Jan 9, 2010 - File Icon Hints/Tips, Pork   Comment Icon Comments Off on Storin The Bacon

Storin The Bacon

The love affair with bacon is hard to deal with when you really don’t want to be eating a whole pound of bacon at one time because you don’t want it to go bad, especially when there are only two people living in your house.

The Husband was trying to be a good man and cook me dinner one night. Dinner was bacon sandwiches. His version of a BLT is just bacon, bread and mayo. I appreciated it, gave him a hug and told him never to do that again.

I can’t eat that much bacon. I need balance. I need veggies!

So I’ve found a great way to store bacon when I know we won’t get to that much bacon in one sitting.

Well… Ok we COULD get through that much bacon in one night but we really don’t need to be doing that to our poor arteries.

I saw this method somewhere, I don’t remember and its been a while, but I LOVE it. The idea of individually frozen pieces of bacon just make my life better. And easier!

Take some parchment paper, and place a piece of bacon down. Fold over. Place another piece on top. Fold over. Place, fold, repeat, then freeze! Forgive the lack of picture, lighting has been weird lately with the weather/time changes.

This way you can pull out as many pieces as you need. Only have to unroll and stick them in the oven or pan. You don’t really need to defrost bacon, it just goes with the flow. Just store it in a freezer safe zip-top bag and squeeze out as you can. It’ll stay good for probably a few months, but then again I wouldn’t know since it doesn’t last that long in my house!

Jan 7, 2010 - File Icon Hints/Tips, Pork   Comment Icon Comments Off on Bakin Bacon!

Bakin Bacon!

Husband calls bacon the gateway meat. It has to be one of the most addictive meat products you can buy in the market. I’ve known a few vegetarians who would randomly crave bacon from time to time.

It’s an addictive substance that I am so glad is socially acceptable.

The one thing I really hate about cooking bacon is the splattering, popping and eventual burning flesh and running away from the angry grease. So I’ve been looking for a way to make bacon without the fear I have of the burny fleshyness.

And the time. It takes too long for the bacon to cook in my opinion.

So after watching so many foodie shows on TV I’ve decided to start baking my bacon. Awesomeness. I don’t have to worry about splattering grease on myself and it’ll have it all be cooked and done at the same time!

Mmmmm… Bacon…

I bought this nice and wonderful contraption at Kohl’s before Christmas, an oven safe cooling/baking rack, and it has truly been my favorite thing ever to lower the fat in cooking. It can handle up to 475F I believe, but you don’t really have to use this, you can just lay the bacon on the tray and it’ll work great also.

Always line your baking sheet with a large piece of heavy duty foil, this way you don’t have to do much clean up at all and you wont mess up your pans with all that bacon grease. To bake your bacon, always start with a cold oven. That’s my opinion at least. It seems to cut down on the splattering and grease craziness in the oven. It also helps your meat strips to lay flat.

Lay as much as you can in your pan without overlapping the bacon, the more bacon the better my life.

Cook the bacon at 375F for about 15-20 minutes or until the crispness that you want. Thin bacon cooks MUCH faster than thicker cut, so you really have to watch your bacon the first few times until you get the hang of it. It also seems to take a little longer to cook on the rack, probably because its not cooking in the grease.

There is a definite texture difference if you cook it on the rack rather than just on the pan, it still tastes great but it does feel different in your mouth. Cooking it without the rack will produce bacon very similar to cooking on the stove. Either way its great. I think I just like the fact that the grease is draining off as it goes. It probably doesn’t make much of a difference calorie wise but it makes me feel better.

Jan 4, 2010 - File Icon Rants/Ramblings   Comment Icon Comments Off on I Have Been To The Edge…

I Have Been To The Edge…

Do you ever get those weird voices in your head as you’re about to do something? Like sitting down to write after a long absence do you suddenly hear a creepy voice in your head saying “I have been to the edge…and back! And I survived… Only slightly…” It’s as though a pirate has stolen into my head and taken over for a brief moment…but without his parrot…and he might be high also.

Or it’s as though I look at a quilting project, full of needles and other such poking things and my inner toddler becomes giddy and squeals “I am on pins and needles!!!”

And yes that does happen. Often.

But I digress, my self imposed radio silence is ending. I finally feel as though I’m in enough control of life that I can come back and start talking again.

Because you know I’m from the generation who loves nothing more than to hear themselves talk and document their life. Well not really, I’m actually quite shy, but I’ll take that excuse to talk to the unseen masses anyways.

I’ve been busy in my absence though, baking, cooking, drinking (gasp!) and finding ways to get through the rough second half of 2009. I did take up drinking sometime after my radio silence, as a way to forcibly make myself relax.

It strikes me as funny that I refer to taking up drinking as having more than one wine cooler in a 3 month period. The real shocker was when it turned into two in one night. Husband had fun with me at that point.

I feel as though 2010 is a turning point for the Husband and myself. New ventures, new surprises, new…life.

This was also the first time I ever had a blast on New Years, celebrating the event with friends and chocolate shots.

And then much laughter when my friend realized we were doing one more shot to celebrate… And she had already started eating her chocolate shot glass.

Too much laughter to get a clear shot. Happy New Year everyone.

Oct 27, 2009 - File Icon Main Dishes, Poultry   Comment Icon 1 Comment

Balsamic Chicken and Tomato Pasta

Balsamic vinegar is one of my favorite things that I really don’t know what to do with half the time. It has the greatest sweet and tangy flavor to it that is fantastic when you dip garlic bread in it.

There is only one main dish I’ve ever had made with balsamic in the actual main dish and as a main flavor. It was someone in college who decided to make us all dinner, and it was awesome. I’ve been trying to figure out how he made it so tasty but I didn’t know how to cook then.

So now I’ve made my own version of it and its pretty darn good. Simple but very tasty.

Onions and Garlic

I also love cooking this in my glass pan. Sometimes I just want to do something different and cook in glass. It wont sear very well but that’s not too much of a problem when I make this dish since I’m just trying to infuse the chicken with the balsamic flavor.

Balsamic Chicken

I tend to use a lot of balsamic, mostly because of how I cook this in the pan it gets slightly watered down from the chicken and steam. My house has been really steamy the last few times I’ve cooked, I guess its just been cold in here?

Slow Cooking Chicken

Cooking the chicken slowly also helps the acidic vinegar to really infuse into the chicken and keep it tender. I mostly serve this over pasta, but it would also be good over mashed potatoes. I’m one of those weird ones that likes balsamic drizzled on real mashed potatoes.

Tomatoes Added

I add tomatoes near the end, so that they don’t break down horribly and keep their texture. This time I didn’t cook them at all since they were going in the microwave later and will end up cooking extra there.

Balsamic Sauce

I reserve the sauce and juices from the chicken to reduce into a nice and thicker sauce. The balsamic reduces really nicely and I like to add another big splash of vinegar as its reducing to give it an even stronger flavor.

Divine Balsamic On Tomatoes

I don’t think there is anything much better than reduced balsamic on tomatoes, it really is the best thing ever.

Cheese Topping

Top with mozzarella cheese and everything will be right in the world. Mushrooms added with the chicken also makes a great addition and gives it a little more “meat” to it.
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Oct 5, 2009 - File Icon Beef, Main Dishes, Soup   Comment Icon Comments Off on Spicy Beef Stew

Spicy Beef Stew

Now I’m really not sure what to call this, its not quite a thick chili, but its a little thicker than a soup and rather than just call it a sili I can’t think of anything that’s not so…silly. Most of the time I just refer to it as a stew then try to explain it.

Beef Stew

Its one of those dishes that is very comforting and can be as spicy as you want it to be depending on how much hot stuff you put in it.

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Inspired/Insane Cooking

We all know about my love of making mass meals to freeze and have waiting to take to work.

Well I think I got just a little too inspired the other day in my cooking conquests.

Waiting for packaging

I made 3 different meals, and enough to feed an army as well. I really do have this really annoying habit of not being able to cook for 2 people easily.

Lots Of Food

This time I made Un-Stuffed Bell Pepper, Beef Stew/Chili, and Balsamic Chicken Pasta.

Very motivated.

Very crazy.

Very dirty kitchen.

I guess I was hungry.

Mass Meals

I made a total of 19 meals. Holy crap that’s a lot of food. I could have very easily just had a party and fed the entire block.

I need a nap just looking at all that.

Sep 27, 2009 - File Icon Main Dishes, Soup, Vegetarian   Comment Icon Comments Off on Roasted Tomato Soup

Roasted Tomato Soup

I got more tomatoes! This time they came from another coworker and he gave me quite the bag of them!

Gifted Tomatoes

There seems to be such a difference in people’s gardening styles. The first tomatoes I got from my friend were soft, fully ripened and ready to eat. This second batch I got from another coworker is more on the unripened side, a little more orange inside and not quite there yet. But I can understand the reasoning for them to ripen on the counter and last a little longer.

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Sep 25, 2009 - File Icon Rants/Ramblings   Comment Icon Comments Off on Growing Apples

Growing Apples

Sometimes in the morning I’m really not awake. It takes me forever to wake up.

So the other morning I was chopping my apple for work and I saw what looked like a worm in the core. When I finally focused my eyes I realized that it wasn’t a worm, but a seed that had started to grow inside the apple!

I would have gotten a picture of the little seed but like I said, I wasn’t awake. It was 5 am, give me a break.

I did though put it in a pot I had in the kitchen, so I’m really hoping that it’ll grow and be a big strong tree! The last time I tried this, the little seedling died after a while, so hopefully my black thumb wont come in to play here.

Growing Apple

Sep 23, 2009 - File Icon Main Dishes, Soup, Vegetarian   Comment Icon Comments Off on Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup

Its tomato season! It seems everyone is having the same problem of tomatoes or other produce just running wild in their gardens. Which means I benefit by having everyone give me bags and containers of tomatoes!

Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato season now makes me so excited, ever since my coworker brought me home grown tomatoes for the first time.

Last year I decided I was going to make something I had never actually tried, let alone try to make. Tomato soup. That’s right I had never eaten tomato soup and grilled cheese as a kid. Not sure why, I had a weird culinary upbringing.

I love her. And her tomato growing dad.

Cherry Tomatoes

So when she brought me my first round of yummy, lovely tomatoes I proceeded to give myself heartburn before I had to stop eating the cherry tomatoes and I knew I just HAD to make more tomato soup this year.

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Sep 21, 2009 - File Icon Cake, Dessert   Comment Icon Comments Off on Easy Berry Trifle

Easy Berry Trifle

A few years ago I made a trifle by the seat of my pants for a little get together. Now keep in mind there were only 4 of us and I used my largest mixing bowl to make it. We ate the whole thing. Just the 4 of us. Insanity.

Berry Trifle

I made it again for a little party on Friday night. This type of dessert is quite awesome for those times where you won’t have enough time just before the party to get anything together and get ready at the same time, and it only gets better as it sits and all the flavors combine.

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