Bacon, Sweet Potato & Zuchinni Hash

Bacon Sweet Potato Zuchinni Hash

Bacon… you could make cardboard taste good.

Anyone who tells you they don’t like bacon is clearly lying… or not human. This little dish could replace an entree on those nights you’re wanting something a little lighter, but would also definitely make your entire meal that much better served as a side dish.

As for me? Ya know, I call it a snacky snack. A mid-afternoon bowl full of bacon goodness.

Or it could be breakfast… I mean – there’s bacon in it.

I’m so good at justifying these things, I should have been a lawyer.

Ingredients:
1 large sweet potato, cubed
2 zuchinni, cubed
1 yellow squash, cubed
2 strips bacon
grated parmesan cheese (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
In a large pot (a dutch oven if you have it), cook the bacon over medium-low heat, turning frequently, about 10 minutes. Once crispy, remove the bacon and set aside, and add all the vegetables (potato, zuchinni and squash). Season with salt & pepper and mix, coating the mixture with the bacon fat. Cover and cook over medium-low heat stirring occasionally, until potatoes are fork-soft (about 10-15 minutes).

Serve hot and crumble bacon over the top. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese just before serving, if desired.

Serves: 4
Time: 20 minutes


Thai Turkey Burgers

Thai Turkey Burger

I’m not sure what ingredients have to be used in order to consider something “Thai”… but this was the closest description I could think of for what I created here. Feel free to substitute the apricot jam for honey or another sweet element, or even throw in some grated carrots for extra flavor. I’ll certainly be making these again very soon! Not to mention, they went from prep to plate in about 15 minutes!

Ingredients:
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (any color)
1 green onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons apricot preserves (I used apricot pepper jelly!)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake (if using regular preserves)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt to taste

For burgers (optional toppings):
sesame seed buns
sliced radishes
dijon mustard
mayo
sliced avocado

Directions:
Mix all ingredients by hand in a medium bowl. Divide into 4 patties. Heat grill over medium heat and grill each side 5-6 minutes. Toast buns and garnish with radishes, mustard, mayo and sliced avocado if desired.


Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs

I rarely eat something I’ve made and say “I would not change a single thing,” but this was one of those rare moments. I would change NOTHING about these meatballs. They are simply perfect and everything you want and look for when you’re craving an Italian classic. Also, they are perfect for a week-night, since they come together very quickly and require very basic ingredients.

Ingredients:
1 small onion, grated
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 T ketchup
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup italian breadcrumbs
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 oz ground beef
6 oz ground veal
6 oz ground pork
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cups marinara (I used two large jars)
1 lb thin spaghetti pasta
fresh basil (optional)

Directions:
Mix all ingredients by hand in a large bowl, stopping at the olive oil. (Be careful not to overmix, as your meatballs will be tough.) Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium high heat and roll meat into 2-inch size balls. Brown on all sides (in batches if necessary), about 10-15 minutes. Add all meatballs back into the pot and pour in the marinara sauce. Stir to combine and let simmer on low heat, uncovered, 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions. Garnish servings with fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese if desired.

Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis “Family Style Dinners”


Mixed Berry Crisp

I love things that serve many purposes.

Berry Crisp

For example, a maternity dress I wore to a wedding last weekend. It can be worn like 7 different ways… halter, strapless, one shoulder, even as a skirt! Makes me feel all sorts of justified for the obscene price tag these maternity shops charge for a decent dress. You ladies feel me?

What all of you will totally appreciate is the fact that this is not just a dessert. This, my friends, serves as a dessert, a snack, AND a completely wholesome breakfast.

Oh yea, I said breakfast. With a big fat dollop of plain greek yogurt. It’s like fruit and granola on your yogurt – but way better. I think I will make this more often just to have a delicious breakfast hanging around in the fridge.

Don’t you love feeling resourceful? We are so smart.

Ingredients:
1 16 oz container fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 cups fresh blueberries
juice from half lemon or lime
1 T corn starch
1/8 cup sugar

Crisp topping:
1 cup whole rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil (room temperature or cooler)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix all fruit, lemon or lime juice, corn starch and sugar in a large bowl. Pour into 8×8 or 9×9 square glass dish. In a medium bowl, mix the crisp topping ingredients using your fingers to break up the coconut oil evenly. Sprinkle on top of fruit and bake for 30-40 minutes, until top is brown and fruit is bubbling. Top with vanilla ice cream (or yogurt once cooled) and enjoy!

Yields: 4-6 servings


BBQ Chicken Pizza

I’m so angry with myself.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve ever made this. I feel like I’ve wasted countless dinners on food more complicated and less tasty than this pizza. Why would I ever make anything else after this beautiful, perfect dish. And it was so easy! Like I still can’t believe something so easy can taste so good!

Go make this… like now. But just know it’ll make you angry too. But then you’ll be so happy you have this recipe, and your mouth will be full of awesomeness, and you’ll find yourself suddenly very happy. (Unless you think of all the times you’d wish you had this, then you’ll get angry again. It’s a cycle… and you’re not alone. We will get through this together, friends.)

Ingredients:
Uncooked pizza dough (can use store bought or make your own)
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
1 ear of roasted corn, kernels removed (roast on the grill prior)
1/2 roasted red bell pepper, chopped (roast on the grill prior)
handful sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (can use store bought rotisserie chicken as I did)
2 oz crumbled feta cheese (or more if you prefer)
handful fresh basil, chopped
cracked black pepper
drizzle olive oil
1/2 avocado, chopped

Directions:
Preheat a pizza stone on grill or in oven (450 degrees or higher). Stretch pizza dough on parchment paper and start assembling pizza. Start with BBQ sauce, and go all the way down the ingredient list, stopping just before avocado. Slide paper onto pizza stone and bake 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from grill or oven and add avocado to the top. Slice and enjoy!

Yield: 2-4 servings
Duration: 30 minutes


Goat Cheese Cake with Strawberries

Lemon Goat Cheese Cake

Cheese. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve never met one I didn’t like. Honest. I love mild cheeses like goat and feta, but also go wild for those stinky ones that slap you in the face and smell like dirty feet. Yep. I’m a cheese LOVER.

Goat cheese is one of those things where you either love it or hate it. I will say, I had about 8 guests over for dinner the other night, all of whom inhaled said goat cheese cake and claimed they really didn’t taste the typical tanginess of goat cheese in the cake itself.

Since my palate is all advanced and stuff, I disagree with their comments. I could still taste the goat cheese tang, which was DELICIOUS with the strawberries. But I tell you this so you don’t run away scared that if you don’t like goat cheese, then you won’t like this cake. That is simply false. I had no complaints from my guests! And not a crumb left on the plate!

I will also argue this dessert is lighter and healthier than typical cheesecakes. Goat cheese is simply lower in fat than cream cheese, and the lack of crust also cuts some calories. (Not that I’m ever thinking of that when it comes to cake… have you seen the desserts on my blog!? It’s called a treat for a reason people!)

Ingredients:

  • Butter spray oil for pan
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 12 ounces fresh soft goat cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 pints mixed strawberries or mixed berries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar for berries

Special Equipment:  9-inch-diameter springform pan

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray oil in springform pan and set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat goat cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks two at a time, beating to blend and scraping down sides of bowl between additions. Reduce speed to low, add flour, and mix just until blended.

Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Fold 1/4 of egg whites into goat cheese mixture just until blended; fold in remaining egg whites just until blended. Scrape into prepared pan and tap pan to level batter.

Bake cheesecake until top is set but still jiggles slightly in the center, 30–35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool in pan.

Run a thin knife around sides of pan; unmold cake. Mix berries with 2 T sugar and let macerate. Top cheesecake with berries and serve.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2013


Pimento Cheese You’ll Love (even if you hate pimento cheese)

Pimento Cheese

In the south, kids grow up with lunches made of pimento cheese sandwiches and moon pies. Am I right, y’all?

Not too long ago, my daddy said he was craving pimento cheese. And since I’m such a big shot home cook, I just couldn’t buy the pre-packaged kind. That is soooo below me.

So, a couple of things y’all need to know: 

1. If you don’t like pimento cheese, you will like this (for realz, just trust me – I’ve earned that much right?)

2. You will never, ever, ever, ever (channeling my inner Taylor Swift) buy pre-made from the store again. Why? Not just because it’s that good, but because pimento cheese is the easiest thing to make in the whole wide world. Okay – not including PB & J’s. But you get my point.

I like serving this spread with pita crackers – but feel free to use whatever cracker you prefer. I’ve also stuffed this in cherry tomatoes for pretty presentation and bite-sized nibbles. I also fancy it on bread, broiled in the oven for a few minutes until melty and gooey. You feel me?

Dig in y’all.

Ingredients:

4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (do not use pre-shredded kind, it’s too dry! must be grated by hand)

1/2 white onion, grated

1 jar of diced pimentos (7 oz.), drained

1/4 cup mayonnaise, plus a little more if you want

few dashes hot sauce

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until blended. I like to store mine in canning jars in the fridge. Spread will keep for 10-14 days I think – but it usually doesn’t stay around that long!

Yields: about 4 cups pimento cheese spread


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 79 other followers