Salads, Sandwiches

Recipe—Low-Carb Egg Salad Wraps

I am constantly on the hunt for tasty low carb recipes. This wonderful blog I follow, Low Carb Jabberwockey, is always giving me inspiration for new ways to try classic recipes, but without the carbs. The other day she posted a recipe for an egg salad wrap, basically egg salad on a leaf of romaine with tomatoes and avocados. Genius, I thought! Well it just so happens I had an abundance of hard-boiled eggs after Easter. Imagine that! I decided to take the Jabberwockey’s idea and make it my own. These turned out phenomenal! I think this is a great recipe regardless of if you are watching your carbs. Who needs boring ol’ sliced bread anyways? Not this gal!

INGREDIENTS
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tbsp green onions or chives, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4–1/2 c mayo
2 tsp yellow mustard
4 leaves of romaine lettuce
8 slices of bacon, cooked
1/2 avocado, sliced

STEPS

  • In a medium bowl mix together eggs, celery, green onions, salt, pepper, mayo, and mustard.
  • On each piece of lettuce place 2 strips of bacon.
  • Top the bacon with a spoonful of the egg salad and a couple of the avocado slices.
  • Grab a napkin and enjoy!
Dinners

Recipe—Bacon Cheddar Chicken (Copycat Version of Outback’s Alice Springs Chicken)

I am a bacon and cheese fanatic, which is why I am in LOVE with Outback Steakhouse’s Alice Springs Chicken. If you have never had this dish I speak of, let me tell you all about it. It is a juicy chicken breast cooked in a sweet and tangy honey mustard sauce, then topped with the most delicious things you can think of, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, and cheese, LOTS of cheese! Yummy-messy-goodness that’s what this is! I will admit though, I think mine is slightly better than Outback’s. Shhhhhh… don’t tell. While this dish does require a bit of prep I personally think it is well worth it.

Note: For best results be sure to allow adequate time for marinating the chicken breasts.

INGREDIENTS
1 c Dijon mustard
1 c honey
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 c white mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
paprika
8 slices bacon, cooked
1 c Monterey jack, shredded
1 c cheddar, shredded
2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • In a medium sized bowl mix together the mustard, honey, mayonnaise, and lemon juice until well combined.
  • Spoon out half of the marinade and place in a small bowl, cover, and chill until later.
  • Add the chicken breast to the large bowl with the marinade and toss to coat.
  • Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 2–12 hours to marinade.
  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the chicken to the skillet and discard the marinade that the chicken was soaking in.
  • Cook the chicken for 5–7 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  • While the chicken is cooking melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms.
  • Transfer the cooked chicken breasts to a large baking dish and drizzle with some of the reserved honey mustard marinade. (Save the leftover marinade to serve alongside the finished dish.)
  • Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Place two pieces of bacon on each chicken breast and top with the sautéed mushrooms.
  • Sprinkle the Monterey jack on each breast and then the cheddar.
  • Bake the dish for 10–12 minutes or until the cheese is thoroughly melted and the chicken cooked through.
  • Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle the chopped parsley over the melted cheese.
  • Serve each chicken breast with a small side of the honey mustard.

Recipe adapted from Favorite Family Recipes.

Soups

Recipe—Crock-Pot Loaded Baked Potato Soup

It’s been a chilly couple of weeks where I live and I just can’t seem to warm up. One of the only things that really seem to take the bite off is a big bowl of hearty soup. Well this loaded baked potato soup truly is comfort in a bowl and hits the spot on these cold winter days. This is one of those recipes that people of all ages will love. It’s creamy and cheesy just the way baked potato soup should be. It is amazing the amount of flavor you get from a few simple ingredients. Since this does require a little prep before it goes in the crock-pot it may not be the best thing to try and do on a workday. However, it is the perfect crock-pot meal to whip up on the weekend. Perfect for a cozy Sunday lunch or dinner while watching some football. Hope you love this favorite soup of mine as much as I do!

Note: You can certainly use fresh potatoes for this soup. I just use a bag of the frozen ones to save a few extra minutes, after all, that’s the whole reason I use my crock-pot. If you want to use fresh potatoes I recommend using 5–6 cups of russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces.

INGREDIENTS
8 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
4 c chicken broth, divided
32 oz bag of frozen diced potatoes (I use Ora Ida Hash Browns, not the shredded ones but the little cubes.)
3 c cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
2/3 c heavy cream
2/3 c sour cream
4 tbsp chives, minced

STEPS

  • In a large skillet cook the bacon over medium high heat until crispy.
  • Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and place in the fridge until ready to serve the soup.
  • Pour out most of the bacon drippings leaving about 2 tbsp in the skillet.
  • Add the onion to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until soft and lightly browned.
  • Add the garlic and thyme to the skillet and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper and cook for a minute stirring constantly.
  • Whisk in 1 cup of the chicken broth.
  • Cook until the mixture starts to thicken and then pour into your crock-pot.
  • Add the remaining 3 cups of broth, potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper to the crock-pot.
  • Cover and cook for 5–6 hours on low heat.
  • Using a hand masher, mash the potatoes in the crock-pot leaving some chunks in there.
  • Stir in the heavy cream, sour cream, and 2 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Cook soup for another 20–30 minutes.
  • Right before serving heat the plate of cooked bacon in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Ladle the soup into bowl and top with remaining cheddar, bacon pieces, and chives.
Brunch, Dinners

Recipe—Broccoli and Cheddar Egg Bake

A few weeks back I received some violet queen purple broccoli in my produce box. It was the most gorgeous piece of produce I have ever seen! It was almost too pretty to eat… almost being the key word there. I was over the moon about this exciting piece of produce and wanted to do something really spectacular with it. Alas, my busy schedule kept me from really thinking outside the box so I made one of my favorite broccoli recipes with it, a broccoli and cheddar egg bake (a.k.a. a quiche with no crust, perfect for the low-carb lover).

This purple broccoli was just too pretty not to show you! I just wanted to put it in a vase on my table. Once the broccoli was cooked it looked slightly darker than a typical bunch of green broccoli. It ended up loosing most of that purple coloring.

One thing I truly love about egg bakes is that they are perfect for any meal of the day, breakfast, lunch, or dinner and they are so versatile. You can add any ingredients you want! This recipe is written with some pretty basic ingredients but you can go wild with whatever you like. Red bell peppers and mushrooms are also great additions. I made this one for dinner the other night and just served it with some toast. The leftovers made an awesome breakfast the next day. Gotta love it when you make a meal you can stretch out over a few days.

INGREDIENTS
8 slices of bacon, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
12 eggs
1/4 c milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 1/2 c broccoli, chopped and steamed
1 small tomato, chopped
2 c cheddar, shredded (divided)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat cook your bacon until done.
  • Remove cooked bacon from skillet and dispose of most of the grease leaving a tablespoon.
  • Sauté the onion in the reserved bacon grease over medium-high heat until brown and caramelized.
  • While the onions are cooking scramble the eggs, milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix in the bacon, steamed broccoli, chopped tomato, sautéed onion, and 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese to the mixing bowl.
  • Pour the egg mixture in a greased 8” x 8” baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top.
  • Bake for 35–45 minutes or until the center is set.
  • Remove the egg bake from the oven and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
Soups

Recipe—Best Ever Butternut Squash Soup

I know the title of the recipe carries a big name, but it’s true, this is the BEST EVER butternut squash soup. Most butternut squash soups taste like squash puree and not much else, but this soup has so many flavors and a lot of depth. I absolutely love this stuff. It actually worked out that this recipe was my best use yet of my delivered organic produce. I ended up having the first five ingredients in last weeks box. Score! It was a sign that this soup was meant to be. One thing that I really love about this soup is that it is thick because of all the veggies in there, not because of any flour or cornstarch like most soups. If you are looking for a fabulous fall soup, look no further. This will fit the bill.

Notes: Most of your time making this recipe will be spent chopping veggies. To save some time, you can buy packages of pre-chopped butternut squash at the store. It will cost a little more but will shave off quite a bit of prep time.

This soup can be made vegetarian but cutting out the bacon and replacing the chicken broth with vegetable broth.

You can use a hand mixer or blender to process the mixture. The hand mixer will give you a slightly chunkier soup and the blender will give you a really smooth one. If you use a hand mixer be sure you don’t use a non-stick pot, as the hand mixer will destroy it. If using a blender you will need to do it in batches. I recommend placing a towel over the top of your blender and holding the lid firmly in place as the heat will make the lid blow off and it makes a huge hot mess and can burn you if not secured.

INGREDIENTS
8 slices bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 green apple, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
32 oz chicken broth
2 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 c heavy whipping cream
crème fraîche or sour cream (for garnish)

STEPS

  • In a large soup pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat.
  • Remove bacon and drain off grease leaving 2 tbsp in the bottom of the pot.
  • Sauté onions and carrots in the bacon drippings for about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the celery, apples, and garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  • Add in the squash and broth.
  • Bring pot to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes or until all produce is fork tender.
  • Remove pot from heat.
  • Using a hand mixer or blender process the mixture until smooth. (See above note) If you use a blender return the soup to the pot.
  • Stir in the lime juice, honey, salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and whipping cream.
  • Simmer soup for 10–15 minutes or until thickened.
  • Using a ladle serve the soup into a bowl and top with crumbled bacon and a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living.

Appetizers

Recipe—Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms Wrapped in Bacon

The other night I wanted to surprise my husband with a nice steak dinner because, well… that’s what good wives should do for their hardworking men. I wanted to come up with a “manly” appetizer that would complement a nice steak. I love my steaks with mushrooms as well as blue cheese so this is what I came up with. A steakhouse worthy appetizer of baby portobellos filled with rich blue cheese and a dash of tangy steak sauce and finished off with salty bacon. They were delish! The cream cheese really helps to cut the overpowering blue cheese flavor giving these just the right balance. These could easily be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you are ready to bake them making them perfect for dinner parties. They are absolutely delectable and worth the effort.

Note: For an easy and mess free way to fill your mushroom caps, put the cheese filling in a Ziploc bag and cut off the corner to create a disposable pastry bag.

INGREDIENTS
12 slices of bacon
12 baby portobello mushrooms
1/2 c cream cheese, softened
1/4 c blue cheese crumbles
1 tsp steak sauce (I like A1)
salt and pepper
2 tbsp chopped green onions

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Arrange bacon slices in a large Pyrex baking dish and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Flip bacon over and cook for an additional 8 minutes. You want it to only be partially cooked and pliable so that it is easy to work with.
  • While the bacon is cooking clean the mushrooms and remove the stems.
  • Remove bacon from oven and place slices on a paper towel lined plate.
  • Reduce oven temp to 350º.
  • In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, blue cheese, steak sauce, salt and pepper and stir thoroughly breaking up the large chunks of blue cheese.
  • Once your cheese mixture is well combined stir in the green onions.
  • Fill your mushroom caps with the cheese mixture. (See above note)
  • Wrap each mushroom in a piece of the bacon and secure using a toothpick.
  • Place the finished mushroom caps on a foil lined baking sheet and cook for 15–18 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and the filling has melted.
Brunch

Recipe—Breakfast Potatoes

These breakfast potatoes are a Sunday brunch must have item. I have been making these potatoes for years now and they are always a big hit. The best way to describe them would be a breakfast version of the garlic fries that you get at the ballpark. But better of course. How can they not be when you add salty bacon and savory mushrooms? When cooking up a big breakfast it’s really nice to be able to put your potatoes in the oven and forget about them while you focus on your other dishes. There always seems to be enough going on up on the stove top. And I must add that these are superb when wrapped in a fresh tortilla with some scrambled eggs and salsa. Gotta love breakfast burritos!

INGREDIENTS
2 lbs baby red potatoes, halved
2 c mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c olive oil
salt and pepper
8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/4 c parsley

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • In a large baking dish toss the potatoes and mushrooms in olive oil.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bake for 40 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Mix in the bacon and garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
  • Remove from oven and mix in parsley right before serving.
Dinners

Recipe—BBQ Bacon Wrapped Pork Chop with Grilled Onions

So the other day I realized that I had yet to post any grilling recipes. What have I been thinking!?! A good amount of the protein prepared in our household is done on our grill thanks to my hubby. Well to make up for a lack of bbq recipes I will give you one of my favorites. These pork chops wrapped in bacon are sure to get your taste buds going and are relatively easy to prepare. The two pork elements truly complement one another both flavor wise and visually. That delicious salty pig topped with the grilled onions saturated in bbq sauce, oohhhhh it is just so good! The bacon really helps to trap in all the juices so you end up with a moist and tender pork chop. Just be sure not to overcook them as pork chops can dry out quickly. This truly is a great grilling recipe to kick start the summer. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
8 strips thick sliced bacon
4 boneless pork loin chops, at least 1” thick
2 tsp McCormick Grill Mates bbq seasoning
1 c of your favorite bbq sauce  (I love Tony Roma’s Original with this recipe)
1 yellow onion
olive oil
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Wrap one edge of the pork chop with a strip of bacon and then wrap the other edge with a second piece so that the ends overlap.
  • Using a toothpick, secure the bacon where it overlaps by stabbing the toothpick through the bacon and into the chop.
  • Season both sides of the pork chop with bbq seasoning and then drizzle with half of the bbq sauce.
  • Preheat grill to 400º while meat marinades.
  • Cut your onion into 1/4” thick slices.
  • Using toothpicks spear each onion slice going through the layers. This will help keep the onion from falling apart on the grill.
  • Drizzle onion slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill pork chops and onions over direct heat for 10 minutes turning once.
  • Transfer the grilled onions to a large sheet of heavy foil and remove the toothpicks.
  • Top onions with remaining bbq sauce and fold the foil like an envelope leaving some air inside.
  • Place foil envelope on the grill and continue to cook it and the pork for an additional 10 minutes turning once more. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145º and onions should be nice and tender.
  • Remove toothpicks from pork chops and top with the grilled onions.

Appetizers

Recipe—Western Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

Recipe—Western Bacon Poppers

With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend I thought I would share one of my favorite finger food recipes. There are many variations of jalapeño poppers out there, but these are my favorite. They are absolutely evil and they are sure to start your Super Bowl party off with a bang. These are perfect balance of spicy, salty, and tangy. Make three times more than you think you will need, just trust me on that. Most people end up inhaling several. They really are that good.

Note: Poppers can be prepared a day ahead of time and kept in the fridge right before cooking if needed. These can also be finished off on the bbq instead of the oven to give them a nice smoky flavor.

INGREDIENTS:
5 jalapeños, seeded and deveined based on desired heat
5 slices (about 1/4” thick) of cheddar cheese cut in half lengthwise
5 slices of bacon cut in half
1/4 c of your favorite bbq sauce

STEPS:

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Place bacon in a large pyrex dish so that the slices do not overlap.
  • Pre-cook the bacon in the oven for 8 minutes flipping once halfway through. You do not want the pieces to be overcooked. They should still be partially raw and flexible so that you can easily wrap the slices around the poppers.
  • While the bacon is cooking, place a block of cheddar cheese in each jalapeño half. You may need to cut the cheddar block slightly shorter to fit within the pepper’s cavity. The pepper will fill in with the cheese once melted.
  • When all of the jalapeños are filled, and the bacon has cooled, wrap the half slice of bacon around each jalapeño. Secure the bacon with a toothpick if necessary.
  • Place wrapped poppers on a baking sheet and dab with bbq sauce.
  • Cook in the oven for 10–14 minutes or until bacon looks cooked through and cheese is melted and bubbly. If you want to give the bacon a little extra crisp turn on the broiler for a minute before removing from the oven.
  • Dab with additional bbq sauce before serving.