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With the price of Bacon going up and up, and the amount that I seem to consume, it only seemed natural that I would try and make my own Bacon…but, how do it, I didn’t have a clue! And now, thanks to the internet, I researched, watched You Tubes and put my big girl panties on…and took the challenge!!

This process is so darn easy…it’s the PATIENCE of waiting for it to “cure”, that is the difficult part!! So, here we go! And, BTW, I made a Maple Flavored Bacon

INGREDIENTS: (this is for a 3 lb slab of uncured Pork Belly)

  • 3 lb uncured Pork Belly
  • 5 TBS Kosher Salt
  • 5 TBS cracked pepper
  • 3 TBS Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 c Maple Syrup (not necessary if you don’t want Maple flavored)
  • 3/4c Distilled water…don’t ask me why but that’s what the recipe called for!
  • 1/2 tsp Morton Quick Salt (this is the “curing salt” and available in grocery stores where the Pink Prague #1 is so hard to find unless you go on line)

First thing you need to do is buy some boneless pork belly! I went to Costco and picked this 9.84 pound slab at $3.69 a pound and came home and cut it into thirds.  The magic number of 3lbs/slab seemed to be what most recipes called for…so that’s what i did!

IMG_3216Next you “score” the fatty part and I vacu-sealed the other 2 and put them in the freezer.

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Then gather your ingredients:

Kosher salt, Brown sugar, Distilled Water, Pepper, Morton Tender Quick (the curing salt), and Maple Syrup

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Mix it all together, then pour on the slab, cover it in a container like this or a gallon zip lock bag, and put it in your fridge for the next 9 days…turning it over every morning!!

When you have “patiently” waited the 9 days, take the slab of pork belly out of the curing fluids and wash gently, taking off any excess remnants of the curing process, dry with a paper towel then put on a wire rack or a plate and leave UNCOVERED, in the fridge for 24 hours…(yup, more dang waiting…this is when I had to triple my ADD medications!!)

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And NOW, DAY 10…FINALLY, it is time to smoke this baby!! I used a Traeger Smoker (thanks to my neighbor) and set the temp to “smoke…stuck a thermometer into it and ONCE AGAIN, “patiently” waited for it to register at 150 degrees, internally, but I must admit, it was not that bad to wait because the aroma “tantalized” every golfer that tee’d up their ball (I live on a tee box)…and it took about 2 hours!

At long last, I removed the long adorned “Smoked Gift from the Pork Gods” and brought it to my kitchen where, freaking ONCE AGAIN (lord Jesus, Mary & Joseph), I had to put it in the fridge to harden it so that cutting it would be easier!!!

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I sliced the Bacon and then put it on a large 1″ cookie sheet, lined with aluminum foil into a COLD oven…then set the temp at 400 degrees and in a matter of minutes (about 10-15 to be exact) I took it out and no, it was NOT crispy NOR should it be, but some little burnt areas around the edges…

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And proceeded to make the MOST delicious BLT Sandwich on lightly toasted white bread, lettuce and tomatoes….and remember those golfers??? well they came back and wanted their very own BLT sandwiches!! So, that 3 lb slab was gone in a nano-second and the two in the freezer…they are defrosting as we speak!!  SOOOOO worth the “waiting”!!

 

 

 

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This will be the easiest recipe I have ever posted!! Just TWO ingredients!! Yes, you read that right..TWO!! Nestles Toll House Cookie tub and either 1 lb of bacon that YOU cook, or 2 c of Kirkland Bacon Crumbles from Costco…for me, I mixed BOTH!!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
  2. cook Bacon until nice and crispy, for me that is 20-24 mins (and I ALWAYS START WITH A COOL OVEN)
  3. Drain bacon and then chop finely OR use your bacon crumbles…your choice.
  4. Put in little bowl and take a TBL of cookie dough and “roll” it in the bacon and then put on cookie sheet. Fill the sheet and put in oven for 12-15 mins depending on how you like your cookies! I like mine “crispy”!!
  5. Take out and cool and then VOILA…

Could this be any easier?? No measuring, no fuss, and little mess!!  It may sound like a weird combination, but it IS DEEDEEDEELICIOUS!!!! You have to try it!!!

Posole is like a marriage of chili & gumbo...and the longer you let it sit, the better it tastes!

Posole is like a marriage of chili & gumbo…and the longer you let it sit, the better it tastes!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lbs of pork or chicken (I used left over pork tenderloin) but pork shoulder or pork roast is less expensive and more favorable
  • 2- 10 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel is what I used)
  • 2- 28 oz cans of white or yellow hominy, drained and separated in half
  • 2 -14.5 oz cans of chicken broth
  • 2- 10 oz cans of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped (1 medium onion is about a cup)
  • 2 TBS minced garlic (from the jar is the easiest)
  • 1 TBS Chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp Ancho Chili Powder (gives it a smokey taste)
  • 1-2 TBS ground cumin ( I like more)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 C fresh cilantro leaves, chopped…(or more if you LOVE cilantro)
  • lots of sliced lime wedges ( 1 lime cut into 8ths)

DIRECTIONS: GO GATHER ALL YOUR INGREDIENTS, open cans, cut up, measure etc. then start!!

  1. Take whatever pork you have chosen, trim the fat and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Brown in oil over medium heat then remove from heat and put aside in a bowl
  2. Add some oil to pan and now saute onions until tender…about 3-4 mins
  3. Now put meat, onions and garlic into stew pot (I used my slow cooker) and add the tomatoes, 1 1/2 cans of chicken broth and 1/2 (or 1 can of the hominy, saving the other can that was drained…or eyeball it!)
  4. Now put slow cooker on for 2 hours and let the smell permeate throughout your house…or, you can put it in a stew pot and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 mins until the meat is tender.  Just depends in what kind of rush you are in!!!
  5. Take the other can of hominy (that was drained) and add it to a food processor and blend it till it is pureed.  Add the other 1/2 c of chicken broth at the same time. This pureed hominy thickens the stew.
  6. If you are using the slow cooker, take the lid off and after an hour, add the pureed AND the whole hominy to your pot and let cook for the last hour.
  7. Finally, when it is ready, take out and serve into bowls…add as much cilantro that you would like, some cheese if you so desire, and then squeeze the lime on top and PHEW…it is worth the work!

Thank you starman5 for the inspiration on making this.  What a hit and a new FAVORITE!!!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (or half Italian sausage)..I used Hot Italian Sausage
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 TBS minced garlic cloves, ­
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes…more if you like some “kick”
  • 1 (24 oz.) jar Prego Traditional Italian Sauce
  • 8­-10 cups low­ sodium chicken broth. Once it is cooked you will add more to the soup for a good consistency or you can leave it thick
  • 1 (14 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 4-oz can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 10 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into approx. 2 inch pieces Cheese Garnish
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup cottage cheese…both mixed together
  • freshly finely grated Parmesan cheese 
  • fresh Basil for garnish

IMG_0603Saute Ground Beef, Sausage and onion in large soup pot until browned.  then add garlic and red pepper flakes for 30 seconds.  Then drain excess fat.

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Add Prego Sauce, 6 cups of Chicken Broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, spices and lasagna noodles. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer until lasagna noodles are tender..about 20-30 mins.

Now, mix your “cheese mixture” ingredients together and then dish out your soup and top with as much or as little cheese mixture as you want!!

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  • Now, go and enjoy…it is the BEST and even better, the next day!!

Thank you Jen@Carlsbad Cravings.com for this delicious recipe!!!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound of spicy Italian sausage or mild sausage depending on your preference.
  • 2 cups of a marinara sauce in jar.
  • 1/2 cup of Ricotta cheese
  • One cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil
  • Salt-and-pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: preheat oven to 400° and put 1 cup of water on bottom of 9 x 13 pan

  1. 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half and put in a preheated oven at 400° for 40 to 45 minutes upside down in pan with one cup of water covering the bottom.
  2. While that is cooking take 1 pound of spicy Italian sausage and sauté in a pan until cooked and then add 2 cups of a bottled marinara sauce. Mix together adding Italian seasoning to taste and put aside.
  3. In a bowl mix 1/2 cup of Riccota cheese with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Add seasoning of salt-and-pepper,  fresh basil and put aside

  • Once this squash has cooled fluff the filling with a fork, and it will look like spaghetti.
  • Next, take your tomato mixture with the sausage and put on top of the fluffed squash. Then, Add the Ricota cheese and mozzarella cheese mixture.
  • Repeat with the tomato sauce and sausage then the Ricotta cheese and mozzarella as a second layer.
  • Top this with one more layer of the tomato sauce and then add mozzarella cheese on top along with fresh basil.
  • Put in the preheated oven for 20 minutes and when it is bubbling turn the oven to the broiler and melt the cheese until it is brown. Make sure you do not burn it.
  • Take it out of the oven let it cool for five minutes cut them in half and enjoy!!
  • Thank you “celiac in the city” website for this delicious recipe!!!
Romaine lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes, leftover chicken and bacon...how goodmismthat????

Romaine lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes, leftover chicken and bacon…that’s what’s for lunch!! How easy is that???

INGREDIENTS:

  • homemade guacomole or store bought
  • sliced tomatoes
  • leftover chicken
  • leftover bacon…or just made
  • romaine lettuce leafs to use as “vessels” instead of bread
  • add whole green onion, peppers…whatever you have in the fridge!!

Who would ever think that Brussel Sprouts would be used for breakfast???? Well I am here to tell you that this recipe from Kevin of Closet Cooking, is a perfect breakfast for someone on the Paleo Diet.  I took his recipe and added more vegetables to it and with an egg to top it off!! So go ahead all you “naysayers” and turn your nose up to it but you will miss out on something that yes, is different, but none the less it is delicious!  So gather all your ingredients, bake the bacon in the oven and while that is cooking chop up all your ingredients and be ready to go!!!! And don’t throw away that Bacon grease because I use it.  If you don’t want to use the Bacon Grease that is fine…olive oil works just as well…(doesn’t taste as good…)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 sweet potato peeled and diced
  • 6-8 brussel sprouts thinly sliced
  • 1/4 med onion, chopped
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 8 grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 6 pieces of bacon cooked and chopped coarsely
  • 3-4 mushrooms cleaned and sliced
  • S & P to taste
  • 1-2 eggs (your choice of whether to use or not)
Sweet Potatoes with Brussel Sprouts, other veggies and BACON make up this Paleo Breakfast!

Sweet Potatoes with Brussel Sprouts, other veggies and BACON make up this Paleo Breakfast!

Let's start with my FAVORITE

Let’s start with my FAVORITE “Food Group”..Bacon. I bake it in a 375 degree oven for 20 mins until nice and crisp

Here are all my ingredients chopped, sliced and diced ready to go into the pan.

Here are all my ingredients chopped, sliced and diced ready to go into the pan.

I take 2 TBS of the bacon grease (always SAVE the bacon grease!!) and put into a saute pan. I then add the sweet potatoes and onion and cook for 5-6 mins until softened.

I take 2 TBS of the bacon grease (I “always” SAVE the bacon grease!!) and put into a saute pan. I then add the sweet potatoes and onion and cook for 5-6 mins until softened.

I then add 1 TBS of minced garlic (I prefer from a jar) and saute for 30 seconds

I then add 1 TBS of minced garlic (I prefer from a jar) and saute for 30 seconds

Then I add the rest of the Veggies and add more bacon grease if necessary (can never have enough of that flavor..) and sauté until the sprouts are caramelizing (brown) about 7-8 mins

Then I add the rest of the Veggies and add more bacon grease if necessary (can never have enough of that flavor..) and sauté until the sprouts are caramelizing (brown) about 7-8 mins

Now the aroma is getting those hunger pangs going and time to add the bacon...stir al of this around about 1-2 mins and then make a

Now the aroma is getting those hunger pangs going and time to add the bacon…stir al of this around about 1-2 mins and then make a “well” in the middle and add just a little grease so the egg won’t stick to the pan when cooked. Makes it messy to get out!!

Like so....

Like so….

Now carefully, crack the egg and put it in the middle, season it with Salt & Pepper and anything else you want and then cover with a lid so that the egg will cook through..1 minute

Now carefully, crack the egg and put it in the middle, season it with Salt & Pepper and anything else you want and then cover with a lid so that the egg will cook through..1 minute

1 minute should be plenty of time...

1 minute should be plenty of time…

Then off comes the lid and look at the beautiful

Then off comes the lid and look at the beautiful “hash” you have made and you can’t wait to sit down and eat it!!! I like to add hot sauce to mine, but that is totally up to your taste buds! This is PLENTY for 2 people and of course you can put another egg in there!

You can put any other vegetables that you may have on hand…it’s your palate to do whatever you want!  Thank you again, Kevin of Closet Cooking for your inspiration!!!! And to all you “naysayers”, JUST TRY IT!!

 

This recipe was all over Facebook and so I thought I would try it…it was great. I have now tried it 3 mores times and have “honed” it…so, after working up an appetite, while fighting the crowds and waiting in line at the opening of Tucson’s Container Store, I came home and had my “photographer & taste tester” , Tonya Schweigert, help me and here are the results!! PLEASE read the recipe, and then read it again. Go gather everything, shred the cheese, have the sauce ready, and get all your fixin’s….AND USE A 10 INCH PAN WITH A CURVED SIDE, NOT A STRAIGHT UP ONE…makes it easier to get it out!!! 

                               

20 minute Stovetop Pizza

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 c self rising flour
  • 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 2/3 c warm water
  • 1 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c spaghetti sauce
  • 1 c Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • any of your favorite toppings

Directions:

10 inch non-stick pan with curved sides

10 inch non-stick pan with curved sides

Mix dry ingredients, honey, water over medium heat until

Mix dry ingredients, honey, water over medium heat until “doughy” then spread covering bottom of pan.

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Add your favorite spaghetti sauce

Add your favorite spaghetti sauce

Put on your favorite toppings, cover with cheese

Put on your favorite toppings, cover with cheese then cover and cook on medium heat for 5 mins (enough time to have a beer!)

Now, take the lid and open a little so there is some ventilation for another 10 mins, giving the pan a shake like cooking popcorn, but be careful NOT to let it burn

Now, take the lid and open a little so there is some ventilation for another 10 mins, giving the pan a shake like cooking popcorn, but be careful NOT to let it burn

Take a spatula and run it around the bottom of the pan to make sure nothing is sticking

Take a spatula and run it around the bottom of the pan to make sure nothing is sticking

then on to the cutting board, cut it into 8 pieces and enjoy the flavor!! How easy is that?

then on to the cutting board, cut it into 8 pieces and enjoy the flavor!! How easy is that?

Tonya LOVED it!

Tonya LOVED it!

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