Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps, aka Everything Good In a Sandwich

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.

I made Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps and they were really tasty.
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Ingredients:

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
Wheat tortillas
Lettuce
Tomato
Shredded cheddar
¼ cup ranch dressing
4 strips of bacon

Directions:

Marinate the chicken in the milk, ¼ cup of the ranch dressing, and dried ranch powder for a few hours.
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Remove from the marinade and dredge in eggwash then breadcrumbs and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
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Cook the bacon, then crumble it.
Assemble the wraps with lettuce, tomato, chicken, bacon, cheddar, and ranch.
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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.

If you’re lucky like me, when your sis comes to have these for dinner she’ll also bring treats from her favorite bakery!
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Bacon Caramel Corn

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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.
In a large bowl mix the popped popcorn, nuts, and bacon.
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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).
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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.
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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.

The maple + caramel + smokey bacon was great. I liked the flavors but think too little caramel left too many pieces barely covered so it was a bit too sticky and soggy.
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Mashed Potato Pizza Pie

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.
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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!

Ingredients

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

Directions

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
Prepare mashed potatoes (I mix mine with butter and cream cheese and I left some chunks).
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Spread pizza dough into a circular cake pan or deep dish pizza pan. (I spread some jarred pesto, but it’s not crucial.)
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Layer with half the cheddar cheese and half the bacon.
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Carefully spread mashed potatoes.
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Bake for 40 minutes until edges of dough are crisping.
Immediately after removing from oven, top with remaining cheese and bacon.
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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.
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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!)

 

 

60-degree “Winter” in New England Food

It’s been so warm here and then quickly got cold. I wasn’t about to be thankful for global warming or join the bandwagon of ladies I hear in the gym locker room who are thankful they aren’t shoveling. Do they know they live in New England? It snows here. Here we are, mid December and it’s just now getting cold. It’s been too hot for real winter food! Anywho, moving on…

I rarely make interesting salads so you wouldn’t have seen them. Lettuce is my least favorite part of a salad. Give me the fun stuff! At age 7 my sis horrified my aunt by saying she only liked salad for the dressing. It’s the heavy stuff at the salad bar that makes it good. Sorry for my poor choice of plate color!
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Well, I have an interesting salad for you! I love chopped salads because then you get some fun stuff in each bite. I saw this salad on Pinterest, obviously ;) It was on a blog called Espresso and Cream but I’ve seen variations all over the place.Autumn Chopped salad (single serving)

Ingredients:

1 head of Romaine lettuce
½ English cucumber
1 cup grape tomatoes
¼ red onion
½ cup crumbled feta
2 strips of bacon (or omit making this vegetarian)
½ pear
¼ cup balsamic vinager
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp spicy brown mustard

Directions:

While bacon is cooking, chop all the veggies.
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Whisk vinegar, oil, and mustard (or shake in a jar).
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Toss well and enjoy!
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Seriously, I know you don’t need instructions. I think sometimes it’s easier to make your shopping list for this one if it’s written down!

The original has dried cranberries but I was thinking I wanted more savory and the pear was my sweet bit. Goat cheese could easily replace feta but I prefer feta. I didn’t put chicken in but some recipes do.
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Chopping everything takes the longest when prepping this but it is worth it. I chose English cucumber because you can eat the peel without the bitterness and the have fewer seeds so it doesn’t make salad as soggy as regular cukes. I also always chose grape tomatoes because I like their sweetness and they stay fresher longer. They also are never as disappointingly mealy.

break it down now:

Autumn Chopped Salad

(serves 4 as sides/starter or 2 for an entree)
1 head of romaine: $1.50
½ cucumber: $0.94
8 oz. grape tomatoes: $1.49
¼ of a red onion: $0.32
4 oz. feta: $2.24
2 strips of bacon: $0.32
½ of a pear: $0.29
total = $7.10/4 servings = $1.77 per serving as 4 side/starter salads or $3.55 for 2 lighter main entree salads (neither includes dressing costs)

Bacon Bread

Hi, my name is Emily. I am Pintrest obsessed. “Hi Emily!”

Do you pin? It’s addicting. Pinterest is a virtual pin board.  I just love the creativity being shared on it!  It seems like such an efficient way to keep track of foods I want to make/attempt my twist on. I love introducing people to it, though I’ll warn you…if you’re on Pinterst and don’t pin then you’re a mooch! Go ahead, follow me.
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I saw a pin from somebody’s blog that became widely popular. Cheesy bacon ranch bread. Duh, why wouldn’t that be popular?? It seems to have originated on a fun blog called Plain Chicken. Also, today is Monday and I’m worried you might not have had enough bacon in your life over the weekend. Oh, I forgot. Today is a holiday for some lucky people to continue their weekend life…not me though.

Mine wasn’t exactly to-die-for, but I think I’d attempt again. Without further ado, I give you Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls (from Plain Chicken)

Ingredients

1 round loaf sourdough bread
8-12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
3 oz bacon (I used 3 slices, chopped)
½ cup butter (I used ⅓ cup but should have used more)
1 tbs ranch dressing mix

Directions

Cut bread in 1 inch slices going almost all the way through, in both directions
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Sprinkle cheese and bacon between the cuts
Mix ranch powder and butter together and drizzle all over the top
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Cover with foil and bake at 350-degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes

I think more of everything would have made mine better. Mine didn’t open up like Plain Chicken’s. Hers is beautifully separated just waiting to be pulled apart.

I think more is more in this case, and I think it would be easier with another set of hands to separate while filling & drizzling. Maybe if there was just so much cheese & bacon then it would automatically separate the bread pulls.
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I see the potential. That blogger also made a brunch one with cinnamon & sugar which sounds good. This is a dish to eat with close friends or family. I can’t imagine a shy group getting in there and pulling it apart with you! I made this at my parents house so I prepped everything and assembled there. Can’t you tell the beautifully bright photos after I sliced in my windowless dungeon of a kitchen?

Quicky Quiche

My mum makes the best quiche so I was thinking I’d make one. It wasn’t quite as good as hers ever is, but overall I was happy with it.
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I used ready-made piecrust which made is super easy. Pie crust isn’t that hard to make, but I wasn’t making a double crusted pie so I made it a bit more simple by using one made for me. It meant making lunch for the week only took about 20 minutes to prep.

Ingredients

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
2 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
salt & pepper

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Chop spinach, mushrooms, and bacon.
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Wisk together eggs, egg yolks, milk, salt, pepper, and cream of tartar.
Layer cheese and fillings into piecrust.
Gently pour egg mixture over filling.
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Bake 35-40 minutes until center is set.
Allow to cool slightly before slicing.
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It was good but I think I put in too much cream of tartar. It’s supposed to provide acid to help stabilize the eggs.

Quiche was a great lunch option this week. Swiss or sharper cheddar might have given this more bite. This definitely was an easy way to use some mushrooms I had and for another serving of spinach.

Breakfast Pizza

The last time I made pizza with bacon I ended up wishing I’d done it breakfast-style. No time like the present! I broke out the pizza stone and got to work. Only after proclaiming my love for the pizza stone, of course.
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Ingredients

1 ball of dough
1/4 cup marinara sauce
4 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded cheddar
3 green onions, chopped

Directions

1) Preheat pizza stone to 375 degrees.
2) Top dough with sauce and shredded cheese making four divots for eggs.
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3) Sprinkle with bacon and green onions.
4) Crack eggs into divots and bake immediately.
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5) Bake for 35 minutes until crisp and egg fully cooked.

I loved this pizza! It wasn’t the greatest reheated…but I’m sure you can guess I ate it anyway. The egg got funky but hey, if it meant I didn’t have to grocery shop or find something else, then I’d eat almost anything.

I think I would also like to try a scrambled egg-type of pizza. Like this. Or this. I’m trying to think up fun and exciting new pizza themes for my next one. Maybe I’ll have to give a thin crust a whirl. Any suggestions for toppings?
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The pizza stone has changed my life and my pizza. It’s such a difference. If you have one, you’ll agree. If you don’t, you should go get one.  The dough is fluffy and puffy, which I love.

Bfast Fiasco

This breakfast dish was something I had been dying to make and it unfortunately was a letdown. It had such potential! I saw this Maple Bacon & Apple Stuffed French Toast and was super excited. I mean I grocery shopped specifically for this and I hate to grocery shop.
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Maple Bacon? Apple? French Toast? What’s not to love, right? I don’t know if I missed the mark on this with a bunch of seemingly small mistakes or if I just didn’t have the touch. Here it is, done right, by Kitchen Runway.If you’re intrigued, and want to prove me right/wrong go ahead with Kitchen Runway’s ingredients & directions since clearly theirs was successful.

Maple Bacon & Apple Baked French Toast

Ingredients:

21 King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls (I used potato rolls)
10 slices of maple bacon
1 large Fuji apple, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced
1 Tbs maple syrup
8 large eggs
2 C whole milk (this could be one of my problems)
½ C heavy cream
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Topping:
8 slices of maple bacon (~9 oz), cooked and crumbled
½ C powdered sugar
2 Tbs + 1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp milk

Directions:

Quarter the rolls and place in a single layer on a baking sheet to dry out while you prepare the rest of the recipe steps.

Preheat oven to 325º F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place bacon in a single layer and bake for 35 mins.  Remove from oven when done and place bacon on a paper towel to drain fat.  Crumble bacon or use a knife to chop the bacon.  Set aside.

Place sliced apples in a bowl and add maple syrup and stir to combine, set aside. (I used a mandolin and cut 2 fingers…bandaging myself delayed everything a bit. Chunks would have been better anyway.)
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In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, cinnamon and salt until combined.
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Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter and place half of the bread in a single layer in the bottom of the dish.  Cover bread with ½ of the egg mixture.  Place remaining bread into the egg mixture and stir to coat.
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Place sliced apples on top of the bread in a single layer and sprinkle the bacon on top.

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Gently place the remaining bread on top of the apple and bacon layer.  Pour remaining egg mixture to the baking dish. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. (hmmm. I think I gave it an hour in the fridge)

The next day:  preheat oven to 350º F.  Place dish on middle rack and bake for 60 minutes or until golden brown and puffy.  If the French toast is browning too quickly, tent the baking dish with foil.
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In the meantime, you can cook the bacon for the topping on the stove top or bake until crispy. (I used reserved bacon from the filling prep)

In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar, maple syrup and milk.

Sprinkle bacon on top of baked French toast and drizzle with maple glaze.  Serve with additional maple glaze or syrup if you like. (my glaze needed more powdered sugar)
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Can’t win ‘em all. I re-tried it the next day, because things are better after chill-axing. No such luck. One of the very few items I bake is a chocolate bread pudding…not much different than this but that is fool-proof and this stuffed french toast proved problematic. Ohh well, onto the next.

Not Quite Summer Food

During a stint of weather not feeling quite so summery a few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to make deep dish pizza. I haven’t made much pizza with so many calzones lately but I was feelin’ it.
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Ingredients

1 ball pizza dough
¾ cup tomato sauce
thick cut bacon
1 Valida onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
¼ cup pesto
2 cups shredded cheese

Directions

Cook bacon until crisp then chop. (Have you had thick cut bacon? It is like deli bacon and once you try it you won’t go back. Thanks for the intro Mrs. S!)
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Saute onions and peppers until softened but still somewhat crisp
Spread pizza dough into round cake pan and spread pesto over it
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layer onion & pepper mixture with cheese and then layer the bacon on top
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add more cheese and cover with tomato sauce then sprinkle with oregano or basil if you like
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bake at 400-degrees for 30-40 minutes
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I liked this one as a slight deviation from the norm. Once I weaseled some feedback out of Mr. J I agreed with him that the onion and bacon can’t stay as crisp as when they top a pizza. True story. I still really liked it. The bacon was substantial and smokey. The peppers made it a touch sweeter and maintained their slight crunch instead of being too soggy.

We often get bacon on pizza because who doesn’t love bacon, and also because I can’t eat red meat so pork or chicken it is!

Once I thought of pizza and bacon I probably should have gone with a regular pizza on my stone. Maybe next time. I really want to do a bacon & egg pizza so that’ll have to be next. Check out some of these awesome looking ones, like this, or this, or this.

Picnic (Sans Ants)

Sis and I LOVE a good theme party. We were trying to think of something special for Mother’s Day this year. We thought for a half second about a picnic in the Arnold Aboretum for Lilac Sunday. This is apparently the only time a year you can picnic there. Sitting on the ground to eat there just because we can’t normally didn’t quite fit. Also, with the rain on Saturday, we weren’t convinced Mother Nature would play nice.

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That seems like a baby-stroller activity and nobody in our fam is quite there yet. It also kind of seems like something to take a mom to do if her children aren’t around.

We had a picnic at our parents’ house! The picnic theme was super fun and delicious.

We took inspiration from Bobby Flay since in his throwdowns he always tries to make the everyday a bit better or more special.

We served:
BLTs with pesto mayo and thick cut bacon
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Roast Beef Sandwiches with horseraddish dijon spread
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Tabouli since Mum doesn’t love macaroni salad as much as the average person.
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And pickles, fruit, and Cape Cod chips. I got some delectable treats from Lyndell’s Bakery since I didn’t acquire all the baking skill my mum has (and since I worked about 9 hours on Saturday).

I made a drink too:
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Ingredients:

4 cups lemonade (I used crystal light yellow)
4 cups zero calorie lime seltzer
1 lime sliced

Directions:

Prepare the lemonade as instructed. (I planned to use raspberry lemonade but was short on pitcher space since yellow was already made)
Mix chilled soda
Serve with lime slices (freezing lime bits into the ice would be very cute too)

Just add some cheap-o red baskets & napkins and you’ve got yourself an indoor picnic!

Wish me luck! By the time you see this I’ll be UBER close to the end of the production week and the start of my event. Watch out world, I become a whole new person after I rejoin society!