Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Crazy Life! Catching up!

Whew! A free moment, which really isn't free, because there are a million and one things I should be doing, like finishing touches on the pageant programs, but I have felt so guilty all week for not getting my usual posts up! And I'm so far behind again... So I'm not going to do the usual rambling (lucky you!), I'm going to jump right into the food!

The first thing I want to share with you are these wonderful bacon wrapped green beans with brown sugar glaze. These have the most unique flavor, and they are amazing! I was so excited to try these out, simply because I typically purchase frozen green beans, and I never do anything special with them aside from adding some seasoned pepper. This time I bought fresh green beans, and I will definitely be doing this more often! Fresh is always better, it may not seem like it, but it's only just a tad bit more work than boiling frozen green beans or heating canned beans.... just have to allow a little bit more time for boiling.

These are quite simple. Preheat the oven to 400, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, lay your bacon strips out flat. Begin by boiling your fresh beans, boiling until they are tender.

Make sure not to overcook them, you don't want them to be limp!  Bake your bacon in the oven for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your bacon. You want it cooked about 3/4 of the way, NOT crispy, because you are going to have to wrap it around your beans. After your bacon is cooked, blot the grease off with a paper towel. Wrap each strip of bacon around 4 or 5 beans, placing each "bunch" back onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. While these are in the oven, heat 3 Tablespoons of butter, 1 clove minced garlic, and 1/4c. brown sugar on medium high heat. After you take baking sheet out of oven, drizzle this glaze all over each bunch. That's it! Super easy and definitely high on the "Yum" scale!

Next thing I'd like to share are "Apple Pie Fries". Now, I was in such a hurry the night I made these... I didn't have time to follow the recipe I had to use, and I simply used the concept and did my own thing. It was good, but because I had to leave the house and take the "pie" out of the oven two minutes before I walked out the door, I didn't have time to glaze the top crust with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture I had planned. They were good, but not great. If you like to bake, these would be fun to experiment with, making up your own "recipe" as you go! The recipe I used called for apple pie filling, however, I wasn't spending $4 on a can of apple pie filling when I have an entire fruit basket full of apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar at home! So I finely chopped my apples, added some brown sugar, cinnamon, and apple pie spice, and I then *attempted* to use my blender to make it into pie filling consistency.

I say attempted because I had a minor mishap... 
.... shortly after turning the blender on, I realized many of the apples were stuck to the sides of the blender. I figured I'd help those poor little apples out by using my spoon to push them down into the mix. DON'T DO THIS! 
....wouldn't you know that little spoon had a mind of it's own and jumped head first into the middle of  that pie filling, taking a little spin in the midst of the blender blades. (Yes... I *am* blaming the spoon... silly thing)
Well... the spoon fared well, but the blender not so much. By the time I had rescued the spoon, it was too late. The blender had burnt it's motor. So, what I had planned to be a puree-type of pie filling ended up being a chunkier type of filling. Not what I had intended, but I had short time and had to make do. 

So, for this, I used two ready made pie crusts, I find Meijer brand to be just as good as Pillsbury, 3 apples, about 1/2 cup brown sugar, and my chosen spices to taste. 

 Basically all I did was spread a thin layer of butter on the bottom pie crust. I then added my filling, and laid the top crust over top of that. I was very careful to pinch the two crusts together, making a sealed seam all along the edge of the pie. I cut a slits across the top, and baked for 30 minutes or so, until my apples were tender.

 Like I said, these didn't turn out as great as the would have been if I had not run out of time! I will be attempting these again soon, using the original recipe I found, with a few modifications. I will be using either apple butter or applesauce for the filling as well, to eliminate any need for the blender, and to minimize the amount of sugar needed to create a "filling" consistency.

These are my featured food of the week I'd say! I couldn't get enough of this meal. I think I had a third helping, which is very unusual for me!

White Chicken Lasagna Roll ups! You have to try these!
You're going to need boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders, Italian seasoning, alfredo sauce, either homemade or jarred, lasagna noodles, and your choice of shredded cheese. I used sharp cheddar.

I used 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into tenders, boiled, and seasoned with Italian seasoning.
While your chicken is boiling, boil your lasagna noodles. I boiled 11 noodles, which is 11 roll ups. After your noodles are cooked (don't overcook, soggy noodles won't work here!), drain them and run cool water over them. Lay them out on paper towels to dry, blotting the tops dry as well. Once your chicken is cooked, drain it and allow to cool while you spread alfredo sauce over each lasagna noodle. You will also want to pour a thin layer of alfredo into the bottom of your baking dish, to set the roll ups on top of. Once your chicken is cooled enough for comfortable handling, make a small pile of chicken at the end of each noodle and roll the noodle up, placing it in the dish. 

When all of your roll ups are in the dish, cover with the remaining alfredo sauce and then apply a generous covering of shredded cheese (more cheese is always better, right?!)

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted on top. These will not leave you disappointed! They went great with the parmesan asparagus I am going to share next!

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus
Preheat oven to 350, Snip the ends off of your asparagus, place in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, the asparagus should be lightly covered with oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over asaparagus, lay asparagus out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place back into oven until cheese is melted and lightly browned. 

Believe it or not, this was my very first time tasting asparagus! I think I'm in love! It is probably my new favorite veggie and I can not wait to make these again. 

I still have more to catch up on, but it will have to wait a while, as I have got to get back to my projects at hand! Again, thanks for the feedback! I enjoy hearing from all of you. :) 

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