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


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.

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
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


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!


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


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!

Easy Oven Roasted Bacon–Perfect Every Single Time

At first I was skeptical of ‘roasted’ bacon. Give up cooking those amazing strips of crisped perfection in my trusty skillet? I couldn’t imagine an oven version being able to compare. But I was game to at least give it a try. After all, I am always the one encouraging the sons to at least try things before sticking their noses up in the air, or saying ‘ I can’t’. Gotta practice what I preach! After that first batch I was quickly converted.

Love bacon? Hate the mess? This is the easiest way to prepare and enjoy that unhealthy, yet damn delicious, treat. Even better than less mess, bacon cooked in the oven cooks more evenly, and requires a whole lot less work from you! Throw it in the oven, set a timer, forget about it and go about your business ’til the buzzer.

Oven Roasted Bacon

4 Sons 'R' Us: Oven Roasted Bacon

Oh. Em. Gee! How can you stop at just one strip?!

8-10 strips of your favorite brand of bacon
parchment paper
baking sheet

4 Sons 'R' Us: oven roasted bacon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan.
3. Lay the bacon on top of the parchment paper, as best you can without the strips touching each other. The less overlap, the more crisp & crunch.
4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bacon is really crispy.
5. Use a pair of tongs to remove the bacon from the tray and drain on paper towels immediately (so it stays crispy!) and serve.

Smoky Bacon & Cheddar Chowder

“Brace yourselves. Winter is coming.”

Seriously, Stark!

Though most of the snow has melted here, the cold weather is far from over. The wind is still whipping with biting wind chill temps, and more snow is forecast-ed to arrive tonight/tomorrow. We walked out the door this morning dressed like Eskimos ready to face the frozen tundra and it still felt like we had no clothes on. Even all bundled up, the freeze still found a way in. Days like this always call for something extra hearty AND warm to help us ‘thaw’ in the evening. This thick, creamy chowder is the perfect way to mentally and physically decompress on a cold, winter night. Smoky, bacon, cheddar? Music to my frozen earstastebuds.

Smoky Bacon & Cheddar Chowder

4 Sons 'R' Us: Smoky Bacon & Cheddar Chowder

recipe originally from Creme de la Crumb

½ pound red potatoes, chopped into ½ to 1 inch pieces
1 large russet potato, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
2 cup water
1 cup flour
½ cup red or white onion, diced
2 teaspoons chicken buillon
5 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon onion salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1-2 cups corn, canned or frozen
½ cup shard cheddar cheese, shredded
8-10 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled


1. Add potatoes to a large pot with enough water to just cover the potatoes. Boil about 10-15 minutes until tender. Remove from heat, strain out water and put potatoes in a bowl, set aside.
2. Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add flour starting with ½ cup and adding up to ½ cup more *depending on how thick you like it. Stir until mixture thickens. Add water, chicken buillon, and garlic. Stir 1-2 minutes, then add potatoes. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes tip potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
3. Stir in diced onion, onion salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika. Cook about 5 minutes, then stir in corn, crumbled bacon, and shredded cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, to thin to desired consistency. Top with additional bacon and cheddar cheese if desired.

I’m drooling just thinking about dinner now…

4 Sons 'R' Us: Smoky Bacon & Cheddar Chowder 2

Baked Gnocchi with bacon, tomato, and mozzarella

This is comfort food at it’s finest. It’s where it’s at and what it’s all about. Little pillows of happiness (gnocchi) are smothered in a delicious tomato based ‘sauce’ with bacon and topped with mozzarella cheese that’s baked to golden-brown perfection. And, let’s be honest, what doesn’t taste better with bacon? Mmm, bacon.

Comfort food for those who need comforting. Even if you’re not in need of copious amounts of comforting, it’s ok to splurge once in a while. Caloricaly speaking, of course.

Baked Gnocchi with bacon, tomato, and mozzarella

4 Sons 'R' Us: Baked Gnocchi

recipe adapted from Simply Delicious

1 16 oz pkg of gnocchi
8 slices of bacon, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 roma tomatoes; fleshy parts diced
1 tsp sugar
2-3 tbsp sour cream
2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella


1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and in the meantime, make the sauce.
3. In a large, hot frying pan, fry the bacon until starting to crisp with most of the fat rendered.
4. Pour off most of the fat then add the garlic and smoked paprika and fry for 30 seconds.
5. Add all of the tomatoes and the sugar and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream, parsley and seasoning.
7. Cook the gnocchi in the salted water until it starts floating to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce.
8. Transfer the gnocchi and sauce to an oven-proof dish and top with the sliced mozzarella.
9. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and golden.
10. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Bacon Cheddar Beer Bread

Fall is finally here in Virginia and I’m loving it. The windows are open and the air conditioning is off, baby! It’s so nice out, that I don’t even care that I haven’t yet put the screens back in the windows. You know, I’m just enjoying the moment, living life on the wild side.

With fall temps here and the official start of fall right around the corner, I’ve already begun pulling out the coordinating recipes. Beer Bread is one of my favorite things for Fall. I know I coudl make it all year round, but something about the yeasty taste or beer or a good lager just aren’t as appealing in the Summer months. This year I decided we’d try playing with the recipe and see if we could make our bread even better. This is what I lovingly refer to as Beer Bread 2.0, and let me tell you it is simply divine!

For those of you who aren’t confident in the kitchen, who don’t consider yourselves ‘bakers’, or are simply overwhelmed at the thought of attempting homemade bread… Do NOT be afraid! Beer Bread is your friend. It’s fool proof. You can’t mess it up.

Now I give you ‘Bacon Cheddar Beer Bread’. The name says it all.

Bacon Cheddar Beer Bread

4 Sons 'R' Us: Bacon Cheddar Beer Bread

recipe adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, divided
  • 1 12 oz bottle, or can, of unflavored beer/lager
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and roughly chopped, divided (or 1/2 cup REAL bacon bits)
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir with a whisk to combine ingredients. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients.
  2. Add beer, half the bacon and half of the cheddar cheese. Stir until combined.
  3. Pour the batter/dough into a greased loaf pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining bacon over top and drizzle with the remaining butter. Bake for an additional 25 minutes or until browned.
  6. Remove and allow to cool in pan for about 5 minutes. Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.