Brussels sprouts are one of my favourite fall vegetables. Amazingly enough I only had them for the first time a couple of years ago. I had always assumed I wouldn’t like them, but boy was I wrong. Our family was completely smitten after our first bite. After that I made a pact with myself to start picking up new and different (to me) fruits and vegetables when I took notice of them, even if I had no idea what to do with them. That’s what Google’s for isn’t it?
We usually have Brussels sprouts as a side. We like them steamed in a bit of chicken broth and white wine with a pat of butter. But, it was high time they got to star in a main dish. I knew Brussels sprouts and bacon were a natural pairing, all they needed was a backdrop. In this dish fettuccine noodles are tossed with caramelized Brussels sprouts, crisp bacon and a light cream sauce. It’s very simple and the two star ingredients really get to shine. I like to go a little heavy on the pepper in the final seasoning because it compliments the flavours nicely. This has now become our go-to fall pasta.
I’d love to know – is there a fruit or vegetable that you pass by even though you know you ought to give it a try?
Brussels Sprout Bacon Fettuccine
- 1/2 pound whole wheat or brown rice fettuccine
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed (outer leaves removed) and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup spreadable cream cheese
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- salt and pepper, to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserving 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet, set over medium-high heat, until crisp. Remove bacon bits and let drain on paper towel. Pour off some of the bacon grease until approximately 2 tablespoons remain in the skillet. Add Brussels sprouts to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until Brussels sprouts are tender and starting to brown. Add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Lower heat and stir in cream cheese and chicken broth. Stir until cream cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Stir in drained pasta until well coated. Add a bit of pasta water, if needed, until you get a loose sauce covering the pasta. Season liberally with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in bacon just before serving.
We’ve been eating these quesadillas for a couple of years now. This is our absolute favourite combination of quesadilla fillings. How could it not be? They’ve got every possible form of goodness in them – bacon, cream cheese, black beans, green chilies, chicken… I’ll stop now before I list off all the ingredients. I love them all!
All of this is just made that much better by the smokiness from the barbecue. In the winter months we do make them on the stove top, so that is a tasty alternative if you don’t have a grill handy.
We’re still in the middle of moving so I’m sharing a recipe that I original created for Smithfield.com a long while ago. If you feel like you recognize the photo or recipe, that’s why! ;) It’s no longer available on their site and I thought it deserved it’s time in the spotlight here on the blog, since we make it so often. Enjoy!
Chicken, Bacon & Black Bean Quesadillas
To make this a little faster you can use leftover or rotisserie chicken. Just sauté the red pepper and add the chicken and spices with the rest of the filling ingredients.
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces (2 cups cooked)
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (4 oz) can green chilies
- 1/2 cup spreadable cream cheese
- 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 2 cups shredded cheese
- 8, 8 inch flour tortillas
- sour cream and salsa, for serving
Saute the chicken with chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper in a bit of oil over medium heat in a large skillet until starting to brown. Add red pepper and saute until chicken is cooked through and peppers are softened. Add black beans, green chilies, and cream cheese. Cook until melted together. Remove from heat and stir in cooked bacon.
Place four tortillas on a clean countertop. Spread with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with green onions and cheese. Top with remaining four tortillas.
Cook on a grill over medium heat for a couple of minutes on each side until tortillas are crispy and cheese is melted. Alternatively you can cook them, one at a time, in a dry skillet over medium heat.
Cut each quesadilla into 6 pieces. Serve with sour cream and salsa.
It’s still winter. Despite a few days of teasing here and there the cold weather is prominent and spring is still a month away. For my family this means soup – it’s kind of a winter staple around here.
Now that we’ve moved to New York my hubby’s office is only a five minute walk away which means he comes home for lunch almost every day. And, I’m loving it. We generally like to keep things pretty simple but soup and grilled cheese are pretty much a must. The thing I love about soup is that it keeps on giving – you make the recipe once and you can have it for lunch again later in the week.
James isn’t a big fan of potatoes, unless they’re in the form of french fries or mashed potatoes (drenched in gravy, of course), so I don’t make baked potatoes
very much at all. Baked potatoes are one of my favourite ways to eat potatoes but for the potato-averted they seem to be a bit of a nightmare since they’re so full of… potato. Because of this, I was pleasantly surprised when James loved this soup. I think the number one reason is because the soup is smooth and silky – no bland chunks of potato to be found. Add some crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese and chives and you have a baked-potato-lovers dream that’s fit for non-potato-lovers too.
Loaded “Baked Potato” Soup
- 4 strips bacon, diced
- 1.5 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
- 1.5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream
- salt and pepper, to taste
- grated cheddar cheese and chopped chives, to serve
In a large saucepan cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Set aside for later.
Cook leeks in a couple tablespoons of the bacon grease until soft. Add potatoes, stock and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover loosely and simmer 15-20 minutes or until potatoes mash easily with a fork. Remove the sprigs of thyme and puree the soup with a handheld blender, food processor or blender. Strain through fine mesh sieve to ensure smoothness, if desired. Pour back into pot, add sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Heat over medium heat until warm; do not boil.
Ladle into bowls and serve topped with cooked bacon, cheddar cheese and chives.
Makes: 6 servings
Adapted from Fresh with Anna Olson.
If I were to pick one summer comfort food, it would burgers. I could eat a good burger practically every day, but I try to limit it to once a week during the hot summer months. I tend to go for a simple beef burger with cheese and bacon or a grilled chicken breast with pineapple, cheese and bacon. Do you see a trend here? I like me some bacon on my burgers. Which is why I dedicated a whole post to how I cook them for my sandwiches.
This particular day was a scorcher and I didn’t want to turn on the oven at all, so I did the same procedure as with the baked lattice bacon except I pan-fried it. I will always prefer my bacon baked over fried, just because it cooks more evenly, but the method still worked great.
The key to avoiding a tough burger is to handle the meat as little as possible. Mix the ingredients together just until incorporated and pat the burgers into form rather than squeezing.
I’ve always been a little nervous about making ground chicken burgers because you need to be extra careful in making sure they’re cooked through and I’ve heard they often turn out dry. But, this recipe sounded too good to pass up. The meat mixture is packed with cheddar and parmesan and I think that must help a lot with moisture because these were not even close to dry. They were juicy, cheesy and packed with flavour. Add the classic components of a BLT and a yummy Basil Mayonnaise and you have yourself one mean burger.
I prefer burgers without bread crumbs, crackers or oats because I find them less meatloaf-y. They are quite sticky to deal with but as long as you grease your grill ahead of time and make sure there’s a good char on them before you turn, you should have no problem flipping them.
BLT Chicken Burgers
I tend to make my burgers a little smaller and make six burgers out of one pound of meat, instead of four, which is why you will see differing amounts in the assembly. Choose as many as is appropriate for the amount of burgers you have made.
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Mix ingredients together lightly and form into 4-6 thin patties. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to grill.
To Grill: Clean and lightly grease grill grates; preheat to medium. Grill burgers, flipping once, until browned and cooked through (8-10 minutes).
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Mix ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- 4-6 burger buns, toasted if desired
- 4-6 squares lattice bacon (or 8-12 slices), cooked
- 4-6 romaine lettuce leaves
- 1 large tomato, sliced
Spread buns with basil mayonnaise. Top with bacon, lettuce, chicken burgers and tomato. Serve immediately.
Adapted from My Recipes.
Does anyone else have issues with their bacon trying to escape from your sandwich or burger while you’re trying to eat it? You’d think it would know that either way it’s going to end up in your belly so it might as well stop putting up a fight.
It was out of this frustration that I came up with this idea. No sliding and slipping around. No sneaking out the side while you’re not looking. These little piggy’s stay in their place.
I always cook my bacon in the oven. It bakes up just as crisp but is much harder to burn and each piece has room to breath and stretch out making for much more even browning. Plus, it’s less mess. Bonus points all around!
Below are step by step photo for how to assemble and bake these little squares of love. Click on the photos to view the slide show and instructions.
Now you’ll get a piece of bacon with every bite!
Do you have trouble keeping your bacon on your burgers?
You will need 2 slices of bacon per serving.
- Cut bacon in half widthwise.
- Lay two halves side by side on a foil lined (rimmed) baking sheet.
- Take another bacon half and lay it across the two adjacent bacon strips. Tuck it under one bacon strip and leave it on top of the other.
- Repeat with another bacon half but tuck it under and over the opposite slices of bacon, creating a lattice effect. This is one serving.
- Repeat with remaining bacon strips until you have the desired amount of servings.
- Place into a cold oven. Turn the heat to 400ºF and bake for approximately 20 min. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the bacon and your desired amount of crispness.
- If the bacon starts to curl up on the edges, use a fork to flip it halfway through the cooking time (this is not a necessary step if the bacon doesn’t curl).
- Once the bacon is cooked to your liking remove from the oven and transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Serve immediately.