Date Exploration: Part 2

Finding fun recipes for the wonderful Medjool date continues…

This recipe is an addition to my previous post.  But this time, I added bacon.  And yeah, it was THAT good.  Serve this up as a passing hors d’oeuvre at your next dinner party and your guests will be oooh-ing and ahhh-ing in excitement.

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese and Almonds

Makes 6 pieces

Ingredients

  • 6 whole Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 oz of goat cheese
  • 6 raw almonds
  • 3 strips of uncured bacon, cut in half
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
  2. Stuff each date with goat cheese, one almond, wrap with bacon strip and secure with a toothpick (or two).
  3. Place on baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

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A Few of my Favorite Things

Another post to declare my love for all things to do with ground beef, turkey, etc.  Huge meatballs filled with bacon, onion, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms.

Bacon Meatballs

Makes 8

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of ground turkey, 93/7
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 strips of uncured bacon, chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Tomato sauce
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. In a large skillet over medium to high heat, add chopped bacon pieces.  Cook for 4-5 minutes.  Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, and sundried tomaotoes.  Saute for an additional 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add ground turkey and cooled ingredients from skillet.  Mix well.  Note that the mixture will be a little wet, since there are no breadcrumbs in this recipe to soak up the juices (traditional recipe calls for bread crumbs).  Once cooked, this will be okay, but the meatball rolling process will be a little messy!
  4. Using your hands, roll mixture into meatballs (whichever size you’d like).  For the purpose of this recipe, I made large meatballs, a little bit smaller than the palm of my hand.  Place meatballs onto a baking sheet.
  5. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes.  When there are about 2-3 minutes left, top each meatball with tomato sauce and a little bit of grated parmesan cheese.
  6. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, and enjoy – this is fantastic on its own or atop some spaghetti squash.

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Don’t fear the Brussels sprout!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!  This is one of my favorite holidays… What’s better than getting together with family (or close friends) around the dinner table?  No stress, no pressure with the gifts, just fun times cooking in the kitchen and enjoying a warm and wonderful meal together.  I have so much to be thankful for this year and I will try my very best to be aware of these things throughout the year; not just on this special day.

Growing up, we never really had the traditional Thanksgiving meal.  My parents always got a turkey because it was the American thing to do, but it was never the center of attention.  Instead, our main focus was the delicious traditional Chinese meals that my mom whipped up all by herself in the kitchen.  As we grew older though and started to find our way around the kitchen, we started adding the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes to the menu – mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, etc.

This year, my contribution to the dinner table will be Brussels sprouts with bacon.  I’ve recently been introduced to the Brussels sprout.  About a year ago, my coworkers and I were talking about food (isn’t it amazing how food just brings everyone together and that much closer?).  The topic of Brussels sprouts came up and I cringed even though I had never eaten a single sprout in my entire life.  I’m not a huge fan of cabbage and that’s what Brussels sprouts reminded me of.   And I always thought that the only way of preparing them was to steam them… blech! My coworkers were shocked that I had never had them before.  “YOU’VE NEVER HAD BRUSSELS SPROUTS BEFORE?!?”.  Needless to say, I bought  a stalk (?) the following day at Trader Joe’s and was hooked!

I know they look like weird little cabbage heads, but give this recipe a try – you will not regret it!!

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minched
  • 1 stalk of Brussels sprouts (about 35 sprouts), halved
  • 4 slices of uncured bacon, cut into 1/4″ bits
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  1. In a large pan, over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil.  Add the shallots and garlic and saute until they turn a golden color.
  2. Add bacon and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the bacon gets nice and crispy.
  3. Throw in the Brussels sprouts, season with sea salt and black pepper, and saute for another 10 minutes, until tender.  It also helps to add about 1/4 cup of water while cooking to add moisture to the Brussels sprouts.  You want the Brussels sprouts to get a nice golden crisp on the edges.

 

Mystery Meat… I think not!

Honestly, who doesn’t like a nice piece of homemade meatloaf?  Yeah, maybe it would be smart to stay away from that mystery meat when you were eating at the dining hall in college… but nothing beats a good ol’ homemade meatloaf.  And one that has BACON you say?  Sold!

Paleo Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 93/7 ground beef
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • Paleo ketchup
  • Sea salt & black pepper

1.  In a skillet on high heat, cook the bacon strips until nice and crispy.  Remove from skillet.  After the bacon is cool, chop into small pieces.

2. With the remaining bacon fat, turn heat to medium-high and add the onions and garlic.  Saute for about 5 minutes.

3.  Toss in the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.

4.  In a bowl, mix the ground beef, almond meal (this replaces the bread crumbs in a traditional meatloaf), and eggs.  Add the bacon, onions, garlic, and mushrooms to the bowl.  Add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.  Mix well.

5.  Pack the meatloaf mixture into a loaf pan, coat the top with Paleo ketchup, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

6.  Serve with your favorite veggie.

Paleo Ketchup

Ingredients

  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

1.  Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.

Dips, dips, and more dips! (Just no chips)

Labor day marks the end of summer and gives us all an opportunity to have one last cookout before the weather gets chilly.  I’m so excited for the fall, it’s my favorite season.  Can’t wait to break out the leather boots, wool blazers, and fun tights!

My sister made a delicious potato salad for our Labor day BBQ and it was soooo scrumptious.  Again, this is why I cannot commit to the Paleo diet 100%, there are just some things that are too good to pass up.  However, being on the diet has made me more aware of my food choices and has also taught me the importance of portion control.  So I had a spoonful of the potato salad and called it a day.

I made some really simple dips for our guests and served them with cut up veggies.  I think these dips/spreads would also be great in a meal, served on top of a grilled chicken breast.  Mmm…

Bjorn didn’t try these, but the dips got a stamp of approval from the guests!

Avocado Tomato Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Sea salt and black pepper

1.  Toss all ingredients into a bowl, chill, and serve.

Bacon Mayonnaise

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 4 strips of crispy bacon

1.  In a skillet over high heat, cook the bacon until well done and crispy

2.  Mix remaining ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until nice and creamy.

3.  Add in chopped pieces of the bacon, chill, and serve.

Sundried Tomato and Basil Paste

See previous post for recipe:

https://emilyskitchencreations.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/sundried-tomato-obsession-this-will-be-the-first-of-many-sundried-tomato-posts/