best way to cook bacon

bacon 8

as you may recall a couple weeks ago, i co-hosted my friend, tammy’s dc bridal shower. i made a bunch of different dishes from a spring frittata to browned butter blueberry muffins. but do you know what was the hit of the brunch menu?

BACON!

can you believe it!?!? it was too funny. everyone gobbled it up and complimented how well it was cooked. so kind, but it was one of the easiest things i prepared for the brunch. since everyone loved it so much, i figured it would be worth sharing this cooking method with you all.

start off with regular ol’ bacon. we buy bacon in bulk from costco – no judging!

bacon 2

line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

bacon 1

and arrange the bacon strips in a single layer on the baking sheets.

bacon 3

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poutine

a couple months ago, my family and i went to niagara falls.  we had a great time checking out the falls and very interesting collection of restaurants, shops, and games in clifton hill.

i did some research prior to our trip about different kinds of canadian food.  one of the things i found was poutine.  poutine is fries, smothered in gravy and cheese curds.  sounds good right?  so while we were there, we made sure to try some poutine.  i found smoke’s poutinerie online and it was within walking distance from our hotel.  score!

there were all kinds of different poutines at smoke’s poutinerie and all of them looked wonderful.  but we decided on the regular, perogi, and triple pork (bacon, sausage, and pulled pork).  we shared 3 orders among the 4 of us and it was more than enough.  we were absolutely stuffed.

well fast forward a few weeks and my brother came to visit us in dc.  since he wasn’t able to go to niagara falls with us, i wanted to try our hand at homemade poutine so he could taste the amazing-ness that it is.  he was so kind and actually picked up some cheese curds from cornell’s dairy for our poutine.  how neat!

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bacon cheddar scones 2.0

bacon and cheese are a match made in heaven.  of course not the healthiest but still the most delicious.  bacon of course makes everything better and many would argue cheese does the same.  i’ve already made quite a few recipes highlighting my love for bacon and cheese from my first recipe for bacon cheddar scones to bacon & cheddar muffins, and even this loaded baked potato dip.

although my first crack at bacon cheddar scones was fine, the pictures i took for that post just weren’t the best.  so i figured why not make them again so that i could do a proper post.  but then i realized i didn’t have any buttermilk but i did have a whole quart of heavy cream.  my go to recipe for sweet scones has cream so why not make a savory scone with cream.  duh!

after a quick search online, i found this recipe from king arthur flour.  it is very similar to the first recipe i made but just calls for cream instead.  sounds good to me.  the scones were full of flavor – lots of smoky bacon and sharp cheddar, and the green onion is the perfect addition to round it all out.  plus they were crispy and golden brown on the outside and still nice and fluffy on the inside, just as a good scone should be.

start by getting your main ingredients ready, fry up the bacon…

and shred some sharp cheddar cheese.  p.s. always shred your own cheese.  the pre-shredded kind has powdery stuff on it (to keep the shreds from sticking to each other) that can make your dish a little gritty.  this is especially important for things like mac and cheese.  though it doesn’t make a huge difference in scones, it’s become habit for me to just shred my own.

now in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pepper.

then add the butter and using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture,

until the mixture is crumbly.  you want there to still be little bits of butter because that’s what makes the scones nice and flaky.

next throw in the cheddar cheese, chopped bacon, and green onions.

stir to combine…

then pour in the cream.  start with just 3/4 of a cup and then if the dough is still dry a tablespoon at a time up to 2 tablespoons.

the dough will come together and shape it into a ball, like so.

line an 8×8 baking pan with plastic wrap and transfer the dough to the pan.   press the dough out into an even layer.

using the edges of the plastic wrap, carefully remove the dough from the pan…

then cut the dough into 16 pieces.  i find it easiest to cut it into 8 triangles and then cut each triangle in half.

transfer the scones to a parchment paper or silpat mat lined baking pan.  don’t worry about them being kind of close together.  they don’t spread much if at all.

sprinkle some shredded cheese on to each scone.

and then bake the scones at 425 degrees f for 18-20 minutes.

allow the scones to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

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ranch blt pasta salad

we take a break in your regularly scheduled programming, you know, our slow cooker/crockpot series, to bring you a nice, fresh salad!

my colleague and friend first made a similar pasta salad for an office potluck and i just couldn’t get enough of it.  i made sure to pin the recipe so i could make it later.  finally, i had a chance to whip some up for lunch this week.

this pasta salad is full of bacon, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese, then it’s all topped with ranch dressing.  served over a bed of lettuce or field greens, it mimics all of the flavors you would find in a blt served with a salad with ranch dressing.  okay so that’s not really a thing, but believe me – all the flavors come together beautifully.  i also love that the lettuce lightens up the salad a bit, so i don’t feel as bad eating bacon and cheese and carbs and dressing.  oops!  still it’s delicious and that’s what matters right?

but you know what is good about this recipe, it makes a bunch so chris and i have lunch ready for most of the week.  all i have to do is put some greens in a container and top it with a couple scoops of pasta salad.  done and done.

this pasta salad is super duper easy.  first, get your ingredients prepped and ready to go.  fry up some bacon.

drain the tomatoes (i used fire roasted tomatoes which is why there are little black flecks on the tomatoes – try them.  they are sooo good!)…

then cook the pasta, rinse with cold water, drain well, and pour it in a large bowl.  allow the pasta to cool completely.

then add the shredded cheddar cheese,

the bacon,

the tomatoes,

and finally the chopped green onion.

mix it all together.

then take some ranch dressing, like this:

and pour 1/2 cup over the pasta mixture.

mix until all the pasta, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, etc. are covered with dressing.  then sprinkle on a little pepper, to taste.

let the pasta salad chill for a bit to allow the flavors time to meld together.

serve the pasta salad over a bed of lettuce or field greens – it’s scrumdiddlyumptious!

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bacon & cheddar muffins

every semester my coworkers each take turns making breakfast to share during our staff meetings.  i love it since it’s a welcomed changes to the cereal, english muffins, or yogurt i usually eat for breakfast.  in the past i’ve made whole wheat apple muffins, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, and bacon cheddar scones.  this time around i made these bacon & cheddar muffins and chocolate chip scones (recipe coming soon!).

i like to bring a savory breakfast option along with a sweet one and for some reason i always default to something with bacon and cheese.  i just can’t help it.  but i think next time i will try some other kind of savory breakfast dish.  we’ll see.  anyone have any suggestions?

either way though, these bacon & cheddar muffins are delicious!  they are full of bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and green onions.  they probably aren’t a good every day kind of a breakfast with all of the cheese and bacon, they are definitely a good treat!

the muffins start with some bacon – so fry up 6 strips of bacon and set them aside to cool.

shred the sharp cheddar cheese and chop up the bacon.

now set aside a little bit of the bacon and cheese in a little bowl.  you’re going to use this to top each muffin to make them look nice and pretty.

time to make the batter.  first mix the dry ingredients – flour, salt, sugar, pepper, and baking powder in a large bowl.   then add the cheese, bacon, and green onions (i forgot them and had to add them in later, please forgive me)

  

next mix the wet ingredients – eggs, milk, sour cream, and vegetable oil.

pour the wet mixture over the dry and mix just to combine.  be sure to not overmix.  (also, if you’re like me and forgot to add the green onions, add them now.)

  

the muffin batter is ready!

divide the batter evenly between 12-15 muffin cups (i got 15 muffins out of this recipe but the original one only got 12).

sprinkle a little of the bacon and cheese you aside over each one.

bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes.

let them cool a little bit and then they are ready to enjoy!

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