Showing posts with label bacon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bacon. Show all posts

Wilted Spinach Salad with Blue Cheese & Hot Bacon and Onion Vinaigrette and Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese and Bacon

This past Saturday night our family went to one of our favorite restaurants, Porterhouse. This restaurant is known for its yummy steaks. However, my favorite food at Porterhouse is their spinach salad with hot bacon vinaigrette. Such a simple salad that packs a lot of flavor. They also have an incredible Chocolate Martini... These two items always keep me coming back.

The grilled romaine salad is very similar to the spinach salad, except you use romaine and it's grilled on the BBQ. A great summer salad, that once again is very easy to make and wakes up your taste buds every time. Both salads are wonderful and great with any entrée. If you want to try something really special try one of these salads for a grill-out or a special won't be disappointed. 

This post contains the following recipes...

Wilted Spinach with Hot Bacon Dressing
Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese-Bacon Vinaigrette
Chocolate Martinis

Let's Make Wilted Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing, Blue Cheese & Red Onion
You will need the following ingredients: Baby spinach, a red onion. (I use both red and white), bacon, blue cheese crumbles, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and freshly ground pepper.
Start by frying your bacon and onions in about one tablespoon of olive oil. Once they become  transparent and the bacon is crisp remove the bacon and onion to a bowl. (I strain the grease into a bowl and then pour it back into the frying pan to make the vinaigrette.

Add the white balsamic vinegar to the drippings and cook for about 3-4 minutes to make a reduction. Turn off burner and set aside. White balsamic vinegar gives a better presentation. You can purchase white balsamic vinegar at any grocery store.

Now it's time to build your salad...
First arrange your spinach leaves on salad plates. Top with the fried onions and bacon bits. Next sprinkle the blue cheese crumbles and then place a few red onion rings as garnish on the top. Pour one to two tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar reduction over the salad and sprinkle with a little fresh ground pepper. Viola', you have a masterpiece! Such a simple salad, but oh so good. Oh, don't forget about that Chocolate Martini. The combination of both is truly heavenly! The Chocolate Martini recipe follows the Grilled Romaine recipe.

Wilted Spinach With Hot Bacon Dressing Recipe:
Serves 4
·         1 pkg. fresh spinach
·         ¾ C. finely diced red onion (leave a few slices for salad topping
·         1 T. olive oil
·         ½ C. white balsamic vinegar
·         ½ C. crumbled blue cheese crumbles
·         Freshly cracked pepper
1.       Arrange spinach on salad plates
2.       Heat 1 T. of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion and diced bacon and cook until bacon is crispy
3.       Remove bacon and onion by pouring through a strainer, leaving the left over bacon fat and olive oil in a separate bowl.
4.       Return 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil and bacon fat back into the frying pan and add the white balsamic vinegar. Cook for about 3 minutes to reduce and thicken the dressing. Remove from heat and set aside.
5.       Sprinkle the onion and bacon on top of the spinach leaves and sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles
6.       Top the salad with a few red onion rings
7.       Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of hot bacon reduction over the salad
8.       Season to taste with freshly cracked black pepper

Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese and Bacon Vinaigrette
Grilled Romaine with bacon and blue cheese crumbles is so good. Like the spinach salad, it packs an explosion of flavor. So fun to make in the summertime. Add those Chocolate Martinis, a great steak and grilled or baked potatoes and you have a feast.

  • 4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 romaine lettuce heads, cores removed and leafy ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  •  Freshly cracked black pepper
  1. Preheat a grill to high
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook until bacon is crispy. Remove onion and bacon from pan. Add the balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the skillet and reduce for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Brush the romaine with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place on the grill cut-side down and quickly sear until grill marks are visible. Set aside
  4. For each serving, place a half head of romain cut-side up on a plate and drizzle with the balsamic dressing. Sprinkle with blue cheese and top with bacon and onion. Season with freshly cracked black pepper.
Chocolate Martini
...And last of all...a Chocolate Martini. I love this Chocolate Martini because it's crystal clear. I'm not a fan of milky drinks. This one is clear, crisp and with the hint of chocolate makes it my go to martini!

  • 1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz. white creme de cacao
  • 1  oz.  Frangelico
  1. Combine vanilla vodka, creme de cacao, and Frangelico and ice cubes in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake thoroughly. Strain into a martini glass.
  3. Garnish with a chocolate swizzle stick or a Hershey Kiss skewered on a cocktail pick.
Thanks to "At Coblu Flame Kitchen" for a great beverage recipe.

One Final Thought...
Well, that's it for this week's post. Again, I can't emphasize how yummy these two salads are. A quick salad to make anytime. I do hope you will try one of these or both. Full of flavor and good for you!
Cake Flour Substitutes
I don't know about you, but when a cake or other baking item requires cake flour, I always pass on the recipe. Buying cake flour for one item seems to be a little costly for one recipe. So here's a tip. You can use regular flour to make a particular recipe that requires cake flour. For every cup of cake flour that is required in a recipe you can substitute with the following. Measure out 1 cup of flour and remove 2 tablespoons of the flour. Replace those 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. If you require more flour do the same thing. Make sure you sift the flour and cornstarch so it is well incorporated. I love this tip. I've now used it several times and it works great.

Always remember..."Life's dessert first!"...words to live by! 

Bacon Wrapped Chicken juicy and so good!

Well it's winter in Minnesota. Today we are under a severe blizzard warning. So, I'm not going anywhere...and who would want to when it's below zero outside. So what to have for dinner. I have made this recipe before and thought it would be a good one for such an icky day outside. This is definitely comfort food. The chicken thighs always come out really good and juicy. A great meal especially for days like today.
This recipe is definitely easy. Some people don't like chicken thighs, but I find them a lot juicier than chicken breasts. I was the one that always had to have the chicken breast at dinner when I was a kid. As I got older, I found out that chicken thighs are not only cheaper, but have a great texture and are definitely juicier. Most Chinese restaurants use chicken thighs in their recipes because they are so juicy and tender. Add some bacon to the chicken thighs and the flavor is better than chicken breasts. Don't get me wrong, I still love chicken breasts also, but if I have my choice now it's usually chicken legs first, chicken thighs second, and chicken breasts third and don't forget chicken wings. But that's a completely different subject. Chicken wings are great for appetizers.  Let's face it, chicken is a great dinner pick!
How to Make Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs
I think the reason these thighs are so delicious is because of the seasoning used. 
The recipe called for smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and dry mustard, salt and pepper. I forgot to put the salt and pepper in the picture. So don't forget them when you are making these. I didn't have any cumin, so I used lemon pepper instead. The taste was terrific. You could probably use your favorite seasonings instead the ones called for. Just make sure you cover the chicken thighs thoroughly.
After making your seasoning mix, pat the chicken thighs dry. Apply the seasoning liberally on both sides and make sure to pat it into the thighs.
After seasoning, wrap each thigh with bacon and place on a wire rack inside a cookie sheet. Now they are ready for the oven.
Place in a 375℉ oven and place they chicken thighs uncovered on the middle rack. Cook the thighs for 45-60 minutes (depending on the size of your thighs). You can also place them under the broiler for a few minutes if they need to be crisped up a little. Mine were perfect. I didn't need the broiler.
And here they very juicy! Browned and a little crispy because of the bacon wrapped on the outside.
I had made cheesy potatoes a few weeks ago and had some leftover. So I froze them. Tonight we had Bacon Wrapped Chicken thighs, cheesy potatoes, California medley veggies, banana bread and some applesauce that I made this past fall. It was definitely comfort food. It was great!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs 
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin (I didn't have cumin, so I just used some lemon pepper seasoning)
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
  • 6 slices of bacon
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil
  2. Combine all spices in a small bowl and mix together.
  3. Wipe chicken thighs down with paper toweling before seasoning.
  4. Sprinkle each chicken thigh generously with seasoning on both sides and pat into each piece.
  5. Wrap each chicken thigh with a slice of bacon. 
  6. Place bacon wrapped chicken thigh so that bacon is on the need for toothpicks,,
  7. Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the chicken thighs. Meat temperature should be 165 degrees.
  8. Optional - you can put the chicken thighs under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp them up. I found that my chicken thighs were crisp enough without this extra step.
Thank you Jennifer Banz for a great recipe!

...And here they are. I must say these bacon wrapped chicken thighs are absolutely delicious. A quick weeknight meal that your whole family will enjoy!

One Final Thought...
This is definitely comfort food at its best. I love all the food that we have during the holidays, but there's nothing like homemade comfort food for the whole family in the winter. You really can't go wrong with this recipe...who doesn't love bacon and chicken that are seasoned to the nines and the taste is so so good. I do hope you try this recipe at some point this winter. Add a California medley vegetable, some homemade banana bread and a potato of your choice.  Cheesy potatoes worked great with the bacon wrapped chicken thighs for us.  Enjoy!

Sometimes its nice to get a tip from a friend about cleaning, shopping, products or other things that you might have not known. I started putting these in my most recent posts to do just that.
I purchased Downy UNstopables for my laundry. It was OK for that purpose, but I felt the scent was a little bit too strong on all the clothing. I read last week that people are putting UNstoppables in a heated Scentsy Warmers or a heated potpourri warmer to add the scent of their choice in their homes. Well, I tried it. Works great! The scent is not too strong for this purpose.

I also read that you can put the UNstopables in those small fabric bags you find at the "Dollar Tree" to make sachets for your clothing drawers. I like that idea also. This way you can limit the scent to certain clothing, rather than all your clothes having a scent.

You can purchase Scentsy Warmers, or similar products at most big box stores. The  UNstopables can also be purchased at most grocery stores, Walmart and Target or any other large grocery store chain. You can also purchase UNstopables through Amazon. Once again, if you have "Prime", shipping is free...

Well, that's it. Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs are the best. Also, bacon wrapped everything is the best! I'm hoping to try the bacon wrapped shrimp very, very soon...My husband's favorite is shrimp. Add some bacon and you have a feast!

Always remember..."Life's dessert first!"...words to live by!