Paninis are the contemporary grilled cheese. They’re the adult name for one of our favorite child hood comfort foods, and the combinations are often as modern and forward thinking as we are at this point in adulthood. Embrace the best of both worlds with these Chipotle Chicken Bacon Ranch Paninis. Crisp bacon, strips of grilled chicken, sliced tomatoes, and a spread of ranch dressing are sandwiched between two cirsp layers of grilled sourdough bread and secured between layers of chipotle seasoned cheddar cheese.
Compound butters build on everything we love about butter. That rich and creamy base has been given a savory upgrade. This Bacon Onion Butter has taken rich smooth butter and fortified it with crisp bacon crumbles, caramelized onions, and a savory hint of Worcestershire sauce.
Looking for a recipe to feed a crowd? One that’s equally hearty and frugal to boot? Cheeseburger Stuffed French Bread sandwiches are the perfect thing. To give a fun new twist to an old classic party staple, we’ve deconstructed and reassembled the bacon cheeseburger. I never thought a cheeseburger could really be improved upon using traditional toppings and ingredients, but one bite of this will blow anyone away.
The youngest son has eaten ‘salad’ since almost the first day he could eat table food. And by salad, I meant plain chopped lettuce devoid of any fixin’s or toppings, or dressing of any kind. In the years since, his love for lettuce in a bowl has only grown and if it’s on a bed of green leaves, he’s game to try it. Thankfully, since he’s regressed with almost all other green veggies. More on that another day.
Grocery shopping. I’m convinced you either love it or hate it. It’s either a necessary, but shoot-me-now chore, or you relish the hunt for the best bargains each week and sticking to your list and get off on coming in below budget. I’m one of those who falls firmly into the love it category. That being said, we make the big trek to Costco, followed by every store with a circular in a 5 mile radius, once a month and it takes pretty much all day. And that’s exhausting, considering kids are dragging there heels after store # 1, whining the whole way, and begging for this that and the other. We’re all tired and cranky by the end, and cooking dinner is the last thing I want to do at the end of that day.
Remember all those apples we picked awhile back? We told you they wouldn’t go to waste, and once again we’ve got another recipe to deliver on that promise. And boy does it deliver. In spades.
I know some of you’re already familiar with the beautiful couple that fruit and meat can make in a dish. And for those of you who aren’t, I’m begging you to lower that eye brow and give this a try.
For those of you who don’t know the hubs, which is probably most of you, let me tell you about his love of all things neat and orderly. To put it bluntly, he can’t function in any other sort of environment. He knows where everything goes, and if one thing is out of place it’s going to systematically drive him crazy. Most of the time this doesn’t bother me since he’ll be the first one to start cleaning or come behind me as I’m cooking and wash the dishes as I go. Even when I get annoyed, I can’t help but appreciate this side of him because he totally balances me out. For example, just last week the hubs went on a two day long streak where he decided that we would pull everything out of every nook and cranny in the house and clean it and organize it. At first I was frustrated since this had clearly not been on my honey-do list for the weekend, but by the end of it I was thankful. Everything was thoroughly cleansed, we’d swapped out spring/summer wardrobes for fall/winter. The freezers had been defrosted and updated inventories made of what was where and when it expired. Instead of dreading taking on these tasks myself and getting them done piece meal, we both felt like we’d accomplished something, we both had help, and we rewarded ourselves the next day by mindlessly relaxing & binge watching a new TV show on Netflix with all the sons. And that had been on my list.
So that was the good. The bad? I had several things in the freezer that needed using in the very near future. Several of those things were multiple pounds of pizza dough. So guess what? We had pizza for dinner two nights in a row last week. The sons thought I’d gone and lost my mind. They were thrilled. This was what was on the menu with two pounds of said dough. Several of our favorite flavors and ingredients, coming together to star in one perfect pizza.
While I can flourish in clutter, the hubs can’t. The happy medium? We keep each other in sync and have many things to show for it. Not the least of which are some damn delicious dinners!
This recipe is a doozie. If you love pizza, bacon, chicken, and ranch dressing then you are going to love this.
Garlic Ranch Chicken Pizza
recipe adapted from I Heart Naptime
Dough for 1 large pizza
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced and diced
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded or diced
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Garlic- Ranch Sauce
2 Tbsp sour cream
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 1/2 Tbsp milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon chopped, dried chives
1/8 teaspoon dill
1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
dash of onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a small bowl combine all the ingredients to make the garlic-ranch sauce.
2. Spread the sauce evenly over the pizza crust, leaving a 1/2 inch of ‘crust’ all the way around.
3. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over top the sauce, then evenly spread the chicken, bacon, onion and tomatoes.
4. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
5. Bake at 450 degrees for 9-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
Let me introduce you to our ‘popeye’ sandwiches. They’re packed full of protein with chicken, bacon, and spinach, stacked on a crusty ciabatta, or torta, roll, and (for the pies de resistance) topped with a rich, creamy Alfredo sauce drizzle.
It may be green and leafy, but spinach—a renowned muscle builder—is also one of the ultimate power-house foods. It’s also heart-healthy, chock full of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. Popeye was definitely on to something, which is probably why, now in the food-osphere, spinach is often referred to by the classic cartoon moniker. Hence the name of our sandwich. I’m lucky the sons are down for all this healthy green in just one sandwich, and can pile it on. Maybe it’s just the bacon. Bacon makes everything better. Am I right or what? We lightly bread and fry our chicken breasts, but I’ve used grilled chicken before and this sandwich is just as delicious, albeit a whole lot healthier.
The hubs and the sons like their popeye’s as is with the fixin’s pictured, but I love mine with a few thinly sliced red onions and a slice or two of fresh tomato. Doesn’t that just sound like it’d do a body good?!
chicken breasts (crispy or grilled) we filet ours so that they’re not super thick and more patty-like
bacon, cooked crisp
fresh spinach, washed and dried
ciabatta or torta rolls, or some other crusty bread
Again there’s no real ‘recipe’ here per se.
1. Cut your roll in half. Add a piece of prepared chicken to the bottom bun. Top with bacon. Load it up with that fresh spinach.
2. Drizzle some tasty Alfredo sauce over top the spinach and top the sandwich with the other half of the bun.
3. Repeat for as many sandwiches as needed and then dig in.
You can never go wrong having a savory dip on hand, or at least the easy ingredients to whip one up, even at the last minute. This Creamy Bacon Horseradish Dip is the perfect appetizer, and ice breaker, for any get together.
Ohhhh, I’m going to be such a bad influence right now. I mean, if you are trying to eat super healthy or stick to light salads for dinner you might want to look away. Except don’t! Because we all need a little cheat now and then, right? And this one is totally (and I mean TOTALLY) worth the splurge. Delicious, rich, doughnutty, sweet, and with just the right amount of crunchy bacon bits…. Loaded Maple Bacon Doughnut Fries. On the stove top. In about 5 minutes.
This was our splurge breakfast to bid adieu to the boys summer break on the morning of their last day before the start of a new school year. I’m totally not a morning person, and with 3 babies getting dropped off in quick succession while trying to get the sons organized and out the door (not a single one of whom is a morning person either) there’s not much chance of a home-cooked, hot-meal. I keep make ahead’s on hand in the freezer, like breakfast biscuits, breakfast wraps, and even frozen omelet ‘cups’, but it’s not always the same as something Mom’s made fresh. Then there’s always the good ol’ fashioned bowl of cereal with milk. So, needless to say, we needed one last BIG hoo-rah before we’re all back in the land of re-heated breakfast bites. This was perfect. Full of decadence. Just a little bit naughty. Almost like sneaking dessert before the rest of the world had even had their first sip of coffee.
Thought you had to have a fancy doughnut pan to make homemade doughnuts? NOPE. Thought you’d have to make batter from scratch? NOPE. Thought it probably just had to be complicated to reach that level of pastry delight? NOPE.
One can of store-bought, refrigerated biscuits and 5 minutes and you’re in business.
Loaded Maple Bacon Doughnut Fries
recipe adapted from Beyond Frosting
1/4 cup unsalted butter, browned
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp milk
Hot Fudge sauce, or chocolate syrup, for drizzling
2. While oil is heating, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove biscuits from container, press into flattened, wider circles and cut into strips lengthwise. Now, using your hands, roll each cutting into a long string, about the thickness of a pencil. Cut in half if necessary.
3. Once the oil is ready, slowly drop biscuits into oil. Bake for about 20-30 second on each side until the dough has turned a golden brown. Using a pair of tongs, remove the ‘doughnut’ from the skillet and set on some paper towels to drain off the excess oil. When finished deep frying, leave your candy thermometer in the oil until it is completely cooled. When cooled it will be safe to dispose of the oil.
4. Sift the powered sugar (this will ensure a smoother glaze). It’s recommended, but not absolutely necessary. Set aside.
5. Melt the butter in a small pot. Once melted, stir continuously until it turns a golden brown. Immediately remove the pot from heat.
6. Pour the browned butter, maple syrup, and milk over the sifted powdered sugar.
7. Vigorously, whisk until smooth.
8. For a thicker glaze, add only 1 tablespoon of milk instead of two. Or add additional powered sugar. To make glaze thinner, add additional milk.
9. If using Hot Fudge sauce, heat it briefly in the microwave to make it easier to drizzle over the fries.
10. To assemble the fries, put a bottom layer of doughnut fries on a plate and drizzle maple glaze and chocolate syrup over-top of them. Sprinkle with some of the crumbled bacon. Repeat for as many layers, and/or plates as you want to make.