Loaded Mashed Potato Mix

What to serve with some beautiful beef filets? Of course, potatoes, but what kind? Since there were no real potatoes in the house, I turned to my fall back potatoes – INSTANT! (I always have a few different kinds of Idaho Instant potatoes in the pantry). For this recipe, I chose the Idaho Baby Reds.

Not wanting to simply whip up according to the package, I found a recipe on Pinterest. (You are NOT surprised.) It was delicious and perfect with the filets and roasted asparagus. So perfect, that I neglected to take a photo…

Loaded Idaho Mashed Potato Mix

Ingredients

  • 6 cups prepared mashed potatoes made with butter and milk (or broth)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix unprepared (I substituted Emeril’s Essence)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
  • 6 slices cooked bacon chopped
  • 6 green onions thinly sliced (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes, sour cream, ranch dressing mix, 1 cup cheese, bacon and onions.

3. Spread into large casserole dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until heated. Remove from oven and sprinkle top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

4. Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese on top is melted.

5. Garnish if desired with extra bacon and green onions.

6. Serves 6-8

Romaine “Wedge” Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

You will have noted that I put the word “wedge” in brackets. Actually I dislike it when I see romain served in wedges. It’s difficult to eat without a fork AND knife. I much prefer to have the romaine torn into smaller parts before it is served. This is true of some restaurant Caesar salads as well. Without a doubt, the highlight of this salad is the ranch dressing, which you can use on almost any salad OR as a simple veggie dip. Of course, you can skip the blue cheese, but why would you? LOL

Romaine Wedge Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Homemade Ranch Dressing*
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 slices sourdough bread cut into ½-inch cube (I did some store-bought croutons in butter and garlic powder)
  • 4 slices thick bacon cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce quartered lengthwise into wedges
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • finely chopped chives optional

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sourdough cubes; cook and stir until cubes are lightly browned on all sides. Remove from skillet and reserve.

2. Add bacon to same skillet; cook and stir until bacon is crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towel to drain.

3. Carefully rinse and dry romaine wedges, doing your best to keep them intact. OR tear them up

4. Arrange romaine wedges on a platter. Drizzle desired amount of dressing on salad and sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Serve.

*Homemade Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup chives finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
  • milk enough to reach your desired consistency (optional)

Instructions

Whisk together the sour cream, garlic, parsley and chives. Add milk to reach your desired consistency.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Enjoy as a salad dressing or a vegetable dip.

Make Ahead Breakfast Scrambled Eggs

Hope it is not to late for you to get these ready? The recipe makes about 4 breakfasts. Simply portion the ingredients into 4 small jars, refrigerate overnight. Come morning, dump the ingredients into a mug, add two slightly scrambled eggs, stir and microwave according to the directions!

*6 ounce jar pictured, prior to refrigeration

Make Ahead Breakfast Scrambles

  • 2 oz. ham, diced (I used a strip of bacon per jar).
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 8 large eggs

1. Divide the ham, bell pepper, onion, and cheddar between four resealable containers*. Cut the butter into 4, 1/2 teaspoon-sized pieces, and add one to each container. Sprinkle about 1/8 teaspoon seasoning salt into each container.

2. Seal the containers and store them for up to 4-5 days.

3. When you’re ready to prepare a microwave breakfast scramble, pour the ingredients of the container into a ceramic mug, add two large eggs, and stir to combine.

4. Loosely cover the mug with a paper towel or another microwave-safe object and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Stir the contents of the mug and microwave for 15 seconds more. Stir again and continue to microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until the eggs are mostly set, but still moist. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 267.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.68g | Protein: 18.25g | Fat: 19.5g |Sodium: 609.48mg | Fiber: 0.5g

Beef Liver with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

First off, I am not including a picture of the finished dish this time? Why? Because it is liver and onions and just the thought of it puts many people off…LOL. BUT… if you love liver and onions you will really like this recipe from Pinterest.

I usually do mine without flour as I am a purist with liver. This recipe was intriguing because it soaked the liver in milk before cooking, supposedly to reduce the strong flavor some people dislike. Let me tell you that this was awesome and my new goto recipe for liver and onions. Here goes…

Beef Liver with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

First, cut the liver into strips and soak them in milk to remove any bitterness.

If you’re following a low-carb diet, you may choose to eliminate the onions for an even lower carb count,but hey… why would you?

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1-pound beef liver cut into strips
  • 3 large onions sliced
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 5 tablespoons butter divided
  • Salt to taste
  1. Add milk to a shallow bowl. Soak liver in the milk for about 20 minutes to remove any bitterness.
  2. Meanwhile, cook your bacon in a large skillet. Drain on paper towels and cut into 1/2″ chunks. Set aside.
  3. Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon grease and add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the bacon grease in the same skillet.

Add onions and cook over a medium heat stirring occasionally until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Remove onions to a dish, sprinkle with salt and set aside.

  1. Pat liver dry and discard the milk.

Return skillet to high heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan. When the butter foam subsides, the butter is hot enough.

 Arrange the liver in the pan being certain not to crowd the pan. I worked in two batches. Sauté for 3 minutes regulating the heat so that the butter remains hot, but does not burn. Turn liver over and sauté about 2 minutes more. The inside meat should still be pink.

  1. Serve liver topped with onion and bacon.

Classic Cobb Salad + Dressing

Just in case you are wondering about the difference between  a Chef’s Salad and a Cobb Salad, here is what I found in Wikipedia

A Chef Salad and Cobb Salad both have lettuce, cheese and meats such as bacon, chicken breast, and ham, plus hard boiled eggs. But a Cobb salad usually has a mixture of lettuces, and also has avocado and tomatoes. It was named after Robert Cobb who was the owner of the famous Hollywood Brown Derby and created by his chef in 1937.

This is the Pinterest version I was able to locate. Cobb Salad Dressing.

Cobb Salad

Classic Cobb Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast or leftover baked ham, chopped
  • 3/4 head iceberg lettuce (or salad greens blend)
  • 8 grape tomatoes (I chopped up a Roma tomato)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 1/2 ounces blue cheese crumbled
  • 3 ounces ranch dressing (or blue cheese dressing) OR Cobb Dressing below*
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lay out bacon strips on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until is crispy. Removed from oven and transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Heat grill or a skillet over medium-high heat). Cook chicken, flipping once, for about 3-4 minute per side. Make sure chicken reaches 165 degrees F internal temp and is no longer pink. Remove to a plate to rest. (Substitute chopped ham in place of chicken).
  3. Rinse and dry lettuce, then remove outer leaves and core. Cut into bite-sized pieces and place on a platter or shallow serving bowl.
  4. Rinse and halve tomatoes. Place on top of the lettuce to one side of the bowl. Slice eggs and place next to the tomatoes in a line. Cut avocado in half, remove from skin and then chop or slice. Add next to eggs.
  5. Slice or dice chicken and place on salad next to avocado. Crumble bacon and place next to the chicken/ham. Crumble blue cheese and place next to bacon.
  6. Serve with the ORIGINAL dressing! 

Cobb Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup salad oil
  1. Place all ingredients in a blend and blend together until well mixed.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Onions and Garlic

Looking for a great Easter side dish? Buy that half head of cabbage and start frying. This is an excellent side and you can substitute turkey bacon if you prefer. It reheats beautifully.

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Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Onions and Garlic

Serves 4

  • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium head of white cabbage, trimmed, cored and sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • The following to taste:
  • salt, black pepper, onion and garlic powder, paprika
  • a knob of butter (optional)
  • dill weed (to taste)

Heat a skillet and then cook the bacon rashers over medium heat until just crisp. remove and set aside on paper kitchen towelling to drain. Crumble and keep warm.

Add the onion to the bacon drippings. (Over here our bacon is very lean so there wasn’t many. If you find that is the case, add a small splash of olive or rapeseed oil.) 

Cook, stirring to soften. when it begins to caramelize somewhat add the garlic.  Cook and stir until fragrant. Add the diced carrot.

 Add the cabbage.  Cook, tossing and stirring, until the cabbage begins to soften.  Season to taste with the seasonings. 

Add 60ml (1/4 cup) of water and cover. Cook and steam over low heat until the cabbage has softened. Stir in the bacon crumbles.  Taste and adjust seasoning as required. If desired stir in a knob of butter. Serve hot.

Cauliflower Jalapeno Mac n Cheese

Who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese, whether it be Canada’s KD (Kraft Dinner) or any number of restaurant style macaroni and cheese dishes? One of our fav restaurants in Merida, Yucatan – Merci, does a wonderful macaroni and cheese with jumbo shrimp! What’s not to love about that? Of course, when you do KETO, you avoid pasta, But, since we are now only KC (Keto conscious) we have a little leeway. Don’t tell your family it is KETO. They do not need to know. This is undoubtedly a new fav recipe, with a touch of jalapeno (optional).

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KETO Cauliflower Jalapeno Mac n Cheese with Bacon

Ingredients (Vegans, omit bacon)

  • 1 large head cauliflower cut into small bites
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese I use a cheddar blend
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 strips of uncured bacon cooked and crumbled (bacon grease reserved)*
  • 3 teaspoons bacon grease melted
  • 2 jalapeño peppers minced (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  1. Add the cauliflower florets to a microwave safe bowl with a plate (or paper plate) on top Microwave for 7-8 minutes or until slightly tender (or your desired texture). You can steam it instead, if you don’t have or want to use a microwave, but I wouldn’t boil it, it might be too watery.
  2. While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a saucepan over medium. Add in the butter and bacon grease, then sauté the jalapeño peppers until tender, should take just about 2-3 minutes. Add in the cream cheese and stir until melted. Add the remaining ingredients and still until well combined and all the cheese has melted.
  3. Add in 1-2 tablespoons of hot water if needed, to reach your desired consistency.
  4. Once the cauliflower is cooked through, you don’t need to drain it or pat it dry. The small amount of moisture will be perfect with this sauce, which as I mentioned, is on the thicker side. Pour cauliflower in the skillet and mix well to coat each piece, then serve.
  5. Optional: Garnish with fresh cilantro and/or crumbled bacon.
  6. Store leftovers in the fridge for a few days. It reheats beautifully in the microwave or stovetop.

Notes

The amount of jalapeño pepper that you use is entirely up to you, and will depend personal preference. I would recommend using 2 jalapeño peppers for a mild to medium level of heat and flavor. If you’re like me and love a spicy kick and a stronger jalapeño flavor, you’ll want to use a bit more.

 

Larry’s Meatloaf (My spouse)

Some unknown person is always tinkering with my recipes? This time I made that someone (?) write down what he did. It was incredible and very moist! What can I say??? This was supposed our takeout and movie night vicariously with friends, during COVID-19, but we stayed in and he cooked. With these garlicky green beans the meal was awesome.

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LARRY’S MEATLOAF

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds of ground beef and pork
  • 3 strips of bacon for topping the meatloaf
  • ¼ cup of tomato pesto for topping the meat loaf
  • 3/4 cup of crushed pork rinds

 

  • ½ medium white onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme

 Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce (I use Weber hickory)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Lightly spray a 5 x 9-inch loaf pan with oil and line with parchment.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp of water to a small fry pan, add in the onion and garlic and caramelize over low heat. When caramelized, add in the herbs. Set aside.
  3. Place the meat in large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Mix the sauce ingredients well and then stir in the caramelized onion mix and the crushed pork rinds.
  5. Pour mixture over the meat and blend well using your fingers.
  6. Put into loaf pan and pat down.
  7. Cut bacon into short pieces and place on top, then add the tomato pesto over the loaf.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F, covering lightly with foil after 45 minutes. Meat thermometer should register 165 degrees F. (about 1 hr. to 1 hr. 15 min).
  9. When meat is done, juices will be clear. Drain any fat and let sit about 10 minutes before slicing.

 

Bacon Mushroom Spinach Frittata

When you wake up an hour or so before your spouse you might as well make a nice breakfast, right? If you have too many eggs and spinach you might as well put them to use. “Alexa, what can I make?” Oops, I forgot I don’t use Alexa. “Pinterest, what can I make?”

Firstly if you did not already know it, a frittata is essentially an omelette which you prepare in an ovenproof skillet and finish in the oven. This can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner…so give it a try!

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I N G RE D I E N T S:

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms or whatever you have on hand, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach fresh or a small package of frozen unthawed
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • small red pepper chopped for colour

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, basil, oregano, thyme and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes, reserving 1 tablespoon excess fat. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. (OR cheat and use precooked bacon)
  4. Add garlic and mushrooms to the skillet (adding a little oil if using precooked bacon), and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Stir in spinach and tomato until the spinach begins to wilt, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in egg mixture and bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons, until well combined. Cook, undisturbed, until edges are set, about 2 minutes. Top with remaining bacon.
  6. Place into oven and bake until top is set and golden brown, about 14-15 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken with Bacon and Cheese

Just another slow cooker recipe…LOL. This one tastes incredible AND its Keto friendly as part of my new JOURNEY to eat healthier this year. As always I was touring around Pinterest and came across this one by Kasey Trenum. It was so great I forgot to photograph it. It was on Kasey’s Pinterest page.

 

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Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken with Bacon & Cheese {low carb & keto}

Ingredients

  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ tsp poultry seasoning
  • ½ tsp rosemary
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 3 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup cheese
  • 3 pieces of bacon, crumbled
  • ¾ tsp Xanthan Gum (for thickening – available at higher end grocery stores)
  • salt/pepper to taste

 

Instructions

Add chicken and next 6 ingredients to slow cooker.

Crumble 3 pieces of cooked bacon on the top of the chicken.

Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 to 3½. (Watch your cooker – it was done sooner than I expected)

Add heavy whipping cream to slow cooker.

Dollop cream cheese on top and stir to combine all ingredients.

Using 2 forks, shred chicken in slow cooker.

Sprinkle ¾ tsp Xanthan Gum and allow to simmer with the top off for a few minutes while the mixture thickens.

Spray a casserole dish generously and dump contents of slow cooker into dish.

Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese (or more if you’d like) then crumble 3 pieces of bacon on top.

Place in oven on broil for 2-4 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly and bacon is extra crisp.

Enjoy!

Nutritional Information based on MyFitnessPal app (8 servings) – Calories 302, Fat 24.7, Protein 17.2, Carbs 3.3 -Fiber .8 = Net Carbs 2.5