BLT Salad Bowl

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. 

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Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza

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.

Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza

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Bacon, Apple, & Cheddar Quiche

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.

Bacon, Apple, & Cheddar Quiche

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Garlic Ranch Chicken Pizza

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

 Chicken Bacon Garlic Ranch 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

Directions

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.

The ‘Popeye’ Sandwich

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?!

Popeye Sandwiches

 Popeye Sandwich

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
Alfredo sauce
ciabatta or torta rolls, or some other crusty bread

Directions

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.

Creamy Bacon Horseradish Dip

I had planned to write this post about the delicious zucchini chips we’ve been making all week, but I really need to mention the delicious bacon horseradish dip we made yesterday to accompany them. At first I was concerned that I had made too much of it, but today, as I was eating fresh *healthy* chips dipped into this amazing, tangy sauce, I realized that there is no such thing as too much creamy bacon or horseradish anything.

This crowd-pleasing dip gets its smoky, creamy deliciousness from crumbled bacon and smooth sour cream. And its attitude? That’s the horseradish talking. If you’re having a party anytime soon, or anytime at all really, you’re definitely going to want it there. And you won’t have to worry a single moment wondering if you’ve made to much. You’ll have a had time getting guests away from it. But, don’t worry about that either, it’s one heck of a great conversation starter!

Creamy Bacon Horseradish Dip

 Creamy Bacon Horseradish Dip

8 oz. bacon strips, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp horseradish
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
sliced green onions, optional, for garnish

Directions

1. Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the cooled bacon. Refrigerate until chilled. Top with green onions before serving.

Loaded Maple Bacon Doughnut Fries

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

Loaded Maple Bacon Doughnut Fries

recipe adapted from Beyond Frosting

vegetable oil, for frying
6-8 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 large can of buttermilk or regular refrigerated biscuits (48oz)
 
For the glaze
 
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup unsalted butter, browned
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp milk
Hot Fudge sauce, or chocolate syrup, for drizzling
 
Directions
 
1. In a medium sized skillet, heat two inches of vegetable oil, over medium heat, to 350 degrees You can use a candy thermometer to monitor the temp. Turn your heat down slightly to prevent the oil from getting too hot.
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.
 
To make the glaze & Assembly

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.

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull-Apart Bread

 If you are looking for a quick and yummy snack to share with a crowd, then this recipe is perfect for you! It’s perfect for parties or potlucks. I mean, come on, its got bacon, Cheddar cheese, a ton of butter and it’s incredibly easy to make. What’s not to love?! Seriously, this stuff  will not be daintily, or prettily, or even politely pulled apart. It will be torn apart and devoured. Hence why so many people have called it ‘crack’ bread. One bite is one too many, and one more is never enough. There’s no better flavor combination on earth than cheddar, bacon, and ranch. Now, I give you this most popular of flavors, in a perfectly pull-able package! Let’s just pretend I gift-wrapped it and put a bow on it too. Ya know, for added effect and all. You’re welcome. Enjoy the rest of your life. 

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull-Apart Bread

4 Sons 'R' Us: Bacon Cheddar Pull-Apart Bread

recipe adapted from Dude Foods

1 round loaf Sourdough bread, unsliced
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp. ranch dressing mix, dry, do not prepare
1/4 tsp garlic powder
strips bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, you may need more depending on how cheesy you want it

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350°.
2. Grab a bread knife and slice from side to side in both directions, leaving about an inch of space between each slice. Make sure that you don’t cut all the way through the bottom of your bread.
3. Stuff the cheese and diced bacon pieces between all the cuts in the bread.
4. Melt the butter, combine it with the ranch dressing mix and garlic powder. Drizzle it over your bread.
5. Wrap the loaf of bread in aluminum foil and cook for 20 minutes or until all your cheese is melted.

Then, once your bread is out of the oven just do as the name suggests and pull it apart and eat it! Enjoy!

 

Crunchy Pea Salad

Spring has sprung. Or so we thought here in the good Old Dominion, but Spring apparently only decided to hang around for seven days, before high-tailing it back to parts unknown. That however, and the much cooler temps, didn’t stop the first BBQ get together of the season. I always have a few go-to barbecue, grill-out get together style go-to dishes to make for any function we’re going to or get invited to. While a pasta-based salad may be more traditional, this pea salad doesn’t disappoint. A cool twist on an old classic, with a great crunch from both the peas and the crispy bacon bits.

I know you may be looking at this recipe and thinking ‘a whole salad made out of peas’? really?! Well, it’s true you really can make a totally tasty salad out of peas! On first reading this recipe, you will have no idea how good it is. So don’t read it. Don’t doubt. Just plow ahead, make it, and see for yourself.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crunchy Pea Salad

recipe adapted from Sugar N Spice Gals

2-3 cups frozen peas
1/4 thinly sliced green onions
1 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper, to taste
1/8 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp soy sauce

Directions

1. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, & soy sauce.
2. Stir in the remaining ingredients, mixing well.
3. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Optional add-in ingredients: 1 cup chopped cauliflower, 1 cup craisins, 1 cup peanuts or sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup diced celery. Keep in mind though that if you opt for add ins you will need to increase the sauce ingredients to compensate.

Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Popper Beer Bread

I love bread. There’s nothing better than it’s yeasty smell filling up my kitchen. A no knead bread? Even better! All that same great smell and taste, but none of the tedious work. Today I bring you all the delicious taste of jalapeño poppers in a moist and rich beer bread! Seriously, the two combine for a flavor explosion in this simple, yet oh so ooey, gooey bread recipe. Made with obvious staples like beer, jalapenos, bacon & tons of cheese, you’ll beg for it. It’s sure to become a sensation.

Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Popper Beer Bread

4 Sons 'R' Us: Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Popper Beer Bread

recipe adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2-3 medium size jalapenos, (seeded, deveined and diced)
12 ounces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 12 ounce bottle of beer
1 tablespoon softened butter or bacon drippings for pan, or cooking spray

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Prepare 9×5 bread pan by greasing with cooking spray, butter, or bacon drippings.  Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, jalapenos, bacon and cheese.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar with a whisk.  Make a well in the center.  Add cheese mixture and beer. Gently stir mixture with a spoon until combined.  Pour mixture into prepared bread pan.
5. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until browned on top and thumps on the bottom. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Remove bread from pan and allow it to cool on wire rack.
6. Enjoy!