Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bacon & Bacon for Dinner

We had bacon for dinner on Sunday. I felt pretty bad about how clogging it was going to be, but that really didn’t stop me.

We love pork loin and I’ve only recently started to cook it. I have a fancy new ($15) digital thermometer, which makes my cooking life so much easier. It probably makes pork my favorite thing to make.

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin

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I don’t have an original link for this because in true Pinterest fashion, it goes nowhere. I actually made it exactly as instructed and even let it soak for 4 hours because everyone know that soaking is the key to meat tasting awesome.

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This tasted like pork, wrapped in pork, covered by goodness. I will be making this again, without the bacon, to see if that really added much to it, because either the pork soaked up all the great grease, or it really didn’t matter much. The marinade however is incredible. I would not change a thing about that. Bacon-wrap: 6 star, Pork & Marinade: 9 star.


Please brace yourself to have your life changed. If you like potatoes, bacon, and fancy cheese, you will wonder where this recipe has been all your life. If you don’t, then I feel bad that you cannot appreciate the wonder of it. I’ve made this twice before over about a year and wonder why I don’t make it every month.

Roasted Potatoes That Will Change Your Life

Roasted-Potatoes-That-Will-Change-Your-Life-410x273Ingredients
3 pounds Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes, Quartered Or Halved
½ whole Vidalia Onion, Chopped
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
Salt And Pepper
2 slices Uncooked Bacon, Chopped
3 ounces, weight Gorgonzola Cheese, Crumbled
3 Tablespoons Chopped Chives
2 whole Green Onions, Chopped
¼ cups Fresh Cilantro
¼ cups Fresh Parsley

Preparation
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray.

Add potatoes and onions to a large bowl and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil (do not use more as the bacon will release fat when cooking) and a bit of salt and pepper. Toss with your hands and try to coat most of the potatoes. Lay them on the baking sheet and top with chopped bacon. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake for 15 more. Flip one more time and cook for 15 minutes longer. Bacon should be crisp at this point.

Remove potatoes from oven and immediately sprinkle on crumbled gorgonzola. Let potatoes sit and cool for 5 minutes, then top with chives, green onions, cilantro and parsley. Serve right off the baking sheet so you don’t lose any gooey cheese.

Serves 4-6+ as a side dish.

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I use goat cheese feta instead of gorgonzola, which is sad, but necessary and still amazing. There really is no way to fully understand how incredible these are without tasting them. You see the ingredients, think it looks okay, start making it without understanding what’s about to happen, and then take your first bite. And begin to understand that the name of them is completely warranted. Please make these soon. 11 star.

Chai and Scones

It was a great weekend for food. There were tons of fantastic recipes happening, with no flops. First up, chai.

Chai Tea Concentrate

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Yes, I definitely picked this recipe because of the amazing infographic. Turned out to be a good idea. I might try a different recipe next time, but that does not mean that this one wasn’t great- because it was. I typically buy Oregon Chai concentrate, but that get expensive. Cheaper than $3 chai at the local shop, but still expensive. I’ll have to price this down next time and find out what it comes out to.

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I mixed myself a drink this morning with half chai and half coconut milk and was happy to find that I can probably use less chai next time. Great taste and smell. 8 star.


Now, I LOVE scones. I basically like anything that will allow me to eat dough in the morning, but I’m not a huge fan of super sweet items like cinnamon rolls, so a scone is so great for me. Being dairy-free is really not difficult, just annoying. While gluten-free is horrible and tons of work and stress, dairy is mostly for desserts and almost anything that calls for milk or cream can be straight subbed for coconut milk and end up tasting better. I’m usually a little nervous about baking with it though because baking is weird and you never know what different ingredients will do, so I was happy to find a recipe made that way to begin with.

6808180883_b5e9b040e9Coconut Milk Scones
Makes 8-12 scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. orange zest
1 1/4 cups canned coconut milk (cold)
1 cup cranberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Pour in coconut milk. Gently mix with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula just until it's combined. Fold in dried fruits. Transfer dough onto a floured surface and shape into a disc about 3/4 inches in thickness. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 8 or 12 wedges. Place onto prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with coconut milk and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or store them in an airtight container after they have completely cooled.  You can reheat them in the toaster or the microwave oven.

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I made these in my mixer because I hate to use arm strength to stir things. That was probably not the method I would use in the future as it made them way too sticky and I had to add more flour. I will definitely try these again with the correct arm stirring method. Actually, I will probably just eat most of the dough while making it because they are that good. I think I will switch out the orange and cranberry for vanilla bourbon next time also, because I have the paste and bourbon is good. 9 star.

A Dog Treat Day

Such a busy weekend making tons of goodies! I finally made a couple for my wonderful pup too.

I’ve made sweet potatoes for her before, but I can’t get them dry enough to be crisp before they start to brown too much. I’ve tried cutting them thinner- which just makes them burn faster, cooking them lower and longer- which just makes me sit by the over for 6 hours…so I think my next test will be to get a food dehydrator since I have been wanting to make our own fruit “snacks” anyway with dehydrated fruit…and Cole want jerky.

Homemade Sweet Potato Dog Treats

If only I was good at pictures it would look like this:

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Ingredients

1 large sweet potato


Directions

  1. Pre heat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Cut sweet potato lengthwise, about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Bake on a cookie sheet for 25 minutes and flip over and bake for another 25 minutes longer. Some will shrivel up, but your dog will them!

 

Here are mine. I’m classy and forgot to take pictures beforehand and only took them as they were in the oven releasing their liquid, so it’s foggy. Gracie loves them though and they are great for her, so we’ll keep making these until the dehydrator. 10 star.

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Next up Blueberries n Banana Frosty Paws

DSC09306Ingredients

1 cup of Blueberries
1 Banana
1 6oz Plain Yogurt

Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Pour into an ice cube tray or mold. Freeze it for about 2 hours.

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These are great- and while I am a little lost on how to easily get them out of the container…I can run it under hot water but they get slimy very quickly…Gracie loves them. I don’t think I would do blueberries again because they can stain while she takes her sweet time eating them and getting them all over. 8 star.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Gnocchi Primavera

IMG_4546These pictures turned out a little better than before- and I remembered to take pictures of before! I love this recipe for when you want something that includes a lot of veggies. I made it with green onion, peas, snap peas, garlic, and cauliflower. I decided to use gnocchi instead of tortellini in the original recipe because it’s impossible to find tortellini without cheese in it. I also included chicken because Cole likes more meat in his dinner.

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Overall, this is great recipe if you want to eat cauliflower in your dinner. I think I’ll try to add some egg in there next time, a la carbonara. 7 star.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls

I am really bad at taking pictures of food. Realllly bad.

I’ve made these before and they are the perfect mix for Cole and I since he likes red meat and peppers, and I like garlic and balsamic vinegar. I typically use half the amount of meat that is recommended, since it’s only the two of us. I usually follow this recipe pretty closely, but tend to use all peppers instead of any carrots since carrots take longer to cook. Asparagus and white onion would also be great. A good side would be some potatoes, but I tend to just eat them by themselves since I am too lazy to make sides.

PTR Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls

Original photo from http://picturetherecipe.com/index.php/recipes/balsamic-glazed-steak-rolls/

Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls

Ingredients: (makes 4 rolls)
* 1 lb skirt steak/ 4 thin sliced sirloin
* Salt & Pepper (according to taste)
* 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* Any steak seasoning you like
* 1 tbsp olive oil

For the Veggie filling -
* 1 carrot
* 2 bell peppers
* 5-6 green onions
* 2 cloves of garlic
* 1 tsp italian herb seasoning

For the Balsamic glaze sauce-
* 2 tsp butter
* 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
* 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
* 2 tbsp brown sugar
* 1/4 cup beef broth

Method:
- Start by prepping the steak. Cut the steak into 3 inch wide strips.
- Season the steak pieces generously on both sides with salt, pepper and worcestershire sauce. And let them sit in the marinade for at least 30 mins.
- While the steak is marinating you can prep the filling for them. Chop up the carrot and bell pepper into matchstick size pieces.
- Now for the sauce, melt the butter in a small sauce pan on medium heat.
- Add the finely chopped shallot and sautee it for a minute or 2 until they turn soft and transluscent.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and beef stock and stir to mix everything well.
- Allow the sauce to come to a boil and reduce to almost half its volume. Turn the heat off and transfer the sauce to a bowl.
- In the same pan (no need to wash it) add a touch of olive oil and toss in the garlic cloves to allow them to flavor the oil for a few minutes.
- Turn the heat up to high and toss in the carrots and bell pepper and stir fry the veggies for no longer than 2-3 minutes.
- Season them with the the itlalian herb seasoning and salt and transfer the veggies to a bowl.
- To assemble the steak rolls, simply take a strip of the marinated steak and lay it with the short side towards you. Place the veggies in the middle and roll the beef up over the filling, securing it with toothpick. Repeat the same with the other rolls.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a touch of oil swirling to coat bottom. When hot, add beef rolls, seam side down, not touching and pan fry for a couple minutes. Then turn roll and cook it on all sides in the same way. Cook until you’re desired done-ness.
- Remove the toothpick and serve with the balsamic glaze sauce spooned over the top of each roll.

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Overall, 9 star recipe.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Turkey Meatballs

Since I make so many recipes off of Pinterest, I thought that it would probably be a good idea to start keeping track of the fact that they do typically work. I very rarely stick to the actual recipe, so this is also a good way for me to keep track of the changes that I made to the recipe.

Cole mentioned that he wanted food with more veggies this week, so I tried to make our food more colorful for the 2 days that we get to have dinner together this week.

easy and helty burgerEasy & Healthy Burger via http://best-foood.blogspot.com/2014/02/easy-healthy-burger.html#more

I didn’t have buns, so I decided to make these as meatballs, which worked out great.

1 lb. ground turkey
½ medium  onion
2 oz. spinach
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese (original recipe uses feta)
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp minced garlic
⅓ cup panko crumbs (original recipe uses bread crumbs)
1 lg. egg

Mix together ingredients, form into meatballs. I placed mine in a 24 count mini muffin tin and cooked them for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. (I changed out the cheese and bread crumbs because I didn’t have them. The original recipe also uses tomatoes, which would have added great flavor.)

IMG_4522While my picture has horrible lighting because really, all I wanted to do was eat them, they were sooo good. This recipe could easily be made with ground chicken, but it’s always good to switch things up. I made some pasta and a little red sauce to go with. Next time, I might try it with a white sauce since the red distracted from the goodness of the meatballs.

Overall, I’d make it again and would give it 8 stars.