Maple Bacon Roasted Carrots Original recipe from “Bacon: A Home Chef’s Guide”
Here’s a quick and easy recipe from the upcoming, “Holiday Cooking: A Home Chef’s Guide.”
Crispy, smoky, salty bacon-wrapped roasted carrots glazed in sweet maple syrup. The perfect side dish for any holiday meal!
2 pounds carrots, trimmed & peeled
1 lb. apple-wood smoked bacon
¼ cup pure maple syrup
Wrap the carrots in the bacon.
Arrange on a wire rack on a foil wrapped baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400F. oven.
Cook until the bacon is crispy and the carrots are tender, about 20-30 minutes, glazing with the maple syrup half way through.
Home Chef Note: If you’re feeding a crowd, you can save yourself some time and make this recipe casserole-style. Chop and fry your bacon, oil a baking dish with the bacon fat, toss bacon with peeled baby carrots and maple syrup, and add to baking dish. Roast at 350F for 20 minutes!
Looking for more great holiday recipes? Check out the new guidebook, “Holiday Cooking: A Home Chef’s Guide.”NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!
1 1/2 c shredded Asiago cheese (divided for each loaf)
2 Tbsp yellow corn meal
For the Topping:
1/4 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup Asiago, shredded
2 tsp. roasted garlic
Mix topping ingredients and set aside at room temp.
Combine sugar, salt, & shortening in a large mixing bowl.
Add Sour dough starter, and stir until sugar dissolves.
Gradually add flour, stirring until dough leaves sides of bowl.
Turn dough onto heavily floured surface: Knead 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a greased bowl. Turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place 85 degrees F. free from drafts, at least 1 hour or until doubled in size. Dough will be sticky.
Punch down dough & allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface: Divide dough in half. Butter a loaf pan, sprinkle with corn meal. Set aside till needed.
Roll each half into a rectangle. Add the shredded cheese and roll into dough with rolling pin, or press by hand into bread dough. Roll up jelly roll fashion.
Place dough seam side down in loaf pans; turn edges under.
Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray, and let rise 25 minutes or until doubled in size.
Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes, remove from oven and spread the tops with butter-cheese mixture. Return to oven and bake another 10 minutes or until loaves sound hallow when tapped. If top gets too brown, tent loosely with foil.
I don’t typically use very many canned foods, in fact I can be kind of an ass on the subject, but there are exceptions to every rule.
One of those exception is my families annual week-long vacation on the Oregon Coast.
Crabbing, clamming, fishing, beach-combing, sand-castles…there’s WAY too much on the agenda to spend all day in the kitchen! So…we make exceptions, and sometimes we get some very happy surprises.
This is one of them!
Beach Camp Chili
1lb boneless pork steak (or any cheap, meaty cut of pork)
4 strips thick bacon, chopped
2 Tbs chili powder, divided
2 Tbs cumin powder, divided
1 Tbs sea salt
1 Tbs coarse black pepper.
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs bacon fat
1lb ground beef (80/20)
28oz Centro fine diced tomatoes
28oz Bush’s baked beans
28oz red kidney beans, drained
1/2 white onion, fine dice
Crema (Mexican sour cream)
Mix salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder.
Bring pork steak to room temp, pat dry, and rub generously on both sides with spice mix. Set aside.
Mirepoix: In a heavy-bottom pot or dutch oven, over medium heat:
Sauté the bacon, celery, onions, and carrots in 1 Tbs (each of oil and butter), cook until softened and beginning to caramelize. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
Increase heat and sear the pork steak until well browned on both sides. Remove from pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, add mire poix, and pork. Top with tomatoes (with juice), cover and cook, covered, at a very low simmer for 4-6 hours.
Remove pork, chop coarse, and add back to the pot.
Fry the ground beef with garlic and the remaining spice blend, until cooked through. Do not drain. Add ground beef to pot, along with baked beans, and drained kidney beans. Increase heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced, and the chili starts to thicken.
Remove from heat and let rest 1 hour, uncovered.
Stir and serve with toppings and cornbread!
PS – Be sure to subscribe to this blog, and get many more healthy, delicious, budget-friendly tips, techniques, and recipes!
A healthy breakfast & lunch are vital for attention and learning, and help keep kids focused and alert all day. I’ve taught hundreds of kids to plan and cook for themselves, and the vast majority of them, given the opportunity, will choose healthy, nutritious foods if they taste good, are offered in variety, and if they feel like they are allowed to choose for themselves.
Kids get bored with the same old, same old…and a variety of foods helps ensure more balanced nutrition.
Wraps are sturdier and less messy to eat. Who wants to eat a smooshed sandwich?
Quesadillas are quick and easy to make. Ham & Cheese, Pizza, Turkey and cheddar
Vary hot and cold lunches. A thermos of their favorite soup or stew is a nice break from cold lunch, especially in winter.
A hot sandwich, wrapped in foil, will stay warm in a thermos, all day!
Pita Pockets are easy to eat, less messy, and because pita it denser than sandwich bread, you can assemble them the night before, and they won’t get soggy.
Tip: Small rewards for bringing home rinsed dishes and thermos’ are totally worth it!
Leftovers of favorite dinners make GREAT lunches
Slightly under-cook veggies, so they don’t turn to mush when re-heated.
If you struggle to get them to eat it at home, don’t bother packing it for lunch.
Let you kid’s help make the meal. Kid’s LOVE to bring and brag, and are twice as likely to eat something they helped make.
No kid worth their My Little Pony back-pack doesn’t like cold pizza!
Kids love stuff they can assemble!
Deli meat: slice it into cracker-size squares, and put it right back in the bag!
Cheese slices: Ditto
Crackers, whole wheat pita pockets, small flour tortillas
Raw veggies (carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.)
A whole rotisserie chicken can make a week’s worth of protein for one hungry teen-ager or a couple of littles! Chicken legs, chicken with rice (use your rice-cooker), chicken salad wraps, sliced chicken-breast pitas…the list is endless!
Check out the bulk food section, it’s not just rice and beans anymore. Buying staple lunch items in bulk can save a ton of money over the same items in pretty bags.
Want to add a little more variety, without buying the whole produce section? Check out my post, “Shopping the Salad Bar!” over on our outreach page!
Make a master list of healthy lunch ingredients, and let your kids take turns choosing items from each food group the next time you go shopping. It works, it really does.
Save yourself some time!
Does it really need to be sliced on a perfect bias? Does every sandwich need to be cut into cute shapes and adorned with smiley faces? We’re not Martha Stewart, people, and nobody’s giving out Michelin Stars for the contents of our kid’s lunch bags. 😉
Fresh fruits and veggies begin to lose their flavor and texture as soon as they’re cut. My daughter is just as happy gnawing on a 4 inch hunk of cucumber, or popping whole grape tomatoes. Slice you veggies into manageable pieces in advance, and store in a large, sealed container of cold water for the week.
Spend those precious minutes assembling fresh, quality foods that your kids will eat. Flavor will trump fancy every time!
Chef or Cob salads are quick and easy to assemble. Send with a small reuseable container of their favorite dressing, and a baggie of croutons.
What to Skip
Bananas do NOT travel well, and nobody want to eat a brown, mushy banana. Save the bananas for breakfast! Always wrap the stems in foil.
Prepackaged “lunchables”. Sure they’re convenient, but you’re paying double, sometimes triple, for something you can easily assemble (with fresh fruit and veggies!) yourself.
Probably the biggest rip-off in home-packed lunches are juice boxes.
Non-recyclable containers filled with a few swallow of sugar-laden “fruit” juice, and a grossly inflated price…ugh! Invest in a few reusable drink bottles, and fill them with pure, no-sugar-added juices at a fraction of the cost.
This goes for just about any “individual serving size” items (chips, cookies, fruits & veggies, trail-mix, etc.,)
All of these can be purchased in family-size portions, and added to a sandwich baggie for pennies on the dollar.
Make it a team effort!
Make a (supervised) lunch “assembly line” in the morning. Kids can pick and choose what they want from a selection of meats, cheeses, fruits and veggies. All YOU need to do is pop a treat in the bag at the end of the line!
Stop over-paying for greasy burgers, spongy pizza, and chemical-laden processed “convenience” foods, and give your kids a leg up on learning with fresh, healthy, money-saving lunches.
They deserve it (and so do you!)
PS – Be sure to subscribe to my blog, and get many more healthy, delicious, budget-friendly tips, techniques, and recipes!
Cooked up a couple of breakfast casseroles for a friend this week. They turned out great! My Green Chili Egg puff requires flour, and they needed another one that was gluten-free. So I came up with this one.
It takes some steps the night before, but makes for a quick and easy breakfast the next morning.
Sausage & Veggie Breakfast Casserole
1 lb bratwurst sausage (beer, or sweet Italian sausage)
1/2 cup chopped green onions (from about 6 onions)
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
For Mikey: You can swap out the bell peppers for 2 small cans of diced green chilies, well drained. 😉
Lightly coat a foil-lined cookie sheet with cooking spray. Spread hash-browns in a single layer, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and bake until crisp.
Cut all veggies.
Remove sausage from casings.
Toss sliced mushrooms with 1 Tbs. of oil, a little salt and pepper, and spread on another lined cookie-sheet. Roast in oven at 350F, until the mushroom are well browned.
In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook sausage, onions, and garlic until sausage is no longer pink and mushrooms have given off some of their liquid, about 10 minutes.
Throughout cooking, chop to crumble sausage. Drain the liquid.
In a 9×13 pan coated with cooking spray, layer potatoes (no need to thaw), sausage mixture, then 1 cup cheese, green peppers, tomatoes, and green onions.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, parsley, salt, basil, and pepper.
Whisk thoroughly to combine, then add half of the remaining cheese and whisk again.
Pour egg mixture evenly over other ingredients in baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (Alternately, you can bake this casserole immediately.)
In the morning, top with roasted mushrooms, then remaining cheese. preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bake casserole, uncovered, for about 60-70 minutes, or until egg in middle is just set (no jiggle) and edges are lightly golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Great with a dollop of Mexican Crema, and some chopped cilantro or Italian Parsley.
(Hey, if you haven’t subscribed to this blog, please do so! Don’t miss a single new recipe, Chef’s tip, or technique! The link is at the top of the right-hand column.)
We are entering the age of the “Home Chef”, a title that’s available to nearly everyone, regardless of age, or financial standing.
That’s what this book is about…because something amazing has begun to happen in the last two decades, something that has never before happened in the history of cooking…instead of growing wider, the gap between the home cook and the professional chef has actually begun to narrow, and continues to narrow exponentially with each passing year.
The time when these specialized skills were limited to those who could afford the cost and time required for culinary school are quickly passing into history.
The time when the sole requirement to elevate your cooking skills to this level…passion…is emerging.
It’s an amazing time to become a Home Chef…and if you have that passion, I’ll show you how.
Combine the cream cheese, blue cheese and chopped, cooked bacon. Set aside at room temp.
Spread each bottom bun with mayo, and top with lettuce, then tomato.
Salt and grill the beef patties, and sprinkle each with a little garlic powder, as it comes off the grill, then place on the bottom buns, on top of the tomatoes. Spoon the bacon-cheese spread the top of grilled burger patties.