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Cheddar Bacon Dip

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I can’t believe it has been a month since I last shared a recipe!  After my blogging hiatus, I’m feeling refreshed and ready to return to my online cornucopia of recipes, life adventures, and Thankful Thursdays.  Thank you for bearing with me through January, and thank you to the wonderful guest posters that kept my blog alive in my stead. I now have a clean, OK, cleaner house, have worked my way up to Judges in my quest to read the Bible from cover to cover, have gotten enough sleep almost every night for a month, have spent valuable time with my nephew, and have taken up a new hobby of funky manicures (you can see some of them here), which will probably die hard now that I’m back to blogging.  But as one of my co-workers said, “Who cares about your nails? We need to EAT!”  Enough said–here we go! :)

I have so many recipes to share with you guys, and most of them savory if you can believe it.  Since the Super Bowl* is next Sunday, I figured I’d start with something football party-appropriate: a fattening dip!  This was my least favorite recipe I made while I was away (though you wouldn’t know it by the ungodly amount I ate), but it’s tasty, it’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s a man-pleaser so I’m sharing it for those of you who need a quick man-pleasing dip to add to your Super Bowl party spread.

For other party food ideas, check out my index of snacks and appetizers here.

Cheddar Bacon Dip

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

16 oz sour cream
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
3 oz bacon bits (in the bag not jar)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix together and refrigerate 24 hours. Serve with chips and/or veggies.

Recipe source: Plain Chicken

*True fact: at the age of 12, when a convenience store clerk asked if I was looking forward to the Super Bowl, I replied, “No, I don’t really like bowling that much.”  My younger sister gave me a cringing look and after we left the store, she explained that the Super Bowl is the NFL’s championship football game. Shows you how much I know about sports!  The only difference is now I love bowling.  I still am clueless about football.

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Less-Mess Bacon

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Now you don’t need a splatter guard when you fry bacon!  Bakin’ bacon makes the process so simple, and you get perfect, nice & flat strips of bacon just like you get at a restaurant.  Plus, no flipping!

P.S. When I first started trying to think of blog names, I liked “Bakin’ & Bacon” because it indicated my blog would include both sweet and savory recipes, plus it’s cute & clever, but when I Googled it, it was already taken.  Not only that, but Bacon & Bakin’ was taken too. Guess I’m not the only one that loves that name! I also had to nix “My Kitchen Addiction,” and “My Baking Addiction.”  But I’m happy with the name I ended up with!  And I liked Recipe Rhapsody,  my former name, too. Though I can’t take credit for that one, Dennis came up with it!

Less-Mess Bacon

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil or parchment paper, then lay the bacon strips flat, making sure pieces do not overlap. Bake until crisp and browned, 15 to 18 minutes, or to desired doneness, rotating the sheets once. Transfer strips to a paper towel to drain.

Recipe source: marthastewart.com

 

Garlic Chicken & Bacon Spaghetti Squash Alfredo



I made this recipe in the spring and thought it would be nice to share in the fall when it was starting to get chilly.  Not so chilly that you are ready to dig into the really heavy foods, but are just starting to think about it.  That day has come a lot sooner than I expected!  Does it seem like an early fall is coming on in your neck of the woods as well?

If so, here’s a fantastic meal that seems pretty hearty and is totally comforting while still managing to be quite healthy and diet-friendly.  Debbi, the creator of this recipe, calculated it as only about 200 calories per serving (1/8th of the recipe) so even if you ate half of the whole casserole (which would be quite a feat!), you’d probably still be eating less calories than a restaurant alfredo dish would have, and it’s so much healthier!

I thought this dish was absolutely positively scrumptious and although it takes some time to prepare because you have to pre-roast the spaghetti squash, it’s very simple.  I eat a lot of spaghetti squash, but this is only one of two dishes I’ve ever eaten it in with such gusto.  I don’t even like alfredo sauce, especially jarred, and I L-O-V-E-D this meal.  I really felt like I was indulging because meals this delicious usually have a ton of fat and calories.  Not true in this case–it really is like having your cake and eating it too!

Garlic Chicken and Bacon Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 large spaghetti squash, about 2 1/2 lbs.
1 (15 oz.) jar Classico Garlic Alfredo Sauce
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
9 oz. chicken, cooked & chopped
6 slices turkey bacon
1 onion, sliced
Salt and pepper

Split spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking oil. Place the squash face-down on the sheet and roast in oven at 375 for about 45 min – 1 hour or until tender when poked with a fork on the underside.  Let cool until you can handle the squash without burning your hands, and scrape the squash out with a fork into a 9 x 13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Leave the oven on.

While the squash is cooling enough to handle, cook bacon until crispy and remove to a plate to cool.  Grill onions in the small amount of bacon grease in pan, using additional oil or cooking spray if needed. If you want your onions to get crispy dark edges, let them sit for a minute or two before stirring each time. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Crumble the cooled bacon.

Spread alfredo sauce over the spaghetti squash in the pan, sprinkle on half the cheese, top with chopped chicken, bacon and sauteed onions, then top with remaining cheese.  Bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

Recipe source: Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

Sweet & Salty Salad Wraps (plus Poppyseed Dressing!)

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I probably subscribe to more than fifty food blogs but ranking right up there with my favorite, My Kitchen Cafe, is Our Best Bites, and this recipe comes from them.  (What are your favorites?)  Though I’m still baking, I’m not doing much cooking so I jumped right on this salad wrap when they posted it a few weeks ago.  It is everything the title promises and it is delicious.  You will love it!

Sweet & Salty Salad Wrap
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

You’ll need:
Baby spinach
Cooked chicken
Craisens
Crumbled bacon
Feta cheese
Poppyseed dressing (recipe follows if you want to make your own)

In a bowl, toss together everything in the amounts you choose and then wrap in a tortilla, pita, or flatbread wrap.

Poppyseed Dressing

1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 green onion, ends removed (both the “hairy” end and where the green part starts to get floppy)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

In a blender or food processor, combine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and mustard. While the blender is running, add the green onion. Continue running the blender and add the oil in a steady stream and is fully incorporated into the dressing.  Pour the dressing into a serving or storage container and whisk in poppy seeds.

Recipe source: Our Best Bites

Barbecue Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich & Giveaway Winner!

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Yes, it’s true.  This sandwich has cheese.  It has barbecue sauce.  It has bacon.  And it’s wonderful!  I came up with it last fall as an excuse to incorporate some of the Flatlanders Spicy Barbeque Sauce that I love so much into my lunch.  Don’t you just love it when desperation leads to inspiration?

One of the comments on the giveaway announcement, in response to “what’s your favorite thing to make with barbecue sauce?”, was using it as a dipping sauce for grilled cheese!  So you see, great minds think alike!  My other favorites include putting it on baked potatoes with nothing else (I can vouch for this idea–I’ve done it and it’s fabulous!), mixing it with ranch for a dipping sauce,  making grilled tofu with it, and using it as a sauce on sweet potato fries! As you can tell, I’m not a huge meat lover and my favorites reflect that.

I do, however, have quite an affinity for bacon.  Which leads me back to this sandwich.  It has bacon on it.  And you should make it.  ‘Nuff said.

Barbecue Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Printable Recipe

Yield: 1 sandwich

2 slices Texas toast
2-3 T barbecue sauce
2 oz sliced sharp or smoked cheddar cheese
4-6 slices cooked bacon
1 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Butter or margarine

Heat a skillet over medium. Spread the barbecue sauce over the bread slices, then over one slice arrange cheddar cheese slices, bacon over that, then sprinkle the Monterey Jack over the bacon. Top with remaining bread slice. Melt some butter or margarine in the skillet and place the sandwich on top of the puddle, scooting it around until the bread absorbs the butter. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until cheddar looks melted, then remove and melt more butter in the pan, flip the sandwich and cook additional 4 minutes and serve hot.

Veronica’s Notes: Your sandwich will require several minutes less cooking time if you use regular bread. Also, the Monterey Jack isn’t necessary but I like to glue the bacon, cheese and bread all together by putting cheese on both sides. Change it up as you desire!

OK, you’ve been patient and now I’ll get to the real reason you’re reading this post. :) It was so much fun hosting my first giveaway and thank you all so much for participating–I really enjoyed reading about your favorite things to make with barbecue sauce! Congratulations to Suzie, commenter #19, you’ve won the set of three Flatlanders barbeque products!  Suzie, I’ll email you to get your address and get them out to you!

Flatlander Meatloaf & Giveaway!

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Last year my cousin, Eric, started up his own barbeque sauce company called Flatlander (you know, because we live in Kansas–the flattest place on Earth!), and I am in love with his products.  There are three: Original Barbeque Sauce, Spicy Barbeque Sauce, and Doo-Dah Rub.  (Doo-Dah is Wichita’s nickname in case you were wondering about that one).  They are all fantastic but I can’t get enough of the spicy sauce.  I went through an entire bottle yesterday!  Sometimes I will just take slices of cheddar cheese and pour some of that sauce on top for a snack, and once I even poured some directly into my mouth.  I’ve never been a huge barbeque sauce lover, but I do love this sauce!

The original sauce is sweet & perfect.  The spicy is mild enough that even people who don’t like heat would enjoy it, but I really like the zip it has compared to the original.  The rub is a blend of spices & sugar and tastes incredible on chicken.  OK, it tastes incredible on everything–it’s very versatile.  I even put it on my green beans once!

My favorite thing to make with the sauce is Smoky Barbecue Chicken Pizza, but it is good on anything.  My most recent creation is this meatloaf, which I named after the company since I used two of Eric’s products in it.  It is a fun twist on traditional meatloaf, with bacon, cheddar and onions in the loaf and barbecue sauce, more cheddar & bacon, and french-fried onions on top.  Paula Deen, eat your heart out!

Flatlander Meatloaf
Printable Recipe

4 slices bread
2 lb lean ground beef
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T Doo-Dah rub*
½ t salt
¼ t pepper
½ c barbecue sauce (I used Flatlander’s spicy)
1/3 c French fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Tear the bread slices into small pieces and process in a food processor or blender until fine crumbs.  In a large bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the ground beef, 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, 3 slices of the crumbled bacon, onion, tomato sauce, egg, Doo-Dah rub*, salt & pepper.  Pat it into a loaf pan and spread the barbecue sauce on top.  Bake for 1 ½ hours (or until a meat thermometer reads 160° F), then remove to drain off the fat & juices, then put more sauce if desired & sprinkle remaining ½ cup cheese, 3 slices crumbled bacon & French fried onions.  Bake until cheese is melted, about five more minutes.  Remove and let sit 10 minutes before slicing. 

*If you would like to make this without the Doo-Dah rub, you could try omitting it completely, replacing it with a mixture of 1 T brown sugar, 1 t paprika, 1 t chili powder and 1 t garlic powder, replacing it with your own meat rub, or replacing the tomato sauce with barbecue sauce.

Recipe source: Recipe Rhapsody

If you would like to win a bottle of all three products as pictured above, simply leave a comment below telling me what’s your favorite thing to make (or eat) with barbecue sauce. To gain an extra entry, subscribe by email (box in upper right corner of my blog) or RSS and let me know you did (or already do) in a second comment. Winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be announced Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Deadline to enter is Monday, April 19, 2010 at midnight.  Sorry, time’s up! Winner below.

Congratulations to Suzie, commenter number 19, who loves bacon-wrapped barbecue shrimp! The sauce is on its way–go wild!

Shrimp & Bacon Ranch Pizza


I was scrolling through my blog and came to realize out of the last 12 postings, only two recipes have been for non-sweets.  Sweets are my forte, but I figured a dinner recipe was long over-due, and have I got a doozy for you!

A couple MySpace friends inspired this one.  Through MySpace, I’m connected to a great network of women who love to cook and are so supportive and fun.  Kim, the one responsible for hooking me up with most of my foodie friends, posted a recipe for Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza yesterday that had me drooling over my keyboard.  I’d been wanting to make a pizza that my friend Suzie posted on her blog that had shrimp on it, so I decided to meld the two recipes into one.  So here it is, the final masterpiece.  And it would be just as good with chicken, which I plan to make next.

Shrimp and Bacon Ranch Pizza
I made this in a large 14” pan so if you’re making a smaller pizza, adjust the ingredients accordingly.

Ingredients
Your favorite pizza dough (I used an entire recipe of Wolfgang Puck’s dough)
¾ c ranch dressing, divided (I used homemade—the bomb!)
½ t dill (dried)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
6 oz. frozen cooked salad shrimp, thawed
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used turkey bacon)
½ cup chopped grape tomatoes

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Fit dough onto a pizza pan sprayed with cooking oil and bake for 7 minutes. While it’s baking, stir the dill into the dressing. Remove the crust and set oven temperature to 450 degrees. Spread ½ cup dressing over the crust, then sprinkle the mozzarella over it. No need to wait until the oven has preheated, just pop it in for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. While it’s baking, mix the shrimp with olive oil and garlic until coated.

Remove pizza from oven. Top pizza evenly with shrimp, bacon and tomato, then drizzle the remaining dressing over everything. Return to oven; bake an additional 5-7 minutes or until shrimp is thoroughly heated. Cut & serve warm.

Nutritional Info per 1/8 of recipe (based on the same ingredients I used. You can lighten it up by using less cheese & light mayo in the dressing.): 440 cal, 23g fat, 38g carb, 18g protein.

Recipe inspired by Kim and Suzie

This recipe is entered in the Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest. Click on the box to vote! :)

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