Simple Breakfast Salad

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On days that I want a substantial breakfast without the carbs, a breakfast salad is my go-to.  It’s easy, delicious, and filling without making you feel guilty.  For this breakfast salad there is of course a side of bacon to go with it.  I used romaine lettuce, but you can use any greens you may have available.  Add as many vegetables as you would like, this is a simple starter salad to get you going.  Instead of a fat filled dressing, the roasted red peppers, lemon juice, and egg yolks combine beautifully in the bowl to do the trick.  This makes 2 salads.

Ingredients:

8 slices of thick cut bacon
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup of red onions, diced
4 slices of roasted red peppers, diced
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 avocado, diced
4 eggs
fresh cilantro and lemon wedge for garnish

Directions: 

1. Cook bacon in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  It will take less time if sliced thin.
2. In a heavy skillet take a small amount of the bacon grease from the pan to saute onions and garlic for a few minutes.

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3. In your serving bowl combine lettuce, diced red peppers and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.
4. When bacon is crispy cut 2-4 slices into small pieces and add to salad with cooked red onions.
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5. Cook eggs sunny-side up in skillet over medium-low heat with bacon grease to keep from sticking.
6. Top salad with avocado, eggs, cilantro, and a squirt of lemon.  Breaking yolks to mix with the salad is the best dressing!

Enjoy and Stay Healthy!

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Glazed Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin

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This dish sounds only half as good as it actually tasted.  I really enjoy lean proteins for a main course with lots of fruits/veggies on the side, but sometimes the meat will quickly dry out no matter how much care you take to avoid overcooking.  Lately I have been on a serious bacon kick, even using the grease to cook vegetables…I know, perhaps I will cut back in the new year.  Using the bacon to keep lean meats from drying out is a great way assure a crowd pleasing moist cut of meat.  With the garlic and herb rub it’s unbeatable.  I combined recipes I found online from Fabio Viviani and Giada De Laurentiis to come up with this dish.

The glazed bacon was so fantastic and crispy with the flavorful layer of garlic herbs hiding underneath.  I served this with a simple salad of shaved brussel sprouts, kale, and fennel tossed with a dressing made with fresh squeezed lemon, olive oil, and shaved parmesan topped with salt and fresh cracked pepper.  So good with a nice flavor that didn’t get lost next to the bacon and pork.

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Ingredients:

1 2-4 pound boneless Pork Loin (not tenderloin)
5 large cloves of Roasted Garlic
1 Tbsp fresh minced Thyme (center stalk removed)
1 Tbsp fresh minced Rosemary
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 pound of thick cut Bacon
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Directions:

1. Rinse and dry the pork loin, place fatty side up on a broiler pan.  I scored the shiny tendon/fat of the loin, careful not to cut into the meat.

2. Mash together the roasted garlic with the dried herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano) to make a rub.

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3. Rub the garlic herb mixture over the exposed surface of the pork loin.

4. Lay the bacon slices over the loin, overlapping slightly.  Tuck the ends under the loin to hold in place.  If the bacon slices aren’t long enough they will curl up while cooking, so you may want to tie them down with kitchen twine.

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5. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

6. Mix together the vinegar and brown sugar (adjust amounts as needed to make a thin glaze).

7. After the initial 1 hour of cooking, brush the glaze over the bacon.  Return to oven to finish cooking until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (about 30 minutes depending on the size of your loin).  If you have to add a considerable amount of time to fully cook, you may want to lay foil over the bacon and/or re-glaze to avoid burning.

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8. Remove and let rest for about 20 minutes.  Internal temperature should rise another 15 degrees to reach 160 before serving.  You will need to check the internal temperature of the pork with a thermometer unless you are really confident in your ability to judge cooked pork.

This dish is truly amazing and very easy to make.

Enjoy!

Skillet Baked Chicken

This recipe is incredibly easy, uses only 1 dish, and a handful of ingredients.  I made this for a quick weeknight dinner but will definitely be making it again for a crowd.  The key to this is good quality bacon, shocking I know.  You want a thick cut applewood smoked bacon if you can find it.  I get our bacon at the Paulina Meat Market usually so the slices are fresh and as thick as I want, but I also like Wright brand from our local grocery store.  This is not for turkey bacon or a thin sliced lean bacon, the smokey fat makes all the difference in giving depth and keeping the chicken moist.

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Ingredients:

3 slices of bacon, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In an oven safe skillet cook the bacon stirring frequently.  When half-way cooked add the bell pepper and cook about 5 minutes on medium low heat.
3. Push the bacon and peppers to the edge of the skillet and turn heat up to medium.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, place in the center and brown about 5 minutes on each side.
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4. Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking for about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Prosciutto Panini

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If you are looking for a hearty weekend lunch or a weeknight dinner that can be varied according to individual tastes, a sandwich is a pretty good place to start.  Making a Panini is an easy way to spice up the meal, especially in cold weather with a side of soup.  To make the Panini today I started with small loaves of half-baked ciabatta bread from Trader Joe’s.  A hearty bread such as ciabatta or sourdough holds up nicely to the heat you will be adding to cook the panini and allows for a lot of ingredients stuffed inside.  A little trick to add flavor and a little more crunch is to toast the inside of the sandwich first.  Today I really went wild toasting the bread in a cast iron skillet that had a thin layer of bacon grease and roasted garlic…delicious.

Like I said you can really make any combination you want, I will share what I used today as it was amazing!  This is enough for 4 small sandwiches.

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Ingredients:

4 small loaves of ciabatta bread, fully baked.
3-6 Tbsp of oil of choice (I used bacon grease)
2-3 cloves of roasted garlic
8-10 slices of fresh shaved Prosciutto
4 Tbsp of light spinach and artichoke dip (see previous post)
fresh shaved parmesan cheese
4 thin slices of fresh mozzarella
1/2 avocado, sliced thin
1 handful of arugula
1 small zucchini thinly sliced, sauteed until cooked adente.

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Directions:

1. Prepare your bread first: Cut loaves in half.  Heat heavy skillet over medium heat to warm bacon grease (or oil of choice).  Add thinly sliced roasted garlic to hot bacon grease, stirring for about 1 minute.  Place sliced bread in skillet cut side down to brown in bacon grease, when you remove bread try to keep the garlic slices on the bread for extra flavor.

2. Prepare your sandwich by smearing spinach and artichoke dip inside top half of bread.  Place a slice of mozzarella cheese on bottom side of bread, layer with zucchini, followed by prosciutto, avocado, a few pieces of arugula, fresh shaved parmesan (to make this a breakfast sandwich we added thinly sliced hardboiled eggs to a few as well).

3. In your heavy skillet on medium-low heat place the sandwich in the pan.  If you have a panini press, use it to smoosh the sandwich gently.  Flip over after a few minutes when bottom is browned and cheese is starting to melt.

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A few secrets to a good panini:

-Place cheese in sandwich twice, once on the bottom and once on the top of your pile-up, this will keep the panini together better once cooked.  You don’t have to use the same kind of cheese, I used mozzarella on the bottom and parmesan on the top.

-Slice all ingredients very thin so they can be layered smoothly to prevent them from slipping out when you take a bite or press the panini.

-Cook on lower heat for longer periods of time to allow center to get hot and cheese to melt.

-If you are using sliced bread (like a grilled cheese), butter the outside with a mixture of butter and mayonnaise (50/50 mix) to avoid burning while cooking.

-A classic combination that never fails: tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, and a smear of pesto.

Enjoy!

Bacon Roasted Beets and Cauliflower

It’s true, everything is better with bacon.  It’s that time of year again that roasting vegetables becomes an acceptable alternative to grilling vegetables.  Roasting root vegetables is a good way to sweeten up the flavor and they look so pretty on the plate.   Beets and cauliflower have a nice contrasting color and when roasted they compliment each other very well.

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Ingredients:

– 2-3 large beets washed and cut into small pieces.

– 1/2 head of cauliflower washed and cut into small pieces.

– 1/2 sweet onion sliced

– 2 cloves of garlic, sliced

– 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, center stem removed

– 4 pieces of bacon cooked and cut into small pieces

– 1 Tbsp of reserved bacon grease

-Olive oil

-salt and pepper

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Directions:

1. Gently mix together in a large bowl the beets, cauliflower, onion, garlic, thyme, and bacon with bacon grease and a drizzle of olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Spread the vegetables out evenly on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 23-30 minutes, stirring once.  Depending on how large you cut the pieces, the time may be longer.  Make sure the beets are easily pierced with a fork before serving.

2013-09-05 19.28.36As the beets roast they will give off a lot of color, so be careful not to splash your clothing when flipping or serving!