Monday, March 15, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Pineapple

I know - NOTHING is healthy about this dish...absolutely nothing. We had an 80's party this past weekend and I made these to take. I've made them before but didn't remember them being THIS good. I could have eaten the whole pan. I did half pineapple and half water chestnuts though I much prefer the pineapple.

This recipe is from - if you haven't ever browsed the site I highly recommend it.

1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into thirds
1 (20oz) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained (I used tidbits because it's what I had....but chunks would be WAY better)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chili sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Wrap each chunk of pineapple with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place in shallow baking dish. In a small bowl, stire together the brown sugar, mayonnaise, and chili sauce. Pour over bacon wrapped pineapple.
Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until bacon is crispy on the edges and the sauce is bubbly.

I baked the bacon before wrapping...just a bit to drip off some grease. I laid it on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. I think bacon tastes better baked anyways so whenever I make it for anything this is how I do it. I put it in for about 10 minutes - and after it's cooled I wrap the pineapple. Then I cook the bacon wrapped pineapple for about 20 minutes without any sauce on it....then another 20 minutes with the sauce. I also added a small *sploosh* of chili sauce just because.

These were soooo delicious....I made them the next night too for some company and they were a hit. VERY greasy though, even with the cookie sheet trick at the definitely not a regular treat. Besides, now I'm out of bacon and am making the effort to limit my meat intake so doubt I'll be buying it again any time soon.


I love Granola

I really it - but I rarely buy it as I find the cereal versions are not only ridiculously expensive but also loaded with sugar so while they taste fantastic the *health* factors are horribly overshadowed by the *crap* factors. So trying Alicia Silverstone's Granola Recipe (Mom's Granola) was high on my list.

6 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup maple sugar
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup sesame or sunflower seeds (I used sunflower)
1 cup chopped nuts or raisins (I used raisins but will probably add sliced almonds next time as well)
1/2 cup safflower oil
1/3 cup maple syrup (sweetest version) or brown rice syrup (I used brown rice syrup)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

And I added a light sprinkling of cinnamon just for fun.

Preheat oven to 350.
Spread the oats on a rimmed baking pan and bake for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the sugar, wheat germ, coconut, seeds, and nuts or raisins. Stir to mix well and then add the oil, syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix until everything is moistened.

Spread half of the mixture on each of 2 rimmed baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Stir after 5 minutes to brown evenly.

Let the baked granola cool on the pans and then transfer to a bowl and stir until crumbly. Store in an airtight container.

By far THE BEST granola I have tasted. I think next time I'll add some slivered almonds and some flax as well...but truly this is awesome as it is. I may try it with maple syrup at some point though I would be inclined to leave out the maple sugar then and see how that goes. This granola does not need any more sweetener at all - it is sooo delicious. I have been having mine with vanilla rice milk and fresh strawberries and it's a fabulous way to start the day.

Can last for weeks or even months in a glass container!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Sicilian Collard Greens with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Another recipe I've been eyeing for a while. I was so excited to try collard greens and honestly didn't even know if I could get them here. Boy was I ever pleased.

1 bunch collard greens (this is what they are called)
2 Tbsp pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp raisins
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

I LOVE Balsamic vinegar so was really curious to see how this would all go together. I was totally taken aback by the ridiculously expensive pine nuts (like $6 for 4 Tbsp - eep!) so for that reason alone I probably wouldn't make this a ton...unless it was super delicious I had to have it. LOL

In my son's words...


I did not like this at all. A friend was over to witness the taste test....Not only did the whole serving make a nice little home in the garbage immediately after taking a bite, I also had to spit out the bite in my mouth. I will not be trying this again and am really glad I didn't make it for dinner for my parents last week.


Black-Eyed Pea Croquettes with Dijon Glaze

I have been wanting to try these for a while and had the opportunity last week when my parents came to our house for dinner. They just looked really yummy. And it was something pretty different which is always fun.

2 cups black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in water to cover
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (I despise cilantro so never put it in anything)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 Tbsp shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups safflower oil for frying (I actually just used vegetable oil this time....cheaper)

Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup barley malt syrup or brown rice syrup (I used barley malt)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Drain soaked beans and transfer to a food processor. Add parsley or cilantro, salt, shoyu, and cumin. Blend until beans are chopped to fine shreds, but not pulpy. Mixture will be slightly wet but should hold together (if it doesn't, blend for a bit longer). Form into oval ball type shapes. LOL

Deep fry for about 4 minutes on each side....funny story - I filled the pot too full with oil (neglected to read the 2 cups part) and heated it for too long (not recommended) so when Brent put the first croquette in the oil boiled over and splashed on the burner. This resulted in a not so lovely flame about 1 foot high.....Brent spilled hot oil on his leg (via his pymamas) trying to figure out what to do with the pot. The croquette had burned in about 3 seconds (no word of a lie)....we got the fire out and the pot on a potholder on the counter (I'll post a photo some time of the oven mitt. lol) and started again. Oh my - what a gongshow....and of course, my parents arrived about 3 minutes after the whole episode....thank goodness for windows and fans....

I did not love this recipe, or really even like it all that much. My parents thought they were good though, but Brent was on my side. A friend who was over for dinner thought they were *okay* - and better without the sauce....interesting....I was totally disappointed only because I had such high expectations. Though I wonder if they could be made with other beans (I LOVE black beans). I don't really deep fry very often so I don't know that I'll really try it, but it does make me curious..


Moroccan Couscous with Saffron

I am staying up later than I should to post a few recipes....I just know if I don't do it now it will easily be another week before I feel like I can make the time again. And this recipe is so good I don't want any of you to go another week without it. LOL

This recipe is from The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone.

2 cups peeled butternut squash, cubed (little teeny cubes)
2 cups yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cups carrots, cubed/sliced
1 1/2 cups zucchini, cubed
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Fine Sea Salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I make 2 cups usually with 1 block of boullion)
2 Tbsp Butter (Earth Balance if you are vegan)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous (okay I cheated...I bought the olive oil and garlic flavored one)
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped (I used leeks instead)

Preheat oven (I did it at 350). Place chopped veggies on baking sheet and toss with olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper (I tossed them in a bowl first...easier that way). Roast for 25-30 minutes, turning once with a spatula halfway through.

While the vegetables roast, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a pot. Remove from head and stir in butter, remaining 1/2 tsp pepper, cumin, saffron, and salt to taste. Cover and steep for 15 minutes.

Scrape roasted veggies into a large bowl and add the couscous. Bring the veggie broth back to a boil and pour over the couscous mixture all at once. Cover tightly with a plate and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Add scallions, toss with a fork, and serve.

I have made it twice now - once with saffron and once without. Don't let the high price of saffron scare you away - it's so light I think you'll be surprised how inexpensive it ends up being. That being said - I didn't personally find a difference between the two.

I LOVE this dish. Really and truly LOVE it...and this will be one making a regular occurance in our home. It makes a great lunch or a fabulous side dish for supper.