Fruity Orzo Salad

8 06 2015

Saw this fruity salad idea in my latest Rachael Ray Mag and had to give it a try! It’s pretty versatile too, you can switch up the pasta, the fruit and the herbs – perfect for quick summer meals!

Fruity Orzo Salad

Fruity Orzo Salad

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray):

  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 4-5 strips of thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Golden balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 nectarine, chopped
  • 1/2 cup drained mozzarella pearls (small, fresh mozzarella balls)
  • 1/4 cup sliced chives or basil
  • Zest of half a lemon

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook orzo to al dente according to package directions. Drain, cool and set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook chopped bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to dry.

In a medium bowl, whisk together some vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Next add the cooled orzo, the chopped nectarine, mozzarella balls, chives (or basil) and lemon zest. Toss everything to coat in the dressing. Taste and adjust vinegar, oil and/or seasoning if needed. Add in the bacon and toss to coat.

Serve salad with a protein of your choice. Pictured here is a salmon burger.

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Butternut Squash Penne With Bacon, Corn and Sauteed Broccoli Greens

6 10 2014

I can’t help but feel like I knocked dinner out of the park tonight with this luscious, Alfredo-like pasta dish that’s healthy to boot! I didn’t use cream, butter or flour – but still achieved the rich and silky consistency we’ve all come to love from Alfredo, thanks to roasted butternut squash puree. I recommend making the puree over the weekend (it’s super easy, just will take an hour or so)…this way you can whip this meal faster during a busy weeknight.

Butternut Squash Penne With Bacon, Corn and Sauteed Broccoli Greens

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • Olive oil
  • 8 strips of bacon, diced
  • Chopped broccoli greens from 1-2 heads of broccoli (alternatively, you could also use kale, about 1.5 cups worth or so)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 13 oz whole wheat penne or fettuccine pasta
  • 2 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut off the cobs
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry Marsala
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim, while the original recipe called for heavy cream – use what you have)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts like walnuts or hazelnuts
  • Grated parmesan
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet or casserole dish with foil. Lightly coat the squash halves with olive oil on both sides. Place squash, flesh side down on pan. Add 1 cup of water to the pan. Bake squash until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scoop flesh from the squash and puree in a Vitamix or blender, discard the skin. At this point you can cover and store the puree in the fridge until you’re ready to make this meal.

In a large non-stick skillet, cook bacon until crisp and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Discard most of the bacon grease, but leave a little in your skillet. Add the broccoli greens or kale and saute until wilted a few minutes. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Remove to paper towel lined plate.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season liberally with salt. Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions, cooking to al dente. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the corn kernels. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then strain pasta and corn.

To the skillet you used to cook the bacon and greens in, add a Tbsp or so of olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add shallots and cool until soft, a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze skillet with Marsala and cook until nearly evaporated.

Stir in squash puree (about 2 cups worth, but no worries if you have a little less – the sauce will still be great). Next add the milk and broth, stir to combine and season with salt to taste.

Stir in the pasta and corn, along with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Add a little at first, then more as needed to reach your desired sauce consistency. Toss the pasta and corn with the sauce over heat for a minute or two. Add sautéed greens and most of the bacon, reserving a little for garnish, and toss well. If your sauce seems a little loose, remove from the heat and allow it to sit for a few minutes which will thicken it up.

To serve, dish out the pasta and garnish with toasted nuts, parmesan, parsley and black pepper to taste.





Bacon, Onion and Apple Pizza

27 09 2014

This easy bacon pie came about after I saw an idea in Food Network Magazine for ham and apple pizza, as I desperate continue to try to use up all the apples from our CSA share. I used the bacon grease to help cook some of the ingredients, which imparted extra flavor as well. Not something I typically do. But my grandma used to save and use bacon grease to cook nearly everything, so I thought, why not be like her! Of course I used a paper-towel lined plate to soak up some of the drippings after the fact, helping the pizza be not too greasy in the end.

Bacon, Onion and Apple Pizza

The following serves 2-3 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat with inspiration from Food Network Magazine):

  • 1 package refrigerated whole wheat pizza dough
  • 4-6 slices thick-cut smoked pork bacon, diced
  • Half an onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • Grated cheese – use whatever you like, I used a combo of mozzarella and cheddar
  • Green onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large saute pan, cook diced bacon over medium-high heat until crispy (or done to your liking). Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

Roll out refrigerated dough onto a pizza stone in a thin layer either in the shape of a circle or rectangle. Brush a little of the bacon grease onto the rolled out pizza dough using a pastry brush. Bake pizza crust for about 7-10 minutes.

Meanwhile to the bacon grease, add the sliced onion and cook over medium a few minutes until the onion softens. Using tongs, remove to paper-towel lined plate. Finally, add the apple to the warm bacon grease and toss quickly. Using tongs and remove to paper-towel lined plate.

Once the crust has cooked through a little, remove the pizza dough from the oven. Top with some cheese (I did mozzarella first), then add your bacon, onion and apple slices – spreading out evenly on the pizza. Top with more cheese – I used sharp cheddar for the top. Return pizza to the oven and bake another 15 minutes or so, until the pizza is cooked through and the top is golden.

Remove the pizza from the oven and garnish with chopped green onions before serving.





Chipotle Crab, Corn and Bacon Bisque

15 09 2014

It’s really felt like fall around CLE this past week. The crisp air was calling for a bisque or chowder, especially after we ended up with corn and thick-cut bacon from our Fresh Fork Market share. This bisque features sweet crab and corn paired with the smokey flavors of chipotle and bacon. So delicious and comforting, and perfect for enjoying on a cool Saturday night. Make the whole batch and dive into the leftovers throughout the week!

Chipotle Crab, Corn and Bacon Bisque

The following serves 6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat with inspiration from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 slices thick-cut smoked pork bacon, diced
  • 6 corn cobs (if you can, use leftover grilled corn cobs)
  • 4 cups skim milk (I use skim milk for a healthier option, but for a richer flavor you can use cream or whole milk instead)
  • 3 cups reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 small white or candy onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-2 chipotle in adobo
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • Corn from 4 corn cobs
  • 16 oz wild caught crab meat, drained
  • Chopped cilantro

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat and add diced bacon. Cook bacon until crisp, stirring often. Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

To the bacon drippings, add the onion, celery and carrots and saute veggies for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add 6 corn cobs (kernels removed) to a large pot and cover with milk and chicken stock. (When I make grilled corn, I’ll cut the corn off the cob after it’s grilled and then freeze the cobs to use in soups like this later. You could of course use fresh corn instead). Heat over medium and bring to a low simmer, then reduce heat to low for about 20-25 minutes to infuse the flavor of the cobs into the liquid. Remove cobs from the liquid and discard.

Add the minced garlic and salt to taste to your sautéed veggies and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Next add the tomato paste and chipotle in adobo (add the whole chipotle, 1 for less heat 2 for more heat). Cook for a minute or so, stirring everything together. Next add the flour, stir to combine, and cook for another minute (use 1/3 cup for a slightly thicker consistency if you’d like).

Deglaze with the wine, whisking to combine. Cook until the wine is nearly evaporated and gets nice and thick. Next whisk in the warmed milk and stock, along with the sherry. Simmer on low until it starts to bubble, stirring occasionally. Season with salt to taste.

Remove from the heat and puree until smooth using an immersion blender. Turn the heat back onto low and add the corn (to cut the corn off the cobs, put a small bowl upside down inside a large bowl, stand the corn straight up and from the top to the bottom, cut the corn off the cob using a large knife – the large bowl will collect the kernels). Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with salt if needed. Fold in the crab gently just before serving.

Serve bisque garnished with crisp bacon and chopped cilantro.





Mini Phyllo Cup Bacon Cheese Balls

18 08 2014

I saw these fun little cheese balls in this year’s bacon issue of Food Network Magazine. I thought they were so cute and great for serving at a party, but didn’t want people to worry about having to spread them on something. So I came up with the idea to pop them in a mini phyllo cup and poof….the perfect individual appetizer, no utensils required!

Mini Phyllo Cup Bacon Cheese Balls

The following makes 45 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and Food Network Magazine):

  • 1 package turkey bacon
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (fancy shred works well)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • Chopped chives
  • Sunflower seeds (no salt added)
  • 45 mini phyllo cups, thawed (3 packages of 15 – you can find them in the frozen section of your grocery store)

Preheat oven to 350. Lay a cooling rack inside a baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray. Lay bacon across the cooling rack in one layer. You will have to do this twice depending how many strips you can fit. Bake until crisp (check on the bacon every 10 minutes until it’s done). Remove from the oven and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat and bake the final remaining strips of bacon. Allow all the bacon to cool.

While the bacon cools, mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mustard, zest and lemon juice in a small bowl. Crumble 8 pieces of cooked bacon, and mix in with the cheese mixture.

Roll into 45 mini balls, lay in a single layer on a tray and cool in the fridge. Crumble the remaining bacon and store in a tupperware container in the fridge.

To save myself time, I did all of the above the night before I wanted to serve these.

The next day I baked the thawed phyllo cups at 350 for 5 minutes or so, to crisp them a bit. Remove cups from the oven and cool.

Next, combine some of the crumble bacon you saved, some chopped chives and some sunflower seeds in a bowl – just eyeball it. You can always mix more if you run out, or if you make too much, serve the garnish over a salad for lunch later.

Remove the balls from the fridge and roll in the bacon, chives and sunflower seeds – pressing slightly to adhere. Place one ball in each phyllo cup, and arrange on a platter to serve.





Bacon and Cheese Breakfast Cups

21 10 2012

These egg “muffins” make a filling breakfast that can be eaten on the run. Just make them ahead of time and warm them in the microwave for a fast breakfast.

Bacon and Cheese Breakfast Cups

The following makes 6 cups (compliments of South Beach cookbook):

  • 4 oz crumbled turkey bacon (or turkey sausage if you prefer)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a 6-cup nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon (or sausage), pepper and onion for 5 minutes, or until the bacon is starting to crisp (or the sausage is no longer pink).

Spoon the mixture into a bowl and cool slightly. Stir in the eggs and season with salt and pepper.

Evenly divide the mixture among the prepared muffin cups and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the egg is set.

 

 





Bacon-Wrapped Ginger Shrimp

4 12 2011

Looking for an easy and delicious appetizer recipe to take to a holiday party this month? I’ve got just the thing….actually, I should say Everyday Food has just the thing!

Bacon-Wrapped Ginger Shrimp

The following makes 26 shrimp appetizers:

  • 1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 1 package bacon
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (save time and use the tube!)
  • 1 tsp packed light-brown sugar
  • Toothpicks

Preheat oven to 475 degrees, with rack in upper third.

Cut 13 bacon slices in half crosswise and wrap each piece around a large shrimp. Secure with a toothpick.

In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, ginger and brown sugar. Add bacon-wrapped shrimp to soy sauce mixture and toss to coat.

Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler and boil until bacon is sizzling and crisp at edges and shrimp are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. I ended up having to broil these a few minutes longer, but it worked out because I flipped them half way through to make sure both sides were sizzling.

I let these cool a little and then sprinkled with fresh lime juice. You can serve warm or at room temperature.