I can’t even describe how lovely our Portland, ME weekend was. Well, I’m nothing if not wordy so I’ll try. I fell in love. I’m in love with Mr. J and we LOVED celebrating our one year anniversary in Maine for the weekend. It was beautiful and the Old Port is just too cute. Why didn’t I know about this before?!?! It was so great to wander, eat, shop, gaze at light houses, and not run around like crazy tourists.
Check out Mr. J’s Portland pics here.
My mum suggested we check out The Holy Donut. What. A. Find. I didn’t know I liked donuts that much until I went here.
They make these amazing homemade potato donuts in incredible flavors (think sweet potato ginger, or pomegranate, or dark chocolate peanut butter glazed, or dark chocolate sea salt). Before you bail. Don’t think you’re “not into donuts” if you’re only thinking spongy sogged donuts of the legendary Dunkin. I’m not into those. I’m all about these Holy Donuts. Amazing. Life changing!
I don’t know if I want to admit how many we got…let’s call it a sampler.
This one was created for me and was hands down my favorite: bacon and cheddar donut. I was surprised that it was a filled donut. None of their others are filled but this one is warm and oozing salty bacon and melty cheddar inside a sweet donut. It is like a monte cristo. Mr. J didn’t love it as much. Muhahahaha. All the more for me!
The building was charming with some outside seating. Early Sunday morning folks made their way here to eat outside with the pup or on a leather couch with a newspaper. Nobody else seemed to have quite the spread we had, but hey, we were on vacation! The staff were great and enthusiastic. It reminded me of the family owned and run candy business I grew up working at. Although that business wasn’t my family, there was care in every item sold and consumed.
I have a bunch more amazing meals to share too, so pull on your fat pants and get ready!
Well, that’s a lie. I could eat it out of the jar.
I just wanted to highlight its amazingness. So I created this BLT pizza. I won’t win any photographic awards with this one, but man, this was great pizza.
8 oz shredded mozzarella
4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 medium – large tomato, sliced
¼ cup bacon jam (recipe found here)
2 cups spinach or greens of your choice
1- 2 tbs ranch dressing (or dressing of choice)
Spread pizza dough out onto a pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake for 10-20 minutes at 400-degrees to get it preliminarily crispy.
Top with shredded mozzarella then tomato slices, then fresh mozzarella. Add dollops of bacon jam.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400-degrees.
Let the pizza rest for 5 minutes (cheese needs to solidify before you cut).
Mix the greens with some salad dressing of choice.
Top slices with lettuce and dressing.
I only had a little basil so I threw that on. If lettuce on your pizza isn’t your thing, throw on more fresh basil.
This was so cheesy. The bacon jam has a sticky brown sugary flavor so I thought the tang of the dressing was perfect. I used spinach but any greens would do, and spinach could have easily been cooked onto the pizza. I like the warm vs. cool and alternating textures.
It was a great use of the bacon jam. That stuff is just. so. good.
I have one more use to drag out my love for bacon jam. Stay tuned!
Two words. BACON JAM.
Yes, I jumped on the band-wagon and now I’m pretty much the band-leader. Love at first sight. Why didn’t I know I needed to be able to spread bacon. I’ve seen recipes all over and just needed long enough to whip it up.
I adapted Closet Cooking’s recipe to fit my tastes to avoid it being too spicy and added some red wine…because why not?!
1 ½ -2 pounds of bacon
1 large (or 2 small) onions, sliced
1 tbs garlic, chopped
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 cup coffee
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup red wine
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Crisp bacon in shifts, removing when crispy at medium high heat.
Leave a tablespoon of bacon drippings to sauté the onions. When they start to get translucent, add the garlic.
Deglaze the pan with the cider vinegar, then add the coffee, brown sugar, maple syrup, and wine. Add in the bacon.
Reduce the temperature to low and cook covered for an hour.
When cooled slightly and syrupy, process in a food processor until crumbled and spreadable.
Try not to eat it all in one sitting.
This stuff is seriously addictive. As in, it might disappear if you have a spoon too close to the jar.
Picture it: I made it late one afternoon on a Sunday. It was a beautiful day and sis came over for dinner. We grilled some cheese burgers and spread some bacon jam on them. Then I took one magical bite and time stood still. It was that good.
Ohh yeah, we ate some potato salad and a corn and tomato salad, but all I cared about were vehicles to be able to eat more bacon jam.
Wayyy back when, I was making breakfast pizza I was also thinking what else I could do with breakfast pizza. There’s nothing cheaper or easier than bfast. I always have eggs and bacon around so poof! It became pizza topped with “fried” egg. I was wondering about scrambled egg too. My mind then went to crispy hash browns. I know, you don’t want to know where my food-brain goes.
What if the hash brown cakes were the CRUST. I’m a genius. Or this might exist somewhere. I’m not sure. All I know is that I’ve never seen it on a menu and I’ve been to quite a few diners and breakfast spots and I’ve never seen this. Come on people!
½ bag shredded potato hash browns
1/3 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz shredded cheddar
4 slices of bacon
3 eggs, scrambled
Mix shredded potatoes and soup together.
Then spread it out onto a pan and bake for 30 minutes at 400-degrees.
Cook bacon while crust is crisping.
When the potato has formed a crispy crust, top with cheddar and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes.
Cook the scrambled egg (in the pan you cooked the bacon in for some extra bacon flavor!)
Cook the crust until the cheese melts into a delicious melty layer.
Remove and top with scrambled egg and bacon.
This was definitely a good pizza! I would have liked the crust to crisp a bit more but I really feared I’d burn the edges. I would recommend being mindful of the thickness. I could have spread it out then squished the edges back in to form the edge/barrier. It also might work better to make individual ones! Smaller ones could be pan fried if potatoes, eggs, and bacon isn’t too much for you to manage at the same time.
It isn’t a dinner that produces leftovers for lunch the next day. That’s usually a considering factor in my meal planning but hash brown cakes with cheese and bacon would still be good even if the eggs don’t reheat well!
A biscuit crust would be good if hash browns aren’t your thing either! I’d love it as potato crust, topped with cheese, and bacon and finished with a poached egg the very last second. Yum!
I love making funky popcorns. I have actually made one since this bacon caramel corn
and this Cranberry Pecan Caramel Corn
but it wasn’t quite up to snuff so I didn’t blog it. It was birthday popcorn and it needs a bit of tweaking. I thought of cookies n’ cream popcorn for Ms. L’s bday. It was super easy (and turned out super sweet).
2 cups air popped popcorn
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 tbs butter
Pop the popcorn and crush the oreos (they don’t have to be uniformly crushed)
In a double boiler, melt the chips and butter. Stirring regularly.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Mix popcorn and crushed oreos together.
Add melted white chocolate mixture together with the popcorn and oreos.
Spread onto parchment paper or silicone lined baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes.
It was super sweet. Maybe too sweet? I’m not a white chocolate person so that could have something to do with it as well. Next up is some-sort of savory popcorn. Hmmm. I’ll have to get on that one
I was really excited for my menu for Mr. J’s birthday. My guy loooves a good burger so I thought about a bacon wrapped burger. I guess Birthday Burgers are a tradition now since I made stuffed burgers for his birthday last year.
I googled and saw a few that put bacon around the edge. That’s not good enough. I was thinking of weaving it to make a little bacon wrapping.
It seemed like it would cook ok, it just might need to be secured with toothpicks (I recommend counting them to be sure they all come out). We strategized that getting the bacon crisped on the first side might help keep it all together before flipping.
strips of bacon (4-6 strips per burger)
Lay 3 strips of bacon and interlace 3 other strips in the opposite direction to form an L.
Place burger on the bacon intersection. Fold the flaps over and weave them together.
Mr. J’s was a beef burger. I did ground pork. Though I didn’t eat Mr. J’s burger, I have to say I think the 4 strips of bacon is plenty (versus the 6 on his).
The burgers were reallllly good. I topped mine with swiss and Mr. J’s with American cheese. I think it was a fun meal.
Now what kind of burger am I going to make for his bday next year??
We don’t eat a ton of sandwiches at our house but I’m working on changing that. I know, I know, I’ve said I don’t love sandwiches. I actually love them when they’re made-to-order. I adore breakfast sandwiches too. I only dislike sandwiches that have been sitting around sogging all day inside a high school locker or if I can’t tell what’s inside the sandwich.
I had a lengthy discussion at work about hummus on a sandwich…or hummus in general. Did you know the USA has a dried bean and lentil council? This is my worklife. Anywho, back to the sandwich subject at hand.
2 chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup milk
¼ cup ranch dressing
1 tbs dried ranch dressing powder mix
1/3 cup panko & 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg + 1 tbs water, whisked
¼ cup ranch dressing
4 strips of bacon
Marinate the chicken in the milk, ¼ cup of the ranch dressing, and dried ranch powder for a few hours.
Remove from the marinade and dredge in eggwash then breadcrumbs and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Cook the bacon, then crumble it.
Assemble the wraps with lettuce, tomato, chicken, bacon, cheddar, and ranch.
You don’t really need a recipe for this but I thought the marinade and breading was spot-on so I wanted to share it. I liked that these were filling and fresh but not fried. I have an aversion to frying foods. The wheat wrap and real lettuce (iceburg = not real) make this slightly healthier than your local pizza place’s version of the same thing since my chicken isn’t fried either.
Like most things I cook, the chicken could be prepped in advance and popped in to speed up the dinner, or prepped and frozen for next time.
Last time I made caramel corn I was really impressed, this time it was a bit off. The idea was on, but I’ve included some tweaks and will give it another go. I used a bit too little caramel for so much popcorn so I’ve upped the liquid quantities below.
3 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup salted cashews
4 slices of thick cut bacon cooked, and chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
3 tbs maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.
In a large bowl mix the popped popcorn, nuts, and bacon.
Over medium heat stir the butter, brown sugar, and honey until butter melts. Stir in syrup. Bring to boiling over medium heat. Boil at a moderate, steady rate for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda (mixture will foam up).
Pour the liquid mixture over the popcorn mixture in bowl; stir to coat well.
Transfer to a large baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
Remove from the oven and let it cool. If you want clusters leave it; if you want bite sized pieces then spread it out to cool.
I had to! I’ve been remembering the Pizzaria Uno’s “Pizza Skins” aka deep dish pizza with mashed potatoes and all the fixings ever since I first made a sliced potato pizza last year.
All my stars aligned when I was thinking what I could make for dinner without having to grocery shop. I live to avoid grocery shopping. I had a frozen ball of dough, a scant amount of cheddar cheese, a bag of potatoes, and of course I always have bacon!
1 ball of pizza dough (I used wheat here)
2 large potatoes
2 tbs butter
2 tbs cream cheese
1 cup cheddar, shredded
2 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
Prepare mashed potatoes (I mix mine with butter and cream cheese and I left some chunks).
Spread pizza dough into a circular cake pan or deep dish pizza pan. (I spread some jarred pesto, but it’s not crucial.)
Layer with half the cheddar cheese and half the bacon.
Carefully spread mashed potatoes.
Bake for 40 minutes until edges of dough are crisping.
Immediately after removing from oven, top with remaining cheese and bacon.
I liked this one. I thought it was fun and different with comforting flavors. I would have used more cheese if I had it. Sour cream, ranch dressing, or scallions would have been fun additions as well.
Since Mr. J and I would easily consume more bacon than our bodies neeeeeed, I freeze it in 2 strip packets (2 strips = 1 serving) and usually label it as maple, thick cut, etc. If I don’t, a lot seems to disappear between the pan and our plates. Unfortunately I hadn’t labeled my bacon so it was a gamble coming out of the freezer and turns out it was maple. That made it a tiny bit weird. Whatev…we ate it anyway.
You could make itty bitty ones in muffin tins for single size portions! These would be so cute for a tailgating party etc. You could also stretch it a lot further if you made a regular flat pizza, rather than a deep dish.
Cost (be prepared to be amazed)
Mashed Potato Pizza
pizza dough: $1.50
2 potatoes: $1.58
1 cup shredded cheddar: $0.93
2 slices of bacon: $0.49
total = $4.50 for the pizza (=$1.12 per serving)
Yes, folks, $1.12 per serving (I assumed you had butter and cream cheese is optional). Can’t beat that Uno’s can ya?! (Ha! Theirs half the size is $9.49 near me!)