Back to Basics: Perfect Oven Bacon

{part one}

CrispyBacon

One thing I noticed while blogging before is that I felt as if I had to come up with extremely unique recipes.  However, I realized more often than not I find myself researching general cooking tips and tricks.  By perfecting the basics, I then add to my recipe making it more unique.  Therefore, I decided to start to compile a list of my basic recipes.  Over the next few months, I am going to share recipes that I have spent many a time trying to get the perfect cooking method.

First up on the basics is many people’s favorite:  Bacon.

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I’ve fried, microwaved, broiled you name it to figure out the best way to produce a crispy piece of bacon.  I think I finally have the perfect method:  baking.  It is calling BAKE-ON, right?  Not FRY-ON.  This produces a perfectly crisp piece of bacon, prevents from getting a bacon grease burn, and your house won’t smell like bacon for days.

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It is also VERY important to buy quality bacon for the perfect piece.  Bacon is definitely not a Kroger brand item.  I mean come on, you are eating a delicious, fatty, 90 calories per slice piece of deliciousness, you might as well go big.  So no being stingy here.  Buy the good stuff, whether it is behind the meat counter or the Black Label for Hormel.  Inspect your bacon package too before tossing it into your cart.  Make sure it isn’t all white and fatty.  Now you want a good deal of the white, but definitely more meat part.

This method is fool-proof for the perfect piece of bacon.  If you like your bacon a little less crispy, just adjust the cook time.  Remember the bacon will continue to cook when you take it out of the oven, especially if you don’t immediately blot the grease.  On a scale of 1-10 how much are your craving bacon??

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Perfect Crispy oven bacon

 

Prep Time:  1 minutes   |||   Cook TIme: 15-18 minutes   |||   Servings: 4  |||   Difficulty: Low

Ingredients:
BACON

Directions:
1.  Remove bacon from packaging and blot with a paper towel to remove any present moisture.

2.  Place on a baking sheet, do not overcrowd.

3.  Put the baking sheets in the oven and turn on to 400 degrees.  This is very important!  Do not preheat the oven.  The oven will heat while slowly baking the bacon.

4.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway through the baking time.

5.  Remove from oven once just nearly crisp and place on a piece of paper towel.

6.  Blot with paper towel removing the excess grease.

Serve & enjoy :)

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Simple Fresh Herbed Reds

{meat & potatoes}

herbedpots

Another side dish strikes again!  I love red potatoes.  Well, I love potatoes.  However, I know my body doesn’t necessarily need the sugars and carbs that come along with them.  However, for some reason I pretend eating red potatoes is healthier.

I’ve made them every which way:  mashed, smashed, boiled, roasted, potato salad, sauted into a hash.  Their mild flavor allows any flavor to stick nicely to them.  Also, their small shape results in a quick cooking potato.  My go-to definitely is a simple roasted red potato.  I usually quarter them and then roast with some olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Boom.  Done and done.  However, the night I decided to make these I had no intention of putting on the oven (I had the self cleaner on and it already made the house hot enough).

Now, my method for making this little side dish isn’t the most nutrient-saver friendly, but it was quick and tasty.  Sometimes, quick and tasty are my best friends.  I took a few of the potatoes (washed) and put them into a plastic bag and cut a small vent.  Into the microwave they went to steam to perfection.  It was about 6-8 minutes until they were fork tender.  Tossed them in my fresh herbs and plated them with our spicy sausages.

Sometimes there’s just something delicious and comforting about a basic meat and potatoes dinner.  This super simple side dish is ready in minutes, but tastes fresh & flavorful.  If you are a busy mom/dad/person, this is something to add to your “quick dinners” list.  They go well with any type of meat, poultry or fish.  Afraid of the ol’ microwave?  Half the potatoes and roast in the oven then toss with the herbs.

I hope you all are having a great week thus far and enjoying our beautiful summer weather!  Speaking of… wouldn’t these potatoes pair nicely with a delicious juicy grilled steak??

simple fresh herbed red potatoes

Recipe By:  Sara
Prep Time:  5 minutes   |||   Cook TIme:  6-8 minutes   |||   Servings: 2 |||   Difficult Level:  Way Low

Ingredients:
6-8 medium red potatoes
1 Tbsp extra virg olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp fresh sage
1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Directions:
1.  In a ziplock bag, place the clean potatoes and close.  Pierce a small hole for a vent.
2.  Microwave for 6-8 minutes or until fork tender.
3.  While they cook, chop the herbs then combine with the oil, salt, pepper and parm.  Stir to combine.
4.  Carefully remove from the steam bag from the microwave.  Let cool 1 minute.
5.  Remove potatoes and half them.  Instantly toss with the oil/herb mixture.  The heat from the inner potato will warm and wilt the herbs.
6.  Serve immediately.

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Enjoy!

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Ode to the Jicama

{hic-a-ma}

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There are a ton of fruits & vegetables that go unnoticed at the store.  As creatures of habit, we tend to stick to the basics – lettuce, carrots, potatoes, green beans.  Next time you go to the store really look around and take in the incredible variety around you.

A few years ago, I spotted this interesting tuber-like veggie? fruit? potato?

IMG_3440I placed the ugly little thing in my shopping cart and toted it home.  It sat on my counter for a few days until I did enough research to know how it is typically prepared.

The jicama is also known as a Mexican turnip or yam.  It is typically eaten raw, paired with chili powder, cilantro, onion, etc.  Very similar to the basic ingredients in a salsa.   The texture is like that of a raw potato or crisp apple.  The taste is relatively sweet, a bit starchy, and super crunchy & fresh.

My first experience with the old jicama consisted of the basics.  I julienned it and tossed with cilantro, lime juice, red onion, salt, pepper, cayenne [ingredients similar to those in my Pineapple Salsa].  A refreshing raw salad.  This time I wanted to add a bit more umph to salad.  I had some delicious Cara Cara oranges & Meyer lemons in my fridge so I decided to create a tropical, citrus jicama salad.

It turned out to be a perfect combination of flavors: starchy, sweet, sour, spicy and tasted amazing.  I had a bottle of dried, toasted coconut pieces (typically used for baking) that brought the whole thing together.  This bottle was purchased at Home Goods.  If you can’t find something like it, I suggest just toasting some shredded coconut to put on top.

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I really enjoyed this unique salad and it made me stray from the typical fruits & veggies that end up in my shopping cart.  If you are trying to broaden your palate, start with the jicama.  Its mellow flavor isn’t something super adventurous or weird.  Although pretty high in carbs, it has a lot of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for the body, including an abundance of your daily dose of fiber.  So next time you are at your grocery store, pass by the boring white potatoes and pick up a jicama!

tropical Citrus jicama salad
Recipe By: Sara
Hands-on Time:  15 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  0 minutes   ///   Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 large jicama, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
2 oranges, peeled & cut into segments
1 Meyer lemon
2 Tbsp red onion, minced
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp Mango Masala sea salt [use kosher salt if you don’t buy this :)]
1 Tbsp toasted coconut pieces or chopped shredded coconut
1 tsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:
1.  In a small bowl, combine the juice from the lemon, salt, coconut oil and pepper.  Stir to combine.
2.  In a serving bowl, toss together the red onion, jicama, and cilantro.
3.  Drizzle the mixture over the jicama.
4.  Top with orange segments and toasted coconut.
5.  Chill until ready to serve.

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enjoy!

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Simple Spicy Asian Slaw

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I may sound like a broken record, but once again I fell off the clean eating band wagon and am pulling myself back on.  This past weekend Bryan and I went out to dinner to celebrate our 3 year/Valentine’s Day.  Needless to say, I always struggle to be healthy when going out to eat especially for special occasions.  We shared an amazing caramelized bacon pimento cheese spread accompanied by homemade pretzel rolls, drank wine, and I smashed my face into a Seafood Risotto.  Langoustines & Shrimp with mushrooms and peas drizzled with a vanilla butter.  Omg.  Check out my instagram for the picture.

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The one two three glasses of wine plus a few after dinner shots at the bar lead to.. well… a difficult Sunday.  Hangover city.  The only cure.  McDonalds nuggets + fries + fountain pop.  Not so clean eating.

So here I am again, yet another week gone and still struggling to stay on the clean eating train.  But similar to every Sunday I pledged to myself to go to the store, meal plan, schedule work outs, and stop being doughie.

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I grabbed a head of cabbage (that was so cheap!!) and decided to try out an asian slaw.  I didn’t want to put too much into the slaw to keep it simple and all about the star of the show, the cabbage.  Now, I know that soy sauce contains a large amount of sodium (that’s why I used the low-sodium version, duh) and isn’t necessarily clean, but considering how great cabbage is for you it doesn’t matter.

I had the slaw as just a simple lunch and it kept me full for awhile.  It keeps well in the fridge and doesn’t even get soggy due to the thickness of the cabbage.  I ate it for several meals and even as a small snack.  Pair it as a side with any stir fry dish or pile it on top of some delicious fish tacos!  Yum.

asianslaw

Simple Spicy asian Slaw

Hands On Time:  15 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  0 minutes   ///   Servings:  4

Ingredients
1/2 head of green cabbage, cut into thin slices
3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp Sriracha (or more if you want really spicy)
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp Sesame Ginger salad dressing
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
salt & pepper
sesame seeds (optional)

Directions
1.  In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the cabbage & cilantro.  Whisk to thoroughly combine and season.
2.  Drizzle over the cabbage and stir in the cilantro and sesame seeds if you are using them.
3.  Place in fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.

Enjoy.

 

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