Like I said before, a family favorite. This one uses those ridged elbow macaroni we found at the local Amish store, the only place we’ve seen it aside from pictures online. We made a mornay sauce of Swiss cheese and added a goodly dollop of sour cream. The ground beef was browned with celery and onion. We added a generous slug of buttermilk to the white sauce before mixing in the cheese, and stirred in a cup of the pasta water, too. I think it baked for a half hour at 350, covered, and then was topped with some shredded “pizza style” cheese and baked for another 10-15 minutes to toast that off. That cheese was a mix of mozzarella and provolone plus others I can’t recall at the moment.
I could have called it a pork lover’s pizza – it has bacon, pepperoni, prosciutto, ham, and Italian sausage along with provolone, Parmesan, asiago, mozzarella, and Romano. My dough-fu was weak today, the dough was too wet and sticky to get a good stuff going into the outer rim of the crust. You can see a few places where it bubbled out.
I see this on offer at the Kroger deli pretty often and I’ve bought, and liked it, but it seemed a tad too expensive so I looked for a recipe. I found this one and used it for a guide. This one has two potatoes and the other ingredients are scaled to suit. I used four slices of bacon and two or three green onions and a handful of a cheddar/Monterey jack mixture left over from another dish. Use about 2 to 1 sour cream to mayo in a quantity sufficient to lube it all up. I boiled 6 eggs to make deviled eggs for an additional side and Mrs J suggested adding a couple to the potato salad. They work fine in there. I saw a recipe that mentioned baking the mixture until the cheese melts but I went with a cold dish. Made an excellent side for the roast pork sammich.
Because we had some beef leftover from the cheesesteak-baguette project and I hate hate hate throwing good food out. I added some taco seasonings to the beef and recycled it through these tacos. There was plenty of toppings left from the chicken tacos the other day. I have a smear of beans under the beef – everything else: just as pictured. The dark crumbs atop it all are a Tex-Mex seasoning blend I’ve touted here before.
I love popcorn. So much so, I actually have an electric stirring popcorn popper. It must be a family thing, because my brother, Paul, has all the ingredients to make movie popcorn – and he did serious research on how to get that flavor. I’m good with butter and salt, myself. But my true weakness is caramel corn, so one year when I was trying to think of something fun to give for those neighbor Christmas treat boxes, I decided to try my hand at caramel corn.
And to take it up a notch I decided to make Bacon Caramel Corn. The featured recipe tonight.
But let’s begin with some other salty-sweet ideas for the holiday gift box.
Tex-Mex Popcorn Mix, recipe here.
White Cheddar Popcorn and Chili-Cheese Popcorn, recipes here.
And if popcorn is not your thing, how about some Cajun Spiced Nuts or Indian Spiced Nuts, recipes here.
Finally, the dinner menu this week is all about improving Oven Fried Chicken and amazing Baked Garlic Potatoes, complete menu, recipes, shopping list are here.
What favorite recipes are in your gift box this year? If you give food gifts for the holidays, do you include copies of the recipes? I’m always torn. Either way, go ahead and share some of your favorite recipes in the comments. Next week we’ll tackle sweet treats for gift giving.
Tonight’s featured recipe actually came about because I read this comment at Balloon-Juice, I was intrigued enough to search out a recipe. If bacon isn’t your thing, just omit it from the recipe below to make regular caramel corn, or caramel corn with nuts.
Cashew Bacon Caramel Corn
- 8 oz maple smoked bacon, cut into eight pieces per strip
- 12 cups (3 quarts) of popped corn
- 10 tbsp butter
- 1-1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups salted cashews (or peanuts, or peanut/cashew mix)
In skillet, cook bacon until mostly crisp, drain on paper towels and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Reduce to 200 degrees after 15 minutes of baking.
Place popcorn onto a well-greased baking sheets.
In saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer until thickened, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla and baking soda (yes, it will foam up so be prepared). Gently stir nuts and bacon into sugar mixture and pour over popcorn, toss, coating popcorn evenly. Bake, stirring occasionally, until popcorn is a deep golden brown, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours – mine was done at the 1 hour mark. Cool and break apart.
*most recipes call for a roasting pan, I had better luck on my second batch using baking sheets – the popcorn cooked more evenly and was very crisp.
That’s if for this week. Bixby is 6 months old today which doesn’t seem possible and I may have an update on him later, depending on how work goes today – TaMara
Mmm… chorizo chili. This one also has ground beef, an onion, a can of tomato bits, and pinto beans. It’s a basic chili made with a sauce of dried chilis that had been simmered and soaked then pureed in a blender with a few cloves of garlic. Push the puree through a strainer with a spatula and discard the last little bit. Plenty of chili leftovers, but I have a plan…Mmm… chili dogs! I have these garnished with minced onions, green jalapenos, and red ripe Anaheim peppers – some of the last we will get from our container garden out on the front patio.Mmm… not quite Cincinnati chili. This has everything that the five way chili has but isn’t distributed the same way. The Cincinnati chili is seasoned differently, too. Theirs has cinnamon, allspice, chocolate and other stuff I won’t try to replicate.Mmm… chili cheese fries! This dish is finished with a couple dashes of hot sauce. Mrs J had tater tots instead of fries but she scarfed them down before I could get a picture. Here are a couple of puppies instead:
The Anaheim peppers are doing great out on the patio and I needed to do something with them. They seemed big enough for stuffing and a search for a recipe turned up this one. She used mozzarella but I thought Monterey jack would work. The six minute parboil worked fine. Grill chicken breasts and shred them for the stuffing mix, the cream cheese acts as a binder. I didn’t have any green onions, should have chopped some chives but didn’t.I wish I had shredded the chicken a little better but it worked out OK. I had enough to stuff six peppers. These went into a 375 oven and I looked at them after 15 minutes – there was just a hint of brown on an edge or two so I cranked the oven to 500 and kept a close watch, removing them after about 5 additional minutes.Her mole recipe would have been fine, I guess, but I know my ancho sauce recipe so I used it. Simmer some dried ancho or similar chilies in a cup or two of water or broth and let them steep, then puree them with the liquid in a blender when they are cool. I pushed mine through a sieve to remove any skin bits or seeds and poured it back into a saucepan. In a skillet sweat half an onion with garlic, oregano, ground cumin, black pepper and salt then add to the chilies along with a splash of fresh lime juice and a tablespoon of tomato paste and simmer until thick.I plated them atop a bed of Spanish rice along with refried beans, guacamole, and sour cream. These were very good!