Bacon Apple Smothered Pork Chops

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I’m really enjoying the paleo way of cooking! I have been going strong for two months now, and have maintained (without regular exercise), my 15 pound weight loss – all without counting calories or fat. One of the greatest benefits of the change is that I haven’t had a migraine or headaches! Also, food just tastes better and I’m never hungry:)

I rarely cook pork, let alone chops, but I really wanted to try out this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo. If I had cauliflower at the time, I would have made mock mashed potatoes. That would have gone perfectly with the chops because this dish makes a good amount of gravy. I was really pleased with the flavor, but next time I’ll probably add more apples to it.

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I used three huge pork chops for this that were each about one inch thick!

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It smelled amazing! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Bacon Apple Smothered Pork Chops – adapted from Nom Nom Paleo

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 TBSP arrowroot powder
  • 1 1/2 cups bone broth or chicken stock
  • 2 pounds of bone-in pork chops
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 TBSP ghee
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

Directions – 

Fry the bacon in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the bacon is crisp, scoop it out and place it on a paper towel-lined dish.

In the same saucepan, add the arrowroot powder into the drippings to form a smooth roux. Keep whisking until browned, then pour the broth in and stir until incorporated. Increase the heat to med-high, and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook until thickened, then cover the pan and set it aside.

Season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chops and cook on each side for a minute or until golden brown. Transfer chops to a plate. Toss the apples and onions in the same skillet, season with salt and cook, stirring constantly. Continue cooking until the apples and onions brown on the edges. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, then add the chops back into the skillet. Pour the reserved sauce over the chops and add the thyme sprigs. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the pork is fork tender.

Plate the chops, and top them with gravy and reserved bacon bits.

 

 

Bacon Mac and Cheese

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I didn’t have to try this before I knew it would have to be good because it has three ingredients that create pure awesomeness: bacon + three cheeses + pasta = amazing!
I decided not to make this in a skillet because I don’t have one large enough, and I poured it all in my trusty 13×9 inch baking dish instead.

Verdict: Wow! This was every bit as good as I hoped it would be. Even my picky daughter ate two servings and was more than happy to eat leftovers in her lunch 😉 The blend of cheeses, especially the nutty Gruyère works so well along with the smoky and salty bacon. I made a few changes and I have added those modifications to the recipe below – nothing major though. Thanks for reading, enjoy! 🙂

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Bacon Mac and Cheese – adapted from Kelsey’s Essentials via Cooking Channel TV

  • 1 pound dry pasta (recommended: elbow macaroni, shells, penne, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup, plus 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked – reserve about 3 TBSP of bacon fat (*I skipped this step*)

For the Bechamel Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups warm milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Directions –

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until nearing al dente, but not fully cooked; drain. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, avoid browning, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring the sauce to a boil. Add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper, to taste. Reduce the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Reduce heat to low and stir the dry mustard and cayenne pepper into the bechamel sauce. Gradually add the Cheddar, Gruyere, and 1 cup Parmesan cheese, stirring constantly until all of the cheese has melted. Add an additional milk. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.

Add the cooked pasta to the bechamel and stir to coat evenly with the sauce. Pour the pasta in to a buttered 13×9  baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, chopped parsley, and reserved bacon fat. Coat the bread crumbs and chopped parsley with bacon fat and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the macaroni; and then top with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Top with crumbled cooked bacon. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Loaded Potato Soup

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I got my first cold of the season this week, so I was really grateful when I felt well enough to be up and cooking for my family again last night. I had plenty of organic russet potatoes in the pantry and homemade chicken stock taking up space in my freezer;  and even though it’s not exactly cold and gloomy here – it is dark and rainy! I pinned this recipe from The Pioneer Woman and went with it because she rarely steers me wrong.

Verdict: This was really tasty and the whole family enjoyed it – even my picky daughter! I served this with Parmesan garlic bread because what is soup with out some extra carbs for dunking? ( I will share that new recipe with you all soon). I will make this again and it makes a big batch and would be perfect for potlucks or to split and bring to a family in need. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Perfect Potato Soup – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 6 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 whole Carrots, Scrubbed Clean And Diced
  • 3 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 6 whole Small Russet Potatoes, Peeled And Diced
  • 8 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  •  Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Chives or parsley
  • 1 cup Grated Cheddar

Directions –

Add bacon pieces to a soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.

Return the hot to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove half to 2/3 the soup and blend in a blender/food process until completely smooth. Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream, then stir in parsley, reserving a little for garnish.

Serve in bowls garnished with chives, grated cheese and crisp bacon pieces.

Tequila Lime Chicken Club Sandwich with Jalapeno Mayo

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If you haven’t tried this marinade yet, you should! I love a good grilled chicken sandwich, but what drew me to this recipe was the addition of bacon and jalapeno mayo – how bad can that be?

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Verdict: Amazing! I will definitely make this again and especially the jalapeno mayo. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

I used this marinade again, made this mayonnaise (I didn’t have a drop in my house – luckily, it’s so easy to make!), these buns; and this guacamole.

Roasted Jalapeno Mayonnaise – adapted from Closet Cooking

  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 glove garlic
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1 lime, juice and zest

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Directions –

  1. Place the peppers on a baking sheet with the cut side facing down.
  2. Place the baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven and broil until the outer layer of the skin has blackened, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Place the peppers in a zip-lock bag or other sealable container, seal and let them cool until you can handle them, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the skins from the peppers. The skins should easily “pinch” off.
  5. Puree everything.

Bacon Wrapped Filet

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I surprised my husband with a big dinner full of his favorites for Valentine’s Day. He was totally impressed and I was too because this was my first time cooking steak! I was inspired by The Pioneer Woman’s Food Network show, but I used this link for the time and temperature. I served this with roasted shrimp cocktail, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and the Snickers pie for dessert! He loved every bit of this meal and I enjoyed trying new techniques to pull this off. The kids weren’t left out this Valentine’s Day because I made them a heart-shaped pizza – they thought that was pretty cool. I will probably do the same next year so we can start a new tradition – I know they’ll appreciate that 🙂 Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Pineapple and Pancetta Pizza

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This was a great, little twist on a classic combination. Thanks for stopping by!

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And now for an extreme close-up 😉

Pineapple and Pancetta Pizza – adapted from Pink Pistachio

  • 1 ball pizza dough
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 cup diced pancetta
  • fresh mozzarella
  • pizza sauce
  • parmesan cheese
  • oregano

Directions –

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, place rack on lowest position and place a pizza stone on top if you have one. Lightly work the dough to your desired diameter, top with sauce, cheese and other toppings. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Sandwich and Baked Fries

If you need a recipe for leftover turkey, look no further! This is was such a tasty sandwich, and these baked fries are a new favorite! They were crispy on the outside and perfectly tender on the inside. My family didn’t even notice or care that they weren’t fried. Thanks for reading, enjoy! 🙂

Roast Turkey, Avocado and Bacon – adapted from Food Network

  • Roasted, sliced turkey breast
  • Bacon, cooked and drained
  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Fontina cheese, sliced

Directions – 

1. To assemble the sandwich: spread a thin layer of the remaining butter on 1 piece of the bread. Place 1 slice of the cheese and several slices of the turkey breast on unbuttered side of the bread. Peel and slice the avocado, and season with salt and pepper. Add avocado slices, crispy bacon slices, tomato and another slice of fontina cheese to the top of that. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Slather the remaining piece of bread with the butter and place on unbuttered side out, on top of the bacon.

2. Heat a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and let it melt, swirling the pan around to coat. Put the sandwich in the pan and weigh it down with a heavy pot or can (or wrap an ordinary brick in aluminum foil and set it on top to compress the sandwich.) Toast for 1 minute, turn the sandwich over before the bread begins to burn. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

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Baked Oven Fries – adapted from Annie’s Eats 

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 5 TBSP vegetable, canola or peanut oil, divided
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions –

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place the potato wedges in a large mixing bowl. Cover with hot water; soak for 10-30 minutes. Put 4 TBSP of the oil onto a heavy, rimmed baking sheet. Tilt the sheet side to side to evenly coat the pan with oil. Sprinkle the pan evenly with the salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Drain the potatoes. Spread the wedges out on layers of paper towels and pat dry. Wipe out the empty bowl and return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the remaining oil. Arrange the wedges on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes and becoming golden brown, 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using a spatula and tongs, flip each potato keeping them in a single layer. Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5-15 minutes. Rotate the pan as needed to ensure even browning.

3. When the fires are finished baking, transfer them to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Spicy Roasted Shrimp Sandwich with Chipotle Mayo

Quick Post: It seems that I can’t go wrong when I give them shrimp! 😉 M really liked the chipotle mayo, and it would be a great addition to other sandwiches – that is, if you have any leftovers! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Spicy Roasted Shrimp Sandwich with Chipotle Mayo –

  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chipotle Avocado Mayonnaise
  • 1 baguette, cut it into 3-4 equal pieces, toasted, for serving
  • Romaine lettuce leaves, for serving
  • Bacon (cause everything is better with it)
  • Sliced tomato and avocado, for serving


Directions –

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine shrimp, olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper, to taste.

Place shrimp mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and roast just until pink, firm and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.

Serve sandwiches on a baguette with romaine lettuce, avocado, shrimp and chipotle avocado mayonnaise.

Chipotle Mayonnaise – 

  • 1-3 chipotle peppers, in adobo sauce
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions –

Combine chipotle peppers, avocado, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lime juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor; set aside.

Best Grilled Chicken Sandwich EVER

I could eat these weekly! I love grilled chicken sandwiches and there are two things necessary to make these truly amazing. You must marinade your chicken and you must put all this goodness in between bakery fresh ciabatta rolls! I need to find a recipe for these, but I have no hesitation about purchasing these from our local club store. As long as I can pronounce all the ingredients, I will happily pay whatever price!
I love these ingredients for my chicken marinade. It’s so easy and extremely flavorful and it hasn’t failed me yet! Fresh ingredients are best with anything, especially when you’re using those ingredients are the main flavor component. I marinade my chicken for at least four hours, longer if I’m using thighs and I try to watch the amount of acid I use in marinating. If there is too much acid, you can run the risk of “cooking” your meat and changing the texture of the final product….yuck! I don’t measure my marinade ingredients because I have made this so many times, but I will give some estimations of amounts for you. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Chicken Marinade –
  • 1 1/2 lbs – 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split in half
  • the zest and juice of one lemon
  • fresh garlic (2 cloves, roughly chopped)
  • fresh thyme (8-10 sprigs, pull the leaves off if you’d like)
  • white wine (a splash – maybe 2 TBSP)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (more if needed)
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

Sandwich toppings –

  • cooked bacon
  • avocado
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • sliced Swiss cheese
  • split and toasted ciabatta rolls, *once these are off the grill, rub with cloves of garlic*

Place prepared chicken pieces into a zip top bag. Mix all marinade ingredients together and pour over top the chicken pieces. Mush the bag to distribute marinade and place in a glass baking dish. Be sure to mush the bag ever hour or so.

Preheat an outdoor grill. Remove the breasts from the marinade and grill for 6 minutes on each side or until fully cooked. Assemble sandwiches as desired ( you’re going to lose some while eating – there are lots of slippery toppings in these )