Mrs J thought pizza would work for her dinner today. We had all that turkey from yesterday’s project so we went with that for a topping. White pizza sounded better with turkey than anything else so we went that route. I had good luck with the Prairie Gold flour the local Amish store carried so we went that way again, going half and half with white bread flour. The dough recipe is not too involved: 1 cup PG flour, 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup warm water, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 packet of instant yeast (2-1/4 t). I let the bread machine make the dough while we made a trip to town.I like to brush the crust with olive oil but I had a little garlic butter left over so I warmed that, added a little oil, and brushed it on, sprinkling kosher salt after. I gave it another coat halfway through baking when I opened the oven to spin the pan 180. To a basic white sauce I added provolone and Parmesan, folded in blanched broccoli and cubed turkey meat and spread that over the crust, adding thin sliced red onions, more turkey, and a good sprinkle of Parmesan atop everything before sliding it into a 375 oven.
I wish I’d gone with the white bowl for this, I really thought there would be more contrast. This is a copycat recipe, as far as I know, nowhere does it indicate it’s an actual Panera recipe. I stayed right with the recipe as written except I added an extra handful of shredded Parmesan I had out for the garlic toast. I can say that it’s a damn good soup, we both gave it two thumbs up.I couldn’t resist making a sammich out of the leftovers.
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