Tag Archives: Bacon

Bacon, Spinach and Chicken Stew


One of the (many) pitfalls of being unemployed is that now the weather is cold and gloomy and I have even less motivation to leave the apartment than I did before (which is truly frightening). One of the fantastic things about being unemployed is the colossal amount of time I have on my hands to dream up and cook delicious things. I’m like Jerry Seinfeld. It all evens out.

I’ve been dying to make soup lately and this was easy and used up lots of things I already had in my house. You could use this recipe if you still have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, or bookmark it for Christmas leftovers.

On the menu:
Bacon, Spinach and Chicken Stew
Serves 4
Adapted from this recipe from The Kitchn

1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
4 strips of bacon, diced into thin slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. baby spinach
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 – 5 cups chicken stock
Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add bacon. Cook until most of the fat is rendered and the bacon is almost crisp. Add garlic and stir, cooking for 1 minute. Add baby spinach and stir until completely coated in bacon fat. Sprinkle spinach with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes or until spinach is wilted down. Add cooked chicken and stir to coat in fat. Cook for 5 minutes until mixture is completely heated through. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes at a simmer.

Serve in big soup bowl and sprinkle grated cheese over the top.

Note: The sandwich in that picture is a delectable prosciutto with melted mozzarella and balsamic marinated cherry tomatoes on challah rolls. And yes… it was as good as it looks.

Last Note (promise): I don’t know why this is a stew and not a soup, but to me it’s a stew because there’s more stuff than broth. You feel me? Ok good.

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Mishmash

My first thought for dinner last night was, “Takeout.” Then I remembered my withering bank account. And my waistline. And my cholesterol.

My second thought was leftovers! I rummaged through the refrigerator, and since I was only cooking for one, decided I’d throw what I had into a pan and see what happened. Turns out… not so bad.

[Editor’s note: have you guys noticed that I love bacon? And cream? And that I will literally find any way that I can to incorporate bacon and cream into everything I eat? So much for that cholesterol.]

Spinach with bacon

On the menu:
Couscous with spinach, bacon, and almonds
Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a meal

1 cup couscous
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
2 strips of turkey bacon, cooked to crispy
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup spinach, frozen or fresh
1 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Add water and salt to a medium saucepan and turn to high heat. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, add butter to the skillet you cooked the bacon in and turn the heat to medium/low. Once the butter is melted, add the spinach.

(This is the time you’ll want to add the couscous. Add couscous to boiling water, stir immediately, turn off heat and let sit covered for 4 minutes).

Cook spinach until it is wilted and warmed up. Add garlic salt. Add cream and mix until incorporated. Add spinach to the couscous and stir. Add almonds and serve.

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These Pancakes Have a Secret

I’m about to tell you a story, but in order to read it, you’re going to have to put your judgment face away and slap on an open minded grin.

Got it?

Okay, here goes. I ate pancakes 3 days in a row. I can’t explain it. I needed something comforting and warm and salty and sweet and when I got home last night it was beautiful and snowy and I thought, “What else do people eat when it’s cold and snowy and Christmastime but pancakes?” I couldn’t come up with anything. So I made these. And they have a secret.

HEY. Remember when I told you not to judge me? Pancakes with bacon sounded good, so I thought, I will combine these beauties into one easily consumed dish.

I started by crisping up the bacon real nice, setting it aside to drain, pouring the grease out of the pan, and then making the pancakes (using this recipe*, obviously) in that same beautiful pan all ready to go and coated with bacon grease. Once I poured the batter in the pan I laid the crispy strips in the center of the pancake and cooked as usual.

Then for the sauce: I cubed some apple and sauteed it in a small saucepan with 2 Tbsp of butter, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, and 2 tsp of cinnamon. Once the apples are softened, you pour the mixture on top of the pancakes.

And then you eat your face off. Or you share. But… probably the former.

*I realized upon arriving home that I was out of baking powder. I said a few curse words, looked out at the snow, and then remembered I could make my own. 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 parts baking soda = baking powder. (For example: in this recipe you need 3 tsp of baking powder, so instead you’d use 2 tsp cream of tartar and 1 tsp baking soda) A handy trick for you in case you’re ever in the same predicament.

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The Return of Cheesy Pasta

Happy Monday, friends! Today’s post is a bit of a throwback but with a twist. Remember this? A Sunday dinner, to me, is always made up of some sort of pasta and carbonara sounded like just the kind of warm sleep-inducing dish I needed. And when The Boyfriend requested tortellini, I knew exactly what to make.

On the menu:
Tortellini carbonara
Adapted from Epicurious.com

1 lb. multi cheese tortellini
12 strips of bacon, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 medium sized yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
4 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Cook tortellini in salted boiling water until cooked, according to package directions. Drain. Save 1 cup of pasta water.

Saute bacon in a LARGE skillet until crisp. Drain bacon on a paper towel and reserve 3 Tbsp of grease in the skillet. Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the skillet and cook until mushrooms are softened. Add 1/2 cup pasta liquid to the skillet and raise heat so the liquid boils. Whisk egg yolks and cream together in a small bowl. Add pasta, cream mixture, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese to the skillet and mix together quickly so the pasta is completely coated. Keep constantly stirring the mixture and scraping the bottom of the skillet for ten minutes over medium-high heat until the egg is cooked. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more reserved pasta water. Add bacon and mix in. Cook for another 3 minutes. Plate pasta immediately and sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese on top.

And in case the cup of cream, 12 slices of bacon, and 4 egg yolks didn’t tip you off, this is not a particularly healthy dinner. Maybe don’t make this one twice a week.

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The Cheesiest Mac of them All

I cook because I love food, but I also cook because I love making other people happy via food. One time my friend Meagan came over around dinner time when I had made mac and cheese, and proceeded to eat three bowls of it. I couldn’t have been happier. There is no higher compliment to a cook than guests going back for seconds.

On the menu:
Mac and cheese with pancetta (adapted from Bon Appetit)
Serves 6 as a meal, 10 as a side

6 tablespoons butter, divided
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
1 cup onion, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 cups (or less) whole milk
2 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 pound macaroni (any medium-sized pasta will do: penne, orecchiette, gemelli, etc. – I used penne and gemelli here because it’s all I had in my pantry)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and get a large pot of salted water boiling for pasta. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; sauté until crisp, about 6 minutes. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and garlic; stir 1 minute. Stir in 3 tablespoons butter; allow to melt, then add flour and stir 1 minute. [Now is a good time to start cooking your pasta – cook until al dente] Gradually whisk in 1 cup of milk; simmer until thick enough to coat spoon thickly, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in all cheeses. Whisk in more milk by 1/4 cupfuls until sauce is thick but pourable. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko and stir until very light golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Lightly butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Add warm cheese sauce to drained al dente pasta; toss to coat. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over. Bake mac and cheese until heated through and topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. [I added a little more cheddar to the top of mine, because I really, really like cheese… but if you’re trying to avoid a heart attack, maybe leave off the extra]

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Fat Nestled Between Fat, Fat, Cheese, and Fat

I once knew a girl… we’ll call her… Laura. Yeah, Laura. Every once in awhile, Laura would get an insatiable craving for fried chicken. One day after high school she drove half an hour to the closest KFC and ate fried chicken all by herself because no one else wanted to join her. One time last winter she went to Popeye’s and ran the 8 blocks home because it was freezing outside and she didn’t want her chicken to get cold.

I know. She’s gross. Gross Laura.

When Laura saw this, she was neither intrigued nor tempted to visit a KFC to try it out. I believe her first reaction was to gag, then look away, then look back in utter disgusted fascination. WHO IS EATING THIS MESS DISGUISED AS A MEAL?! 32 grams of fat. 1380 mg of sodium. 540 calories. Somewhere Jamie Oliver is crying himself to sleep.

Sam Sifton’s review for the Times is perfect, and Eater’s creepster coverage of Sam Sifton eating the monstrosity is even better.

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Sunday Yummy Sunday

Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal of the day. Dinner is a close second, (followed by the “cold sandwiches suck” middle meal of lunch) but there is something about the sweet and savory meal that breaks the all-night fast that for me, really takes the cake. And when the rain outside is of Biblical proportions, I like to take to the kitchen in my pajamas and start the last day of the weekend with some good, good eats.

On the menu:
Goat cheese, mushroom, spinach, caramelized onion omelet
Homefries with peppers and onions
Crispy bacon
Orange juice

The omelet:
Serves 1

2 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
1/4 cup white mushrooms, slightly cooked over butter
1/8 cup caramelized onions* (see note)
1/8 cup cooked spinach
2 Tbsp goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together 2 eggs with a Tbsp of milk, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into a non-stick pan over medium heat. (NOTE: the non-stickness of your non-stick pan is integral. Your omelet will look TERRIBLE if it sticks. Use cooking spray if you need to). Rotate the pan so the egg spreads to all the edges of your pan. Once the omelet is almost entirely set, line up mushrooms, onions, spinach, and goat cheese in one line down the center of the omelet. Slowly fold one half of the omelet over the filling, repeat with the other side (like a tri-fold letter). Flip the omelet and cook for 2 additional minutes, until the egg is completely cooked through and the filling is heated.
*Note: caramelized onions are so easy to make because onions have a ton of natural sugar. All you have to do is thinly slice a Spanish onion and heat the slices in a frying pan for around 15 minutes, until the onion develops a nice golden color.

The homefries:
Serves 1

1 potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil potato chunks for around 15 minutes, until you can stick a fork into one and it slides out easily. Drain potatoes. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with 1 Tbsp canola oil, and salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Toss onions and peppers with canola oil and add to the baking sheet. Raise oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake potatoes, onions, and peppers for 15 minutes, until potatoes are crispy on the outside and the onions and peppers have softened.

After the meal I’m going to suggest a nap. Because the rain is still coming down, the smell of bacon still hangs in the air, and your bed is still warm with that perfect, disheveled mix of blankets, pillows, and rumpled sheets. And it don’t get no better than that.

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