Friday, January 12, 2018

This blog will be going away

I am starting up a new blog with a new direction.  I'll post a link here once we get it up and running. Thanks for following!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Maple Bacon Fudge

Wow, this is the first blog post in about a year and a half. Time flies. I felt this was a good one to put out there since it's received such good feedback so far.

Christmas time means fudge, lots and lots of fudge. I make many pounds of fudge every year for friends, family, and work. I was given a very good base recipe many years ago and it has never failed me. Its time consuming but it turns out perfect every time. The cooking is exactly the same for each flavor of fudge the variations are the flavor of chips you use and any nuts or mix-in's that you might want (booze, bacon, dried fruits).  

Here is the base recipe

2 Sticks Unsalted Butter (room temp)
2 Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk (room temp) 2 Cups Light Brown Sugar 2 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup 1 Bag (11.5 oz) White Chocolate Chips
Pinch Of Salt

For the Maple Bacon Fudge you will also need:

6-8 strips of Maple Cured Bacon
3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup (Not pancake syrup)

Here's how you make the fudge:

Prepare your dish to cool and shape the fudge. Don’t use anything bigger than 7x12 or your fudge will be really thin unless you double the batch and that will increase the time it takes for the initial boil. Whatever you use, line it with plastic wrap.. Not wax paper. I tried wax paper several times and it stuck every single time. Cook the bacon until just crisp. I always cook my bacon on a rack in a sheet pan lined with foil for easy clean up. Using the oven I feel cooks more evenly and is way less mess than frying in a skillet. Cook at 400 degrees until it gets to where you like it. For the fudge you want it almost crispy. It will continue to cook when you pull it from the oven so "almost crispy" will turn out just right.  Drain and pat with paper towel too get as much grease off as you can. Set aside to cool. Once its cook chop into small pieces. Like bacon bits only a little bigger.
Next, in a heavy, medium size sauce pan add the butter, condensed milk, corn syrup, brown sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup.
Turn the heat on to medium high. 
Whisk the mixture constantly, scraping the sides and corners, until it comes to a full boil. Takes about 10 minutes depending on your pot. Once it comes to a boil turn the heat down to low and continue whisking over low heat for 10 minutes. Set a timer and don’t guess. Its important.
After 10 minutes take it off the heat and let it sit for 2 minutes. Again, set a timer. 
Once the 2 minutes are up pour in the chips and mix with a big spoon until the chocolate is all melted and the mixture is smooth.
Mix in the remaining maple syrup.
Mix in the chopped bacon a handful at a time. Save about 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on top. Pour the fudge into your prepared dish and scrape out as much as you can. Sprinkle the remaining bacon on top and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting.

Use the longest knife you have and cut 1-1.5 inch wide strips along the entire length. Cutting across the shortest length first is easiest. Then take about 3-4 of those strips and cut the pieces as big as you want. This is very rich so I'd suggest smaller portions. You can get really fancy and trim off the rounded rough edges so that all your pieces are square but that kind of takes away from the homemade look.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Stuffed Bell Peppers

So I have made some drastic diet and lifestyle changes in effort to be a little more healthy, lose some weight and just feel better overall. I have cut back on red meat and alcohol. I've cut out refined sugar as much as I possibly can. I have quit all carbonate drinks and eliminated as much processed food as I can. I've also tried to up the amount of lean protein I eat every day. So far it's worked very well. I'm down quite a bit in weight, dropped a couple of pant sizes, I sleep better and feel better overall.  I still have the occasional steak and I do enjoy my favorite Texas foods but on a very limited basis. I have to say I have not missed any of it and I don't really crave anything.

So here is a recipe that I have been making and I take it for lunch often. Once everything is cooked and cooled I wrap each one in plastic wrap and freeze it.  Then each night I put one into the fridge for lunch the next day. By the time noon rolls around all it needs is about 2 minutes in the microwave and its ready to go.  I like to have some additional protein with it this like a roasted chicken breast.

This recipe does rely on a Trader Joe's product.  You can substitute your own quinoa & butternut squash blend if you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby. This one just makes it very easy and its pretty healthy.

Stuffed peppers (I snuck in a little corn for fun)


8 medium or 6 largre bell peppers, any color, tops and seeds removed
1 lb ground turkey
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini
1 can fire roasted chopped tomatoes, drained
1 package Quinoa & Butternut Squash Duo (Trader Joe's), defrosted
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp course ground pepper
2 tbsp ancho powder (standard chile powder will work as well)


Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan over medium high heat
Add the onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until it starts to get tender.
Add garlic and zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper,
Cook the until zucchini just starts to brown and get tender, tossing and stirring often.
Add tomatoes and stir to incorporate. 
Reduce the heat to medium
Now add the entire bag of quinoa mix. Stir until incorporated and heated throughout.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl

In the same skillet add the remaining oil.
Add turkey to the pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper and ancho powder.
Break into small pieces and cook until done.

Combine the turkey with the quinoa/vegetable mixture in the mixing bowl.
Mix in the parmesan cheese
Spoon this mixture into the bell peppers, packing tightly but don't break the pepper.

Cook on a foil lined sheet pan for 30 minutes at 375 (350 in convection oven).
Serve hot or cool, wrap and freeze for later use.

I totaled everything up and its approximately 200 calories per serving (1 pepper).

You can add spinach, carrot, corn, celery, nuts, dried berries...
You can sub out turkey for chicken, beef, veal, pork or leave it out all together for a vegetarian dish.
You can also use this filling to stuff poblanos.