Greek Yogurt, Broccoli & Bacon Mac & Cheese

greek-mac-final-2After a few tough family days we all needed a yummy meal that we could enjoy and not feel too guilty about. We had recently gotten a reality check when it comes to spending time together as well as enjoying everything we have. I spent the afternoon making this recipe at my parent’s house because I knew they needed a break and to be taken care of for a change.

My parents have never let a day go by without either calling or doing something for my sister and I and our husbands. In moments where they are in need we begin to realize that even more and how truly blessed we are to have them. They deserve to be taken care of, just as they have my sister and me our whole lives.

With all that said I decided to add a twist to traditional mac and cheese because I wasn’t about to make something for them out of a box- although we do eat them occasionally and enjoy them. This particular day called for something comforting, homemade and delicious!

(serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

  • Dry elbows or small pasta of your choice (2 lb)
  • 3 cups shredded cheesemain-ingredients-final
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice- for creamier pasta use a full cup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 1 package of bacon (12 oz)
  • Bread crumbs if desiredmilk-and-salt-final

Directions:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees
  • Begin to cook bacon in the oven until crispy- alternatively you can cook your bacon in a pan and drain the fat.
  • Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in salted water until al dente- in the last few minutes of cooking pasta add broccoli to slightly softenbrocolli-and-pasta-in-pot
  • Drain your pasta but don’t rinse.drain-pasta-final
  • In a small pot, stir together the milk, cheese, and salt until cheese melts.melting-cheese
  • Meanwhile, chop your cooked bacon and add it to your pasta and broccoli mix
  • Add the yogurt and cook on low, just until the sauce is hot.
  • Chop your cooked bacon and add it to your pasta and broccoli mixadding-bacon-final
  • Stir in the cooked pasta, broccoli and bacon into the sauce mixtureMixture-final
  • Ladle your mix into a casserole, top with extra cheese if you would like.greek-mac-not-baked
  • Bake for 10 min to warm through
  • Broil towards the end of cooking process to brown bread crumbs if desired.greek-mac-final

 

This recipe can easily be reduced to make smaller portions but we used this for a family day and ended up having a second casserole to eat at Christmas Eve dinner which worked out really nicely. I hope that this dish brings you as much comfort as it did us

Salud!


Nutritionals per serving:
Calories: 518
Carbs: 33
Fat: 31
Protein: 25
Sodium: 912
Sugar: 3

 

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Bacon, spinach cheese ball

This ball of cheese is so delicious it could quite possibly be a crime!
This is the perfect appetizer that you can make ahead of time and is sure to be a hit at your next get together. I served mine at “The Big Game” you know that one that is usually played on a Sunday and that this year my team in orange didn’t really show up to- but whom I continue to be a fan of regardless! The nice thing was that despite the game we had lots of great food to keep us distracted!

So here you go!

Ingredients:
2 packages of sliced bacon cooked (you can use less, but well my family loves bacon)
1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and a pinch more (depending on how spicy you like things)
6 ounces spinach or I used a bad of garden mix (includes arugula, spinach etc)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 small yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced

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Directions:
Cook your bacon with your preferred method- I do mine in the oven for less mess and then get rid of all the oil afterwards.
Cook your spinach over medium heat in a pan until wilted and cooked through. cheeseball5

Sprinkle the spinach with salt and set aside to cool and drain off its natural liquids. Once your greens have cooled chop them up.
Add your onion to the skillet and cook until its translucent and a tiny bit golden. Now it is time to add the garlic to the skillet and cook for about 1 minute- Remember don’t overcook your garlic or it will taste bitter. Remove from heat.

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Put your cream cheese in a large bowl. Add the shredded cheese, your cooked onions, garlic, half of the chopped bacon, chopped spinach, and cayenne pepper and stir until you see that everything is evenly combined.

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Roll the cream cheese mixture into a large ball and then roll in the remaining chopped bacon. Wrap tightly and refrigerate. Once your cheese ball has cooled and become more solid you are ready to serve! I put out crackers and some veggies as well and this was a total hit!Cheeseball

Salud!

Everything should have bacon- Spaghetti Pie!

A while back I was going out of town for a few days and I wanted to leave an easy meal that Jake could pop into the oven and reheat. Jake is a good cook on his own but if he can he will typically grab a frozen pizza and throw that in. So I decided to try my hand at a spaghetti pie. My brother in-law Trevor, his mom makes a mean spaghetti pie, in fact she is pretty famous for it. So what I decided to do was reach back into my memory and think of how I thought she might make hers and of course put my own twist on the recipe.

Ingredients:

Ingredients

1 box of spaghetti (I used whole grain-we had it on hand)

1 pkg bacon

1 yellow onion finely chopped

1 container part-skim ricotta cheese

3 large eggs

2 cups milk (we had 1% at home)

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup Parmesan cheese

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

2 cups frozen broccoli florets

Handful of Italian shredded cheese for topping

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees
  • Cook your pasta as directed on your box to al dente
  • Meanwhile fry your back to a little over halfway done- (you can chop it up into small pieces or leave it strips and then cut it up. (I baked mine first in the oven and then chopped it up to not have so much bacon grease in my pan- completely up to you.)                                                                                                                                                   20131006_143802
  • Next in the same pan add your onions and cook until they become translucent on low heat.20131006_14373620131006_144140 - Copy
  • While onions cook in a large bowl whisk your ricotta cheese, eggs, milk, cayenne pepper, half of the Parmesan and your salt together.
  • At this point you will be ready to mix your cheese mixture and your pasta. Drain your pasta well stir in your ricotta mixture with your pasta fold in your bacon and onion mixture and your broccoli.
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  • Once your mixture is well combined spread it evenly in a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan and the Italian cheese if you choose to use it on top. I also added a little salt and pepper to the top.
  • Bake the spaghetti pie for about 30 minutes or until the mixture has set well. (You can do the first 15-20 minutes covered and the last 15-10 minutes uncovered)                                                                           20131006_153642

Now just dig in and enjoy! The nice thing about this recipe is that you can easily put this spaghetti pie together, bake it and then freeze it which is what I did when I went out of town. You then just pop it in the oven at 400 or so for about 20 minutes and you have dinner all set.

Salud!

Creamy Cauliflower Squash Bacon Soup

This soup is delicious and nutritious and it is really filling as well. My family has been on this Paleo kick so this one is paleo friendly.
I love it because I was full on one bowl and on a chilly day it was just what we needed!

Creamy cauliflower squash bacon soup

Creamy cauliflower squash bacon soup

Ingredients:

1 head of Cauliflower
4 cups summer squash (or squash of choice)
1 medium onion (chopped)
2 tbsps Herb de provence
3 Celery stalks (chopped)
3 Cloves of garlic (minced)
3 tbsps. EVOO (I used coconut oil)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cans coconut milk
1 package of bacon (chopped)
Arugula for topping
Salt & Pepper, to taste

photo (1)

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Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 400°. Chop up your pieces of cauliflower and your squash.
Place them both on a baking sheet and drizzle with coconut oil. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.
Place into oven.

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Roast for about 20-30 mins, until lightly golden brown. Set aside.

photo (5)

Heat your saucepan and toss in your bacon and cook it up!

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Remove the bacon and set onto a plate with a paper towel.

Leave the bacon grease in the saucepan and add your onion, celery, herb de provence and garlic.

photo (7)

Saute until tender, about 5-7 mins.
Add the roasted cauliflower, squash and vegetable broth to the saucepan and bring to a boil. photo (8)
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Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
If you have an immersion blender, blend until the soup is smooth (this soup will start out thick so add more milk or broth if you want to thin it out).

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Otherwise, pour soup into a blender/food processor and purée until smooth.

Stir in your coconut milk and cook for another 10 minutes. Blend your soup some more if needed.

Pour soup into bowls and top with your bacon and a little arugula if you would like. Enjoy!

Creamy cauliflower squash bacon soup

Creamy cauliflower squash bacon soup

Salud!

Cast Iron Skillet Brussels Sprouts Bacon Pizza – Jazzin it up with J9 (Guest Post)

Jazzin it Up with J9 – Post #2

For my second post I thought I would try a pizza!

I personally love brussel sprouts. The first time I made brussel sprouts I used Ina Garten’s recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-brussels-sprouts-recipe2/index.html I absolutely love her recipe and have made it several times. So when I saw this pizza recipe I was excited. I was also intrigued to cook the dough in a cast iron skillet.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and my thoughts on how to “Jazz it Up!”

Follow me on Pinterest and see if you can guess what my next post will be! 😉

Cast Iron Skillet Brussels Sprouts Bacon Pizza from How Sweet It Is: http://bit.ly/Xdw2r2YIELD

DOUGH RECIPE MAKES 2 SKILLET CRUSTS, PIZZA TOPPINGS LISTED FOR 1 PIZZA PREP TIME: 1.5 HOURS COOK TIME: 3 MINUTES (YES, 3!) ingredients: crust (NOTE: this recipe makes TWO doughs for skillet pizza)

Ingredients:

1 1/8 cups warm water

3 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt pizza (NOTE: these ingredients are for ONE pizza)Image

For the toppings:

6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped

1 shallot, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 3 garlic cloves)

1/2 pound brussels sprouts, stems removed and thinly sliced (I had quite a bit left over so you may not need the full amount)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 ounces provolone cheese, freshly grated (I couldn’t find grated provolone so I used thinly sliced and cut it into thin strips)

4 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated

2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheeseImage

Directions for making the crust: In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit  until foamy, about 10 minutes. Image

It didn’t get very foamy for me but it still worked great.

Add in 2 1/2 cups flour and salt, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but it  still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work in the additional 1/2 cup  flour, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Rub the same bowl with olive oil  then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to  rise for about 1 1/2 hours. ImageImage

After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Sometimes I work in a few more sprinkles of flour if the dough is sticky. This amount of  dough yielded 2 pizza crusts for my 12-inch cast iron skillet. If you’re using an 8-inch, you  may get 3 doughs, but you also may just want to stick with 2 thicker doughs. Divide the  dough evenly in half (or thirds). Place one dough on a well-floured pizza peel and roll into a  round about the size of your skillet. I placed the dough on a Slipat Mat. It worked but I needed another set of hands to help me with it.

Make the pizza + the cast iron skillet method:

Heat a large skillet (preferably NOT the skillet you are going to cook your pizza in) over  medium heat and add bacon. Fry until crispy and fat is rendered. Remove crispy bacon with  a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.Image

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and add shallot. Cook for 5 minutes until soft, then add garlic, sliced brussels, salt and  pepper, stirring well to coat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove from heat  and set aside. Image

At this point, place an oven rack directly under your broiler and preheat your broiler to the  highest setting. Additionally, place your cast iron skillet on the stove top burner, turning the  heat on high. You want to heat the skillet for 10 minutes. If it begins to smoke a lot, you can  reduce the heat a bit. But you want it HOT. While the skillet is heating, begin placing your toppings on your dough. Remember, the  dough MUST be on a well-floured pizza peel (or surface) so you can simply slide the entire  thing into the skillet. Add about 2-3 ounces of cheese to your dough, then cover with the  brussel sprouts mixture and the bacon. Top with the remaining fontina, provolone and  Parmesan. Place a potholder or thick towel on the handle of the skillet (it will be sooo hot).

Carefully  slide the pizza into the skillet, dough side down. Don’t worry if a few toppings or pieces of  cheese slice onto the surface – it will be totally fine.

After about 30 seconds, turn off the  burner, grab the skillet and pop it in the oven, right under the broiler. Broil for 1 minute,  the using the potholder, grab the handle and rotate 180 degrees, broiling for only 1 more  minute. Remove immediately and place on the stove top.

Let cool slightly for about 5  minutes, then use a large spatula to remove the pizza.  Image

Things to Consider and Ways to “Jazz it Up!” Since this recipe makes two doughs I went ahead and made another pizza (one pizza would serve 2 people so having the second pizza made it perfect for four people with a small amount of left overs). On the second pizza I made it the exact same way. Although I added Alfredo Pasta Sauce first, then chopped garlic, sliced shallots, diced fresh tomatoes, spinach and then topped it off with the same cheese. I loved it with the Alfredo sauce. For the brussel sprout pizza, I think it needed a sauce as well. I think you could use an Alfredo sauce of even a red pizza sauce would work well too.