to love. My gal pal, Jan, told me about this dish and I had to try it.  It also helped that I had many of the ingredients on the ready.

I rarely make Risotto because I don’t enjoy standing over the stove, constantly stirring and adding liquid to the Arborio rice. This recipe eliminates that hassle. There is some prep work chopping, roasting, grating, etc. but I did that early in the day which made the final preparation a breeze.

Add this is the list…comfort food!

RISOTTO WITH BACON AND KALE

4 slices bacon, chopped coarsely
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups low-salt chicken broth (plus 1/2 cup+ to add later in preparation)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
3 medium curly kale leaves, stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 roasted carrot
1 roasted parsnip
1 roasted shallot
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and chop the carrot, parsnip and shallot. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
  • In a large, heavy saucepan or braising pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.
  • Add the chopped onions, salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes.  Add 3 cups broth and the lemon juice. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Cover with a tight lid and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  (Note: my dish was done at 20 minutes so watch closely.)
  • Remove the pan from the oven and return it to the stove, over medium-low heat. Remove the lid and stir in the chicken, kale, roasted vegetables and 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Stir until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes, adding extra broth, as needed, until the Risotto is creamy.  Stir in the cooked bacon and cheese.  Ladle into bowls and serve.

Recipe slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis Risotto with Bacon and Kale

 

Garden · New Favorite

Bacon Swiss Chard Frittata

Gardening is an adventure.  This year, I planted several greens including Radicchio. Turns out the Radicchio was really Swiss Chard.  Bonus!

Growing up our neighbor, Lucille, always made a Swiss Chard and egg dish and I so wish I had the recipe.  As a substitute I found this recipe and have enjoyed several breakfasts, warming a piece in the microwave each morning.

I quickly realized that I started with too large of a pan for the frittata so transferred the cooked ingredients to my Mother’s favorite pie pan where I added the Parmesan and then broiled the frittata.

BACON SWISS CHARD FRITTATA

6 strips bacon, sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, wash thoroughly, stems removed, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 pound russet potatoes, cooked, cut in chunks
salt and black pepper to taste
8 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet, over medium heat until crisp. Remove and drain all but 1 tbsp. of the bacon fat. Reduce the heat to med-low, and add the Swiss chard. Don’t worry about crowding the pan, as the chard will quickly wilt down.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the greens are completely wilted. Add the garlic and pepper flakes; sauté for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and mix into the greens.
  • Pour in the eggs, and cook stirring for about 5 minutes, or until the eggs begin to set. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top and finish cooking the frittata under a preheated broiler, about 8 inches from the heat, for 4-5 minutes, or until the top is browned and the eggs are set. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving in wedges.
Recipe from: