Caramelized Onion, Gruyere, and Bacon Spread

Caramelized Onion, Gruyère, and Bacon Spread (photo by me)

I had this Caramelized Onion, Gruyère, and Bacon Spread marked to try forEVER. I finally made it and have no regrets. I don’t use fat free, I measure the bacon with my heart, and I use mozzarella instead of gruyere in full disclosure. Definitely drain your bacon REALLY well. I didn’t once, and it was so greasy. I serve it with a sturdy cracker or crostini/bread.

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 ½ cups chopped onion
  • 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded and divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
  • ⅓ cup canola mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup fat-free sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan lightly with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; cook 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
  • Reserve 2 tablespoons cheese. Combine remaining cheese, caramelized onion, 1 tablespoon chives, and the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer the mixture to a 1-quart glass or ceramic baking dish coated lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle with reserved 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon chives.

Asian Chopped Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

Asian Chopped Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing (photo by me)

Asian Chopped Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing is one I tried today. I mixed mine up a little by not using bell pepper or edamame but adding cherry tomatoes, green onion, and celery, but it’s good. I think adding something crunchy would be helpful – maybe nuts or seeds or crunchy noodles? I think you could also remove the chicken for a nice side dish or just remove the chicken because you don’t want it. You could add some fruit like mandarin oranges, too. The dressing is one of the easiest I’ve ever made. Second note is that I didn’t really measure anything beyond the dressing. This may be why I ended up using all of my dressing though. I would make this again or put it in a wrap.

Ingredients:

1 (16 oz) bag of coleslaw mix
1 cup cooked chicken
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
1/2 cup cooked edamame
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

For the dressing
1 tablespoon creamy natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

To make the dressing, add the peanut butter to a microwave-safe measuring cup.  Microwave for 15 seconds.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the melted peanut butter and whisk until everything is combined.  Set aside.

Dump the bag of coleslaw into a large bowl.  Top with the chicken, bell pepper, edamame, and chopped fresh cilantro.  Pour about half of the dressing over the salad and toss well to coat.  Add more as needed and store the leftover dressing in the fridge.

Slow Cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Slow Cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs (photo by Le Creme De La Crumb)

Slow Cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs was an easy yummy meatball recipe. I always say I’m going to make them and freeze them, but I don’t. I also find they take a bit longer to cook than the recipe says when I put it on High. I’m always running too far behind to have the time to cook on Low. I like to put a marinara sauce, alfredo sauce, and a pesto sauce as dipping options.

Slow Cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup bread crumbs – (panko or regular, Italian seasoned or plain)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic – (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3-4 mozzarella cheese sticks – (string cheese)
  • marinara or alfredo sauce – for dipping

Directions:

  1. Chop each cheese stick into half inch pieces (about 6-8 pieces for each cheese stick). Place on a plate and chill in the freezer until ready to use.
  2. Add ground beef, bread crumbs, egg and egg yolk, garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to a bowl. Mush the ingredients together with your hands until everything comes together.
  3. Remove cheese from freezer. Scoop out about 4 tablespoons of meat mixture and roll into a ball. Gently push a piece of chilled mozzarella into the middle of the meatball. Roll the ball in your hands to cover the hole where the mozzarella cheese was pushed in. Place inside a greased slow cooker and repeat with remaining meat and cheese.
  4. When all meatballs are in the slow cooker (*see note for alternate cooking method), cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or on low 3-4 hours until meat it cooked through (no longer pink). The cheese may start melting out of the meatballs, that’s okay.
  5. If desired, sprinkle with a bit of fresh chopped parsley or dried Italian seasoning for garnish. Serve with your favorite marinara or alfredo sauce for dipping. 

Notes

* For a quicker method, the meatballs can be baked. Follow directions to make meatballs, but instead of placing in the slow cooker, place meatballs 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400°for 15-20 minutes until browned and cheese is melty.

** These can also be made ahead and frozen! Prepare the meatballs as instructed in the recipe but instead of putting them straight into the slow cooker (or the oven if baking), just place them side by side in a zip lock bag ( you may need two), seal and place in the freezer. When ready to cook them, follow recipe instructions and increase cooking time slightly to allow for thawing.

*This recipe makes about a dozen large meatballs. This works great for an appetizer or side dish. If you want to use this for a main dish, I’d recommend doubling the recipe to be safe.

Roasted Corn Orzo Pasta Salad

Roasted Corn Orzo Salad (photo by To Simply Inspire)

This Roasted Corn Orzo Pasta Salad is such a good summer pot luck salad. There’s no mayo like a lot of salads so it does well sitting at room temperature for awhile. It lasts a second day in the fridge, but after that, the vinaigrette gets kind of gross. That said, it usually goes very quickly. Quick note is that I almost always use frozen corn – thawed and drained well.

Roasted Corn Orzo Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP coconut or olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb of frozen corn or 2 cups of fresh cooked corn
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb of orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook Orzo pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Add 1 tablespoons oil to a large skillet, add garlic and saute over medium-high heat, and cook for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add corn and saute 3 more minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. In a large bowl combine orzo, tomatoes and basil stir well.
  6. Then add in cooled corn and garlic mixture
  7. In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  8. Pour dressing over salad and toss well.
  9. Serve at room temperature.
  10. ENJOY!!

Caesar Wedge Salad with Bacon

Caesar Wedge Salad with Bacon (photo by Aimee on Simple Bites)

I was looking for low carb appetizer options with no fish or tomatoes or nuts due to allergies. This Caesar Wedge Salad with Bacon worked. It can be eaten with your hands if you get really good lettuce. It’s really pretty and simple. I tend to burn my bacon so this is always a challenge to me, but it was worth it.

Caesar Wedge Salad with Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 3 hearts Romaine lettuce
  • 6 strips cooked bacon baked, to keep it flat
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Caesar dressing
  • fresh black pepper
  • lemon wedges to garnish

Directions:

  • Slice Romaine hearts in half lengthwise and rinse under cold water. Drain upside down for a few minutes, then wrap in a large kitchen towel and press lightly to remove as much water as possible.
  • Arrange Romaine hearts on a platter and top with a tablespoon of dressing. Add bacon strips to the top of each six wedges and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  • Just before serving, drizzle with remaining Caesar dressing and a sprinkling of fresh black pepper. Top with more cheese, if desired.
  • Serve immediately, with lemon wedges.

Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese

Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese (photo by Vikalinka by Julia Frey)

The youngest asked for this recipe for Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese. He ate it. I liked it a lot. The other members of the family would like it if one liked ground beef and the other didn’t mind veggies. Next time, I’m going to blend up the veggies which should help hide them better. The flavor is great though, and it froze really well.

Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 2 Carrots diced
  • 2 Celery stalks diced
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic
  • 5-6 leaves Fresh Basil or 2 tsp dried basil
  • 400g/14oz Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • 500g/17oz Tomato Passata/Crushed Tomatoes
  • 250ml/1 cup water
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 lbs Ground Beef extra lean
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lbs Spaghetti

Directions:

  • In a large and deep frying pan or a Dutch Oven heat 1 tbsp of olive oil, then add diced onions, carrots, celery, minced garlic and cook on low heat for 10 minutes without colouring the vegetables. Then add ground beef and brown it until the beef is no longer pink inside while stirring the whole time and making sure to break up the beef. Pour in both types of canned tomatoes and water with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle in some dried oregano and torn basil leaves (reserve a few small ones), bring everything to a boil. Then turn the heat down and let it simmer with a lid ajar for for 2.5-3 hours stirring it once in a while.
  • When your Bolognese is nearly done boil a large pot of water and cook spaghetti according to package directions. (I usually cook 2 min less than the package recommends, your pasta continues cooking when you combine it with sauce and you really don’t want it overcooked!)
  • Drain your spaghetti and add your pasta to the sauce, stir gently and take off the heat. Top with reserved basil leaves. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Bulgogi

Bulgogi

Bulgogi is my favorite. I used to make it like a stir fry which was good, but it didn’t taste the way I wanted it to. I wanted it to be like I got at a restaurant.

I don’t make a lot of Korean food, but bulgogi is one I’ve been trying to get right for years. I wanted a bulgogi recipe. I used to make a kind of stir fry, but it was just a pretty tasty stir fry. This one is as close to what I wanted in taste that I could find (and still be pretty easy). It’s only a touch of sweet, mostly savory which I like. It has a lot of pantry items which I like. I don’t usually add the syrup/honey, but if you like it sweeter, go for it.

Bulgogi

Ingredients:

  • ½ medium yellow onion sliced into slivers
  • 2 green onions more if you want to garnish your completed bulgogi dish
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce for gluten-free, use Tamari wheat free soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds yellow or black
  • Optional: ¼ tsp ginger finely minced
  • Optional: Up to a tablespoons of agave syrup or honey for additional sweetness
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1-1.5 lbs. of thinly sliced rib-eye steak purchased from a Korean market cut into strips. You can also slice your own rib-eye or sirloin steak across the grain in 1/8-inch slices. Partially freezing the beef will help with cutting the bulgogi beef in clean slices.

Directions:

  1. Add the onions, green onions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, red pepper flakes, pepper, and sesame seeds to a medium bowl. Feel free to add the optional ginger if you would like. Whisk all the ingredients for about 10 seconds.
  2. Add the sliced beef to the bowl and gently massage the beef with the bulgogi marinade for approximately 2 minutes.
  3. If cooking the bulgogi immediately, allow the beef to soak in the bulgogi marinade for at least 30 minutes before cooking. If you plan on cooking later, cover the bowl in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
  4. To cook the beef bulgogi, drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oi to a hot pan – a cast iron pan works the best.
  5. Add the marinated bulgogi to the pan and cook the beef in batches, not to overcrowd the pan. The beef only needs about three minutes to cook. The bulgogi should be cooked through, no medium rare beef.
  6. Taste the Korean bulgogi and if you would like it a tiny bit sweeter, drizzle a little bit of agave syrup or honey in the pan. Add the cooked bulgogi back to the pan as well. Stir and cook the beef for about 10 seconds making sure the agave syrup is evenly coating all the pieces.
  7. Repeat this process with each batch.
  8. Serve the bulgogi with steamed rice.

Japchae

Japchae

Recipes for the end of Asian American Pacific Islander Month! I love japchae. I order the noodles from Amazon which comes in a larger bag than needed. The grocery store will occasionally have them though (and, of course, you can go to the Asian market). I do not add mushrooms, but that’s a personal preference. It’s not a meaty dish so you can easily remove the meat for a vegetarian meal. You can also ramp up the meat to put more in there. The meat is actually almost a condiment and sprinkled throughout. We prefer to eat this warm, but you can eat it at room temperature so it’s a good one to tote for pot luck. Because it shares a lot of ingredients, I usually make it along with bulgogi for a filling treat (see next post).

Japchae

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz beef (filet mignon or boneless ribeye recommended for tenderness) cut into bit size strips
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 TB plus 3 tsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 TB soy sauce, divided
  • 4 TB Asian toasted sesame oil, divided (caramel brown in color; found in Asian aisles of grocery stores)
  • olive oil for cooking
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 4 large dried Shitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water 1-2 hours to soften, cut into thin strips
  • 8 oz white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz baby spinach leaves (bagged/prewashed is easiest)
  • 10 oz Sweet potato starch noodles (sometimes called sweet potato vermicelli or Dangmyeon)
  • 2 whole stalks green onion, ends removed, cut into bite size pieces
  • table salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TB toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine beef with half of the minced garlic, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper. Stir to combine, cover, and chill in fridge.
  2. In a large nonstick pan, add 2 TB olive oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add onion, carrots, shitake mushrooms, and a pinch of salt (1/8 tsp.) Cover and stir over medium heat about 3 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add white mushrooms and pinch of salt. Stir for 2 minutes or until mushrooms just turn soft. Add spinach and stir jut until wilted. Transfer mixture to a very large bowl, cover, and keep warm.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  4. Meanwhile, in the same nonstick pan (now empty,) add 1 TB olive oil, beef, and green onions over medium heat. Stir until beef is no longer pink. Add beef mixture to the large bowl of veggies and cover.
  5. Place noodles into the large pot of boiling water, stirring often, 7-8 minutes or just until noodles are soft and chewy. Drain, rinse briefly with cold water, draining well. Using kitchen shears, make a few cuts through the noodles so they aren’t as long. Place noodles back in empty pot. Add 3 tsp sugar, 2 tsp soy sauce, and 4 tsp sesame oil. Toss well to combine.
  6. Mix together the noodles and the beef/veggie mixture (either in large bowl or large pot.) Add remaining garlic, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Add salt/pepper to taste. Toss well by hand. Sprinkle on toasted sesame seeds and serve warm or at room temp.

Green Beans with Bacon Breadcrumbs

Green Beans with Bacon Breadcrumbs (photo by Gimme Some Oven)

You know, I’m always wondering how to make perfectly healthy vegetables unhealthy. That said, when I made these Green Beans with Bacon Breadcrumbs, I made WAY too many breadcrumbs so it was extra unhealthy. They were very tasty.

Green Beans with Bacon Breadcrumbs

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Fry the bacon. In a large sauté pan (one that has an accompanying lid, or see alternatives below*), add the bacon.  Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon reaches your desired level of crispiness.  Transfer the cooked bacon to a clean bowl and set aside.  There should be around 2 to 3 tablespoons of bacon grease remaining in the pan — scoop out 1 tablespoon to reserve for later in the recipe, and leave the rest of the grease in the pan.
  2. Sauté the breadcrumb mixture. Add the garlic and slivered almonds to the pan and sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.  Add in the Panko, rosemary, a pinch of salt and pepper and continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the Panko has turned an even golden color.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the bacon and toss to combine.  Give the mixture a quick taste, and season with extra salt and/or pepper if needed.
  3. Steam-sauté the green beans. Briefly wipe any crumbs off of the sauté pan, then return it to the stove and increase the heat to medium-high.  Add the green beans, 1/3 cup water and a pinch of salt to the pan and give the green beans a quick toss.  Cover the pan securely with a lid and continue cooking the green beans until steam begins to seep out from the lid, then set the timer and continue cooking (steaming) the beans for 5 minutes.  Remove the lid and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the remaining liquid has evaporated and the green beans are crisp-tender.  (If the beans reach your desired level of doneness earlier, just drain off the remaining water.)
  4. Season the green beans. Add the reserved 1 tablespoon of bacon grease (or butter) to the pan and toss for 1 minute, until the green beans are evenly coated, and season the green beans with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove pan from heat.
  5. Serve. Transfer half of the green beans to your serving dish and sprinkle evenly with half of the breadcrumb mixture.  Then add the remaining green beans on top, sprinkled with the remaining half of the breadcrumb mixture.  Serve warm and enjoy!

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl (photo from Cooking with Karli)

I love this Teriyaki Chicken Bowl so much. I don’t use my Instant Pot much, but I will pull it out for this. Plus, you can double/triple/quadruple the recipe and the cooking time remains the same so it’s a great one-pot dinner for the masses. This is also one of the few recipes that my entire family will eat which makes it truly special.

Terriyaki Chicken Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 chicken breast cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic dried
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Directions:

  1. For the Instant Pot: Setting the chicken chunks aside, whisk together remaining ingredients in the liner of the Instant Pot.
  2. Add the chicken chunks to the sauce.
  3. Cook on Manual HIGH for 1 minute, NPR 6 minutes before releasing the pressure manually.
  4. Stir the Instant Pot and let sit for 5 minutes for the sauce to thicken.
  5. Serve over rice with steamed veggies.
  6. For the Stovetop: setting the chicken chunks aside, whisk together the remaining ingredients in a large skillet.
  7. Add the chicken to the skillet and simmer over medium high heat until the chicken is cooked through.
  8. Stir the cornstarch into 3 tbsp of water. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the skillet to thicken the teriyaki sauce.
  9. Serve over rice with steamed veggies.