Alsatian Pizza …. Sorta.

"Kinda" Alsatian Pizza

If I see an Alsatian Pizza on a menu, I’ve got to order it.

Because if I don’t do it—I won’t stop thinking about it and will have regrets for the rest of my life!! MY ENTIRE LIFE!!

Too Much?

Sorry–I haven’t had my Diet Coke today. Anyway…..

Alsatian Pizzas are pure and uncomplicated but oh-so-lovely. Typically it consists of a perfect pizza dough, fromage blanc –or crème fraîche, onions and bacon. How easy is that?!

But don’t let the few ingredients fool you because they’re wonderfully paired. The creamy, slightly sharp and piquant crème fraîche is tamed by the sweet onions and salty bacon.

Heaven.

As in—I’m praying they serve Alsatian Pizzas in Heaven.

"Kinda" Alsatian Pizza2
But you all know me and I can never leave things alone. So I decided to up the ante and add shredded gruyere, sliced mushrooms, and use BOTH caramelized and raw red onions. Why the heck not—LET’S GET CRAZY TODAY!!!

Because it is National Wine Day, which incidentally, goes perfect with my “sorta” Alsatian Pizza.❤

Cheers!!
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Alsatian Pizza….Sorta.
Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 slices thick cut bacon, thinly cross sliced
¾ cup sliced red onions, divided
6 ounces fresh pizza dough, rested and at room temperature
all purpose flour
½ cup crème fraîche
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
2 sprigs fresh thyme
kosher salt
black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon corn meal
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

While the oven preheats, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon begins to get crispy. Do not over-brown the bacon, as it will continue to crisp in the oven. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the bacon bits to a plate covered with paper towels. Sauté ½ cup onions over medium heat in the bacon drippings until they become golden brown. Set aside

Take the pizza dough and flatten it with your hands on a floured surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the crust to about ¼ of an inch thickness. Transfer the rolled out dough to a pizza paddle or lightly floured cutting board. Spread the crème fraîche evenly over the dough. Scatter the caramelized onions, gruyere, bacon, crimini and fresh thyme leaves on top. Season the entire pizza with salt and pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

If you have a baking steel/stone in the oven, gently slide the pizza on top. Otherwise, sprinkle a baking sheet with corn meal and slide the pizza on top of it. Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes until the crust becomes golden brown.

Remove the pizza from the oven. Sprinkle the remaining sliced red onions, red chili pepper flakes and parsley over the top. Slice the pizza and serve warm

A Belated Sunday Family Dinner

Feb 2016 Fam Din
The other weekend we celebrated February in March.

Or more accurately, we had February’s Sunday Family Dinner in March. February was totally hectic with the Lunar New Year, the family being up in San Francisco for our cousin’s wedding and just a bunch of random events that caused the delay for dinner.

But the thing is, we couldn’t actually “skip” a month—because once you start doing that, those “monthly dinners” can continue to get pushed back and eventually become “every few months family dinners”.

And that’s No bueno.

Plus, February was Maya’s birthday and we couldn’t skimp out on birthday celebrations for this cutie! So per her request, we made a menu around some of the favorite things she loves — steak and cake!

A girl after my own heart….

Feb 2016 Fam Din

That day we decided to enact a new rule — unless you’re taking pictures of each other or food (which is more likely), everyone has to stay off their iPads and iPhones. Which, if you have teenagers and wee ones, can be torture!

But if the point of us having monthly family dinners was to spend quality time with each other, being glued to phones and tablets (darn you Snapchat and Minecraft!) kind of defeated the purpose. So I went around and collected all their devices and didn’t return them until dessert – which is pretty darn good if you know our munchkins!

Without his iPad, Lucas had to resort to one of his other favorite obsessions — Nerf guns. Here he is intensely loading up on ammo. Afterwards, he spent a good hour running around the house, hiding behind columns and banisters as he went on full assault mode with his uncle.

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Those two have always been thick as thieves–ever since Lucas was a wee-bitty-baby. I used to think it was because he and my sister had two daughters and no sons—but I really think it’s because my brother-in-law definitely has a “kid at heart” gene.

Feb 2016 Fam Din

The girls decided to spend a considerable amount of time with Maya’s latest obsession – FIMO clay. The clay can be molded into whatever your imagination conjures up–then you bake it to harden your design.

She has a TON of them in all different colors filling tackle boxes, tupperwares, and wherever else she can store them.

Feb 2016 Fam Din
They’re quite talented with it too!

They made a golden snitch, macaron, marshmallow, a cat(?) and my favorite–a cast iron skillet with an egg and bacon!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Then it was cocktail time!

The adults sipped on Raspberry-Lemonade Sparklers….and by “sparklers”, I mean prosecco.

Feb 2016 Fam Din

We always need to nosh on a few things before dinner is served or else my “cute” family turn into a tribe of gremlins.

And that’s not a pretty sight.

Trust me….I’ve seen it.

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Big seester made these adorable little Tartlets that were like mini-quiches filled with bacon, gruyere, and custard all in a savory crust.

Perfect bite sized snacks!

I had about 30 or so……

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Since birthday girl wanted steaks, she got STEAKS!

These were the beautiful boneless Ribeyes seestrah picked up. She simply seasoned them with lots of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. And oh that lovely marbling!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
They were then handed over to the boys to grill.

I must have a gajillion pics of R and C posing like this by the grill over past few years…. But hey–they like to grill so we put them to work!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Sizzle, sizzle!

And no, I didn’t mean The Sizzler.…..but oh that cheese bread!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
The grilled steaks were brushed with some herb butter while they rested which now gives me a great opportunity to talk about the sides!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Maya loves salad–usually odd for small kids but she does have a mature palate. We put together a tray of colorful Wedge Salads because nothing makes veggies more healthy than dousing it with a creamy dressing and tons of crispy bacon bits.

MMMMmmmm….bacon……

Feb 2016 Fam Din
And since Nina helped with making it, I made her pose with the tray.

Think the kids will be traumatized by all the pics I make them take holding food?

Nah…they make good profile pics, right?

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Next up, colorful Roasted Potatoes that were marinated in tons of garlic, rosemary, chili flakes and Dijon mustard before being blasted in a high heat oven.

Feb 2016 Fam Din
We also had a side of slowly Sauteed Crimini Mushrooms that were drizzled with truffle oil and fresh thyme.

Total mushroom goodness.

Feb 2016 Fam Din
There may have been a few bottles of vino too…..

And yes, that’s me in the bottle’s reflection…

Hiiiiii!!!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Beef-a-licious!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
Here’s my plate with a little bit of everything…. OH! And I forgot about the Dirty Rice seester made as well! It’s cooked with onions, lots of butter, beef consomme, and a few other secret stuff.

What’s the secret?

No idea…I never pay attention when she makes it but I am more than pleased to shovel it down by the large spoonfuls.

Feb 2016 Fam Din

After dinner, we tend to try and clean up a bit before dessert.

And by “clean up”, I mean “take pictures”.

Fam Din
Cake time!

When I asked Maya what kind of cake she wanted, all she said was a chocolate and peanut butter combo.

Told you the girl had good taste!

Feb 2016 Fam Din
I started off with a wonderful chocolate cake by Brown Eyed Baker.

I have to tell y’all, that crumb was oh-so-lovely! Super dense, moist and oober chocolaty! And there were three layers of it! I also used her version of peanut butter buttercream that was so lip smacking good!

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake
But this was for Maya and things had to be OVER THE TOP! Although the chocolaty cake was frosted in the peanut butter buttercream, I added chopped mini-peanut butter cups in one layer and Girl Scouts Peanut Butter Patties in the next!

Now, I had intended to frost the entire cake with that luscious buttercream and then do a drippy, drizzle layer of chocolate ganache like Brown Eyed Baker did for her Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup Overload Cake.

But I totally biffed it by making the ganache too thick and instead of making that whimsical-purposely drippy look, it turned into a gloopy mess. AGH! So I took seester’s advice and decided to frost the ganache out into a thin layer—and I actually kind of loved the marbling effect it had.

PHEW!

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake
To top the cake I added more Peanut Butter Patties, mini-peanut butter cups, 3 different types of gold sprinkles and wait for it–freshly made Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macarons.

Wait–did I say I baked macarons just to top the cake? I SURE DID!!! Because Miss Maya LOVES macarons and I promised her an OVER THE TOP cake.

Here’s a quick peek inside of the cake…..and let me just tell you, a tall and icy glass of milk would go perfect with it!

Except I can’t drink milk…..TMI?

So I had it with red vino instead.

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake
All in all, I think birthday girl forgave us for having her dinner so late—though, she’s such a sweet tempered kid that I don’t think she really minded at all.

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY MAYA LOVE!❤

Feb 2016 Fam Din

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Raspberry-Lemonade Sparklers
Appetizers: Bacon Gruyere Tartlets
Entrees: Grilled Ribeye Steaks
Sides: Wedge Salads, Rosemary-Garlic Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Sauteed Mushrooms, Dirty Rice
Dessert: “Over the Top” Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake

Sriracha Wedge Salads

Sriracha Wedge Salad

I’m rather obsessed with video streaming on Amazon Prime and in fact, a bit embarrassed to divulge how much binge watching I’ve done over the past several months….ok, more like year. Like Netflix, it’s just too easy to either continue on with the next episode of whatever show I’ve gone crazed for or check out some flick I hadn’t heard of before.

I’ve watched things like Band of Brothers (I know, I was nearly 15 years late on that), House of Lies, a bunch of teenie-bopper movies and documentaries like Sriracha. Yup….I said Sriracha.

Like millions of others, I adore the Thai influenced chili condiment. I keep a bottle at work, packets in my purse and my home is never without it. But to give me some cred, I was chugging Sriracha long before it had such an insane cult following as it was basically in my bottle as a baby–being the standard condiment for Phở.

Sriracha Wedge Salad
After the quick documentary, I was inspired—to consume lots more Sriracha. What can I say? Product placement works well on me. So I jumped in the kitchen and rummaged around a bit to see what things I could throw together. And this is what I came up with…

Sriracha Wedge Salads!

What?! Why haven’t I ever thought of it before?! I love classic wedge salads–mostly because it’s one of the greatest ways for me to enjoy blue (or is it “bleu”?) cheese dressing. I get that bleu/blue cheese isn’t for everyone….it’s piquant, tangy and can be a little stanky–but in a good way! Which is why a crisp and chilled iceberg is a wonderful pairing for it.

I doctored up my easy bleu/blue dressing with a hefty portion of Sriracha and BOOM! The Sriracha Angels Sang!

The dressing keeps well in the fridge for about a week—so go crazy and make a double batch to dunk some crispy wings/fries/ calamari in, smother over burgers or whatever your Sriracha-lovin’ heart desires!

Need some other ideas to spread the Sriracha love with? How about:

Happy Sriracha Adventures!

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Sriracha Wedge Salads
Serves 4

Ingredients:

¼ cup buttermilk
½ cup low fat sour cream
1 heaping tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce, more to taste
2 heaping tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
1 finely minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
kosher salt
black pepper
½ cup bleu cheese (blue cheese) crumbles
1 head iceberg lettuce, cored and cut into quarter wedges
¼ cup thinly sliced red onions
4 slices crispy bacon, chopped
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, Sriracha, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir in a few pinches of kosher salt and black pepper until combined before mixing in the cheese. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place the 4 lettuce wedges on separate plates. Take the Sriracha Bleu Cheese Dressing from the fridge. Stir the dressing and drizzle a few spoonfuls over each wedge. Top each wedge with the sliced red onions, bacon, diced tomatoes and Italian parsley.

Enjoy!

Bacon Risotto

Bacon Risotto

I was out walking Bella the other day when I found myself thinking about Bacon.

Yup– Bacon.

A totally reasonable thing to think about while walking your pup.

If you’re bacon-crazed…..

And I am.

Bacon Risotto
And then my mind quickly wandered to other things like….

How many episodes are left in Downton Abbey?

When will Jack Johnson be on tour again?

Did I turn off the bathroom light before I left home?

I’m craving risotto….

And boom. My head snapped up and the most brilliant thought of all time (well, at least for that day) came to me.

MAKE. BACON. RISOTTO.

Bacon Risotto
It was less of a thought and more of a compulsion. So I ran back to my place with my puggle in tow and jumped into the kitchen. After rendering down the bacon, I used the residual bacon grease to coat and saute the onions and Arborio rice. Heck, why not kick in as much bacon flavor as possible?

After that, it was pretty straight forward. Slowly stir in chicken stock until the rice breaks down into a rich, creamy sight. Add in a bunch of freshly grated Parmesan and then top with the crispy bacon and some parsley. I’d like to say that the parsley was to add a bit of freshness (and it did) –but really, I threw it in for color.

Then— I DUG IN!

Bacon Risotto
And man, OH man! It was awesome! Cheesy, rich deliciousness with bits of crispy, salty bacon. Why the heck have I not made this before????? But I promise you this–it won’t be the last time! And maybe I’ll throw in some peas next time as well.

Because YOLO.

Happy Monday!!!

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Bacon Risotto
Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 cups chicken stock
4 slices bacon, diced
1 cup diced white onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, more to garnish
kosher salt
black pepper
2 tablespoons minced parsley

 

Heat the chicken stock in a medium sized saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

In a heavy bottom pot over medium-low heat, slowly sauté the bacon until it becomes crispy and the fat has rendered down—about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the bacon bits to a plate covered with paper towels. Reserve two tablespoons of bacon drippings in the pan and discard the rest. Sauté the onions over medium heat in the bacon drippings until translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme leaves, rice and stir quickly until the rice is well coated and opaque—about 1 minute.  Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid is nearly all evaporated.

Ladle in 1 cup of the chicken broth into the rice. Simmer and slowly stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to simmer and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy–approximately 25 minutes in total.

Stir in Parmesan until the cheese has melted. Check for seasonings and adjust with the kosher salt and pepper as needed. Spoon the risotto into dishes and top each with the crispy bacon. Grate additional Parmesan cheese on top and sprinkle parsley over each dish. Serve immediately.

B.L.E.A.T.S. Sandwiches

B.L.E.A.T.S.

This week we’re giving one of my favorite ingredients some love.

Something so versatile, quick to prepare and that can send almost anything over the top.

Yep……

The beloved Egg.

B.L.E.A.T.S.

Pizza? Throw an egg on it…..

Pasta? Throw an egg on it…..

Sandwiches? Throw an egg on it…..

Salads? Throw an egg on it…..

Ramen Noodles? DEFINITELYThrow an egg on it…..

B.L.E.A.T.S.

Eggs have that magical ability to bring almost anything it touches to the next level. When adding a poached or runny fried egg to a dish, it becomes something so decadently transcendent—unctuous, sinful, delicious.

All that with just an egg!

B.L.E.A.T.S.

To close out National Sandwich Month and for my next contribution to Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I thought I would whip out a hearty and fun sandwich…. B.L.E.A.T.S.

B-acon

L-ettuce

E-gg

A-vocado

T-omato

S-almon

Oh yes…I went there.

B.L.E.A.T.S.

It all starts with an easy sriracha mayo I mix up to hold everything together or you can use any other spread that suits your fancy.

Wasabi mayo, pesto, garlic aioli, dijon mustard……

You get the gist….

B.L.E.A.T.S.

Next comes the salmon that is simply seasoned with kosher salt and then pan seared until it’s crispy on the exterior but still moist and tender in the middle. I happened to have a large fillet here but if you can’t find one big piece, just grab a couple smaller fillets.

Then, I cracked a few Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs in the skillet and fried them until the edges were crisp and the yolks had just barely set.

I’m all about an ooey-gooey egg yolk…..it makes it seem a bit sinful—but don’t feel guilty. I sure as heck don’t.

B.L.E.A.T.S.

Once that’s all done, everything gets layered in between some hamburger buns or rolls. It truly is a behemoth of a sandwich and incredibly messy to eat.

But so wonderfully worth it!

And if you can’t get a little messy at home while enjoying some B.L.E.A.T.S. then you’re just not living life.

B.L.E.A.T.S.

Want to learn more about our friends from Safest Choice™? Then head on over here and while you’re at it, check out some more egg-a-licious recipes on their site!
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B.L.E.A.T.S. (Bacon, Lettuce, Egg, Avocado, Tomato & Salmon) Sandwiches
Serves 4

Ingredients:

½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced
kosher salt
1 pound fillet salmon, skinned and deboned
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 large Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs
½ small lemon
1 small tomato, sliced
1 small avocado, sliced
8 strips cooked bacon
4 lettuce leaves
4 hamburger buns or rolls

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sriracha, sesame oil, garlic and 2-3 pinches of kosher salt. Cover and refrigerate the sriracha mayonnaise.

Liberally season the salmon fillet with salt on both sides. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the skillet. Carefully lay the salmon fillet into the skillet. Allow the salmon to sear, undisturbed, for about 4-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. The salmon should be about ¾ cooked through. Gently flip the fillet and allow it to brown on the other side for another 2-3 minutes until the center is barely pink. Remove from the skillet and transfer to a large plate to rest.

Use paper towels to wipe the interior of the skillet. Heat ½ tablespoon of the oil over medium-low heat. Crack 2 Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs in the skillet and fry until the center has set and the whites are opaque. Sprinkle each egg with salt. Transfer the fried eggs to a plate and repeat with the remaining oil and eggs.

Squeeze the lemon over the rested salmon fillet and cut into four even pieces.

Assemble the sandwiches by spreading sriracha mayonnaise inside each of the hamburger buns/rolls. Top the bottom of each bun/roll with lettuce, avocado slices, tomato slices, bacon strips, salmon piece and then a fried egg. Place the top of each bun/roll on and serve.

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*DISCLOSURE: As a brand ambassador for the Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I was compensated for the creation of this recipe and post. However, as always, all opinions are my own.*

Sunday Family Dinner – Po’ Boys and Tarts… Oh My!

May 2015 Sunday Family Dinner

Alright. Want to know why it’s taken this long to recap May’s Sunday Family Dinner?

It’s because I was struggling for a week after it.

And I’m a tad upset. No one tells you that the hangover recovery time increases by a 100 when you get older.😦

Oh…and I should mention that it was due to the below shenanigans that started it all.

May 2015 Sunday Family Dinner

Yup.

It was my birthday and this “thirty-something” bday gal thought it would be a “smart” idea to channel her old college self and hire a party bus to shuttle a bunch of her friends and family around for six hours……to, you know…..hang out.

Let’s just say, a lot of mischief can occur when you have a party bus stocked with 2 coolers filled with libations and jello shots. We stopped at four rad local Orange County breweries: Bootlegger’s Brewery, Noble Ale Works, Bottle Logic Brewing, and The Bruery. It was a FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC time and we even made it out to a local spot for a few night caps and to shake our booties. Yes, friends…it was 11+ hours of what seemed to be endless escapades.

We were Rock Stars.

Which is also why the STRUGGLE WAS REAL when we managed to get our act together the next day for Sunday Family Dinner. But luckily we had the foresight to keep things simple.

For starters… COCKTAILS! Because apparently we didn’t’ have enough the night before😉

Spiced-Tajin Citrus Margaritas!

May 2015 Sunday Family Dinner

Initially we had wanted to do something Surf and Turf but couldn’t really settle on one particular dish that we could all agree on.

So, to satisfy my “turf” craving, seester T made these little decadent bites. Seared ribeye steaks that were then thinly sliced and stacked on top of toasted bread. But it was all about the sauce that she came up with…. a super rich Truffled-Pâté-Thyme Sauce.

HOLY MOLY.

That sauce tho’…..❤

May 2015 Sunday Family Dinner

As for the “surf”….eldest seester suggested Seafood Po’ Boys and we were all about it!

For the Po’ Boys, I ended up soaking a bunch of oysters and shrimp in a spiced buttermilk bath before dredging it in a cornmeal-flour mix. A quick fry for a minute or two and they were perfect!

May 2015 Sunday Family Dinner

And of course, since it was my burf-day, there had to be bacon. Lots of it.

May 2015 Sunday Family Dinner

To put it all together we schmeared a sriracha aioli inside a toasted baguette, mixed greens, ripe tomatoes, a few slices of creamy avocado, thick-cut crispy bacon and of course–the crunchy oysters and shrimp.

YOWZA MOWZA!

Even HUNGOVER we knocked it out of the park!

Perhaps it’s our superhero power….

May 2015 Sunday Family Dinner

Oh! And because I am a carb monster….there had to be my favorite starchy love– potatoes.

May 2015 Sunday Family Dinner

This time around, I opted for a German Potato Salad…..

Potatoes, bacon….HEO YEAH! Especially when there’s not a heavy sauce. I slightly adapted the recipe from The Lucky Penny by adding extra herbs, chili flakes, chili powder and sriracha.

Heavenly.

As for a birthday cake? That’s not really not my thing despite how many birthday cakes/cupcakes I end up making. True….chocolate is my fav but a very close second is something with citrus.

I adore citrus.

So eldest seester indulged me and made this fantabulous Lime-Fruit Tart.  A buttery shortbread crust with lime curd, a cranberry sauce and fresh fruit.

LOVE.❤

 

May 2015 Sunday Family Dinner

With that, dear friends, wrapped up the most perfect birthday-palooza.

And yes, I finally recovered:)

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Spiced-Tajin Citrus Margaritas
Appetizers: Ribeye Crostini with Truffled-Pâté-Thyme Sauce.
Entrees: Bacon-Avocado Po’Boys with German Potato Salad
Dessert: Lime Fruit Tart

We’re 5 Today!! Plus Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy Grits and a $100 AmEx® GiftCard GIVEAWAY!!

Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy GritsMan, oh man!

We’re F-I-V-E today!!! For real, for real— as in, I’ve been rambling about food, family, and absolutely random things for 5 YEARS!

Holy Moly!!!

Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy GritsThese past five years have been filled with quite the Foodventures and every foray into the kitchen still brings surprising successes, utter failures and always new takeaways. It’s never a dull moment!

And I kind of dig how my palette has changed over the years. Dishes I used to despise are now the ones I crave and are obsessed with making. Things I used to think I couldn’t live without are now nowhere to be found in my kitchen.

Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy GritsWhich is why for our 5th blogiversary, I opted to make this utterly decadent, stick-to-your-ribs Bacon & Cheesy Grits. Because believe it or not, I used to hate grits. Well…anything of that similar texture. Oatmeal, porridge, cream of wheat— all of it. Bleh!

But then one day, I woke up and the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the forest animals were frolicking and a bowl of shrimp & grits somehow magically appeared in front of me.

And my life was changed. Luscious, cheesy, goodness. Mind blown.

So I’m pretty certain you’ll love them too. Not to mention it’s super easy to make.

Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy GritsAnd because y’all have stuck with me throughout these past few years and have followed my random musings, we’re having a fantabulous (did I just use that word??) $100 American Express® GiftCard GIVEAWAY for one of our lucky readers. I don’t know about you but it may come in handy with the holidays coming up.

Want to know how to win?

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There are six (6) different ways for you to enter!  Please be sure to leave a separate comment for each indicating which of the below you did: This Giveaway has ended- THANKS!

  1. Leave a comment sharing what dish do you now love but didn’t like before;
  2. Subscribe to The Culinary Chronicles & get automatic emails when new posts are published (If you already Subscribe, leave a comment indicating so);
  3. Like our Facebook Fan Page (If you already “Like” us, leave a comment indicating so); or
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The deadline to enter is Monday, November 17th at 5pm (PST) and the winner will be notified the next day. This Giveaway has ended- THANKS!

And with that dear friends, thanks again for all of your support and here’s to another five years of delicious and entertaining Foodventures!!!

Alohas❤

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Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy Grits
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 tablespoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (or other Cajun spice blend)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon garlic salt
black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 scallions, chopped, more to garnish
3¼ cups low sodium chicken stock
kosher salt
1 cup grits
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, more to garnish
3 slices bacon, diced
½ cup minced shallots
1 cup finely diced bell peppers (assorted colors)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup dry white wine
3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a bowl, mix the shrimp with the hot sauce, Old Bay Seasoning, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, olive oil and chopped scallions. Set aside.

In a heavy bottom pot, bring the chicken stock to a rolling boil with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Slowly whisk in the grits and cook until the grits have thickened and become tender. For quick grits, this will take about 5-7 minutes over medium heat. For regular grits, simmer for about 25 minutes. Once done, stir in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Cover and keep warm.

In a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottom skillet. Slowly sauté the bacon until it becomes crispy and the fat has rendered down—about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the bacon bits to a plate covered with paper towels. Reserve one tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan and discard the rest. Sauté shallots in the bacon drippings until translucent. Add the diced bell peppers and cook for an additional two minutes. Add the garlic and shrimp and cook until the shrimp just begins to turn pink—about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the skillet. Turn the heat to medium high and pour in the white wine. Use a wooden spoon and scrape the bottom of the skillet to release all the brown bits. Allow the wine to come to a boil and reduce the liquid for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining butter, Worcestershire sauce, and red chili flakes. Add the shrimp back into the skillet and allow the items to cook for an additional minute. Taste and season as needed.

Divide the cheesy grits amongst four bowls and top each mound with the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle each bowl with the additional cheddar cheese, scallions and crispy bacon. Serve immediately.