Candied bacon plus brown sugar based waffles? Uhm, yes please. 

I halved this recipe, as the boy doesn’t really do meat, but this still gave me five waffles, so the recipe as I’ll write it below will likely give you something around 10 waffles as output. 

Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles

Ingredients

Candied Bacon

  • 10 slices of bacon
  • .25 c dark brown sugar

Waffle Batter

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • .25 c dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 c cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2.5 c buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375, line a baking sheet with foil, and place your bacon slices on the foil, sprinkling with the brown sugar. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the sugar caramelizes, and it’s beginning to brown and get crispy (see pic 2). Take the bacon off the baking sheet as soon as it’s out of the oven with tongs, and let it cool on a cutting board. 

While the bacon cools, whisk together all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients, and once well blended, fold into the dry ingredients. Once the batter’s almost fully mixed, heat your waffle iron, and take your cooled candied bacon, and chop (or, frankly, you’ll be able to break it apart with your fingers) into small pieces, and add straight into the batter. Don’t overmix the batter, or the waffles will become too tough; lumps in the batter are completely fine. 

Cook your waffles according to your waffle iron’s instructions, and enjoy the bacony brown sugar goodness!

Looking for a springy, citrusy waffle that you can have ready to go pretty quick (and still have leftovers for breakfast for the week)? If so, I’d suggest these lovely key lime waffles. The most you’ll have to do is grate a lime to get the necessary zest (I have a separate thing of fresh lime juice, so); the rest should be lying around and ready to go in your pantry. Might mellow this out with a bit of vanilla next time, but otherwise, these are perfect and lovely.

Key Lime Waffles
Makes ~7 waffles

Ingredients

  • 2 c flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • .75 c sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.75 c milk
  • .25 c fresh key lime juice
  • 1 T key lime zest
  • 1 stick butter (.5 c), melted

Take your dry ingredients, and whisk them together in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together your eggs and milk, followed by the key lime juice and zest, and finally your melted butter. Then, slowly add your wet ingredients to your dry ones, until just barely combined. 

Then, make according to your waffle iron’s instructions, and enjoy!

What time is it? Catch up time!!

I’ve been cooking a fair bit at the new place, and I honestly just haven’t had time to post stuff lately. This is me attempting to play catchup for a good… three months or so. Whoops. 

I made these cookies back in December for the office cookie exchange. I wanted to try something simple, new, and unique. These sriracha candy canes fit the bill nicely. 😛 

Sriracha Candy Canes
Makes appx 12 cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 sticks (1 c) unsalted butter
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 T sriracha
  • red food dye

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in one bowl, and in another bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter and powdered sugar, and then slowly stir in the dry ingredients and mix until you’ve got a nice combined dough.

At this point, split the dough into two pieces.  Wrap one half in plastic wrap, and put it into the fridge to chill.  Add the sriracha and red food dye to the other, and mix until you have an even red dough. Wrap and chill this one as well until you’re ready to make your cookies (one hour minimum). 

Take your doughs out from the fridge, and preheat to 350 degrees once you’re ready to use them. Take small balls off of the sriracha and plain doughs, and roll them into thin, several inch long ropes. Then, place the ropes next to each other, and then twist together (see picture 3), curving the top down to look like a candy cane. Repeat until you run out of dough. 

Bake your candy canes for 12 minutes, and enjoy!

So, now that I’m finally settled in the apartment where I am for realsies living now that I am down in Chicago, I figure it’s time to break in the kitchen. And let me tell you, it’s an amazing kitchen. Big fridge, gas range and oven and microwave, undermounted sink, lots of cabinets, a pantry, it’s everything I’ve wanted in a kitchen, ever. 

It’s been a damn long week, and these were already on the docket for me to make in the near future. But last night, I decided to move it up because it’s been a REAL shitty week at work, and I wanted something nice for me and the boyfriend to wake up to. This recipe is going to need some tweaking for the future (imagine this with brown butter!), but for a first try, this was a real good thing to have for breakfast while cuddling and playing Borderlands 2. 

Lemon Sticky Buns with Lemon Glaze
Makes appx 10 – 12 buns, depending on how you cut them

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 package active dry yeast (appx 2.5 t)
  • .75 c milk, warmed
  • .5 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • .25 c white sugar
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4.5 c flour
  • .5 t salt
  • .25 t nutmeg

Sticky Lemon Filling

  • 1 c sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 T (half stick) unsalted butter, very softened, but not fully melted
  • .25 t ground ginger
  • 1/8 t nutmeg
  • .25 c fresh lemon juice

Glaze

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • .25 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1 c powdered sugar

Take your milk and microwave it for about 45 seconds, so that it’s warm, but not scalding hot. Mix it together with the packet of yeast, and let stand for a few minutes, until it’s nice and foamy. Then, in a large bowl, mix together your softened butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and 1 c of the flour, until you have a nice, sticky dough base. Then, add the salt and nutmeg, and slowly, the rest of the flour, until you have a good sized sticky dough ball.

Then, take your dough ball, lightly flour the surface you’ll be working on, and knead the dough for five minutes, until you have smooth, stretchy ball of dough. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a towel, and let sit for about an hour, until the dough doubles in size. 

While the dough rises, make your lemon filling! For this, be sure that your butter is very, very soft, but not to the point of melting; my butter was partway melting, which is probably why my filling didn’t quite turn out perfectly, I think. Anyways, start out by rubbing the lemon zest and sugar together, until well combined. Then, slowly mix the butter in, until the mixture is thick and creamy. Then, add your nutmeg and ginger in, followed, slowly, by the lemon juice. The lemon juice will thin out the mixture, but it should still be creamy. (As you can see in pic 4, this didn’t happen for me, but it still worked.) Toss the filling in the fridge, and be sure it chills for at least a half hour; ideally, you work on the filling immediately after you start the dough rising, and let it chill for that full time. 

After your dough has doubled, take it and use a rolling pin to roll it out to roughly a 10 x 15 rectangle on a lightly floured surface (see pic 5). Take your lemon filling, and spread it evenly over the dough. Start rolling from the top long edge of the dough, and work your way down, rolling it as tight as possible and pulling the dough taut to keep the filling in. If your filling is too thin, it’ll leak out the ends, like mine did (see pic 6). Then, take a pan (I used a round cake pan), and cut your roll into twelve even pieces (I only got ten out of mine), and put your rolls into them, nestling them together (see pic 7). If you end up having the mixture leak out the ends, just brush it over the tops of the buns. 

At this point, if you’re me, you cover the pan with a towel, and throw it in the fridge over night. The next morning (or right away, if you decide to make it all at once), let the buns rise for at least an hour, until they’re puffy and doubled in size (see pic 8). While the buns finish rising, preheat your oven to 350. Then, put the buns in the oven for 35 minutes, until they’re golden brown (see pic 9), and a toothpick inserted into the doughy parts comes out clean. 

While the buns bake and cool, combine the lemon juice and cream cheese until light and fluffy, and then slowly whisk in the powdered sugar, until you have a nice smooth glaze.

Once the buns have cooled a bit, but are still warm, spread the glaze over the buns, cut into them, and enjoy the glorious lemon goodness!

Looking for a new way to try your vegetables? Just add beer and bacon!  Seriously. I found the green beans for a buck a pound on special last week, and it turns out Ale Asylum (a local brewer) just put out a new stout, so this was perfect timing in several senses. 

Stout Glazed Green Beans and Bacon

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 lbs green beans (note to self: reduce to 1 lb for the future, 2 lb was way too much)
  • .5 c stout (I used Ale Asylum’s Big Slick stout)
  • pinch smoked paprika, salt, and pepper

Cook your bacon in a pan to desired doneness. Remove, let cool, and chop. 

Add your green beans to the pan, and sear until slightly browned. Then, pour your stout in, drink the rest of the bottle, and cook until the beer reduces into a glaze (about ten minutes or so). Sprinkle with smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and chopped bacon, and toss in a serving dish to combine!

Some days, all you need is some comfort food. And man, do these meatballs ever count. Cheese stuffed anything is a good route to go, especially in winter. These were originally a slow cooker recipe, but I used the alternative baked method as I just didn’t have the time to throw these all in and leave them yesterday. Still turned out pretty good.

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
Makes appx 10 to 18 meatballs, depending on the size you make them

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 c panko
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 1 t sea salt
  • .5 t black pepper
  • 1 small ball fresh mozzarella, cubed

Cube your mozzarella, and freeze for a half hour minimum on a small plate.  Preheat your oven to 400.  While the mozzarella chills, combine all other ingredients in a bowl with your hands until you have a single mass of meat. Remove the mozzarella from the freezer, and taking chunks of meat, place the cheese in the middle of the meat chunk and roll the meat around it (see pic 2 for an example of what putting the cheese in looks like, and what the final meatball looks like. 

Bake for 20 minutes. There will likely be cheese oozing out of the meatballs at the end of the bake time; this is normal, and a sign you did it right. 😛 

And then, dip in some marinara, and enjoy!

This recipe is a bit involved for all the stuff that needs to be done to make it, but honestly, the resulting porridge is pretty fantastic. I’ve heard a lot about congee and how awesome it is, but didn’t really feel the urge to go out of my way to make it until I found this recipe.

And honestly? This might go into my regular breakfasts rotation. Garlic plus beef plus soy plus rice = very very good combination, in my book. And this makes enough that this should keep me in breakfasts for most of the week. 

Congee with Beef, Garlic Chips, and Shiitake
Lasts 4 breakfasts

Ingredients

Garlic Chips

  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and sliced
  • .5 c olive oil
  • pinch sea salt

Beef

  • .5 lb ground beef
  • 2 t soy sauce
  • 3 t vegetable oil
  • dash sugar
  • pinch sea salt

Congee

  • 1 c rice
  • 5 c water
  • shiitake mushrooms, sliced (amount variable; original recipe suggests 6, I did an entire package)
  • 2 t soy sauce
  • pinch pepper and salt

To make your garlic chips, take your garlic slices, put them in a small pan with the olive oil, and cook over medium high heat until they are golden brown. Drain the chips with a mesh strainer, and reserve the garlic oil that results. Sprinkle the chips with salt. 

Combine the beef, soy, sugar,vegetable oil, and salt in a small bowl while the chips fry, and chill in the fridge. 

For the congee, combine your rice in water in a medium sized pot, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot, and cook for 30 minutes, checking at least twice (I ended up checking every ten minutes or so) to stir and ensure that rice isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot. Picture 6 is what the rice will look like after the 15 minute mark. After the half hour, add the shiitakes in, and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

After 20 minutes, take your ground beef and add in in teaspoon sized chunks, stirring it into the congee. Cover the pot again and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until the beef has cooked through. Add in the soy, salt, and pepper to taste.

When ready to serve, scoop into bowls, sprinkle with garlic chips, and pour a small amount of the garlic oil over the congee. Serve hot, and enjoy!