We are having “Arctic Chill.” It got ccccold last night and right now it’s minus 11. And I have no right to complain because I live in Minnesota, but we’ve been so spoiled this year it’s a shock. We Minnesotans know that a real Arctic Chill can be 34 to 35 below, so there’s that. Maybe we’re actually lucky. But today I feel particularly lucky because I don’t have to go anywhere and I have a piece of Simon Pearce Quechee Quiche I’m going to have for breakfast!
So Happy New Year’s, everyone! I can’t believe it’s New Year’s Eve, already! So what do you do for New Year’s Eve? Me, I’m kind of an old curmudgeon. I mean back in the day I’d go out with the girls but these days I’m usually perfectly happy to stay in, stay warm & safe and maybe stay up till midnight.
There’s something about Olive Garden. People love it or hate it, but I have to say they’ve cracked the code on how to keep America’s diners happy and coming back. My folks are big fans (more about that, below) but my favorite thing, by far on the menu, is their Zuppa Toscana Soup. Luckily, it’s super easy and fast to make at home. You just need Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana Copycat recipe.
When I worked on my family history, I was surprised to find out how many Pennsylvania Dutch & Amish ancestors I had. Of course, those ancestors multiply quickly as you work back. You start with 4 grandparents, then 8 great, then 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 and by the time you get back a few more generations you realize that you’re related to half the people in the US! Our good neighbor in South Dakota was a 9th cousin! Hi Auntie Mary! But what I’m getting at I’m wondering if I have a predisposition for the sweet/sour flavors so often found in Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, and especially this Pennsylvania Dutch Broccoli & Bacon? Is there a gene for that?
It’s easy to always think about St. Paul & Minneapolis, the Twin Cities, as a Swedish/Norwegian city and we do have a large population. Maybe our weather made them feel at home. But it’s just as easy to forget that our earliest settlements were French and/or French Canadian. So in honor of our French, here’s a “Bean Pot” or if ya want to be fancier, I’ll just call this a Minnesota Cassoulet Bean Pot.
I really have been in fun food mode, especially with Halloween coming up and fall here. See, in the summer most of us Minnesotans are out doing whatever we can to take advantage of the weather, but when fall comes we like to tuck in and party at home. Or at least I do! And especially if I have Juicy Lucyfer Sliders.
If you’re old enough, you’ve probably had this salad, Classic Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing, at least if you live in the States. It was everywhere in the late 70’s and early 80’s and was served for decades. And then it disappeared. Fell out of grace.
I can hardly wait for the summer tomatoes to make big, gorgeous salads. And this one qualifies. It’s a straight up play on the classic BLT…behold the Bacon Lettuce Tomato Salad.
It seems I’m all about the summer party recipes, lately, not my typical everyday fare! (See the explanation marks? That proves it!) And this Loaded Baked Potato Salad is definitely one. Heck, it’s a party in a bowl.
By now we’ve all heard of Beer Can Chicken, haven’t we? Now we have Beer Can Burgers! Yes, yes, yes, please! Yes to a burger wrapped in bacon and filled with awesome deliciousness. Including cheese. Ya gotta have cheese in these! These are going to be perfect for Fourth of July or Father’s Day or anytime you want a burger extravaganza!
One of the most frugal sides you can make for any casual gathering is Boston Baked Beans. Best of all, one of the most delicious sides you can make is Boston Baked Beans. Isn’t it nice when the universe aligns like that? Especially when the Boston Baked Beans are from the Bull & Finch, Cheers Boston Baked Beans Instant Pot or Not and they’re amazeballs!
If you follow me (and if you don’t, please do!) you know I posted about my Dozen Hard-Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot the other day. So now I’m making lots & lots of egg stuff. I love my Egg Salad and my Classic Deviled Eggs but needed a changeup, so I hatched up (ahem!) the idea for these Deviled Eggs with Bacon & Smoked Paprika.
So last week I posted Philly Cheesesteak Sliders (in honor of the Philadelphia Eagles – that’s before I knew how badly our Vikings were going to be trounced!) This week, I thought what the heck. New England Clam Chowder was in order to represent the New England Patriots. For the Superbowl, eh? You betcha. We’re hosting it in Minneapolis this year, so that’s exciting. And whether the Eagles or the Patriots win, you’ll have a win if you serve this New England Clam Chowder.
Millionaires Bacon. It’s everything. It’s insanely good. Hard to stop, good. So what is Millionaires Bacon? It’s like candied bacon on steroids. Salty, sweet, spicy, smoky, crunchy, chewy deliciousness.
You know I posted a recipe just the other day for some very special cornbread – my Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread. And declared (oh but I do declare a lot of things – just because it’s my blog, lol) that being a Northerner I liked my cornbread light & fluffy & moist.
If you’ve never had a really good German Potato Salad, you might think you might think you don’t care for it. I know this to be true because I’ve tried, from time to time, grocery store deli German Potato Salad. It doesn’t compare to what you can make at home.
I admit to being surprised that I liked this Bacon Ranch Potato Salad so much, and so did the folks. And I have my lil’ sis (who I no longer consider evil for suggesting such a salad knowing I’m not a Ranch fan) to thank.
Ok, so they’re not Irish and they’re not really Nachos. But what Irish Pub Nachos are is ooey, gooey, cheesy potato deliciousness with the spiciness of nachos. And there’s bacon (or corned beef, if you have some) sprinkled throughout. You might call this an appetizer, but for us it was a fun meal.
I apologize coz I “over posted” today but I wanted you to see some of the options I use in/on these incredible Irish Pub Nachos. (links are at the bottom of the post)
First of all, these Irish Pub Nachos are just a little spiced up with home-made Wing Sauce. Do you make your own? It’s so super simple & you can customize your flavors. If you don’t want to go there, add a little taco seasoning, store-bought or home-made to your wing sauce. Taco Bell’s taco sauce is great on this, too. Just sayin’.
Now Ranch isn’t usually my thing, but everyone I know loves it (maybe everyone in the world?) so I ditched the plain old sour cream for this creamy Yogurt Ranch. Now neither the Wing Sauce or the Ranch HAS to be home-made, but you’ll thank me if you make the Ranch, and you’re welcome! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Get the potatoes right on this and it hardly matters what else you put on top! I like some brown and crispy and some a bit softer but err on the side of crispier. I bake, but frying is quicker – messier, but quicker. Once those potatoes are done, the rest takes just minutes.
As far as cheese, personally, I like a melty, not too aged (read grocery store) cheddar & a little Monterrey Jack. Sometimes I jazz it up with something with some real personality and sprinkle a little Bleu Cheese over the top. Or maybe a little Feta or Asiago.
Then go crazy and top with whatever favorite nacho toppings you want! Pickled Jalapenos or Cowboy Candy? Yes, please. Maybe a little salsa, a sprinkle of green onion or cilantro. Avocado would be great. Pickled Red Onions can’t be wrong, either.Print
Irish Pub Nachos
Fun potato “nachos” layered with cheese and corned beef or bacon. Serve with Home-made Yogurt Ranch and toppings of choice.
- Yield: serves 4 - 6
- 4 potatoes, peeled if desired & sliced thinly into rounds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- salt & pepper (be generous)
- a little Wing Sauce, store-bought or home-made, doctored with a little taco seasoning
- 6 to 8 ounces (or more) shredded cheddar cheese, taco cheese, or a cheddar jack blend
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup cooked chopped bacon pieces (abt 4 strips) or finely chopped cooked corned beef – see note on corned beef
- 6 ounces of a sharper cheese: bleu cheese, Parmesan, Feta, Asiago, optional
- Salsa or Pico de Gallo
- Ranch Dressing
- Cilantro, chopped chives, thinly sliced green onion to sprinkle on top, as desired
- Other toppings as desired: Avocado, Guacamole, Black Olives, Pickled Jalapeno, diced onion or red onion, etc.
In a container large enough to hold the sliced potatoes, add a teaspoon of salt and a good pinch of sugar (optional) and soak the potatoes for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry (lay out on a clean kitchen towel, cover with another towel and lightly press.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut parchment paper to fit one very large or two smaller baking sheets with. There should be enough room so the potatoes are in a single layer. Place the pan or pans in the oven to preheat.
When potatoes have soaked and are dried, lay them out on the parchment sheet or sheets, sprinkle generously olive oil, toss and rub, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread into a single layer. Remove a baking sheet from the oven and slide the parchment carefully, with the potatoes on top, onto the baking sheet.
Place in oven and bake for a total of about 35 to 40 minutes, turning and rotating the pans once or twice and with a thin spatula, turning the potatoes and rearranging and removing as necessary. Bake until lightly browned and crisped.
Remove potatoes. If using more than one tray, put all the potatoes together, spread out on a single tray. Turn oven up to 475 degrees. Drizzle potatoes with a little Wing Sauce. Using about 1/2 the cheddar, sprinkle over the potatoes. Sprinkle with bacon or corned beef, then the secondary cheese of choice and top with the remaining cheddar.
Bake about 10 minutes, rotating as necessary. Remove from oven, garnish and eat immediately, accompanied by Ranch, Pico de Gallo or Salsa.
If you’d prefer to fry the potatoes, preheat oil to 375 degrees f. Working in batches, place potatoes into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper bags or paper towels and proceed with recipe.
For corned beef: you can add diced or shredded cooked corned beef but this is even better if you heat a tablespoon of oil in a small skillet, heat and add the corned beef, tossing and cooking until it’s a little crispy on the edges.
Links for Home-made Taco Seasoning, Home-made Wing Sauce and Home-made Ranch and Pico de Gallo are at the bottom of the post. Follow the links.
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There’s something that’s very gratifying about cooking for my folks – I teasingly call them my victims because they get the brunt of my new recipes and various concoctions. You’d think at their age they’d be a little jaded about food so I love it when their eyes light up and I get the little happy noises when they eat.
So how’s everyone doing on their New Year’s resolutions? If this blog is any indication with the Million Dollar Dip, below? Me? Probably not so great. But hey, it was the Super Bowl last week and I felt like I had to make this dip…
Million Dollar Dip is the dip of many names: ABC Dip, Neiman Marcus Dip, Million Dollar Dip, One Million Dollar Dip. Well, you get the idea.
I gotta tell ya, I never thought about eating Bacon Wrapped Dates. Recipes, I’ve seen – but back me up here, folks, doesn’t it sound kind of weird? Well, weird they are, but weirdly delish!
Have you ever wished there could be a Turkey Stuffing permeated with the rich flavor and smokiness of bacon? One that’s fantastic in the bird & in a casserole? A seriously crave-worthy stuffing? My Sister’s Ridiculously Delish Thanksgiving Bacon Stuffing is the answer. Now, what was that question, again! You’ll be forgetting everything except for this stuffing once you start eating it!
This Creamy White Chicken Chili is creamy & cheesy with a hint of heat and a touch of smokiness.
We all have those recipes we make over and over again, right? The ones we just about crave? The ones we pull out for an occasion. Birthdays, Company? Anniversaries? This Bacon Dried Cherry & Caramelized Onion Stuffed Tenderloin is one of those at our house. It’s an absolute show stopper!
I think you’re going to fall in love with these Crab Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers. But first, let’s talk about the downside of Jalapeno Poppers. Raise your hand if you’ve had this happen: you pick up a lovely little Jalapeno Popper. What looks to be a perfect bit of deliciousness. And that first bite is crunchy raw jalapeno, then bacon pulls off in a chunk, and adding insult to injury, that popper slaps you in the chin with some kind of random, greasy, molten cheesiness. Bummer.
Here it is, September already, and I’m in full on denial. Maybe that should be “fall” on denial! I keep seeing little signs, although you wouldn’t know it by the weather. Or the glut of fruits & veggies at the store. When I saw the Colorado peaches (imho) some of the best peaches in the world, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. Arugula & Peach Salad with Feta & Bacon.