Thursday, July 28, 2011

Avocado. Spiced Bacon. L. T.

Kenny Bear and Jeanne Bear grew some beautiful tomatoes in their garden and gave us a few to take home.  Mike instantly said that he wanted to make B.L.Ts.  My mind started racing on how you could kick up a B.L.T. to the next level.  About 10 different ideas hit me instantly, but the one that tickled my fancy the most was to season the bacon.  I got Mike on board for my experiment and it turned out great!! 

What You Need:
  • bacon
  • paprika
  • black pepper
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • mayo
  • avocado (optional)

Start by cooking the bacon in a frying pan until nice and browned.

When browned take out of the pan and place onto a paper towel.  Immediately sprinkle with paprika...

...and the pepper.  Repeat this process until all the bacon is cooked.
Toast your favorite bread.  We used Rye and it was really good!
Slice the tomato into rounds...

and if you are using avocado, slice that as well.

Start stacking your sandwich by spreading a this layer of mayo (or more if you wish)
Place the tomato rounds on the mayo.

followed by the avocado...

and then the all-important BACON!!

top with lettuce...

and the final piece of the puzzle, the toast!  You are ready to eat!  Get ready for a BIG bite because you are going to want all of the flavors in one!

I paired it with a really tasty beer.  It has ginger and grapefruit flavors in it, but it wasn't overwhelming.

A little note:  Mike added turkey and omitted the avocado.  He said all the flavors worked really well together and he loved the flavored bacon.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is the BEST spinach artichoke dip!  I found this recipe on Cooking Light many moons ago.  My family and I are borderline obsessed with it!  Since my family was going to be coming over for the engagement party, I decided to make it for them.  The last time I made this for them was a couple Christmas ago and we ate so much of it that we were too full for dinner.  This time it didn't fail either!

What you need:
  • 2-8oz blocks of 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella
  • 1/2 c low fat sour cream
  • 1/2 parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 10 oz frozen spinach (thawed)
  • 10 oz can of artichoke hearts
  • black pepper
  • crushed red pepper flakes

In a mixer, add cream cheese...

the sour cream...

1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese...

1 cup of the shredded mozzarella...

about 1/4 tsp of black pepper

and a couple shakes (3ish) of crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like a bigger kick)...

add in the garlic.  I grate the garlic directly in the bowl so all the garlic liquid goes in too!  Plus, no one will get a huge chuck of garlic.

 Add in the artichokes.  I bought the can of quartered artichokes and then cut each quarter in half.  Make sure they are bite size.

Finally, add in the thawed, drained spinach.  Make sure you get nearly all of the liquid squeezed out (I use a paper towel), you don't want a runny dip!  Then mix everyone together!

You can see all the beautiful green spinach and the chunks of the artichokes...YUM!

Put into a greased dish.  I used a round, but a 9x9 would be good too.

Top with the rest of the mozzarella...

and the rest of the parm.

Back in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly! 

Family members started to arrive and I forgot to take a picture of the final product :(  Trust me though, this is definitely worth making for your next party!  It is one of my all-time favorites!  Serve it with tortilla chips, crackers and/or baguettes!