Potato Tot & Bacon Nachos

Another post Super Bowl snack. It’s similar to Irish Nachos.  Tater Tots, a registered trademark of Ore-Ida (a division of the H. J. Heinz Company), are fried slices of potatoes.  Tater Tots were created in 1953 when the Ore-Ida founders were trying to figure out what to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes. They chopped up the slivers, added flour and seasoning, then pushed the mash through holes and sliced off pieces of the extruded mixture. The product was first offered in stores in 1956. Originally, the product was very inexpensive. Apparently, people did not buy it at first because there was no perceived value. When the price was raised, people began buying it.

Potato Tot & Bacon Nachos

32 oz bag of frozen potato tots
12 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz bacon, cooked and diced
1 jalapeño, sliced or diced
4 oz sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium oven safe dish, spread tater tots in an even layer. 

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove dish from oven, flip potatoes and add cheese, bacon and sliced jalapeños.

Bake for another 7- 10 minutes until cheese starts to bubble. Remove dish from oven, add a hefty scoop of sour cream on the top and serve.

Brown Sugar Smokies

Do I care who won the super bowl? NO. We went to a party at our friend’s house (lots of fun and he made 4 racks o’ ribs!) and I brought some snacks – high caloric snacks. Here is one of them. It is reminiscent of Brown Sugar Bacon, which is transcendent.  My husband thinks the little smokies should be bathed in Dijon mustard before wrapping up in the bacon, which would be very good.  I will try it the next time.



Brown Sugar Smokies

Serves 12

1 lb bacon
16 oz package little smokies sausages
1 cup brown sugar, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cut bacon into thirds and wrap each strip around a little sausage. Place the wrapped sausages on wooden skewers, several to a skewer. Arrange the skewers on a foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle them liberally with brown sugar.

Bake until bacon is crisp and the brown sugar melted.  About 30 – 40 minutes.

Pasta with Cannellini Beans, Bacon and Kale

Don’t you hate those days when you have no idea what to make for dinner? This is one of those meals I created out of what was in the pantry and fridge. You can substitute any number of things – like chickpeas and spinach, for example. I always try to have many kinds of beans on hand.


Pasta with Cannellini Beans, Bacon and Kale

Serves 4

4 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
1 shallot, minced
5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
A sprinkling of red chile flakes
1 lb pasta
1 can of cannelloni beans, rinsed
1 small bunch of kale, washed (no need to dry it)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it well.

In a large, wide skillet, add the bacon and turn up the heat to medium/high. Allow the bacon to start to render and when it starts to color a little, add the shallot, garlic and the red chile flakes. Stir and cook for a minute. Meanwhile, cook the pasta.

Add the beans to the bacon/garlic mixture, add a pinch of salt and stir and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Then add the kale and a ladleful of the pasta cooking water. Cover for 15 seconds or so until the kale wilts.

Then, when the pasta is just al dente and not fully done, lift it into the pan with the bacon and beans. If the pan’s dry, add some more pasta cooking water and turn up the heat. Stir and cook until the pasta is totally coated and the liquid in the pan evaporates. Take off the heat and add another drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of red chile flakes and all of that cheese. Stir it through and taste.

Cheesy Bacon & Eggs Cups

Wakey, wakey eggs and bakey!

These bacon, egg and cheese cups have all the elements of a perfect breakfast!




Cheesy Bacon & Eggs Cups

Serves 1

1 slice of bacon
1 tsp melted butter
1 egg
¼” slice of cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown, but still flexible. Wrap bacon slice around the inside of a muffin cup. Place a teaspoon of butter (or bacon grease) in the bottom of muffin cup. Drop in egg.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Place 1/4 slice of cheese over egg, and continue cooking until cheese is melted and egg is cooked.

Caramelized Onion, Gruyère, and Bacon Spread

My daughter, Zoe, sends me recipes that she wants me to make. I made this one immediately. Our guests went crazy for this dip / spread. She is on her way back from college today – yay! I guess I need to get the ingredients and make it again. It’s actually from Cooking Light Magazine.



Caramelized Onion, Gruyère, and Bacon Spread

1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
3 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded and divided
2 Tbs chopped fresh chives, divided
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions and salt to the pan and sauté 5 min, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until the onions are a deep golden brown. Cool slightly.

Reserve 2 tablespoons cheese. Combine cheese, caramelized onions, 1 tablespoon chives, and the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Transfer the mixture to a 1 quart glass or ceramic baking dish or 8-inch cast-iron skillet coated lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle with reserved 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon chives.

Avocado, Bacon & Basil Pasta

My 15 year old daughter, Grace, texted me yesterday morning and asked if she could make dinner. She even sent a shopping list. Absolutely! I love everything about this recipe. It was delicious. My other daughter, Zoe, is going to be mad when she reads this from her college dorm with no kitchen… If you are nice, Grace might make it for you when you get home!

She also did wonderful mis-en-place (a French term that literally means, “setting in place”, used in cooking to describe all the prep and gathering of ingredients)!



Avocado, Bacon & Basil Pasta

Serves 4

8 oz dried bow tie and/or wagon wheel pasta
2 medium avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, and coarsely chopped
6 slices bacon, crisp cooked, drained, and crumbled
2/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the avocados, bacon, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, pepper, and salt. Add the hot pasta and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with cheese.

Saturday Salad

My brother-in-law, Russell, sent me this salad recipe that he made. Little did he know, I’ve made this salad for years. It’s one of my all time favorites. I prepare everything ahead in the morning. It’s from “The Cuisine of California” by Diane Rossen Worthington, which was given to me by my friend Barbie.

The chicken breasts are first marinated and then baked, and the juices from the baked chicken are used as the basis the fragrant vinegar-garlic dressing.



Saturday Salad

Serves 4 as a main course

½ cup walnut pieces
½ lb pancetta or bacon, sliced

For marinade:
3 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs fresh tarragon, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs lemon juice

2 whole chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ cup Basic Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
6 medium Belgian endive
¼ lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
2 Tbs chives, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts in oven for 7 – 10 minutes.

Cook pancetta in medium skillet until crisp and slightly brown. Drain on paper towels. Crumble pancetta and reserve.

Combine the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Place chicken breast in marinade and marinate for at least 30 minutes in refrigerator.

Put chicken in baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes at 350°. Remove from oven, let cook, and cut into 2” pieces. Reserve the juices from chicken.

In a small bowl combine chicken juices with the garlic and vinaigrette, taste for seasoning.

In a medium bowl combine the pancetta, endive, mushrooms, tomato, and chives. Add chicken breasts and walnuts.

Pour dressing over salad; toss and serve immediately.

Basic Vinaigrette:
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
½ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Potatoes with Bacon, Apples & Onions

Eric, my husband, was in charge of the side dish to go with the Pork Chops with Figs in Hard Cider.  He dug around in the larder and came up with this stellar starchy side!

Potatoes with Bacon, Apples & Onions

Serves 6

3 thick or 4 regular slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
½ cup onions, sliced
1½ lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup apple-cider vinegar
1 sweet-tart apple (like Gala), peeled, cored, and cut in half and sliced

Sauté bacon in a cast iron skillet until crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon bits from pan to a paper towel and set aside.

Pour off all but 1 – 2 Tbs of the bacon fat.

Sauté the onions for 1-2 minutes then add the sliced potatoes Sauté until potatoes turn golden brown. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the vinegar, mix well, and then add the apple slices and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes, add the bacon bits and serve immediately.

Peanut Butter, Banana & Bacon Sandwich – The Elvis

Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977.  I was 16 years old and I was in Berlin at the time.  Don’t get out your calculators, I’m 52 years old!

Several years ago, I taught a cooking class and the theme was A Culinary Tribute to Elvis.  Boy, did we cook up some healthy stuff!  Take your Lipitor and get ready!

A peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich, sometimes referred to as an Elvis sandwich or simply the Elvis, consists of toasted bread slices with peanut butter, sliced banana, and fried bacon. Honey is sometimes included. The sandwich is frequently cooked in a pan or on a griddle.  I actually love this sandwich, but try to only have it once in a blue moon…

Peanut Butter, Banana & Bacon Sandwich – The Elvis

Serves 4

2 Tbs butter, softened
8 slices white bread
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 large, ripe banana, sliced
1/4 cup honey (optional)
12 slices bacon, fried until crispy

Spread the butter on 1 side of each slice of bread. On the other side of half of the slices spread peanut butter. Place banana slices on top of peanut butter. Drizzle honey over bananas. Place 3 bacon slices on top of the banana, then place the remaining buttered bread slices on top, butter-side-out.

Place sandwiches on a preheated grill pan or griddle. Flip them over when they become golden brown and crispy. When the sandwiches are browned on both sides, remove to plates. Slice in half and serve immediately.

Salade Frisée aux Lardons

The French term lardons refers to small strips or squares of fat cut from the belly of a pig. They are often sautéed until crunchy and added to salads (such as this one) and other dishes, including stews, fried potatoes and omelettes. The same term is used for strips of pork fat that are inserted into leaner cuts of meat with a larding needle to increase tenderness and moisture. In the United States, slab bacon (rind removed), which comes from the side of the pig, is a good substitute for the pork fat. Salt pork, which comes from the belly of the pig, can also be used.

Salade Frisée aux Lardons

Serves 4

1 cup cubed coarse country bread (1-inch cubes)
1½ Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
¾ lb thick-cut bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 shallots, finely chopped
5 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
4 eggs
2 heads frisée, cored and leaves torn into 3-inch pieces

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet. Sprinkle them with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toast in the oven, turning once or twice, until golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

In a fry pan over medium-high heat, sauté the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the shallots and sauté until softened, about 1 minute. Add the red wine vinegar, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Pour 6 cups water into a large, deep fry pan or wide saucepan and add 1 tsp. salt and the white wine vinegar. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium to maintain a gentle simmer. Break 1 egg into a ramekin and slide it carefully into the simmering water. Working quickly, repeat with the remaining 3 eggs. Carefully spoon the simmering water over the eggs until the whites are just opaque and firm and the yolks are still soft, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a plate and set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine the croutons and the frisée. Pour the warm dressing with the bacon pieces over the salad and toss to coat evenly. Divide the salad among shallow individual bowls, making sure there is an equal amount of bacon in each serving. Place a poached egg on top of each salad and serve immediately.

Note: Poached eggs are not fully cooked. They run a risk of being infected with salmonella or other bacteria, which can lead to food poisoning. This risk is of most concern to small children, older people, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system. If you have health and safety concerns, do not consume undercooked eggs.