Recipe // Loaded BLT Sandwiches

LoadedBLTSandwichesClassic BLT’s get even better with the addition of avocado, pepper jack cheese, and spicy Ranch dressing in these Loaded BLT Sandwiches. A great and easy way to update a favorite.

BLT-4 BLT-1 BLT-2Loaded BLT Sandwich (via):

2 pieces of sourdough or bread of your choice
mayo
spicy ranch dressing
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 an avocado, sliced
3 or 4 leafs of iceberg lettuce
2 slices of pepper jack cheese
6 pieces of bacon
ground black pepper

Cover a baking sheet in aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place bacon on the baking sheet, sprinkle with black pepper, and place into a cold oven. Cook the bacon until the oven is preheated to 400 degrees, continue baking until desired crispiness. Blot the bacon with paper towels to remove grease before adding to the sandwich.

While bacon is cooking, slice the tomatoes, avocado, lettuce and pepper jack cheese. Coat one side of each slice of bread first with a thin layer of mayo followed by a thicker layer of spicy ranch. Assemble the sandwich in this order, bottom to top: bread, lettuce, avocado, hot bacon, pepper jack cheese, tomato, and the final slice of bread. Serve immediately.

Baked Potato Dip

Baked_Potato_DipI kid you not, this dip tastes straight up like a loaded baked potato. Absolutely delicious and oh-so-easy! Perfect flavor to go with a backyard barbecue or to simply spice up your bland everyday potato chips.

BakedPotatoBaked Potato Dip:

16 ounces sour cream
16 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled OR the cheater way (i.e. my way) 2 2.5 oz bags pre-crumbled real bacon pieces
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions or chives

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together. Garnish with extra shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and chopped chives. Serve with your favorite potato chips.

Recipe Inspired by Ireland

This is a guest post from Laura at astimegoesbuy blog while I’m away on vacation in Ireland.  Make sure to check out Laura’s blog for lots of other great blog posts about fashion, life, and food.
 

I love Ireland, no seriously, I REALLY LOVE Ireland!

Dublin is in my top five cities of the world and if I didn’t currently live in Australia, I would be living in Dublin. And as our dear friend, Megan, from The Thread Affect is on holiday in Ireland, it got me thinking about the Emerald Isle.

For a large part of both the population of the US and Australia, we can trace our “roots” and heritage back to Ireland, so going there on holiday is in a sense going home. A few years ago, my husband, also known as The Fashion Mister and I, made our pilgrimage back to the homeland. Our first stop was in Dublin. We were there to do the standard tourist things but also to meet up with some of the Irish Clan.

At our first meal in Dublin we stayed at the hotel and went to the restaurant for lunch. They were serving a buffet style meal and it meant we didn’t have to stray too far. As I worked my way through the line I noticed they served potatoes three, yes THREE, different ways, and it seemed you had to have at least two versions on your plate or you couldn’t proceed!

Little did I know that this was merely the beginning of the potato feast during our two week stay! We quickly learned that everything is better with potato and bacon. If you could fit cabbage into the mix all the better!

In fact colcannon, a traditional Irish dish of mashed potato with kale or cabbage, is often topped off with a little bacon. It’s this delicious Irish dish that inspired me when I returned to make what has now become a family favorite, Colcannon Soup.

Colcannon Soup

Prep time:   20 minutes
Cook time:   1 ¼ hours
Serves:        approx. 6

Ingredients:

3.5 oz (100 ml) olive oil
1 white cabbage, cored & shredded
6 oz (175 ml) white wine
3 large potatoes, coarsely chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
6 thick slices of pork belly
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
7 oz (200 ml) double cream (sour cream works nicely too)
Salt & pepper

Directions:

Heat 5 tablespoons of the oil in a large pan. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until softened but not colored. Add the white wine, potatoes, onions, and nutmeg and pour in enough water to cover. Add the pork belly and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for about 1 hour, until the meat is tender.

Remove the meat with a slotted spoon, Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan. Add the garlic and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, until it is just beginning to color. If necessary, reheat the soup (I often return it to the hot pan and keep it covered to keep it warm during this step.

Serve the soup hot in bowls with a swirl of cream and the garlic chips. Serve the pork belly either in the soup or separately on slices of toasted rustic bread.

This soup is divine. Haven’t met a soul yet that doesn’t go back for more!

Autumn Chopped Salad

**Photo Courtesy of Richard Swearinger, BHG Food Editor**

While searching for a Thanksgiving-esque salad, I wanted both the ingredients and the preparation to be a simple, no-fuss recipe, which is what I discovered in this Autumn Chopped Salad (original recipe here and here).  All the ingredients, minus the pears, were able to be bought prepackaged, measured, and thrown in the bowl in less than five minutes.  From the verbal praise to the requests for the recipe, I can conclude that the family definitely enjoyed this new spin on a sometimes forgotten Thanksgiving side dish.

Ingredients:

–  6 to 8 cups romaine lettuce
–  2 medium pears, chopped
–  1 cup dried cranberries
–  1 cup chopped pecans
–  4 to 6 oz bacon bits
–  4 to 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
–  Poppy Seed Salad Dressing
–  Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Instructions:

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon, and feta cheese.  In a measuring cup, add 3/4 c Poppy Seed salad dressing and 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing; mix together and drizzle over the salad.