Tag Archives: bacon

Wise Words, Smart Food

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon

There are two things that Southerners just know…the first is that bacon makes everything better. Secondly, we have a way with words…

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Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon
Shaved brussel sprouts with bacon, cranberries and pecans.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 slices bacon
  2. 1 1/2 - 2 cups brussels sprouts, shredded or shaved
  3. 1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted
  4. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  5. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  6. 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  7. 1 tsp sugar
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crispy and set aside to crumble.
  2. Reserve about 1 tbsp of bacon fat in skillet.
  3. Whisk together vinegar, dijon mustard, sugar, salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. Heat bacon fat over medium high heat and add shredded brussels sprouts, let cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Pour the vinegar mixture over the sprouts and continue cooking, stirring occasionally for 5 more minutes.
  6. Stir in dried cranberries letting mixture cook for 5 more minutes.
  7. Add crumbled bacon and toasted pecan pieces, stir well and let cook for a few more minutes.
  8. Serve warm.
https://lolleighcooks.com/
Trader Joe's Shaved Brussel Sprouts

Shaved Brussel Sprouts

Vinegar

Dried cranberries

Brussel Sprouts and Bacon

Warm Brussel Sprout Salad 

Every time I go to Trader Joe’s, I discover something new and fabulous. I had never eaten a brussels sprout a day in my life until I discovered shredded brussels sprouts in the produce section. Somehow a bag of shredded sprouts seemed much less intimidating than whole brussels sprouts…and besides that we all know that bacon makes everything better!

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How Nashville does weather…

Corn & Potato Chowder with Candied Bacon

If you live in Nashville, you’ve probably come to understand that around here weather is an event. A major event. If the winds are gusting 15 mph, the local meteorologist will break into your episode of The Good Wife and tell you to run for cover!

It’s no better with snow. If it’s going to snow next Tuesday, we may as well cancel school for the whole week. I can’t even imagine what will come of the deep freeze headed our way. My general rule of thumb is to not trust a meteorologist who does the weather in a cocktail dress…just saying.

Corn & Potato Chowder with Candied Bacon
You would never guess that this creamy chowder is made with a roll of Pictsweet Cream Corn.
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For the corn & potato chowder
  1. 1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. 2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  4. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1-160z. frozen roll of Pictsweet Cream Corn, defrosted
  6. 1 cup white corn, fresh or frozen
  7. 4 cups vegetable broth
  8. 1 medium baking potato, peeled and diced small
  9. 1/2 cup half and half
  10. salt and pepper
For the candied bacon
  1. 2 baking sheets lined with aluminum foil
  2. 1 package bacon
  3. 1/2 cup brown sugar, light
  4. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat until butter melts.
  2. Add onions, season with salt and pepper, then saute until tender.
  3. Stir in 1/4 cup of flour to make a roux and continue to stir for about a minute.
  4. Pour in 4 cups of vegetable broth, stirring well.
  5. Add potatoes and bring to a simmering boil.
  6. Cook until potatoes are tender and falling apart.
  7. Gently mash up potatoes (they don't have to be completely mashed, just enough to add some thickness).
  8. Add the defrosted roll of Pictsweet Cream Corn and 1 cup of white corn, fresh or frozen.
  9. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
  10. Stir in half and half, then season again with salt and pepper.
  11. Turn on low while you prepare the candied bacon.
  12. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  13. After lining baking sheets with aluminum foil, lay bacon out flat on the baking sheet.
  14. Mix together brown sugar and cayenne pepper.
  15. Generously rub both sides of the bacon with the brown sugar mixture.
  16. Place in a 400 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  17. I like my bacon more on the crispy side, so leave in longer until its cooked like you prefer.
  18. Remove bacon from oven.
  19. Transfer the pieces of bacon to a wire rack and let completely cool.
  20. The bacon will harden like it has a candy coating.
  21. Crumble a piece of candied bacon on top of each serving of chowder.
  22. The bacon can be store in an airtight container.
https://lolleighcooks.com/

Pictsweet Cream Corn The Fresh Market Silver Queen Corn

Making a roux

Roux

Swanson Vegetable Broth

Horizon Half and Half

candied bacon

candied bacon

candied bacon

candied bacon

corn chowder with candied bacon

 The secret to this delicious chowder is the roll of frozen Pictsweet Cream Corn, it’s as close as you can get to real thing! One of my other favorites is The Fresh Market Silver Queen Corn. You’d never guess that this thick and creamy chowder is much lower in fat than a traditional chowder recipe.

Stay Warm!

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Standards

Bacon Tomato Cups

For as long as I can remember, we have had what I would call ‘Christmas Standards’. A green Frasier Fir (real), red ribbons, my great-grandmother’s candy and the same holiday snacks every year. It’s just what you do…I saw a card once that said it best, “Christmas is weird…what other time of year do you sit in front of a dead tree in the living room and eat candy out of your socks”.

The Christmas of 1989 was a doozie. That was the year mother went rogue. Mother’s favorite colors have always been shades of pinks and peaches. I should have seen it coming a few weeks earlier on that Thanksgiving evening when mother, Nana and I went to see Steel Magnolias and there it was on the big screen, Shelby planning her wedding in shades “blush and bashful”.

A few weeks later, Christmas break was beginning and as mother drove us home from school she told us that there was a surprise waiting at home. I ran in the door, so excited for the surprise! I turned the corner into the living room and dropped to my knees. There it was…that 7 foot Frasier Fir…flocked. A white tree, peach ribbon and pink accents. Oh, the drama ensued, as only a 14 year girl can deliver, proclaiming that a Christmas tree was supposed to be green with red ribbons. 

After the shock of the tree wore off, Christmas continued and so did the rest of our standards.  Of course we weren’t exactly staring at a dead tree in the living room and eating candy out of socks. That year we enjoyed my great-grandmother’s candy and our favorite snacks sitting there…staring at that peaches and cream tree.

I normally wouldn’t use canned biscuits for anything but these are a ‘Christmas Standard’, trust me…I don’t mess with standards.

Bacon Tomato Cups
Bite-sized bacon, tomato and cheese appetizer baked in a biscuit crust.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 - 12 oz package package center cut bacon
  2. 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  3. 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  4. 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  5. 1/2 cup swiss cheese, finely shredded
  6. 1/2 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise (I never use anything else but Hellman's)
  7. 1 - 10 count can flaky layer biscuits (must be the flaky kind)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop and fry bacon until crispy then transfer to paper towel lined plate.
  3. Seed and chop tomato into a small dice.
  4. Finely chop onion.
  5. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, cheeses, bacon and mayonnaise then set aside.
  6. Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray. This recipe makes about 2 dozen cups.
  7. Peel apart the flaky layer biscuits into thirds. Only peeling in half is too thick so do your best to peel into thirds.
  8. Line each muffin cup with the biscuit layer.
  9. Spoon tomato mixture into the biscuit cups.
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Let cool slightly and remove from muffin pan.
  12. These are good served hot or at room temperature.
https://lolleighcooks.com/

Bacon

Tomatoes and onion

Chopped tomatoes and onion

Hellman's Mayo Bacon mixture

Flaky layer biscuits

Biscuit cup

Filled biscuit cup

Bacon Tomato Cups

These are delicious! Everytime I serve them or take them to a party, I’m always asked to share the recipe. They aren’t exactly on the light side but they are a ‘Christmas Standard’.

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I’d love for you to follow along! 

 

Modern Woman

Fried Green Tomato Wedge Salad

My great-grandmother, Nanny, was a modern woman before her time and if she were alive today she would have still broken the mold when it comes to strong, southern women.

Growing up in Mississippi, she had her sights on going to college in Tennessee to become a teacher and star basketball player. So she set out to make her way by selling tomatoes on the side roads of the Delta to get where she intended to go and never looked back.

Nanny was so independent that she once drove herself to Nashville, checked in the hospital for surgery not even telling my great-grandfather, Frandaddy. Her reply was that he didn’t need to know!

Nanny never slowed down, some of my fondest memories are picking vegetables in her garden and watching her tend to her beloved tomato plants. It was nothing for her to go out in the morning, wring a chicken’s neck and the next thing you know it was fried chicken for breakfast.

In her seventies, she won the Van Buren county beauty pageant, walked 10 miles to raise money for cancer and got up every morning to work-out on her stationery bicycle.

So yes, I come from a long line of strong, southern women. I like to think I have Nanny’s steely will and her love of tomatoes.  Enjoy an updated classic wedge salad with a modern twist!

For the blue cheese dressing:

1 – 4.4 oz light Boursin Cheese

4 oz light blue cheese crumbles

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

In a blender, combine Boursin cheese and buttermilk until you reach a smooth consistency. Add fresh parley, blue cheese crumbles and salt and pepper. Pulse a few times, until the blue cheese is incorporated. If you like a thinner dressing just add a bit more buttermilk. Chill until ready to serve.

For the fried green tomatoes:

2 medium, firm green tomatoes

buttermilk for soaking

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 cup flour

1 tbsp Cajun seasoning

Canola Oil for cooking

Slice green tomatoes in 1/2″ thick slices and place in between paper towels to soak up excess moisture. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

Place tomatoes in a shallow dish and cover with buttermilk. While tomatoes are soaking, combine cornmeal and flour in another shallow dish. Season well with salt and pepper. I prefer my favorite Cajun seasoning instead of salt and pepper for the extra kick.

In a large skillet, heat about an inch of oil over medium-high heat. Take tomato slices, shaking off excess liquid and dredge in cornmeal mixture, place in hot oil and cook for 4-5 minutes per side. After cooking, place fried tomatoes on paper towels to drain off excess oil.

For the wedge salad:

1 head iceberg lettuce, chilled

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 red tomato, diced

hot jalapeno pepper jelly

blue cheese dressing

fried green tomatoes

Cut the iceberg lettuce into 6 - 8 wedges. Top each wedge with a spoonful of blue cheese dressing, diced tomatoes, crumbled bacon and fried green tomatoes. Drizzle a spoonful of hot jalapeno pepper jelly over the wedge salad before serving.

Notes:

Need a fast hor d’oeuvre, pour the rest of the pepper jelly over a block of cream cheese and serve with Triscuits!

Roots

Potato Salad Two Ways

“In the South, perhaps more than any other region, we go back to our home…hoping it remains what it was on a lazy, still summer’s day…”

-Willie Morris

Everything that is summer in the south is at the root of who I am. No matter where I have lived or where I’ve been, my roots bring me back to the lake, celebrating a summer holiday with perfect potato salad.

My Nana was the queen of holiday meals and July 4th is still my favorite thanks to her. Aside from the grilled hamburgers, baked beans and deviled eggs, potato salad is one thing every good southern cook knows how to make by heart. It’s the cornerstone of any summer holiday meal in the south.

So here’s a lightened up version of Nana’s and twist from Lolleigh – potato salad two ways!

 Recipe:

3 lbs red new potatoes, washed

1 hard-boiled egg

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/4 cup sweet pickle relish

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 tbsp chives, chopped

2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup light blue cheese crumbles

1/2 cup Hellmann’s Mayo

1/2 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup 0% Fage greek yogurt

1 tsp white vinegar

salt and pepper

Place whole potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil and let cook for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork.

Pour off water and let cool. Cube potatoes and divide evenly into two bowls.

For the dressing:

Combine Hellmann’s, sour cream, greek yogurt and vinegar. Set aside.

Classic Potato Salad:

Into one bowl of diced potatoes add egg, celery, relish, salt and pepper. Toss with half of the dressing mixture and chill before serving.

Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad:

In the remaining bowl of potatoes add bacon, chives, sun dried tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles, salt and pepper. Toss with the remaining half of the dressing mixture and chill before serving.

Notes:

I never subsitute anything for Hellmann’s, not even the reduced fat version. The real deal is just better!

Happy 4th of July!

The Good Stuff

Stuffed Potatoes

The stuff of life can sometimes be a lot like a potato. Most people, experiences and events can have a nice outer skin. It’s after you dig into the inside that you know what you’re dealing with.

I ran across this quote saying,

“Sometimes good things fall apart so that better things fall together”

While a potato may be good plain, when you open it up, take it apart and put it back together again the outcome will surely be better.

Recipe:

3 large baking potatoes

3 slices pepper bacon

1 cup sweet white corn, fresh or frozen

2 tbsp butter, unsalted

3/4 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup milk, warm

3/4 cup cheddar cheese, 2% or low fat

2 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and dry potatoes. Pierce a few times with a knife, then wrap each potato in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven, unwrap foil and let cool for about 30 minutes.

Carefully cut potatoes lengthwise and scoop out the meat of the potato. Leave a little bit of the potato attached to the hollowed out skin so that they will stand up to the filling.

Add butter to the potato and mash with a fork or potato masher until butter is melted and incorporated. Then fold in sour cream and warm milk.

Cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and cook until crispy. Remove from pan, place on paper towels to drain excess fat. Wipe leftover fat out of pan and place back over medium-high heat, add corn and saute for about 2 minutes.

Stir bacon, corn, fresh chives and cheese into the potato mixture. Season well with salt and pepper. Once the mixture is well combined, carefully fill the potato skins with the mixture.

Bake stuffed potatoes in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Fool ya mama

                Pork Tenderloin with Cheddar-Jalapeno Grit Cake, Collard Greens & Black-Eyed Peas

I don’t know of any meal involving pork that isn’t good, do you? Emeril swears by the goodness of pork. This meal is so good it will even fool ya mama into thinking you slaved away in the kitchen all day.

This week we are paying tribute to all that is New Orleans and making delicious food celebrating Mardi Gras. Stick with me and by Fat Tuesday, you’ll be gobbling up jambalaya and screaming “ throw me some beads mistah“!

Recipe:

For pork tenderloin:

1 – 1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of any visible fat 

1 tbsp  chili powder

1/2 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp brown sugar

salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

barbecue sauce for finishing

Trim pork tenderloin of any visible fat.

In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, paprika, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Rub mixture onto pork tenderloin and let come to room temperature.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan and sear tenderloin a few minutes on each side until lightly browned. Place in a roasting pan and continue cooking in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. The meat will register 155-160 degrees when done.

Let meat rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Set pan aside with pork drippings and seasonings to use for collard greens.

For Jalapeno-White Cheddar Grit Cake:

4 servings quick cook grits

1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded

2 small jalapeno peppers, diced

splash of hot sauce

Cook grits according to package directions. Then stir in remaining ingredients, when cheese has melted pour grits into an 8×8 pan and put in fridge to chill.

 Just before serving, remove grits from fridge, cut into desired shape and heat grit cake in a skillet over high heat. 

For Collard Greens:

1 – 12 oz bag frozen collard greens

1 piece bacon

3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 tsp white vinegar

In same pan that pork was seared, cook one slice of bacon over medium-high heat. Remove bacon and gently wipe excess grease out of pan. Pour chicken broth into pan and deglaze, scraping up all the seasoning from the bottom. Add frozen collard greens, bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.

Let cook for about 15 minutes and then add vinegar and crumbled bacon just before serving.

For Black-Eyed Peas:

You may either use canned peas, rinsed and drained or cook frozen peas cooked according to package directions.

 Notes:

This meal can really be done in under an hour – just follow the steps below:

1. If using frozen black-eyed peas put them on to cook.

2. Season pork tenderloin and set aside to come to room temperature.

3. Cook grits, stir additional ingredients, pour in 8X8 pan and place in  fridge to chill.

4. Fry bacon in skillet and put collard greens on to cook.

5. Pop tenderloin in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes.

6. When tenderloin is finished cooking and resting, cut and heat the grit cakes.

Before plating, drizzle a little of your favorite barbecue sauce on the plate for the pork tenderloin to sit on. My favorite is Stubb’s from Austin, Texas – it’s super thick and tangy!

Laissez le bon temps rouler!

Son of a Grits

Grits & Greens with Bacon

Somewhere in the South a brilliant lady came up with the term ‘Girls raised in the South – GRITS. Grits are raised with a little bit of a heavier burden carrying on the traditions of their southern roots. One of the most important is being a good southern mama. I never quite fully understood the role of a good southern mama until my son was born and boy do I have some big shoes to fill!

My son is 11 months old and exploring new foods everyday. He is very independent, insistent on feeding himself at every meal. This week we have tried scrambled eggs, grown up oatmeal and of course, grits. I was nervous as I lifted the big spoonful of grits to his mouth but he ate them and then smiled wanting more. I breathed a sigh of relief and thought to myself – son of a grits!

Recipe:

Grits, quick cooking – follow directions for 6 servings

3 slices bacon

2 cups spinach, rough chopped – about 2 large handfuls

1/2 cup low-fat or 2% cheddar cheese

2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 tsp garlic powder

cayenne pepper to taste

salt and pepper to taste

4 eggs

Cook grits according to package directions for 6 servings.

Cook 3 slices of bacon in a large pan, let drain on a paper towel and then wipe excess fat out of pan leaving just a light coating.

Heat pan to medium heat, toss in spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook for about a minute. Add grits to spinach, then stir in cheeses, garlic powder, cayenne and re-season with salt and pepper if needed. Let cheeses melt, then stir in crumbled bacon. Turn to a low heat to keep warm.

Fry four eggs to desired doneness. I like mine to be slightly runny. Grits should have a creamy consistency – add a little milk if they have gotten a little sticky.

Serve a fried egg on top of grits and top off with a dash of hot sauce.

Notes:

This is really quick and easy breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you have leftover grits just reheat and add a little milk to get back the creamy consistency.

I prefer Frank’s Red Hot sauce. I add it to a lot of my recipes.