July 30, 2014

Soft and Gooey Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

The search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe has been a long and difficult one. I have made many, tasted tons, and liked a few. But none were exactly what I was looking for. Finally, after merging a few recipes and ingredients and testing them out, I came up with exactly what I wanted in a chocolate chip cookie! These are gooey and soft {I'm not a fan of crunchy and thin} and sweet and salty. The candied bacon was an experiment gone very very RIGHT! I wasn't sure how I would like the bacon-chocolate combo but in this cookie, they are a match made in heaven! Give them a try, I promise you'll thank me! 

*Not a fan of bacon in sweets? Don't use it and you've still got one heck of a delicious soft chocolate chip cookie! 
Ingredients:
For the bacon:
·         8 slices thick cut bacon
·         ½ cup brown sugar

For the cookies:
·         ¾ cup butter, softened
·         ¾ cup brown sugar
·         6 tbsp white sugar
·         1 egg (whole)
·         1 egg yolk
·         1 tbsp vanilla
·         2 cups flour
·         1 tsp cornstarch
·         1 tsp baking soda
·         ½ tsp salt
·         1 ½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips
·         Candied bacon, diced

Directions:

1.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.       Place bacon in a single layer on a foil lined sheet.
3.       Sprinkle brown sugar on top of bacon strips. Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy, making sure to turn bacon over after 10 minutes.
4.       Remove from oven and place on a wire rack for cooling. Once bacon has cooled chop it finely.
5.       Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
6.       Sift flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda.
7.       In a medium bowl with a stand mixer, cream butter with the white and brown sugar.
8.       Add vanilla, egg, and egg yolk to the bowl and beat until light and creamy.
9.       Add flour mixture slowly and mix well.
10.   Add diced candied bacon and chocolate chips and stir until just combined.
11.   Scoop golf ball sized balls of dough (I use an ice cream scoop) on a lined cookie sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes or until lightly golden on top.
12.   Remove from oven and let cookies sit on the pan for a couple of minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool.
13.   Try not to eat them all in one serving! Store in a sealed container.

Candied Bacon recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Candied Bacon is seriously addicting y'all! 
Preheat oven to 350. Cover a baking sheet in aluminum foil and lay
 8 slice of thick cut bacon in rows on the aluminum.
Cover with brown sugar. 
Bake for 10 minutes, then flip slices of bacon and bake for another 10 minutes. 
I made the mistake at first of putting on a paper towel to drain. Wrong! Sticky bacon sticks to the paper, silly! Lay your bacon on a plate to cool. 
Once cooled, dice candied bacon {try not to sneak too many pieces}. 
Now time for the cookies.....
Turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Cream softened butter and brown and white sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. 
Sift together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. 
Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla to the cookie dough.
Slowly pour in the flour mixture on low speed and mix until combined.
Now time for the good stuff! 
Using a rubber spatula stir in chocolate chips and diced candied bacon.
This cookie dough is chunky and looks soooo good! Resist the urge to eat it now! 
I used an ice cream scoop and made jumbo cookie dough balls, 6-8 spaced evenly on a lined baking sheet,
Pop these babies in the oven for about 12-15 minutes until lightly golden on top.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly on the tray before moving them to a rack to cool. 
Don't worry- even after they're cooled they are still soft and gooey! 
This poor cookie lasted long enough for me to take this one picture before I gobbled it up!
Ah, the life of a food blogger!
Chocolate and Bacon-together they are a heavenly match, my friends! 
I mailed most of these to some lucky friends {you know who you are!} but I saved a few to share with my sweets-loving husband and daughter {ok, ok, I saved them because I wanted to devour them immediately}. 
If you're a fan of salty and sweet or a bacon-chocolate lover you are in for a serious treat! 




July 28, 2014

Meatless Monday: Mushroom Spinach Enchiladas

Enchiladas are one of my husband's top requested recipes but usually our recipes include chicken or another type of meat. For this Meatless Monday I wanted to create a version of my enchiladas that were filled with sauteed hearty veggies with big flavors and made you forget that it's meat free! I think I hit the jackpot with these Mushroom Spinach Enchiladas! Give them a try this Meatless Monday and I bet you'll forget you're eating vegetarian!

Ingredients: 

Makes 4 servings (8 enchiladas)
  • 12 oz. baby spinach, chopped
  • 8 oz  mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • cream cheese spread, softened
  • 3 cups Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • 8 small/med (taco size) flour tortillas
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, for saute

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium. 
  3. Saute onions, mushrooms, and garlic until tender.
  4. Stir in cream cheese until smooth. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Stir in chopped spinach and mix until wilted.
  6. Using taco size flour tortillas spoon filling into the middle of each enchilada. 
  7. Add a sprinkling (about 2 tbsp) of Mexican blend cheese into the center of the enchilada.
  8. Roll up enchiladas and place seam side down in a 9X13 baking dish. 
  9. Sprinkle top of enchiladas with remaining cheese.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is nice and golden.
  11.  Serve with a side of rice and any extra filling in the pan drizzled on top.


Add a swirl of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, mushrooms and onions and saute until fragrant and tender, about 10-15 minutes. 
Stir in cream cheese and season with salt and pepper. Mix until smooth.
Add spinach and stir until wilted and creamy.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 Using small taco size flour tortillas spoon filling into the middle of each enchilada.
Add a sprinkling of Mexican blend cheese into the center of the enchilada, about 2 tbsp.
Roll up enchiladas and place seam side down in a 9X13 baking dish.
If you have an extra mushroom filling drizzle it on top.
Add remaining cheese to the top of the enchiladas.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and melted.
Cut into servings (I do 2 per person) and serving with any filling that has fallen into the side drizzled on top. I like to serve with Mexican rice or spicy black beans.
Lots of gooey cheese mixed with meaty mushrooms, onions, and spinach make
 this Meatless Monday meal a crowd pleaser!
 

July 25, 2014

Southern 7 Layer Salad in a Mason Jar

I have always been a fan of 7 Layer Salads so when my friend Lora gave me her recipe, I couldn't wait to make it at home. Most of the time this Southern salad is presented in a large glass trifle bowl so you can see the colorful {and tasty} layers. I didn't have a trifle bowl but mistakenly thought a punch bowl would work. I tried....and failed. Future reference: punch bowls are waaaay too big {unless you want a salad for a big ol'
group}! So I compromised like I often do in the kitchen and used a mason jar. I have pretty glass mason jars in numerous sizes and I just love the idea of making personal salads in a jar! You can simply put the dressing in the bottom or top of the salad, seal with a lid, shake, and when you take the lid off you can eat right out of the jar. So cute for outside parties and picnics, right? Or you can always do as my husband did and pour right into a bowl {guess he wasn't impressed with my pretty layers!}. 
  Hope you enjoy this 7 layers of deliciousness in a cute little jar! 

 

Ingredients:

Makes 6-8 mason jar salads (or one large 7 layer salad)

- 5 cups lettuce, washed and chopped (I use romaine or butter lettuce)
- 8 slices thick cut bacon
- 1 yellow (or red) onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups frozen peas, partially thawed
- 8 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
- 1/2 cup mayo (I like Duke's)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- -mason jars (16-21oz work best for entree size) or bowls for serving

Directions:

  1. For dressing: in a small bowl mix together mayo, sour cream, sugar, and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.
  2. Meanwhile cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool then dice into bite size pieces.
  3.  Dice eggs into bite size pieces with a knife or egg slicer.
  4. To plate: I like to serve mine in large mason jars (21oz) for presentation as an entree. But can also be arranged in bowls or a large trifle dish. Add a couple spoonfuls of dressing in the bottom of the jar, top with chopped lettuce, onions, red bell pepper, peas, egg, and bacon. You can screw a lid on top of jar, shake, and then eat out of the jar or pour into a bowl and enjoy!
 This is easily one of my favorite creamy Southern dressings! Perfect for potato salads, slaws, and 7 layer salads! Simply mix together equal parts mayo and sour cream (I did a 1/4 cup of each). I added a tsp of sugar and some black pepper (about 1/4 tsp). Mix and chill until ready to serve. 
 Fresh green salad adds a beautiful color, nice crunch, and of course it's good for ya! 
I use romaine or butter lettuce. 
 Time to add your other colorful additions. Frozen peas are a must! I also like to add vibrant diced red pepper and onions (I mixed red and yellow onion). 
 Hard boiled eggs are delish in this salad. 
If making in a trifle bowl simply slice but if making in a mason jar I dice the eggs. 
 Here is my first version: in a punch bowl {I am adding a trifle bowl to my Christmas wish list!}.
 Pretty but it didn't even fill my massive punch bowl halfway! 
 Here's my compromise: byebye trifle bowl hello mason jars! I added the dressing to the bottom then layered lettuce, onion, red pepper, peas, egg, and finally bacon.
*If you want to still make in a trifle bowl I think the dressing on top works best. 
  7 layers of deliciousness in a cute little jar! 
I hope you like this tasty twist on a Southern favorite! 
Comment below and let me know what you think! 
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