Monday, March 12, 2018


After reading about BACON JAM for quite a while now, I finally made a opinion? WOW, where has this been all my life? Sticky, sweet, smokey, bacon-y, yummy..........It is excellent right off the spoon on toast, burgers, grilled cheese, scrambled eggs and even as an accent on pizza!!

The Internet has dozens of recipes for bacon jam: some with bourbon, some with tomato, some with pineapple, etc. etc. etc.  I decided on a basic, no frill, bacon jam recipe and the result was yummy!!! 

1 pound bacon cut into thin strips  
2 medium size sweet onions (like Vidalia) (thinly sliced)
1 teaspoon SMOKED paprika
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup REAL maple syrup(not pancake syrup)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper (use less if fine ground)
pinch of cayenne pepper

Cook the bacon in a large fry pan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, to separate the pieces.

Remove the bacon when it starts to crisp up (but before it gets hard-crisp). Drain on paper towels (save 2 tablespoons of the fat).

In 2 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat, saute two thinly sliced onions until soft and translucent (takes about 8 minutes or so).

Sprinkle the onions with the smoked paprika and stir until coated. Add 1/2 cup of water and scrape the bottom of the pan to get any bits loosened up.

Add the maple syrup, brown sugar, cooked bacon, vinegar, salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir and bring to a strong simmer (but not a boil).

Simmer (stirring every couple of minutes)until it starts to thicken a takes about 10 minutes. (see important note below)

While still hot, put the mixture into the food processor and pulse it several times to chop everything up into a "jam".

That's it!! It tastes best at room temperature, but be sure to keep it in the fridge. It stays good in the fridge for two weeks, but it doesn't last that long at our house.

NOTE: I use kitchen scissors to cut my raw bacon into 1/4" slices. Since the jam goes into the food processor at the end of the recipe, you can cut the bacon into any size pieces you want. However, I've found that cutting the bacon into thin strips, helps them separate in the frying pan faster.

NOTE: When deciding how long to cook this jam....keep in mind that when the jam chills in the refrigerator, it gets MUCH thicker. If you cook the jam to a THICK consistency while it's still in the pan, it will be hard like a rock once it's chilled.

NOTE: This jam (at least to me) tastes the best at room temperature. So, take it out of the fridge a little before you want to eat/use it.

NOTE: There is no guaranteed safe recipe for canning bacon jam and making it stable and safe for shelf storage.

Note: Original recipe from Noble Pig recipe blog, with adaptations by me.....I couldn't help myself.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


Sesame Chicken is my Picky-Picky husbands all time favorite. I'm glad, since it's very easy to make. It is sweetish, sticky-ish, quick and easy-ish......and makes an easy weeknight favorite.

It is my opinion, that boneless-skinless chicken thighs make the BEST Sesame Chicken because they are super moist and flavorful (chicken breast tends to get a little dry). Picky-Picky hubby says he HATES chicken thighs (but he loves this recipe) so I just don't mention that it's made with thighs (snicker).

Cut 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 1" pieces (maybe a little bigger). Put them in a bowl that has about 1 cup of flour in it (no other seasonings). Take chicken pieces out of flour, shaking off excess. In another bowl, whisk an egg with a tablespoon of water and put the flour coated chicken pieces into the egg bowl, stir to coat....then back into the flour bowl. Toss to coat with flour (a second time) shaking off excess flour.

In a fry pan (I use my electric skillet), brown the chicken pieces in a couple tablespoons vegetable oil (takes about 3 minutes or so per side). Drain them on paper towels.

In a sauce pan, mix:
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 
1 tablespoon soy sauce
pinch of cayenne

Mix well and bring to a gentle boil. Let it simmer (gently) for a couple of minutes, then add the fried chicken pieces, stirring to coat. Let the chicken simmer gently in the sauce until it thickens a little(takes just a very few minutes).

Serve over hot buttered rice and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
To toast the sesame seeds, just put them in a DRY fry pan, over med-high heat for a minute or so, till light golden (stirring).


Monday, March 5, 2018


Croutons are a big part of any good salad, but I tend to shy away from commercial ones for a couple of reasons. First, they are expensive and secondly they can be teeth breaking-ly hard (is that a  real word?).

This is a very simple crouton recipe that has a wonderful flavor and is a good use of that day old French bread in your kitchen. After the cubes are baked, just store them in an airtight container and they will stay crunchy for 2-3 days or you can put them in the freezer for longer storage.

Start off with a half a loaf of day old french bread. The amount of bread isn't really critical...just use what you have.

4 tablespoons olive oil (see note below)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I use the cheap kind w/ green cap)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt (more if you like a stronger flavor)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dry parsley flakes (not necessary, but pretty)

Cube the bread (or tear it up) into 3/4" pieces and spread them out on a cookie sheet.

Combine the olive oil, Parmesan, garlic salt and pepper (save parsley flakes for later in the recipe)and mix well. Dot the cheese mixture all over the bread cubes and toss very gently to distribute.

Spread seasoned bread cubes out on a cookie sheet so they aren't touching each other and bake in pre-heated 400° oven for 5 minutes. Depending on how small you make the bread cubes...5 minutes MAY be long enough to get a toasted crouton. If they aren't toasted enough, toss again and bake for another 5 minutes. Depending on how crunchy you like your croutons. Keep an eye on them, so they don't get too dark.

When they are done, sprinkle with the dried parsley flakes and toss.
Cool completely, then store in airtight container.

NOTE: Recipe calls for olive oil, but if I am going to eat them right away, I like to use melted butter (excellent flavor).

NOTE: Depending on what I intend to serve these croutons with, I sometimes add a pinch of cayenne to the cheese mixture.