Bacon, Egg and Cheese Crescent Ring

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I’ve been making this breakfast crescent ring for a few years now, it’s a recipe that’s been floating around Pinterest and the internet for some time. I’m not sure which recipe I actually followed the first time but below is my interpretation of this delicious meal. Not only does it make great breakfast but it’s also a perfect quick dinner too! On days when I am feeling lazy or just need something in a pinch I will make this and serve it alongside a nice fruit salad.

I like to use bacon and cheddar however, you can use whatever breakfast meat and cheese that you prefer. It would be equally delicious with crumbled breakfast sausage or even diced ham! When I make this dish I find it quicker and easier to dice up the bacon BEFORE cooking. Using kitchen shears I cut the bacon into large pieces and then I fry it in my cast iron skillet. Once the bacon is cooked but still slightly chewy, I remove it with a slotted spoon and set it aside on a paper towel lined dish. Then I drain all but 2-3 tbs of the bacon fat and scramble my eggs in the same pan. Cooking the eggs in the bacon fat makes it so much yummier however, if you’d like to keep it a little healthier just wipe out the skillet before adding the eggs to cook.

Just note, this will usually take a little more time to bake than if you were just baking the crescent rolls by themselves. On average, I bake mine around 18-20 minute in a cast iron skillet at 350ºF. Just keep an eye on it after around 12 minutes, it’s ready once the crescent ring looks nice and golden brown. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Pillsbury® Crescent Rolls (regular or reduced fat)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 8 tsp half and half OR milk
  • 1 cup grated cheese (set aside 1/4 cup for the top)
  • 8-10 slices of bacon
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • Poppy seeds, for garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF if using a dark colored pan. If using a lighter colored pan, preheat to 375ºF.

Using kitchen shears, cut up the raw bacon into big pieces. Fry over medium heat until cooked through but still slightly chewy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined dish. Set aside.

Drain all but 2-3 tbs of the bacon fat and reduce the heat to medium low. In a bowl, scramble the eggs with the half-and-half, salt and pepper. Add the eggs to the warm skillet and cook until fluffy. Remove from pan and set aside on a dish.

On a baking sheet or in a large skillet, assemble the crescent dough in a circular “star” pattern. The wider base of the crescent rolls should all touch at the center and the narrow points should be at the top. Spread the eggs in the center and halfway up each of the crescent rolls. Sprinkle the diced bacon all over followed by the cheese. Fold over the point of each crescent roll towards the center. Sprinkle the top with the 1/4 cup of reserved cheese and poppy seeds.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until the crescent rolls look golden brown. Let the crescent ring rest for 5 minutes then slice and serve.

Bacon and Stout Beef Chili

Bacon Stout Chili

Although the cool, crisp days of fall have yet to arrive in New York (summer just won’t let go!) I was in the mood for a hearty, warm bowl of chili. Instead of a typical chili made with ground meat I decided to try out a cut up chuck roast instead. I was pleasantly surprised at just how tender and delicious this very tough piece of meat turned out. The key is to cook it low and slow, don’t try to rush this dish or you will be left with very chewy, tough, inedible meat. I promise, your patience will be rewarded.

The recipe is from the October 2017 issue of Food Network Magazine . (page 73) The original recipe is for Beef and Bean Chili but they offered a variation that included stout and bacon. Let’s face it, everything is better with bacon so I couldn’t pass that recipe up! I used Guinness Drought Stout but feel free to use your favorite brand stout for this chili.

This chili goes great with sturdy corn tortilla chips, cornbread, or even a nice slab of hot, buttered beer bread. Top with cheese, sour cream, bacon, scallions, or anything else that you like. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs chuck roast, cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 3 tbs chili powder, plus more to taste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups beef stock (I like Kitchen Basics brand)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans small red beans
  • 1 (12 oz) bottle stout beer

Instructions

Cook the bacon in a large pot until slightly crisp. Remove and set aside for topping.

Over medium-high heat, add the beef to the bacon fat and cook until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Do not overcrowd the pan, work in batches. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the vegetable oil to the pot. Add the onion and cook until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally as it cooks. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.

Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and tomato paste. While stirring, cook until deep red, about 2 minutes.

Add the beef and all of its juices back into the pot along with the beef stock, tomatoes, and stout beer. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat until the chili is simmering. Cook until the meat is fork tender, about 1.5 hours. Occasionally stir and scrape the bottom of the pot as it cooks.

Add the beans with some of their liquid and continue to simmer until the chili thickens, about 25-30 minutes. Season with additional salt, pepper, and chili as needed. Serve hot topped with grated cheddar cheese and the crisped bacon pieces from earlier.

**Tip** – If the chili isn’t thickening up enough, bring the chili to a boil and then add some masa flour to the pot or a mixture of water and all-purpose flour. Allow the chili to simmer until it thickens up. If the chili is too thick, add a little more stock as needed to thin it out.

 

Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza

Potato and Leek Pizza

This is seriously the BEST. PIZZA. EVER. It is SO ridiculously good! The leeks add such a nice, mild onion flavor and the bacon, ricotta, and potatoes taste absolutely amazing together. This is truly one of the most unique and delicious pizzas I’ve ever tried and it was quickly added to my recipe binder. This recipe is another gem from The Pioneer Woman  and you can find the original recipe here .

I made just a few adjustments to the original recipe and it came out great but feel free to leave it as is if you prefer. She calls for using frozen bread dough for the crust however, the first time I made this I found that to be too dense and dry, the texture just wasn’t right for pizza crust. So the next time I made it I used the same dough recipe from my Pizza Margherita and it was SO much better. If you’re pressed for time or don’t feel comfortable making a homemade crust you can easily pick up a ball of pizza dough in your local pizzeria or even the supermarket. Also, I do not like goat cheese so instead I used large dollops of whole milk ricotta all over the pizza and it was excellent, a perfect substitution! Lastly, feel free to use whatever potatoes you have on hand for this. The recipe calls for red potatoes but I used Yukon Gold because they are my favorite and I always have them in the house.

If you have a pizza stone, use it, as it makes for a nicely baked crust, If you do not have one a plain oiled baking sheet will also work fine. When you take the pizza out of the oven, give it a few minutes to rest so that the cheese sets and doesn’t run all over the place when you slice it. Make extra because it’s THAT good. You can thank me later.

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 leeks, rinsed well to remove grit and thinly sliced 
  • 1 ball of pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
  • 2-3 Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced paper thin with a mandoline or sharp knife
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced thin 
  • 6-8 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 475ºF. Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil or heat up a pizza stone in the hot oven.

In a skillet, fry the bacon over medium heat until cooked but not crisp, remove and set aside. Pour off most of the grease but do not clean the skillet. Return the skillet to the stove and turn the heat to medium low. Add the leeks and saute until soft, about 3 minutes.

Roll out the pizza dough and place on the oiled baking sheet or a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal to be transferred to the hot stone. Drizzle the dough with olive oil. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer all over the crust, slightly overlapping the edges. Sprinkle the potatoes lightly with salt, then lay the mozzarella slices in a single layer on top of the potatoes. Arrange the leeks on top of the cheese. Drop large dollops of ricotta all over the pizza then sprinkle the fried bacon pieces over the top. Add the grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer the pizza to the hot stone or place the oiled pan in the oven. Bake until the edges of the crust are golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly, 11 to 13 minutes. Rest the pizza for 5-10 minutes and then cut into squares and serve immediately.

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Bacon and Cheddar Quiche

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I love quiche. It’s a super simple, filling meal that is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Change up the flavor easily by substituting the veggies, cheese, and even meat for ones that you have on hand. Use ham instead of bacon, throw in some peppers and potatoes for extra bulk, or try out some swiss cheese instead of cheddar. You really cannot mess this meal up so go ahead and experiment, make it your own!

I have been making this version from The Pioneer Woman for years now and it always comes out perfect! Her Cowboy Quiche recipe is hearty, easy to pull together and has great flavor, the caramelized onions really make this quiche sing. For this recipe you can make your own pie crust but if you’re pressed for time, which I usually am, a store-bought pie crust will work just as well. I prefer the Pillsbury Pie Crusts that can found in the refrigerator section, they are tender, flaky, and taste great! But if you have the time, nothing beats making your own crust so try your hand at it if you can!

I highly recommend that you use a deep dish pie plate for this quiche as it doesn’t scrimp on eggs and ingredients. I use a 10″ deep dish pie plate and it’s just big enough to hold this monster size quiche. When it comes out of the oven, be sure to let it sit for at least the recommended 10-15 minutes so that it has a chance to set up. If you try and slice it right away it will be runny and messy. You can also make this quiche in advance as it reheats very well. Just zap a slice in the microwave for a minute or two on 80% power, I find full power heats it too hot and too unevenly. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 unbaked pie crust
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat and cook the onions for at least 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Fry the bacon until chewy. Chop into large bite-sized pieces and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Roll out the pie crust and press it into a deep dish pie pan or a large fluted deep tart pan.

Whip the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then mix in the onions, bacon, and cheese. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet, cover lightly with aluminum foil, and bake it for about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the quiche is set and the crust is golden brown. (The quiche will seem slightly loose when it’s done but will continue to set once removed from the oven.)

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice and serve!

**Tip** – Spray the tin foil with a little cooking spray before covering the quiche, it will help to prevent the foil from sticking to the top of the quiche. 

“How-To” Cooking – Rendering

All animal fat contains some amount of meat tissue and the only way to separate the two is through a process called, rendering. As the meat is cooked the fat will begin to melt and separate from the meat tissue. The pure fat is then strained and the what is left is crisp bits known as “cracklings“. When roasting poultry, such as a turkey, you would strain the pan drippings to capture the rendered fat.

In the case of bacon, when cooked it will render most, if not all, of its fat. The rendered bacon fat is a favorite cooking medium in kitchens. It can be used to make popcorn, sauté vegetables, scramble an egg, or even as a base to make a salad dressing. Rendered bacon fat, free of any solids or “cracklings“, will keep virtually forever in the fridge.

Meatloaf – Pioneer Woman Style

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For years and years I’ve used my same “go-to” meatloaf recipe that I love. It’s beefy, has a nice onion flavor and everyone in my house loves it. But yesterday, I decided to go out on a limb and try something completely different after I came across this meatloaf recipe from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. I love her cookbooks, she has so many meals and desserts that are interesting and delicious. This particular meatloaf recipe is from, “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From An Accidental Country Girl“, her first cookbook. You can get this cookbook on Amazon, just click below!

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl

At first I was a little hesitant mainly because I detest ketchup and this recipe called for a sauce made from ketchup. I was actually pleasantly surprised though, after the meatloaf was cooked the sauce took on a really nice sticky, spicy BBQ quality which added great flavor to the meatloaf. The one thing I’d do differently the next time I make this meal would be to run the bacon slices down the length of the meatloaf as opposed to running them across and tucking them under. The top of the bacon was delicious and nicely cooked but the ends of the bacon that were tucked under the meatloaf remained barely cooked and “blubbery” which I found to be inedible. There is nothing worse than inedible bacon!!!

Overall, this was a really good meatloaf and was well received by my family. It has more of a meatball flavor rather than the beefy onion flavor I’m use to from a meatloaf due in part to the parsley and Parmesan cheese. Also, because soaked bread was used instead of breadcrumbs the meatloaf had a really nice texture and structurally, it was perfect! It sliced beautifully and stayed together even after only letting it rest for about 15 minutes. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers today!

Ingredients

For the meatloaf

  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 slices of bread
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 8-12 thin bacon slices

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 6 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • Dash or two of hot sauce

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the milk over the bread until the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, milk soaked bread, Parmesan cheese, salt, seasoned salt, black pepper, and parsley. Pour in the beaten eggs and with clean hands, mix until combined.

Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place on top of a broiler pan which will allow the fat from the meat and bacon to drain away. Line the bottom of the broiler pan with aluminum foil for easier clean up.

Lay the bacon slices across the top of the meatloaf and tuck the ends underneath.

Next, make the tomato sauce. Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard and hot sauce. Mix well.

Pour 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the top of the meatloaf and spread. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove meatloaf from the oven, pour another 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the top and spread. Place back in oven and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for about 15 minutes. Serve the remainder of the tomato sauce on the side.

**NOTE** – Oven temps vary so adjust your cooking time accordingly. I cooked this meatloaf for an additional 20 minutes and it came out beautifully. Generally speaking, I think an hour is a little too short on time for a meatloaf of this size. 

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