Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

 

Potatoes are my favorite food!

 

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

1 bag small (petite) yukon gold potatoes cut in 1/8″ slices

1/4 c green onion or chives chopped

5 sliced cooked bacon

2 t salt

1/2 stick of butter

2 c milk

1/4 c flour

1 c shredded cheese

 

Pre heat oven to 350

Add potatoes, green onion and bacon to an oven proof baking dish

in a sauce pan melt butter over med heat, add flour and stir. Slowly add milk and continue cooking over med high heat until mixture starts to bubble, turn heat to low and continue stirring until liquid thickens into a sauce. Add salt and cheese, stir until cheese is melted. Pour mixture over potatoes in baking dish. Cover with foil and cook for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender, remove foil and cook 15-20 minutes more or until top is golden.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserol

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

 

Chorizo and Kale Soup

 

Chorizo and Kale Soup

1 slice bacon

1 package of chorizo sausage cut into bite sized rounds

1 cup chopped carrots

2 cups diced potatoes

1 cup chopped onion

3 cloves chopped garlic

1 T smoked paprika

6 c chicken stock

4 cups washed and chopped kale

Add chorizo and bacon to a large pot, sauté until bacon is crisp, add Potatoes, onions, carrots and potatoes, cook over med high heat until onions are soft.

 

Add paprika and chicken stock,  bring to a simmer cook for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, add kale and cook for 5 minutes more. Serve.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken With Honey Mustard Sauce

Perfect for football games or kid friendly dinners.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken With Honey Mustard Sauce

4 chicken breasts cut into 3rds

12 slices of bacon

1 cup mayonnaise

2 T dijon mustard

2 T honey

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Wrap 1 slice of bacon around each piece of chicken and place on a baking sheet.

Bake for about 25 minutes, draining juices from pan 1/2 way through cooking to ensure crispy bacon. Mix mayo, mustard and honey together, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Warm Apple, Bacon, and Spinach Salad

 

 

This is an easy and quick side dish or weeknight meal that captures the season’s flavors.

Warm Apple, Bacon, and Spinach Salad

5 slices of bacon chopped into 1″ pieces

1/4 c chopped onion

1 apple, chopped into bite sized pieces ( I left the skin on)

2 T apple cider vinegar

2 t honey

6 c fresh spinach

1/4 c pepitas (roasted and salted pumpkin seeds)

In a large fry pan, cook bacon over med high, add onions and cook until crisp, add apples and cook for 2 min, add honey and vinegar until heated through ( if you bacon is very fatty drain off all but 2 T fat before adding the honey and vinegar)

 

Add warm apple mixture to spinach toss and sprinkle with pepitas and serve.

Sharing a Labor of Love: Oma’s Rouladen

Some of my favorite memories of my Oma (that’s grandmother in German) are in the kitchen. She patiently (or sometimes not so patiently) taught me how to make several traditional German family favorites. I was her oldest grandchild born to her oldest son so I was chosen to carry on these traditions. I wasn’t so sure as a young girl but now I know I was the lucky one that got to spend many a weekend learning to prepare  potato salads, crumb cake, kohlrouladen, potato pancakes, and rouladen. There were no written recipes, she just knew how to do it by feel, and taught me the same way. I admit this was difficult, but it was when I was cooking with her that I really learned that cooking was more than following a recipe, it was about making something for someone, a gift to be enjoyed by family and friends, a way to show someone you love them.

I now have a love for cooking, it is a way for me to relax, a hobby that takes my mind off the ordinary and mundane. It is a way for me to give back to the people I care about. I don’t always include my children in the actual process of cooking, it is my time, but when ever I make one of my Oma’s recipes I get nostalgic and without even thinking invite my son into the kitchen with me. It is like there is something more than food with these recipes, it is a bond that must be passed on. This week when Rouladen was on the menu he joined me at my side and I realized that even though we don’t have this dish that often he already knew exactly how to make it. We didn’t even get out measuring cups, but he just looked at the ingredients we had prepared and said we are going to need more pickles and  he went straight to work chopping up some more. I smiled and knew my job was done, he is now the chosen one, I hope someday he thinks he’s lucky.

Oma’s Beef Rouladen

1 1/2 lbs of thinly sliced bottom round steak

1/4 c dijon mustard

approx 6 strips of raw bacon cut in half

1 c chopped dill pickles (use the refrigerated kind)

1 c chopped red onion

2 T butter

2 T flour

2 1/2 c  stock or water

1/4 t pepper

Place the steaks between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until thin but not falling apart. Spread a thin layer of mustard on the steak, place 1/2 a strip of bacon on each piece of meat. Add about 1 1/2 t of chopped pickles, and 1 1/2 t chopped onion to the top of each steak. Roll meat into a bundle and secure with a small wooden skewer or a couple of toothpicks,making sure the onions and pickles will not come out.

Preheat an electric frying pan and melt the butter over med high heat. Add the rouladen and brown on both sides.

Add 1 cup chicken or beef stock or water, reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour. Remove the rouladen from pan.

Add 1 1/2 c water or stock mixed with 2 T flour to the pan, bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cook until gravy is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.

Serve with boiled potatoes and cabbage or collard greens if you are a southerner like me.

Twice Baked Cauliflower Casserole

 

Cauliflower replaces the higher carb potatoes or grits in this easy cheesy casserole.

Twice Baked Cauliflower

1 1/2 heads of Cauliflower, cut  into large pieces

1/4 c water

1/4 c cream

4 oz cream cheese

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 T butter

1/4 t cayenne pepper, 1/4 t salt

1/8 t black pepper

2 eggs (beaten)

6 strips of cooked bacon crumbled

Place cauliflower and water in a large pot, bring to a boil reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for about 7-10 minute or until cauliflower is soft. Drain Water. Add cream and butter. Using a hand held blender, puree the cauliflower until smooth. (you could mash, use a blender of food processor too)

Mix in cream cheese, cheddar, salt, cayenne and pepper. Add in eggs. Pour into a large baking pan and top with cooked bacon (omit for a vegetarian option).

 

Bake at 350 for about 30 min.

 

Smoked Turkey and Split Pea Soup

 

Despite it’s unfortunate color, split pea soup is a family favorite. I like to change it up a little sometimes, this time with the addition of fresh corn and a smoked turkey leg instead of a ham hock or bacon. Everyone loved it, this one is a keeper. The turkey leg had more flavor and meat than the tradition ham hock, and it was actually less expensive.

Smoked Turkey and Split Pea Soup

1 smoked turkey drumstick  found by the ham hocks and ham steaks at my meat counter)

1 cup of sliced carrots

1 cup chopped onion

1 c chopped celery

1 c fresh corn removed from the cob (about 1 ear)

1 lb dried split green peas, washed and picked through for debris

2 garlic cloves

32 0z chicken broth

1/4 chipotle chili powder or smoked paprika

1 -1 1/2 c water

Prep all ingredients.

 

add all ingredients except water to a large crock pot

 

Cover and cook for about 3 hrs on high or 5 hours on low. Peas should lose their texture and soup should be thick. Remove turkey leg and pick meat off bones and add back to the soup. Check soup for any bones that may have come off the leg during cooking and remove. Add water if needed to reach desired consistancy. Stir and heat through.

Cobb Salad, Family Style

I love a good Cobb Salad, it is so easy and so versatile. I like to serve mine in a glass 9×12 pan and serve it family style so that everyone can pick and choose what toppings they like, it’s is kind of like a low carb taco night. Use the ingredients your family likes and serve with a vinaigrette or ranch dressing.

Family Style Cobb Salad

2 heads of romaine hearts chopped into bite sized pieces

2 tomatoes chopped

1 ripe avocado peeled and chopped ( sprinkle with lemon or lime juice to prevent discoloring)

2 cups cooked chicken or turkey chopped ( I used a rotisserie chicken from my stores deli)

6 slices of  cooked bacon chopped

1/2 c blue cheese crumbled ( Use feta or even cheddar if that is your family’s preference)

3 hard boiled eggs chopped

Add lettuce to the pan, top with remaining ingredients, in rows. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Serve with dressing and tongs so that each person can get the ingredients they desire. This salad is also great for parties and pot lucks.

Easy Mustard Vinaigrette 

2 T olive oil

3 T red wine vinegar

1 t dijon mustard

salt and pepper

whisk together all ingredients, serve over salad.

Rum Day and Bratwurst Day, Sort of a Weird Combination…

It’s hard to keep up with all of these holidays. Before I started blogging I was obviously leading a sheltered life. I had no idea all of these celebratory days existed. My waistline and liver were probably better off though. Well not to be left out, today, August 16th is Rum Day and Bratwurst day, I may not recommend having these both in one sitting but hey it’s a holiday, go for it! Click on the links for the recipes.

May I interest you in a fresh Watermelon Daiquiri ?

Or a Bratwurst with Warm Bacon, Pickle and Onion Relish ?

Fettuccine with Bacon Tomato and Arugula

This hearty pasta dish is an easy meal to make on a busy week night.

Fettuccine with Bacon Tomato and Arugula

6 slices of bacon chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 small yellow onion chopped

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half

2 T balsamic vinegar

1/4 c half and half or cream

1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese (more for serving if desired)

1 c arugula

16 oz cooked fettuccine or other pasta

in a large pan cook bacon over med high heat for 3 minutes, add garlic and onion and cook until bacon is crisp about 3 more minutes.( Surprisingly, I did not need to drain any bacon fat at this point but I know some bacon can be fatter than others, if you find that there is a fair amount of grease in the pan, strain it out before adding the rest of the ingredients) Add tomatoes, 1 T vinegar and stir, getting all the crispy bits from the bottom of the pan,

Turn heat to low cook until tomatoes glisten and have a slight wrinkle on the skin, about 2 minutes. Add half and half or cream, stir and add parmesan, heat through. Remove from heat add arugula and remaining 1 T vinegar. Toss together and serve. Top with more parmesan if desired.