One-Pan Broccoli-Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese

I’m balancing out the pound of kale I’ve eaten this week with pasta and cheese and bacon.  In all honesty, this mac ‘n cheese is a little sneaky because there’s not only broccoli in this dish but there’s another veggie hidden amongst all that cheese.

Can you guess?

PUMPKIN!

Yes, pumpkin.  But you honestly can’t taste it at all.  The original recipe called for butternut squash but canned pumpkin is way more readily available (you could even use mashed sweet potatoes).

And not only is this mac ‘n cheese full of good for you stuff, you only need one pan to make this dinner.  And you don’t have to wait for water to boil.  So good.

Here’s how fast it all comes together:  Cook your bacon and then reserve for later.  Sauté the garlic in the bacon fat then add in the chicken stock, milk and pumpkin.  Bring to a boil.  Add in the pasta and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.  Add in the broccoli.  Cover and cook for 3-5 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add in the bacon and cheese.  Cover and cook for 1 minute or until the pasta is cooked to perfection.  DIG IN.

macncheese

I love mac ‘n cheese.

CB&C

Toast just got an upgrade!  And this cashew-carrot toast is perfect for breakfast, lunch or as a snack.

First your going to make carrot ribbons with a vegetable peeler.

Then marinate the carrot in a mixture of EVOO and apple cider vinegar.

Crisp up a slice of bacon.  Yes, bacon.

Toast your bread!

Slather on some cashew butter (if you haven’t tried cashew butter yet, don’t wait another moment!).

Pile on the carrots.

Sprinkle on the bacon.

Top it all with some salt and pepper.

cbc

 

Broccoli Salad Dip

When most people think of Thanksgiving they think of family, turkey, all.the.pies., and football.  I remember growing up we’d finish our Thanksgiving feast at the beach with all of our family and then the men would retire to the living room to watch football.  Or maybe it should be “watch football” – because there was definitely some snoring coming from the living room.

And while you probably won’t be making an appetizer for a tailgate on Thursday, you might need one on Friday or Saturday.

Last Saturday, I whipped up a broccoli salad dip for us to nibble on while we watched college football.

Big Guy was dead set on me utilizing the broccoli in the garden so I was left with limited options.  Thankfully the dip turned out fantastic and was perfect paired with pretzels (gluten free!) and Wheat Thins.

And while the recipe is based off of the retro broccoli salad that we’ve all had before, it reminded me more of a pea pasta salad my Momma used to make when we were growing up.

Big Guy thought that a nice addition to the mix would have been raisins – which I have to agree with him.

This no-cook recipe (well, minus needing to crisp up the bacon) is perfect for a tailgate because you don’t have to worry about it getting cold.

Will you be watching football this Thanksgiving?

 

Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Potatoes and Green Onions

This one-skillet dinner has it all.

Comforting.

Carb-alicious.

Protein-packed.

Crunch.

Freshness.

Flavor.

Bacon.

Herbiness.

Healthy.

And yes, I made up more than one of those words.

But seriously – this meat ‘n potatoes dinner that is sure to please most is cooked in one pan.

One pan = easy clean up.

Here’s what you do…Cook the bacon in a cast-iron skillet until crispy.  Remove from the pan and add the potatoes and green onions.  Allow them to cook until a little roasty and toasty, flipping once.  Remove the potatoes from the pan.  While the potatoes are sizzling away, prep your spice rub and then season the pork tenderloin.  Add the pork tenderloin to the skillet once the potatoes have been removed from the pan.  Cook 3 minutes on each side.  Add the potatoes and green onions back to the pan with the pork and sprinkle the entire pan with sliced garlic.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.  Remove the pork from the pan and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.  Before serving the potatoes, sprinkle with bacon and fennel fronds (tops of the fennel).

While the pork is resting, throw together your salad.  A mix of homegrown lettuce, parsley and fennel is tossed with a dressing made of EVOO, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper.  So simple!

Dinner is served.

Warm Brussels Caesar with Bacon and Ciabatta Croutons

And it’s still rainy and dreary out…

But I honestly can’t complain.  My brother and sister-in-law live in Columbia, SC and they are getting hammered.  My thoughts and prayers are with them and my family at OIB and Sunset.

Despite the rain, it was a wonderful weekend – my baby brother came into town and despite not being able to swing the golf club due to the weather, we ate, watched football, ate some more and watched more football.

Before dinner on Friday night, we shared a couple of apps – goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon made an appearance after months without them plus a sausage and cheese dip (I used sausage instead of beef).  The is perfect for tailgating because it’s made in a crock pot so it’ll probably happen again.  There ended up being a lot left over so we saved it for the tailgate at home on Saturday.

On the menu Friday night, Steaks and Butter (our favorite steak recipe from this book) with Warm Brussels Caesar with Bacon and Ciabatta Croutons.  

Logan adores Caesar salads but I wanted to do something new and different.  We haven’t had Brussels in what seems like forever and this side dish was perfection.

Sauteed brussels are tossed with crisped bacon and a yogurt-based Caesar dressing and then topped with ciabatta croutons.  Lots of croutons.

Oh, man.  Brussels have never tasted so good.

I loved the Caesar dressing – garlicky just the way I like it.  And the croutons were so crunchy.

Bacon + Croutons – nothing bad can come of that combination.

Crisp Cauliflower Fritters {and nacho goodness}

You have no idea how good it feels to be back in the kitchen.  In fact, that’s one of the things I miss most when I’m on vacation.

So on Sunday morning, I grabbed my green juice, textbooks cookbooks, a notepad and a pen and started menu planning for the week.  The menu came together quite easily and I have my craving for healthy food to thank.

But first let’s rewind to the glorious nachos that made my life complete on Sunday.  I’ve been craving nachos like WHOA and I knew that’s what we were going to have on Superbowl Sunday.  But we totally could not make up our minds as to what kind of nachos.  Big Guy was obsessing over the smoker so I finally gave in and the man had some one-on-one time with The Bandit while smoking ribs.  He smoked ’em, bathed ’em, grilled ’em and sauced ’em and finalllllllly we were able to make nachos.  In addition to the pork, the nachos included fontina queso, more cheese, salsa, Greek yogurt and jalapenos.  It’s what my nacho dreams are made of. And yes, I have nacho dreams.

I may or may not have also made a fun Superbowl drank for myself.  A ginger shandy that was a mix of 2 parts IPA, 1 part Ginger Beer and 1 part limeade.

I just couldn’t bring myself to drink wine with this mess of a platter and football.

Back to the Cauliflower Fritters…they seem so boring compared to the above.  But they’re not!

Despite the fact that I am not a lover of raw cauliflower I find it quite lovely when cooked.  And even more lovely with brightened by lemon zest.  These crispy vegetarian fritters are a combination of steamed, mashed cauliflower, chopped onion and shredded potatoes mixed with two eggs and and a little flour (I used rice-flour, but I think all-purpose would work best) to hold them together.  For flavor, garlic, lemon zest and cheddar cheese are added to the cauliflower mixture.  Once combined, form into fritters and lightly pan-“fry” until crisp and cooked through.

The fritters are served with a tangy sauce that combines Greek yogurt, a little mayo, lemon juice, green onions and a sprinkle of salt.  Do not serve the fritters without the sauce.  Trust me.

I know they aren’t near as pretty as the nachos but my body was actually craving this kind of meal made complete with a side salad.

feb dinner

And no, I didn’t stay up for the whole game.

I proudly made it until half-time.

 

 

 

The “Boom” Pizza

I totally just made up that name of this pizza.

But “Chipotle BBQ and Sweet Chili Pineapple + Jalapeno and Bacon” Pizza seemed like a ridiculously long name for a pizza.

But when a pizza looks like this, does the name really matter?

No, the name does not matter.

But the toppings do.

A homemade pizza crust is slathered with a barbecue + chipotle sauce that includes barbecue sauce (I used some homemade tomato based barbecue sauce), a tablespoon of pineapple juice, 1 chopped chipotle pepper, juice from 1/2 a lime, and chopped cilantro.

After you spread the sauce on the crust, sprinkle the entire pizza with half of your cheese (I used fontina and mozzarella).

Now it’s time for the good stuff!

Crispy bacon.

Sweet pineapple. 

A drizzle of sweet Thai chili sauce.

Now it’s time to top with the remaining cheese and pickled jalapeno slices.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese is melted.

Before serving, top with fresh cilantro for a pop of flavor.

Verdict?  Incredible.

This is one of my favorite cheese combinations.  Fontina is earthy and woodsy while the mozzarella is the ultimate melting cheese.  I knew I was in for a treat when I went to cut a sliced and the cheese was super stringy between the slices.

This pizza is a perfect combination of sweet and spicy and savory.

BOOM!