Bacon Ranch Broccoli Salad

Not too long ago, my friend, Jimmy, made this salad for his family and me for dinner.  I thought that kids across America would enjoy broccoli more if it tasted like this!  I asked for the recipe and was told that it was just broccoli and ranch dressing.  Hmmm.  “Surely it’s more complicated than that!” I thought.  I finally gave it a whirl yesterday, and no, it’s not complicated in the least.

Incidentally, this would be good with cauliflower, carrots, peas and many other garden veggies.  What an easy lunch to pack for the job!

1 bunch of broccoli, raw or barely blanched, cut in bite-sized pieces
bacon, cooked and crumbled (I think I used 4 or so slices.)
cheese, grated (I think I used about a cup.)
ranch dressing (from the bottle, from the packet or from scratch–your choice, as much as you want)

Combine above ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cheesy Bacon Muffins

cheesybaconmuffinsYeah, you read that right.  Bacon muffins.  Muffins with bacon in them.  And cheese.  Muffins with bacon and cheese. Beautiful.

They’re really easy to make and delightful to consume.  Hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Oh, and they freeze wonderfully…if any of them make it to the freezer.

4-5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 3/4 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. sugar
1/3 c. butter, softened
1 egg
3/4 c. milk
1 c. grated cheese (I suggest using a flavorful cheese, like sharp cheddar or even hot pepper.  We’ve even used bleu cheese, but we only used about 1/4 cup.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line muffin pan with baking cups.

In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar; mix well.

Add crumbled bacon and grated cheese; mix well.

Cut in butter with fork or pastry blender.

Add egg and milk; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.

Bake about 20-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

These are best served warm!

Makes about 9 muffins.

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

My oldest daughter discovered this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, which is called Don’t Panic: Dinner’s in the Freezer by Martinez, Howell and Garcia. It’s a fun and helpful resource filled with freezer recipes. Anyway, my Rachel thought this one sounded pretty good, so we gave it a try. I will confess that we altered a few things to make it work for us; I put those changes in parentheses.

Alfredo Sauce:
¼ c. butter
scant cup heavy cream
2/3 c. freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

1 pizza crust
10 large fresh spinach leaves, rinsed and dried (We used Swiss chard because that’s what we had.)
6 green onions, sliced (We used chives because that’s what we had.)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded (We used 2 cups of chopped dark meat chicken leftover from another recipe.)
½ lb. bacon, crumbled (Yeah, right! We used about 4 slices of crumbled bacon.)
1 c. grated mozzarella cheese (We skipped this and just used the Swiss.)
1 c. grated Swiss cheese (We used about a cup and a half.)

For sauce: Melt butter in large saucepan or skillet. Add cream and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Add Parmesan, salt and pepper. Turn off heat under pan.

For pizza: Roll out dough to form crust. Spread alfredo sauce evenly over pizza crust. Arrange spinach leaves over sauce. Add green onions, chicken and bacon. Sprinkle cheeses over top.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or until bubbly.

If you want to freeze it, put it on a round piece of cardboard, cover the pizza with plastic wrap, followed with heavy-duty foil. Thaw before baking as directed above.

Blue Cheese & Bacon Dip

This is really, really good.  It also works wonderfully as a spread for wraps and sandwiches.  It can also be frozen ahead of time for you own convenience.

7 slices bacon, cooked, drained & crumbled
2 cloves garlic, minced
8-oz. pkg. cream cheese
¼ c. half & half
4-oz. container blue cheese
2 T. green onions, chopped

In bacon drippings, cook garlic until soft (about one minute on med. low heat).

In separate bowl, beat together cream cheese and half & half with mixer on low speed. Stir in bacon, garlic, blue cheese and chives.

Spoon into baking dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Use sturdy bread or veggies for dippers.