WFMW: The Best Way to Cook Bacon

The Best Way to Cook Bacon

The best tip I’ve ever learned from the interwebs? How to cook bacon.

I grew up thinking the proper method for frying bacon was in the microwave. It works for my mom, but even when I used the special microwave bacon plate, I couldn’t get it right. My husband is a proponent of frying bacon in a skillet on the stove. Personally, I prefer to avoid being spattered with boiling lava, I mean, bacon grease.

So for many years, I didn’t cook bacon. Which is sad because that means I didn’t eat bacon. (Well, you know, good for my arteries. But sad for my taste buds – and my husband who lives by the motto, “Bacon makes everything better.”)

Then I read about baking bacon. And it changed my life. Maybe I was the last person to learn about this. Maybe you’ve been baking your bacon for years. But just in case you don’t know about this, I’m here to change your life, too.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Line a cookie sheet with foil.
2. Place thick-sliced bacon in one layer on the sheet. Do not overlap slices.
3. Turn oven to 400 degrees (don’t preheat). Put the bacon in the oven.
4. Check it after 15 minutes, but it might take closer to 20 minutes.
5. Place on paper towels and blot. (I know. Ew. But…bacon.)
6. Enjoy perfectly cooked, crispy bacon!

What’s your favorite way to cook (or eat!) bacon?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

Family Recipe Friday: White Chicken Chili

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

It’s been a while since my brother shared one of his ah-maze-ing recipes with us. Back in the fall, he brought a pot of this white chicken chili to Annalyn’s birthday party. You guys? It was SO GOOD. As I told Smitty, “It looks kind of gross, but it is DELICIOUS.” So of course I asked him to write it up for you. You’re welcome!

Is there anything more relaxing than breaking bones with your own hands? It’s not morbid, I promise. Hear me out: I don’t buy refrigerated, whole chickens. They are too expensive, and quite frankly, too much work to butter and stuff with herbs and lemons and onions. I don’t have time for cooking a whole chicken from raw. Nobody I know has time for that!

Well…that’s not true. I knew one person who had time for that, but she was crazy, and we aren’t friends anymore because she was crazy.

Don’t be crazy, just buy whole, rotisserie (re: already cooked!) chickens at the store and enjoy cracking and ripping that little chicken carcass apart, because in the end, all you’re looking for is some tasty chicken meat. And rotisserie chicken meat is DARN tasty.

Editor’s note: I agree, friends. This is gross. Should I ever find myself in need of this chili so badly that I make it for myself (as opposed to waiting for James to make it), I will use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Because, ew.

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

Before starting your big batch of White Chicken Chili, you need to dismember two chickens. You can do this after the chickens have been refrigerated for a bit, or right after you get home from the store. Hot or cold doesn’t really make a difference. I’ve done it both ways; it handled the same.

While you have your cutting board out (and after you’ve cleaned off the chicken jelly, which is a great moisturizer for those dry, winter knuckles) cut up a couple of large onions. I like a fine dice. I’ll explain why later.

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

While you’re cutting, let me tell you about this White Chicken Chili. I got the recipe when I was working at a church, and before some all-church caroling, there was a chili cook-off. Everyone gathered together, brought their Crockpots (which promptly blew a circuit breaker) and enjoyed taking little Dixie cups of chili to taste and judge. This white chicken chili was BY FAR my favorite, but it came in second. I think the voting was rigged!

Editor’s note (yes, again): You may recall that I’ve previously posted a recipe for white chicken chili. It’s good, it is. But this? IS WAY BETTER.

Now that your onion is finely diced, throw it into a skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter. If you’re a first timer with my recipes I’ll make a point just for you: brown the onions. I don’t mean until they are translucent, or wilted, or slightly gummy. I mean brown. Real brown. Super brown. Take them to the brink of burning, then take them off the heat. BROWN!

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

After you’ve browned the onions, start your flour and butter roux in a big, heavy-bottom pot. Once you’ve cooked off the raw flour flavor, add the chicken stock and half and half – because full, heavy cream would just be too much, ya know? Basically, if you’ve made homemade macaroni and cheese, you are quite comfortable up to this point. But wait, there’s more: add the onion to the roux/chicken stock/half and half mixture.

This will look gross, but if you diced your onions finely (like you were supposed to) and browned them an appropriate amount of time, they should dissolve into the liquid and the grossness will disappear quickly. Heat this until it is obviously thicker (a.k.a. can coat the back of a spoon). This might sound sarcastic, but the original recipe actually says, “It will obviously be thicker.” Oh. All right, know-it-all recipe.

Some drained white beans, drained green chilies, the chicken, and Monterrey Jack cheese are tossed in with everything else and stirred. So far, you should have a big, gooey mess. Give it some time. Like any good chili, it looks (and tastes) better after a few minutes – or hours in the Crockpot. If it’s too thick for you, add some more chicken stock, a 1/4 cup at a time.

The cheese is the biggest part of this recipe I changed from the original. I, of course, added more than was called for. Because, you can never have too much cheese. Duh.

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

The next step is my favorite: adding the spices. The spices are what makes this smell SO good! I substitute the chili powder with chipotle chili powder. It’s a bit smokier and gives the chili a lovely, pink hue. However, if you aren’t that fancy, feel free to use plain ole chili powder. There’s also pepper, salt, cumin, and hot sauce.

I’m not a big fan of spice, so I only add the specified amount of hot sauce. If your tongue and family can take the spice, by all means shake that bottle till you get carpal tunnel.

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

This will cook and bubble together for about 20 minutes. After that, you drop in a dollop of sour cream and stir. I have no idea why you have to wait to add the sour cream. If someone has an answer to that, I’d love to know. I’ve added it, THEN simmered and there was no difference in taste, but it sounds cooler to “finish” the chili with sour cream.

Serve immediately, or – like this single person – put it in sealed, plastic containers for the refrigerator or freezer. It makes a lot and reheats super well.

There you have it. Another buttery, onion-y, somewhat violent recipe from your favorite blogger’s brother that will definitely be tasty and please a crowd!

Recipe for White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

INGREDIENTS:

2 rotisserie chickens, skinned, boned, and chopped
2 large onions, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if chili is too thick
2 cups half and half
16 oz can white beans
2 4-oz cans whole, mild green chilies, drained and chopped
2 cup grated Monterey Jack
1 tsp Tabasco
1 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder, or chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a skillet, cook the onion with 2 Tbsp of butter until browned.
  2. In a heavy pot, large enough to hold all the ingredients, melt remaining 6 tablespoons of butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, for three minutes.
  3. Into the roux, gradually add the broth and half and half, then the browned onion whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until thickened (it will be obviously thicker).
  4. Add beans, chilies, chicken and cheese. Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
  5. Add sour cream. May be served immediately, or refrigerated for later.

Thanks, James! Feel free to bring one of those sealed, plastic containers over anytime! (Or a whole pot of it. I mean, I can find my own containers.)

WFMW: Recipe Roundups

I love Pinterest. And I love looking for – and trying – new recipes. But sometimes? Sometimes Pinterest can be just teensy bit overwhelming! That’s why I love finding recipe roundups. One link and a bunch of recipes? SO much easier to deal with!!

And since I am always so glad to find recipe roundups on Pinterest, every once in a while I like to make them, too. Here are a few of my favorites (they might come in handy if you’re planning a Superbowl party!):

15 Lemon Chicken Recipes



26 Recipes for Your Next Picnic or Potluck



17 S'mores-Themed Recipes



40 Ideas for Make Your Own {Food} Bars



70+ Amazing Appetizers to Make Any Party a Hit



80+ Delicious Recipes for a Mexican Fiesta



From the many ways to make lemon chicken to and foods perfect for a BBQ to appetizers and Mexican food, recipe roundups work for me!

Do you ever get overwhelmed looking for new recipes on Pinterest? How do you feel about recipe roundups? Tell us in the comments!

Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I can’t wait to see what tips you all have for us this week! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

Turning Lemons into a Pink Lemonade Cake

Pink Lemonade Cake - an easy recipe for a delicious, gorgeous dessert!

Even though this series is about finding the bright spot in all kinds of circumstances, I can’t resist taking the lemon and lemonade parts literally.

At least a few times this month.

And by “few times” I mean once a week. Yes, that’s right. Though lemon is not actually my favorite flavor, I’m going to try and then share some kind of lemon recipe with you each Friday. And today I’m starting with one of the most fun recipes I’ve tried over the past few years.

I present to you . . . Pink Lemonade Cake.

Pink Lemonade Cake - an easy recipe for a delicious, gorgeous dessert!

It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

Well, don’t be deceived by my fancy photography. Here’s what it looked like shortly before I sliced it (and shortly after our company arrived, just to keep me honest):

Pink Frosting - Nailed it!

Cake decorating – NAILED IT!

Heh.

Let this be a lesson to all of us in thinking you’re too good for frosting out of a can. Or adding too much milk and thinking it’ll be okay and let’s just frost the cake anyway. Don’t be like me.

[But . . . um . . . look! Frosting disaster = LEMON. Story about giving up on perfect = LEMONADE CAKE. Yup.]

This cake really is easy to make and fun to look at. And, oh yeah! It tastes good, too! It’s great for baby showers, summer picnics, tea parties and little girl birthdays. Or anytime you want a pretty, pretty pink cake.

Pink Lemonade Cake - an easy recipe for a delicious, gorgeous dessert!

Pink Lemonade Cake

1 white cake mix
3 eggs
1 ¼ cup water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp pink lemonade mix
A few drops red food coloring

Frosting:
1 lb. powdered sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter
3 tbsp pink lemonade mix
pink sprinkles

Mix the cake ingredients as directed on the box, then add lemonade mix and food coloring to desired color. (My mix called for egg whites only, but I didn’t mess with that. And the cake was neither the wrong color nor the wrong consistency.) Pour batter into two greased round pans. Bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees (or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean).

While the cakes cool (if you’re not also frantically picking toys off the floor and brushing cat hair off your couch), mix sugar, butter and mix together for frosting. I found that to be too stiff, so I added a few splashes of milk. Be careful with that. Don’t be like me. (And if you add too much milk, making the frosting runny, just add in more sugar.)

Place one cake on plate and frost the top. Add the second cake and frost the whole thing. Shake on a few sprinkles if you’d like. (And believe me, if you happen to have a small girl in your house, you’d like.) Keep covered in fridge and serve chilled.

It would probably look pretty to garnish with slices of lemon and/or strawberries. Which is why I bought a lemon and new carton of strawberries. Since rushing around to fix the gloppy frosting didn’t allow for such fanciness, though, I’m only guessing here.

What’s your favorite lemon recipe?

31 Days Lemonade Footer

This post is part of a 31 Days series. Make sure you don’t miss a single post by subscribing to this blog. Once you confirm your email subscription, you’ll be entered into an exclusive weekly drawing [during the month of October] for a Daily Grace pitcher from DaySpring.

26 Recipes for Your Next Picnic or BBQ

26 Recipes for Your Next Picnic or Potluck




Picnic.
Barbecue.
Cookout.
Grill out.
Hamburger fry.
Potluck at the park.

What do you call an outdoor gathering with food? I usually go with barbecue, although since I live in the (FINE. one of the?) BBQ capital, that can be a tad confusing.

Anyway.

Three of my friends and I have been trying to coordinate our husbands, children and schedules to get together for the first time in a long time. We’ve been trying to coordinate ourselves for weeks – and still, we don’t have a solid plan yet.

Full disclosure: this is mostly my fault. We had a plan for this weekend, and then my schedule got changed and got in the way. *SIGH* But before I messed it all up, we were debating between Mexican and burgers for the menu. And I was so excited for burgers. Because I was going to make a new salad for my friends!

[My friends love it when I try new recipes on them. Or maybe they don't. But they act like they do. They're good friends like that.]

Anyway. Again.

While I might not be making a new salad or attending a barbecue/cookout/picnic this weekend, YOU might be. And if you aren’t this weekend, then you definitely might be the week after – Labor Day weekend. So now’s the time to gather up some of those recipes to try, right?

I went through my favorite recipes – and my Pinterest boards, and then I asked a few friends for their favorite recipes for a picnic. So now without further ado – or additional anyways, here are more than 25 recipes for your next picnic or barbecue!

(And if your coming weekends are low-key, no problem. Just pin this for later!)

26 Recipes for Your Next Picnic or Potluck



For the main dish:

  • Bacon Burgers with Bacon Jam – If you’re of the opinion that bacon makes everything better, then these burgers are for you. And if you’re not, well, I don’t really know what to say to that.
  • Baked Chicken Taquitos – Hey look, we don’t HAVE to choose between Mexican and picnic menus! Seriously, though, these are delicious – and finger food is always good picnic food!
  • Meatball Skewers from Goodeness Gracious – These look so good! And, oh hey, it’s always a good thing to add some veggies to the mix, right?
  • Taco Salad Bags – I’ve linked to Dana’s taco salad bags before, because I think it’s such a great idea. And especially for a picnic with kids, this would be a great meal! (And yes…I do realize that I combined Mexican food and picnics again…it can’t be helped!)
  • Chicken Bacon Sub Sandwiches – My family members are picky enough that I would never presume to make the same sandwich for all of us (or one big one that can be cut up – those always look fun). But if I needed a main dish for a potluck picnic, I imagine a basket of these sandwiches from A Slob Comes Clean (or one of those big ones – hoagie, sub, what do YOU call it?) would be perfect.
  • Picnic Chicken – Because what’s a picnic without some fried chicken?
  • Slow Cooker Dr Pepper Pulled Pork – I’ve tried this and it IS really good. Grab a bag of buns, and you’ve got sandwiches!

Corn Casserole with Bacon



For the side dishes:

  • Loaded Baked Potato Salad – Hello? What is a potluck or picnic or cookout without a potato salad?!
  • Bacon Deviled Eggs – Ditto for deviled eggs, but why not add bacon? I hear it makes everything better…
  • Flag Fruit Kebabs – Why only make this for the 4th of July? Fruit is pretty and delicious any day of the year, you know!
  • Corn Casserole with Bacon – My brother’s recipe is perfect for any gathering. I mean, you wouldn’t want to make it for a small dinner of four. You’d be forced to eat it all. And that would just be … delicious … terrible. So make it for your barbecue. (Just make sure you’re at the front of the line!)
  • Beautiful Veggie Tray – It doesn’t take much extra time to arrange your veggies by color. I’m partial to the one I served at Annalyn’s Veggie Tales birthday party, but Pinterest also has tons of rainbow veggie trays for inspiration.
  • Watermelon on a Stick – Best. Popsicle. Ever.
  • Deviled Egg Pasta Salad – This is the recipe I was going to try. So it’s also the one I’m hoping to find a reason to try it soon anyway. {Who has a barbecue invitation for me?}
  • Ranch BLT Pasta Salad – This one from Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice looks really good, too. And what a delicious twist on the usual pasta salad!
  • Lemony Vegetable Quinoa Salad – Veggies and healthy grains? Well, yes, I do think this salad from Jessie is the perfect balance to some of these heavier dishes.
  • Slow Cooker Sweet & Tangy Baked Beans – I do love a touch of sweet in my baked beans, and Cris has a great recipe for making them in the Crock Pot.
  • Creamy Crock Pot Mac & Cheese – Recipes That Crock has a ton of great slow cooker recipes – and this mac & cheese would be perfect for a picnic or potluck.
  • Blue Ribbon Amish Dill Pickles – Shannan promises that a) you don’t need a canner and b) everyone will love these. I’M IN.

26 Recipes for Your Next Picnic or Potluck



For the desserts:

  • Mini Fruit Pizzas – It’s a cookie. But it’s covered in fruit. Can you say “guilt-free dessert” … and “just one more”?!
  • Pink Lemonade Cake (or Cupcakes) – They’re pretty and tangy and sweet and fun. What more do you need?
  • Monster Cookies – I love these flourless cookies for any get-together or gathering. Or breakfast.
  • Eclairs in a Jar – I know I just made s’mores in a jar. And I promise I’m not going crazy with this food-in-a-jar trend. But … eclairs … IN A JAR! I’m definitely making these soon.
  • Butterfinger Cake – Jessie shared this recipe a while ago, and I completely forgot about it until I looked at some of my Pinterest boards. I’ve already re-pinned it so it’s at the top of my board and my memory!
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Campfire Burritos – It’s like a Reese’s. From the grill. In our mouths. Y-U-M.
  • Anything to do with S’mores – Of course.

What do you like taking – or eating! – to picnics?