Tag Archives: bacon

Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic

24 Mar
Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic

Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic

You’d think being unemployed would have all kinds of perks, like lots of free time for cooking and blogging, right? Long story short, that is not the case, so my quest for easy and delicious dinners remains the same.

Here’s one I made a few weeks ago I had waiting in the wings (thank goodness because my spare time has been minimal) that is chock full of flavor and spice! This hearty soup was one of those welcome, warming dinners on a cold and dreary evening. I hope you think so too.

Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic

8 ounces dried black beans, soaked overnight (or sub two cans)
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled, tips removed
Olive oil for garlic
1 tablespoon bacon grease or olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
4 ounces ground spicy Italian sausage
1 chipotle in Adobo sauce, minced plus one tablespoon of the sauce
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups ham or chicken stock
1 14.5 ounce can tomatoes with liquid (I used my homemade canned tomatoes)
1 tablespoon dry sherry or apple cider vinegar
Salt, to taste
Lime wedges, cilantro, sour cream, for garnish

Garlic Ready for Roasting

Garlic Ready for Roasting

Drain and rinse beans (dried or canned) and set aside. Nestle cloves of garlic cut tips up in aluminum foil and drizzle olive oil over top. Wrap tightly and place in 350-degree toaster oven (or oven) for 25 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the tablespoon bacon grease or olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and ground sausage, stirring until sausage is cooked through. Drain any grease, if necessary. Stir in the chipotle and sauce, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper until combined and fragrant.

Sausage and Veggie Mixture

Sausage and Veggie Mixture

Pour in the stock, then squeeze the cloves of roasted garlic out of their skins into the soup. Now add the beans. Bring up to a boil, then turn down and simmer until the beans are cooked through. For dried beans, this could take an hour or more depending on how old the beans are. Canned beans are ready when heated through.

Pureed Tomatoes

Pureed Tomatoes

Puree the tomatoes with liquid in a container using an immersion blender stick, or a blender or food processor. (I used my new Cuisinart stick!) Once the beans are tender, pour in the tomatoes and sherry or vinegar. Taste for salt, and add if necessary.

Puree about half the soup using an immersion stick, or add to blender or food processor in batches. I like mine a bit chunky. Once soup has warmed through again, serve immediately and pass with lime wedges, cilantro, and sour cream.

Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic

Spicy Black Bean and Sausage Soup with Roasted Garlic

 

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The Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

19 Feb
Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

Hey wait a minute! Don’t click away just yet! I know the word Campbell’s and Experiment in the same line might lead you to run away in culinary terror, but this was a mission. A mission to replicate this red and white childhood favorite can of good ole’ American soup without all the nasties in it. Well, as many as I possibly could without compromising the original goal. I kind of crack myself up, as the tomato soup’s goal last week was to NOT taste like the canned version. No wonder my husband never understands me.

If you look up recipes for “copycat” Campbell’s bean with bacon soup, you will find in the recipe comments that many readers say it didn’t taste anything like the soup in the can. Then if you look at the ingredients they used, then the ingredients on the can, it’s no wonder.

Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup Ingredients

Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Ingredients

I printed out the ingredients label and studied it to come up with a reasonable facsimile. Besides water, pea beans is the first ingredient. According to Wikipidia: “in the USA the name ‘pea bean’ is also used to describe small white common beans.” Well the beans from my local bulk food store section seemed to fit this perfectly, as the name on the bin was “small white beans.”

Tomato puree was a no-brainer, I used tomato paste and water. Bacon and carrots? Yep, I can do that. I skipped over all the unknown and nasty stuff, and then saw dehydrated onions. I had a whole spice jar of those! Most other recipes used fresh onion, in addition to celery and garlic. As much as I wanted to use all of those, I had to stick to my guns on this one.

Another thing unique to the canned variety is that the carrots and bacon are just wee bits in the soup, not huge chunks.

campbellscondensed-bean-with-bacon1

With that in mind, I pulsed both the carrots

Minced Carrots

Minced Carrots

and bacon into minced bits in my Ninja processor before cooking together. I didn’t bother rinsing the Ninja before adding the bacon.

Minced Bacon

Minced Bacon

Sugar is also mentioned twice, so decided to some add brown sugar too, but not too much.

My last dilemma was yeast extract (Marmite anyone?) and natural smoke flavoring. A bit of googling told me that soy sauce has the same umami and flavor profile as yeast extract. My bottle of liquid smoke wasn’t as “natural” in ingredients as I would have desired, but it was Stubb’s so I gave myself a pass on that. I left those out until all the other ingredients had a chance to meld in the slow cooker all day, then would do a taste test. Plus bacon has a smoky flavor, and I used ham stock instead of water, which also has a smoky flavoring. Time would tell.

The Results? Drum roll please…

Close — VERY close! The texture was not quite right as I should have removed some beans before pureeing the soup, but I was so excited to use my new immersion blender that I totally bypassed that step.

But when you crunchle in a bunch of saltine crackers, the texture doesn’t matter much at that point because the soup is Mmm, Mmm, Good!

Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

1 pound small dried white beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
1 cup finely minced carrots
6 slices bacon, finely minced
2 tablespoons dehydrated minced onion
3 tablespoons tomato paste plus one cup water
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
4 cups homemade ham stock, or water
Low-sodium soy sauce, to taste
Stubb’s liquid smoke (or other brand), to taste

Cook the minced carrots and bacon together in a skillet over medium heat until the bacon starts to crisp, about 15 minutes. It kind of freaked me out because the bacon fat never really released, did the carrots soak it up? At this point add the minced onion then cook for a few more minutes, stirring.

Dehydrated Onion Added to Mixture

Dehydrated Onion Added to Mixture

Once the onions look fairly hydrated, add the tomato paste and water, plus the brown sugar and stir to combine.

Tomato Paste Added

Tomato Paste Added

Pour the mixture (which vaguely resembles baby food) into a large slow cooker, then add the ham stock or water, and beans. Stir to combine then cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours, or high on 4 to 6 hours until the beans are tender. Add additional water as needed. At this point the bacon grease did release, which I removed from the top. It was only about 2 tablespoons.

Soup Before Pureeing

Soup Before Pureeing

Using an immersion blender, puree about half the soup. You can also do this in batches in a blender.  For a really smooth consistency for the base, remove some of the beans before pureeing, then add them back in.

At this point I did a taste test. It still needed some smoky flavoring, so alternated a few dashes at a time between soy sauce and liquid smoke. I stirred and tasted, ate a saltine cracker in between, until I found the right balance. Use caution with liquid smoke, as it is very strong. I might have added one drop too much.

Serve hot in bowls, with lots of saltine crackers on the side. I assembled a quick Caesar salad on the side since this was our dinner. If anyone makes this, please let me know what you think. Did this even come close to your expectations?

Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Braised Chicken Wings in Garlic and Sherry

24 Dec
Braised Chicken Wings in Garlic and Sherry

Braised Chicken Wings in Garlic and Sherry

‘Tis the season to be jolly! I scored big on some extra-large chicken wings in the half-price bin, and set out on a mission to find a method to cook them that did not involve Frank’s or BBQ sauce. Much to my delight, I stumbled upon a recipe made by a fellow foodie blogger I follow! Lea Ann over at Cooking on the Ranch shared her recipe for this earlier in the year, which was adapted from Saveur magazine. The back story behind this chicken is a delight to read, so click on over if you are so inclined —> Delores’s Broken-Hearted Chicken.

This chicken and sauce is no-lie finger-licking good! The hubs and I devoured this along with some rice pilaf and baby brussels sprouts, and sopped up the juices with some crusty garlic bread. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas or whatever holiday you may celebrate this time of year, and a delightful Festivus for the rest of us!

Braised Chicken Wings in Garlic and Sherry
Adapted from Saveur

2 pounds extra-large chicken wings, or small chicken cut into pieces
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1⁄2 cup flour put in bowl or on plate
2 slices thick-cut bacon, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
1⁄2 cup dry sherry
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄4″ cubes
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley, optional, for garnish
Crusty bread, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour; set aside. Cook the chopped bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until the fat renders, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.

Browning the Chicken Wings

Browning the Chicken Wings

Add oil to skillet with the bacon grease, and working in 2 batches, add chicken, and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Cooking the Garlic

Cooking the Garlic

Add garlic to the skillet and cook until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn! Add stock and sherry, deglazing the pan with a wooden spoon to scrape up the crispy bits. Place chicken skin-side down in a roasting pan and pour the skillet juices over the chicken.

Roasted Chicken Ready to Finish Off

Roasted Chicken Ready to Finish Off

Place chicken in oven, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip chicken with tongs to skin-side up, then sprinkle with reserved bacon and dot with butter. Baste the chicken a couple of times until cooked through and skin is crispy, about 20 more minutes. Serve with crusty bread for sopping up the delicious juices.

Braised Chicken Wings in Garlic and Sherry

Braised Chicken Wings in Garlic and Sherry

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Sous Vide (Sorta) Beef Bourguignon

26 Nov
Sous Vide Beef Bourguignon

Sous Vide Beef Bourguignon

I say “sorta” because I only cooked about half the ingredients via the sous vide method, as I was concerned my gallon zip-lock baggie would not hold it all. This also turned out to be an accidental birthday dinner for my husband, as when I started the process 24-hours earlier it hadn’t dawned on me I’d be serving it the night before his birthday.

Don’t have a sous vide machine? No worries, you can make this on the stove top in a Dutch oven. Simply cover and simmer for about 2 1/2 hours until beef is tender.

This made an elegant dinner, with beautiful rich flavors and fork-tender beef. I served this over a cauliflower puree, but it can also be served over mashed potatoes or noodles.

Sous Vide Beef Bourguignon

1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil, plus more if needed
4 slices thick-cut bacon (reserve 1 tablespoon grease)
1 1/4 pounds stew meat (chuck beef) cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons flour, divided
2 carrots
2 thick slices from a large sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 bottle of good dry red wine, such as Burgundy or Pinot Noir
1 cup beef broth, homemade or low sodium
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
8 ounces baby bella (or cremini) mushrooms, sliced if large
8 ounces thawed frozen pearl onions
4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided

The Main Players

The Main Players

Set your sous vide in a large pot of water to 149 degrees F (65 C).

Cut the bacon into lardons and cook in the oil in a Dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon to paper towels to cool. Reserve one tablespoon of grease and refrigerate it.

Browning the Beef

Browning the Beef

Dry the beef with paper towels and season with salt and pepper and toss with 2 tablespoons of flour to coat. In the same pot with the remaining hot bacon grease, cook the beef in batches until browned on all sides. Add the beef and bacon to a 1-gallon zip-lock bag.

Peel the carrots and cut into cross-wise slices and slice the thick onion slices in half. Cook in the remaining oil in the pot (add more if needed) for about 10 minutes, then add the minced garlic and cook for about a minute more. Add the vegetables to the bag.

Veggies and Beef in Bag

Veggies and Beef in Bag

Deglaze the pot with the red wine, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add the beef broth and tomato paste, stir to combine, then reduce heat and simmer until reduced a quarter in volume, about 15 minutes.

Add the wine mixture, the thyme sprigs, and bay leaf to the bag. Seal using the water immersion technique, add to the sous vide pot and clip it to the side. Cover the water bath with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation. Sous vide for 24 hours.

Sous Vide

Sous Vide!!

After 24 hours, melt 2 tablespoons of butter plus the one tablespoon of reserved bacon grease to a Dutch oven. Saute the mushrooms until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the thawed pearl onions and cook for an additional five minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Baby Bellas and Pearl Onions

Baby Bellas and Pearl Onions

Melt two or more tablespoons of butter and add 2 tablespoons flour and whisk until it forms a paste. Remove bag from sous vide pot and carefully pour the liquid from the bag into the pot. Bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking constantly until sauce is thickened.

Beef Bourguignon Ready to Serve

Beef Bourguignon Ready to Serve

Add the mushrooms and onions and the rest of the contents of the bag to the pot and stir to combine. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Serve over cauliflower puree, mashed potatoes, or noodles. Bon Appétit!

Sous Vide Beef Bourguignon

Sous Vide Beef Bourguignon

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

9 Jul
Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

“This is a keeper!”

Those were pretty much the first words out of hubby’s mouth after finishing the meal. I must admit this is pretty damned good, too. In my usual frugal manner, I had picked up some super-thin cut pork loins in the 50% off bin and was randomly searching the interwebz and Pinterest what to make with them and Voila! Not only did bacon and mushroom gravy catch my eye, but so did the unusual name.

Jager (properly spelled Jäger in German) loosely means hunter, named after the German military term for rifle-armed infantry. In short, “hunter’s cutlet” and the dish was originally made with thinly pounded venison or wild boar backstrap. In the U.S., it is typically made with pork.

If you do not pour sauce over all the cutlets, then the schnitzels reheat beautifully with a light spray of oil in the toaster oven. The meal is typically served with spaetzle or noodles, but I served Brussels sprouts instead. Hey, that’s close to Germany! This isn’t the quickest dinner to make in the book, but it is so very worth the time. It took me about an hour and a half but if you have all your ducks in a row (i.e. prep everything ahead of time) then you could probably make it in an hour. Guten Appetit!

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon
Adapted from Guy Fieri and The Food Network

1 1/4 pounds thin-cut pork loin (or pounded thin)
3/4 cup flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt or Mrs. Dash
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
3/4 cup crushed unsalted crackers
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3 slices thick-cut bacon, diced (1 more if thin-cut)
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup red wine
Olive oil, for frying
2 cups beef stock, homemade or high-quality store-bought
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Schnitzel Ingredients

Schnitzel Ingredients ~ I am not ashamed to use paper plates to use less dishes

If your pork slices are not already thin, pound them thin until 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Trim the fat off the pork edges. On a plate, mix together 1/2 cup flour with salt, pepper, garlic and paprika. In a bowl, combine egg, milk and mustard. On another plate, combine crushed crackers and panko.

Breaded Cutlets

Breaded Cutlets

Dredge pork slices first in flour, then in egg wash, then in the crumbs. Set on a cooling rack above a sheet pan and place in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

In a cast iron skillet (or other heavy pan), cook the bacon until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Frying Bacon

Frying Bacon ~ And yes I did cook this entire meal on our grill propane burner outdoors!

In the same skillet with the bacon grease, add the onions and saute for several minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for about five more minutes until the mushrooms have browned.

Shrooms and Onions

Shrooms and Onions

Stir in 1/4 cup flour and continue stirring until you have a light brown roux. Add the wine and cook for a few more minutes until it’s reduced by 1/3, then add the beef stock. Continue cooking to reduce by 1/3 again. Season with salt and pepper then keep warm on low.

Mushroom Gravy

Mushroom Gravy ~ Not my best shot…

Heat 1/4-inch oil in another cast iron skillet (or heavy pan) until it bubbles when you insert a wooden chopstick to the bottom. In batches, cook pork evenly on both sides, about five minutes for the first side, several more minutes for the second.

Fried Schnitzels

Fried Schnitzels

Remove to a platter and continue cooking until all cutlets are done. Add butter to sauce, stirring until it has melted. To serve, cover pork with sauce and garnish with chopped bacon and fresh parsley.

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Guest Post: Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes

10 Jun
Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes

Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes

I am so very delighted to share a guest post with you for Cheryl “Cheffie Cooks” Wiser while she’s on a much-needed vacation with her family overseas. I affectionately call her “CCC” for short so she in turn calls me KR. She is an amazing cook and “whips up” some outstanding healthy dinners to feed her five children and husband, all the while managing nine (yes, you read that right) blogs! Her recipes focus on healthy non-fried foods with lots of fresh seafood, meats, vegetables, and fruit. She has a lemon and lime orchard on her property, so one of her blogs focuses on all thing citrusy. I’ve only been a follower of her blog(s) for a few months, but we became fast interwebz friends so I am honored to guest post for her.

I wanted to share something that she would enjoy cooking for her family, which meant it had to be fresh, quick, and easy (and also include citrus!). So I chose my Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes, which I found in my archives when I was looking for a side dish to serve with some Cilantro Lime grilled chicken. The original recipe is from almost three years ago, so I’ve updated it to include a handy-dandy printable PDF! Note that this is not really that spicy, as the spice is very tempered by the lime juice.

So without further adieu:

Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes
Adapted from Southwest Corn Skillet with Chili and Lime from Barefeet in the Kitchen

1 tablespoon butter
4 ears of fresh sweet corn, kernels removed from the cob
Lots of ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika (or regular paprika)
1/4 teaspoon New Mexico red chile powder (or regular chili powder)
3 strips of bacon, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
Juice of 1/2 lime

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the rest of the ingredients except the tomatoes and lime juice and stir to heat through, about five minutes. Add the tomatoes and lime juice and toss to combine. Remove from skillet and serve immediately with your meal. Easy and delicious!

Note: You can omit the bacon if you want.

P.S. I hope you are having a FANTASTIC vacation CCC! xoxo

P.S.S. She has almost 1500 recipes posted on Tasty Kitchen! I haven’t quite mastered the search method over there to get you to all of hers, but you can find many of them with this link —> here.

Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes

Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Coq Au Vin ~ Rare Recipe Challenge

24 Jan
Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine)

I recently joined in with a group of fun foodie blogger to participate in a recipe challenge. Lina over at Lin’s Recipes “challenged” us to choose from a list of exotic recipes from around the world we had never made before so that we could all expand our food horizon’s beyond our own country. I read through the list then sheepishly asked if I could use a post from a couple of years ago, because hey, at that time it WAS new to me! She graciously agreed. Thank you Lina!
Rare Recipe Challenge

Head on over to the Rare Recipe Challenge to see what others have made!  The cooks have a week to add their entry, so check back often to see new recipes added throughout the week.

Thank you Lina for creating this fun challenge for the month of January (new year, new recipes!), and a great big thanks to Jhuls for judging the entries. She can be found over at thenotsocreativecook.wordpress.com .

So without further adieu, I bring to you my story of cooking the French dish Coq au Vin!

__________________________________________________

After feeding our foreign exchange student a healthy (or unhealthy you might say) dose of American food, I decided to surprise her one night with a traditional French dish. She walked into the kitchen and I motioned her over to the crock pot. I lifted the lid and said, “Tah Da! I made you Coq au Vin!” She had a very puzzled look on her face. I said it again nice and slow, like this: “COKE UHH VEEEEEN.” Blank look. “You know, chicken in wine!”

“Ohhhh, yes, yes. It’s Coh ah Vah,” she replied. There is barely a hint of the k and n sound, but I could not seem to quite get that part right and we had a few giggles at my poor attempts. So after I thoroughly corrupted the French pronunciation, I was hoping I didn’t do the same to the meal. For one, I couldn’t find a true Burgundy wine at the store, so settled on a Pinot Noir. I also knew my daughter wouldn’t eat the mushrooms in it, so added some baby carrots. I did, however, ask Caroline what the French typically served the dish over — potatoes or noodles? She said potatoes, so then I asked her if they were boiled or mashed? Another puzzled look from her then had me pantomiming round circles for boiled and banging my fist on the table to simulate mashing. Ahh, the second one, mashed potatoes!

Browning the Chicken

Browning the Chicken

After her bowl was filled twice and mopped dry with thick slices of French bread, I can say that the meal was a success! This dish is typically made with skin-on chicken thighs and legs, but all I had were large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. So I lopped them in half, and hoped they wouldn’t come out too dry. I think using a slow cooker helped retain some of the juiciness but I think next time I would cook them only about 3 hours on high instead of 4 hours. But I was very satisfied with the results, and now I know how to properly pronounce this lovely meal even if I can’t actually say it right.

Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine)

4 slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken, skin on or skinless
1/4 cup flour, divided
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
8 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed
8 ounces small button mushrooms
2 cups whole baby carrots
1 1/2 cups red wine
1/2 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Fresh parsley, chopped
Mashed potatoes and French bread, for serving

Vegetable Medley

Vegetable Medley

Cook the bacon in a large skillet, remove from heat, and drain bacon on paper towels. Leave about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease in the skillet, or if you used lean bacon then add some vegetable oil to make up for it. Season the chicken with pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste. Dust the chicken pieces with 1/8 cup flour, reserving the rest, and add the chicken to the skillet over medium high heat. Brown the chicken for several minutes on each side. Remove and set aside on a plate.

Chicken Vegetables and Bacon

Chicken, Vegetables, and Bacon

Add the tablespoon of oil to the skillet over medium heat, stir in the rest of the flour, then add in the pearl onions and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, add the baby carrots, then return skillet to heat. Deglaze the pan with the wine and chicken broth, scraping up all the yummy brown bits.

Wine Mixture

Wine Mixture

Whisk in the tomato paste, garlic, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves. Cook and stir for about 5 more minutes and turn off heat. Place the chicken over the vegetables in the crock pot, add the bacon on top, then pour the wine mixture over all. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, or low 6 to 8 hours.

Coq au Vin Ready to Cook

Coq au Vin Ready to Cook

Make your mashed potatoes in the last half hour or so of cooking and keep over low heat until ready to serve. Spoon mashed potatoes into bowls, top with the chicken and vegetables plus juices, and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Have lots of thick-sliced French bread for sopping up all the savory juices. Enjoy!

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine)

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Kale, Lentil, and Bacon Soup

25 Jan
Kale Lentil and Bacon Soup

Kale Lentil and Bacon Soup

Did I ever mention I love soup? Oh, yes, probably a hundred times by now. I am an avid reader of the Food52 website, and when I saw this soup offered up to test for one of their recipe contests, I immediately signed up to be a tester. Kale, lentils, and bacon? What’s not to love?

Paired with my super-yummy golden homemade chicken broth and a nice big splash of dry sherry makes this such an easy, but VERY tasty and filling soup. Don’t forget some thick slices of crusty bread to sop up every last bit of tastiness in your bowl.

I slightly adapted this by baking the bacon, and then using some of the clear, rendered bacon grease in lieu of olive oil for added flavor. And make sure you use the Puy (French Green) lentils, as they hold up well in a soup and don’t get mushy at all. I found these in the bulk section at Whole Foods Market.

Kale, Lentil, and Bacon Soup
Adapted from Anna May’s Recipe for Kale, Lentil and Bacon Soup @ Food52.com website

4 slices bacon
1 tablespoon rendered bacon grease
3/4 cup chopped
onion
1 large splash dry sherry
4 to 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 bunch Lacinato
kale, woody stems removed and chopped
1
sprig of thyme, leaves picked
3/4 cup Puy (French Green) lentils

Baked Bacon

Baked Bacon

Bake the bacon on a rack in a 400-degree preheated oven for 25 or so minutes until done. (I cooked the entire package and saved the rest for breakfast the next day.) Add 1 tablespoon of the rendered bacon grease to a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.

Rendered Bacon Grease

Rendered Bacon Grease

Saute the onions for several minutes until translucent. Break up the bacon and add it and the lentils to the pot, then pour in a nice glug of the dry sherry.

Cooking the Lentils and Onions

Cooking the Lentils and Onions

Let it sizzle briefly then pour in the chicken or vegetable broth. Bring up to a boil, then turn down and simmer until the lentils are done, about 40 minutes.

Wilting the Kale

Wilting the Kale

Stir in the kale and thyme leaves and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until the kale is wilted and tender. Serve in bowls with crusty bread.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Potato and Spinach Soup with Bacon and Jalapeño

3 Jan
Potato and Spinach Soup with Bacon and Jalapeño

Potato and Spinach Soup with Bacon and Jalapeño

When I served this soup to my husband for dinner last week, he exclaimed “What is this? You are serving me Klingon Grog!” in some strange accent that certainly wasn’t Klingon. I was pretty sure it was Klingon blood that is green, not their grog, but I just laughed him off and told him to eat his soup. (After further research, it turns out they do have a green grog, but their main drink is blood red. I digress…)

We were in the midst of a pretty crazy snowstorm that dumped almost 8 inches on us (we were supposed to only get one inch, but it just kept coming!) so I had to make do with what we had on hand for dinner. I had some potatoes, a half-pound bag of frozen spinach, and a half of a fresh jalepeño left from making Carne Guisada the day before.

After a little Googling, I found this amazing recipe for soup with those ingredients. It also called for bacon, and much to my surprise I found three frozen uncooked strips in the freezer. Wow, that made my day.

I halved the recipe, since there are only three of us, but this can easily be doubled. Yes, this is a vibrant green soup, but it is delicious, filling, and even guest-worthy. And you only get a very mild taste of jalapeño, with no spiciness at all that I could tell. The jalapeño gave it an added depth of taste. It would also be a great first course when entertaining dinner guests, plus it is very easy to make with few ingredients.

Potato and Spinach Soup with Bacon and Jalapeño
Adapted from The Nourished Kitchen cookbook

3 strips bacon, diced
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon reserved bacon grease
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 large jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 pound potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 to 6 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces fresh or frozen spinach, thawed
Sour cream, for serving

Prepping the Veggies

Prepping the Veggies

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or stockpot until browned and crispy. Remove, drain on paper towels and set aside. Drain all but about one teaspoon of the grease from the pot. Add 1 teaspoon of butter, then stir in the onion and jalapeño and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potato chunks, then give it a good mix.

Veggies Ready for Chicken Broth

Veggies Ready for Chicken Broth

Pour in the chicken broth, cover, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through all the way. Stir in the spinach and bacon (reserving some bacon for garnish), and simmer another 5 minutes. (If using fresh spinach, simmer until it wilts.)

Simmering Soup

Simmering Soup

Puree the soup with an immersion blender (I don’t have one) or in batches in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Serve the soup with a dollop of sour cream and bacon pieces as additional garnish. You may salt to taste at this point, but the bacon and sour cream made it plenty salty for our tastes.

Now I just have to show you lame attempt at making pretty swirlies with the sour cream. Luckily I reserved extra bacon in case this didn’t work out. Obviously it didn’t. It looks like some kind of morph between a snail and a beetle! I’m afraid food styling is not my biggest strength as a food blogger. 😀

Sour Cream Garnish FAIL

Sour Cream Garnish FAIL

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Memorial Day Menu Ideas

23 May
American Flags for Memorial Day

American Flags for Memorial Day~ photo courtesy of Peter Griffin ~ Link below to image

Photo courtesy of Peter Griffin

We’ll be out of town this Memorial Weekend for a special birthday present concert for our daughter. So instead of a new recipe I thought I’d share some past recipes for mains and sides you can grill or prepare over this very special weekend. Please don’t forget to think about and thank the families of fallen soldiers this weekend and Monday, and attending a Memorial Parade or visiting a veteran’s grave would make it very special!

Memorial Day Menu Ideas

(Click on photos to go to recipe. I apologize but my older posts don’t have the handy-dandy printable PDFs with them…)

Fajita Bar Party

Why not throw a Fajita Bar Party? Prep in advance and enjoy a stress-free gathering! 10-minute grill time and guests can build their own fajitas.

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

 Grilled Foil Packets

Here are a couple of foil packet ideas that can be mixed and matched! One of our favorite go-to grilling recipes.

Grilled Sausage and Vegetables in Foil Packet

Grilled Sausage and Vegetables Foil Packet

Grilled Sausage and Vegetables Foil Packet

 Grilled Turkey Sausage, Broccoli, and Cauliflower Foil Packets

Foil Packets Ready to Close and Grill

Foil Packets Ready to Close and Grill

 Pepperoni Pasta Salad

This is my top-viewed and pinned post, with over 25,000 views to date. WOW! (I must admit it is delicious, and feeds a crowd!)

Pepperoni Pasta Salad

Pepperoni Pasta Salad

New Potato Salad with Lemon, Dill, and Chives (No Mayo)

You’ll want to double or triple this if feeding more than four. A sure crowd-pleaser and is not as temperature-sensitive to sit out for awhile since there is no mayo in it!

New Potato Salad with Lemon, Dill, and Chives

New Potato Salad with Lemon, Dill, and Chives

Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes and Bacon

Fresh corn on the cob cut off and cooked up quickly with some yummy seasonings, tomatoes, and bacon! Bacon optional, but why not? (Just sayin’…) AND, if your grill isn’t already in use, why not grill up that corn then throw in the skillet? Ohhh, I have to do that…

Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes

Spicy Skillet Corn with Tomatoes and Bacon

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