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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Individual Meatloaf’s wrapped in Applewood Smoked Bacon

This was Sunday night dinner. Finally had a chance to sit and get this posted for "you all" (This was for my southern friends because you know I really don't talk like that..haha) to enjoy. Who doesn't love meatloaf?? Well, maybe a vegan but I personally need a little meat once in a while and my body tells me when I need it!  Ohhh and Bacon, sweet bacon...I happen to be in love with this beautiful, greasy, smokey and crunchy item and I love to use it as much as I can, especially the applewood smoked, it is my favorite! : )

This recipe will serve 8 people, great for a casual dinner party


3 Pounds of ground beef (I use 80 / 20 for the fat and flavor, anything less will get dry)
3 large eggs (1 egg per pound)
1 small onion (cut into a small dice)
½ green bell pepper (cut into a small dice)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb Applewood smoked bacon (enough to cover all the meatloaf’s)
1 tsp chili powder


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Remove the hamburger from the fridge at least half an hour before using, to get the
chill out of the meat. Makes it easier to mix with your hands and meat should not be cold
when you start cooking it.

Heat up a saute pan on medium high heat. Add the olive oil, then add the onion and ball pepper. Cook until almost tender and remove from the heat and let cool.
Add the hamburger, eggs, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, basil. Oregano, crushed red pepper flakes and cooled onion and bell pepper to a very large bowl.

If you will notice I only made 7...not 8! I was asked for a bigger one, so I compromised!

Mix all the ingredients with your hands until everything in incorporated. Do not over mix.

Separate the meat into 8 servings and work each serving into a football shape. Put onto the prepared baking sheet. Cut the bacon slices in half. Place a pieces on top of the meatloaf’s so all the meat is covered with the bacon and tuck under the sides. (See pic.)

Sprinkle each meatloaf with chili powder and a bit more black pepper.
Put into the preheated oven and cook for 45 to 55 minutes. The bacon should be nice and crunchy.

I served with corn and peppers that were sauteed in butter, chili powder, black pepper and kosher salt. Also did a pot of sweet potato cooked in 2 cups of water, brown sugar, allspice, freshly grated nutmeg, black pepper, kosher salt, lemon zest and lemon juice until tender.  Please post a comment if you would like either of these recipes posted???  : ) 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


SURPRISE!! Here is what I used the second roasted chicken for! This is one of my favorites! Hope you all enjoy this as much as I do.  Warms your Soul! : )


1 5 ½ pound roasted chicken, all white and dark meat removed from the bone
5 slices Applewood smoked bacon, cut into thin slices cross way
3 pounds of small red skinned potatoes. cut into fourths
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
4 large ears of corn, corn shaved off the cobb
8 cups chicken broth
4 cups half and half
2 tbsp of unsalted butter
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp dill weed
fresh chopped parsley


Shuck the corn and shave the raw corn kernels off the cob (I have a tool for this, or you can use a chefs knife). Place the corn kernels in a bowl and set aside.
Remove all the chicken from the bone into shreds and place in a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, add the 2 tbsp of olive oil to the stock or soup pot over medium heat, add the Applewood smoked bacon and cook until crisp (you can pull a few pieces to garnish if you would like), then add the onions. Once tender add the potatoes and toss in the oil onion and bacon mixture,season with salt and ground black pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes and then add the chicken stock.

Bring to a high rolling boil and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender and stock reduces and thickens from the starch in the potato.

Reduce the heat to medium low and add the corn kernels, half and half, chicken, butter, dill weed, nutmeg and another pinch of kosher salt and pepper and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Add the freshly chopped parsley. Turn off the heat and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
If you want this thicker add 2 tbsp of flour to the butter and mix well with a fork, then add to the pot and stir well. The thickness of the broth depends on you and what tickles your fancy.

See how much this has reduced...Almost gone...Lots of flavor there.
Dont worry, there will be lots of cream going in! : )

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Roasted Chickens with Caramelized small white onions and sautéed Kale

I took a drive on Sunday to a local chicken farmers and purchsed a couple of Local pasture raised hormone/antibiotic free chickens. Thank you Kinsey at Creek SideChicken! Luckily his farmer friend had brought over some produce and I took advantage of getting some Kale. (Best in the winter...sweeter).  I also wanted to thank my co-worker Christie for supplying the onions...perfect timing!  THANKS!! xoxo
So I am going to share my roasted chicken recipe. Actually made two because I will use the second for another dish that I will post later.

Roasted Chickens


Roasted Chickens


2 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chickens
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Thyme leaves
1 large bunch fresh parsley
1 orange, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, halved
2 celery hearts
½ cup white wine (chardonnay will work here)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry.

Generously salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of parsley, both onion halves, 1 for each chicken, both halves of orange, 1 for each chicken, celery hearts, 1 for each chicken and garlic.
Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Pour the wine in the bottom of the roasting pan and cover with the lid.

Roast the chicken for 1 ½ hours and remove the lid. Let cook for an additional ½ hour, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh and the skin is nicely browned and crispy. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes (tented), you dont want the skin to get soggy! Slice the chicken onto a platter.

I normally roast 2 chickens at the same time so I have one for the meal and sandwiches and the other chicken is used for another recipe the following night. Big time saver!!

There are some beautiful juices there...Pan gravy should be made with this...However, my
puppies got this with dinner! : )


Caramelized Onions & Sautéed Kale

25 small white boiling onions
2 cups water
1 tsp Kosher salt, plus an extra pinch for the kale
1 tsp Ground black pepper, plus an extra pinch for the kale
2 tsp Sugar
5 whole cloves
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of kale


Clean the kale. Remove the center vein and tear the kale into pieces. I fill the sink with water and put the kale in there and swish it around to get ride of any hidden dirt. Let soak while the onions are cooking. Then squeeze the excess water out and place on a kitchen towel.

Clean the skin off the onions. Add the water, kosher salt, black pepper, sugar and cloves to a sauté pan over medium heat and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the onions and simmer until the onions are just tender. Be sure to be gentle so not to break up the onions. Once they are tender, strain the liquid into a bowl and reserve for the Kale. Put the pan back on the heat and add the butter and oil and a sprinkle of sugar to the onions. Toss with a spoon so all the onions are coated. Let them cook for a few minutes and gently turn over to caramelize the second side. Once they are at the right color for you remove and put on a plate.
There will be some great brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Remove the cloves from the reserved liquid. Add the reserved onion liquid to the pan and scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Let the liquid come to a small boil, there will be very small bubbles forming around the edge of the pan. Add the cleaned Kale to the liquid and toss.
The kale will wilt down quite a bit. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the kale and let the liquid reduce by half. Then pour over the kale.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ricotta, Almond and Blueberry Cake

Ricotta, Almond and Blueberry Cake


Cake batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp almond extract
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup fresh blueberries

2 large eggs
15 ounces of whole milk ricotta cheese

½ cup roughly chopped almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp almond extract
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 or 10 inch springform pan.

For the cake batter:

In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Add the milk, shortening, egg, vanilla and almond extract, beating till smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan. Sprinkle the blueberries over the batter.

For the topping:
In a small bowl, beat the eggs till frothy, then beat in the cheese, sugar, vanilla, almond extract and nutmeg. Fold in the chopped almonds. Spread this mixture evenly over the blueberries.

Bake the cake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until it's golden brown around the edges.
Remove from the oven and cool. Release the sides of the springform pan and using a flat
offset spatula (icing spatula), slide the cake on to a flat plate or cake dish.

Beef Stroganoff

I have been craving this dish for some time, knowing that it is not the healthiest of dishes! But I figured if I just have a small plate that the craving will go away and I can move on to my quest for healthier dishes, which you will see in the weeks to follow. I have a goal to hopefully be in the best shape of my life by this summer. So with that comes more exercise and less cream....makes me sad that I have to give up my ice cream but this needs to be done!   : )
P.S.  I will also be making a wonderful desert today, heck why not, I am already going to be in calorie over load!!  I will be kind and share this recipe with you. So be on the look out for my Ricotta , Almond and Blueberry Cake! mmmm.


1 flank steak (2 pounds)
1 tsp meat tenderizer
1 1/2 pounds portobello mushroom caps, gills removed, halved and sliced thin
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
4 tsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp tomato paste
1  1/2 cups beef stock
1/4 cup white wine
2 tsp of mustard
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.


Cut steak lengthwise into 3-inch-wide strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Toss meat and tenderizer together in medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes. Remove from and let it come to room temperature.

Roast the mushrooms:
Place mushrooms on prepared baking sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast, stirring once, until golden brown, about 15 minutes; set aside.

To make the sauce:
Add the onion, remaining oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook over medium heat until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in roasted mushrooms, flour, and tomato paste and cook until paste begins to darken, about 2 minutes. Add broth, wine, and mustard and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

 Pat steak dry with paper towels. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook half of steak, without moving it, until browned around edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip . Transfer to medium bowl. Repeat with additional 1 teaspoon oil and remaining steak.

Whisk sour cream and egg in small bowl until smooth.

Stir steak into sauce, along with any accumulated juices, and cook until beef is heated through, about 1 minute.

Off heat, add sour cream mixture and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve over wide egg noodles.

I like to add peas to this dish as you will notice in the picture….you may want to give it a try.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

Here is my first post for 2012...I have been busy already and starting my job on top of everything else. What a great start to the new year and I am one happy girl. 
I thought this recipe would be appropriate with all this cold weather we are having so I hope everyone takes some time to make a pot!  It is good for you and warms the soul! 


3/4 pound ground turkey
1/2 pound ground beef
4 ounces stale country bread, crusts removed (about 3 or 4 slices)
2 medium cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp. milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 large fennel bulb, about 1 pound, trimmed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 head escarole, about 1 pound, cut into 1/2-inch shreds
1 bunch Swiss chard, about 1 pound, cut into 1/2-inch shreds
10 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup small pasta
1 cup cannellini beans
extra Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare meatballs:
Place ground meats, bread, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, milk, egg, basil, oregano, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

Prepare soup:
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large stock pot. Add onion, carrots, celery and fennel and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in escarole and Swiss chard and cook until wilted. Add the chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil. Add pasta to the simmering broth and cook an additional 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute.