Instead, I’m watching a disappointing football game (spoil it and tell me it gets better – I’m an entire half behind), trying to relax after hitting 6 or 7 stores in what will forever be known as the Great Cranberry Clusterdebacle of 2012, and wearing a shirt that smells like I burned 4 pieces of bacon at breakfast.
And that’s because I burned the bacon at breakfast.
But I didn’t burn the bacon at lunch. And that was important because it was the last of the bacon in the house and there’s no way I’m stepping foot into another grocery store until December 26th. At least.
Bacon and Pea Macaroni & Cheese
Dress up homemade macaroni and cheese with crispy bacon and green peas.
8 oz penne or macaroni pasta (I use Dreamfields)
8 oz frozen peas
4 thick slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use fat-free Greek)
Dash of hot sauce
4 oz cheddar, shredded
4 oz fontina, shredded (or other melt-friendly cheese - not more cheddar)
In a medium saute pan, cook the bacon to a crisp and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions, until al dente.
Add the peas to the pasta water in the last minute of cooking.
Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining the pasta and peas.
Return the pasta and peas to pot.
Add 1/4 cup pasta water (it must be hot), the yogurt, a few dashes of hot sauce, and 1/3 of the grated cheese and stir until the cheese has melted.
Stir in remaining cheese, one small handful at a time to prevent clumping.
Add additional pasta water as necessary to thin and melt the cheese sauce.
*Your nutritional count may vary based on the brands you’ve used. I use Dreamfields Pasta (because my dad is diabetic and can eat it without too much of a noticeable spike) and it has reduced impact on digestible carbs and might account for larger discrepancies in fiber and carbs per serving.
For those of you who’ve stopped by here a time or two, or have seen me clog your Twitter feed on a non-bye-week Sunday, you know I’m a big Texans fan. So it’s always a bit awkward and confusing when I have to launch into the “I’ve actually been a Colts fan for the last 15 years” story.
But that magical division realignment pitted my new Texans and my old-ish Colts against each other twice a year (and maybe 3!) in one of the happiest football-related things to ever happen to me. I always (try) to root for the home team.
With the abundance of winter citrus, we picked up a mountain of 5/$1 tangerines and turned several of those into a fun, seasonal twist on the classic pulled pork to christen the new Crock-Pot. A pork roast is slow cooked with tangerine juice, soy sauce, and spices and then the cooking liquid is reduced with more tangerine juice for a citrusy glaze. It’s sweet meets savory meets easy gameday eats.
The Crock-Pot isn’t just a lifesaver during the week, but it’s perfect for tailgating – pulled pork, chili, queso, and fancy meatballs go from counter-to-tent super easily. You can snag a Crock-Pot with your favorite NFL logo and impress the heck out of your tailgate-mates. Or upload a custom design and create a one-of-a-kind Crock-Pot!
Tangerine Pulled Pork with Thai Plum Barbecue Sauce
Pulled pork gets a seasonal gameday makeover with fresh tangerines.
For the roast:
1 large pork shoulder or roast (~7-8 lbs for a crowd)
1/2 cup tangerine juice (3-4 tangerines, 1 rind reserved and sliced thinly)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 garlic clove, smashed
Pinch of crushed red pepper
For the glaze:
2 cups of cooking liquid
1/2 cup tangerine juice
1/2 tangerine rind, sliced thinly
Brown sugar (optional)
For the barbecue sauce:
1/4 cup purchased Thai Plum Sauce
1/2 cup purchased barbecue sauce
Place the roast in the crockpot with the tangerine juice, rind, soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper, and garlic.
Cook on low 8-10 hours, until the meat is fall-apart tender.
Transfer 2 cups of cooking liquid (fat skimmed from top) to a medium saucepan and add the orange juice and tangerine rind.
Reduce for ~20 minutes over high heat until down to ~3/4 cup and then remove the rind.
Shred the pork roast and place in a large bowl or serving dish and pour the reduction over top, tossing to coat.
In a small bowl, mix the plum and barbecue sauces together and warm in the microwave.
For sandwiches, pile a generous scoop of pulled pork on top of a split roll and top with a spoonful of barbecue sauce.
Hey, look. It’s another super easy way to use up leftover cranberry sauce. And it only involves a little math:
1 part barbecue sauce
1 part cranberry sauce
3. Watch your husband dip a tester sweet potato fry in it and complain about it being too cranberry-y.
4. Add another part barbecue sauce.
7. Get approval from the barbecue sauce snob in the house.
8. Spoon it over pulled pork sandwiches. Or turkey sandwiches! And use the rest as a dipper for sweet potato fries.
9. Eat too much.
10. Declare the entire house a carb-free, lean-protein-only zone ’til Christmas.
11. Forget and eat a brownie for dessert.
Last week, we dug out a trusty old favorite for dinner, back from the early days of the blog: the croque monsieur. If you’re not familiar, it’s a hot ham & cheese sandwich topped with a cheesy cream sauce. It’s a total fork & knife sandwich.
And it’s faaaabulous.
While there are exactly zero things wrong with the classic, I wanted to put a seasonal spin on the croque monsieur with hatch chiles. A hatch chile croque monsieur.
We simmered chopped peppers to make a hatch-infused cream sauce and replaced the stinky gruyere with unstinky Monterrey Jack cheese. And then we added more chiles to the sandwich. After a short stint in the oven, our hot ham & cheese sandwich now had plenty of chile flavor and just a hint of warmth from the mild-to-medium peppers.
And it was time to grab a fork.
Hatch Chile Croque Monsieur
The classic French sandwich gets a makeover for hatch chile season.