Apple, Gorgonzola, and Bacon …. Salad

So … the bacon caught your attention didn’t it ?? It also slightly distracts you from the word salad. Do not let the fact that this sounds healthy fool you. It’s ridiculously delicious and easy to make. Don’t worry about the dressing either …. because you can make your own if you’d like. I’ll post that recipe here on this post as well. It makes a great summer dinner. You can throw some cubed chicken on this puppy as well 😉

 

Apples-and-Bacon-with-Maple-Vinaigrette

Ingredients: (serves two hungry people)

  • 4 Cups Baby Spinach
  • 8 Slices of Bacon fried till crispy, and then crumbled
  • 3 Medium Red Apples of choice, chopped
  • *optional* 8 to 10 Strawberries
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 3/4 Cup crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese, or Feta may be used as well.

Dressing:

  1. 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  2. 4 Teaspoons Golden or White Balsamic Vinegar
  3. 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  4. *optional*  1/2 teaspoon Stone Ground Mustard
  5. 2 Tablespoons of Real Maple Syrup …. you can use the others but its sweeter so be prepared
  6. Salt and Pepper to taste
  7. Mix in a small mason jar or anything you have for dressing and shake shake shake …. boom.

Because you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to make a salad , my only instructions will be …. fry that bacon up first and set aside. Mix all the dressing ingredients … shake and refrigerate. Then throw all that good salad stuff together and put as much dressing on as you like. You can always make more ….. and you will because its soooooooo good.

 

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Beer, Cheese, and Veg Soup ….

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It was a chilly 65 degrees for two days down here in the Florida Keys last week, and I was a little happy. (curse me but thats actually chilly here!!) It meant I could make soup. I didn’t want your run of the mill “grandma chicken soup” or “beef and barely” …. no no, I wanted something that will make me say “mmmmm”…. at every single spoonful. Something that will stick to my ribs and keeps me warm. Something that tastes like cheese….. with beer in it. 🙂 I haven’t made this in years but when I did I was insanely happy I remembered it 🙂 European countries would not hesitate to feed this to the kiddies but if you want you can use a non- Alcoholic beer. I will let you be the judge of that …..

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 12oz bottle of beer. I use Rolling Rock but you can use any domestic. Do not use a light beer or any bitter beer like IPA’s or Lagers. Just a plain Corona, Coors, Miller, Bud, Rolloing Rock…..  yada yada You get the picture,
  • 2 cups chopped carrots – chop to your liking just remember not too big or it takes forever to cook them.
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 3 cups diced potatoes – make sure your potatoes are chopped just a tad bigger than your carrots because they will cook faster.
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • tabasco or your favorite hot sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne peper
  • 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 cups sharp cheddar cheese (finely shredded if you can find it)
  • crispy cooked bacon to crumble on top of soup when serving
  • *optional* chopped green onion for topping

Directions:

  1. Add stick of butter to large sauce pan. Add garlic, onion, peppers, celery, carrots and potatoes. Cook on med stirring often until carrots and potatoes are starting to get soft. Remove from heat.
  2. In a large soup pot add half and half. Stir under med heat until warm. Take about 2 cups of warm half and half and whisk flour together with it in a separate bowl until blended well with no lumps. Then add back into the pot.
  3. Add chicken broth slowly to pot and stir well. Then turn heat to simmer and slowly add beer. It will foam for a minute. Stir in well.
  4. Add sauteed veg and butter to soup pot and stir in well.
  5. Add in mustard, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt pepper and cayenne pepper.
  6. Turn heat back to medium and start adding in the shredded cheddar in small amounts while stirring it in so it doesn’t clump. When all 6 cups are added return heat back to simmer.
  7.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes and stir every few minutes so it doesn’t burn to the bottom. (this is a good time to cook up some bacon) 🙂
  8. If you like thick soup then you can always take out some soup whisk in a little more flour and get it up to your own consistency.
  9. After the 30 minutes of so turn off the heat and let the soup cool for at least 10 minutes .
  10. Ladle into bowl and throw some chopped up bacon on top … and voila cheese and beer heaven 🙂

 

Pan Seared Scallops with Bacon and Spinach

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I love scallops … especially the big ones. I love the texture and the mild seafood taste. This I have only made a few times but I like that its quick and simple on top of being tasty 🙂

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 -5 pieces of bacon (do not use processed bacon bits)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of sea scallops (the bigger the better)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow or sweet onion
  • 5 garlic cloves sliced or 2 tablespoon minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 12oz of fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • lemon wedges
  • *cocktail sauce – optional*

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon in a large cast-iron skillet , if not use at least a non stick skillet, over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; coarsely chop and set bacon aside. Increase heat to high.
  2. Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle scallops evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and sprinkle on the brown sugar.
  3. Add scallops to drippings in pan; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a plate; cover and keep warm.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add half of spinach and the chicken broth ; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add remaining half of spinach; cook 2 minutes or just until wilted, stirring frequently.
  5. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Divide spinach mixture among 4 plates; top each serving evenly with crumbled bacon and  scallops. Serve immediately with lemon wedges, and cocktail sauce .

 

Chicken BLT Salad

 

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Chicken Salad can be done in so many different ways. I have two favorites and this is one of them. I mean who doesnt like bacon ??? You can skip the carbs and just serve it on lettuce or you can toast some whole wheat bread and make a sandwich either way its delicious 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 1 medium to large tomato- seeded and chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 cup light mayo (I use 1/2 Miracle Whip light and 1/2 real light mayo)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • a little splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • *optional* Sliced avocado and romaine lettuce

Directions:

  1. Cook Bacon , cool and chop or crumble.
  2. Mix together the mayonnaise,  green onions, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Stir together the chicken breast, tomatoes and bacon. Pour dressing over chicken mixture and toss well to coat. Refrigerate until chilled; serve over lettuce leaves and garnish with avocado slices or on toasted bread.