Bacon & Chive Deviled Eggs

bacon chive deviled eggs | sunsets on the side

bacon chive deviled eggs | sunsets on the side

Are you guys into football?  Yeah.  Me, too.

I’m a huge NFL fan, and this year’s playoffs did not disappoint (well, except for the fact that my team wasn’t in them).  My husband and I just got back from a trip to Vegas, and it was nuts watching people who were betting on the championship games.  Seriously insane but thoroughly entertaining.  Kudos to everyone who won big last weekend, but the only thing I’ll be betting on for the Super Bowl is the fact that we’ll have a gigantic spread of food.

And, now that we’re in the lull between Championship Sunday and the Super Bowl, it’s a perfect time to plan out our recipes for the big day.  Sound good?

bacon & chive deviled eggs

Today, we’re starting with some dressed-up deviled eggs.  They really only require the additional step of cooking some bacon, but you end up with an appetizer that’s different and special.  These are great if you’re having people over because you can make them a day ahead of time.  And, bacon and eggs…just, yes.

Bacon & Chive Deviled Eggs
 
Author:
Makes: 18 pieces
Ingredients
  • 9 eggs
  • 4 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 tsp. cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 T. minced chives, plus more for garnish
  • Paprika
Instructions
  1. Place eggs in a pan of cold water (make sure the water completely covers the eggs). Bring it to a boil and then immediately turn off the heat. Leave the lid on the pot, and let eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain the eggs and run them under cold water until they’re cool enough to handle. Peel the eggs, slice them in half lengthwise, and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, place the bacon pieces in a non-stick skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until pieces are cooked through and start to get crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  4. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add the mayonnaise, ground mustard, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Mix with a hand mixer until totally smooth.
  5. Fold in the chives and almost all of the bacon (save some for garnish).
  6. Fill the eggs with the yolk mixture, sprinkle with remaining chives and bacon, and sprinkle the tops with paprika, if desired.

Bacon Poblano & Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese

bacon poblano blue mac and cheese

bacon poblano blue mac and cheese

People tend to have a go-to mac and cheese recipe.  You know, the one you can practically make in your sleep or, more accurately maybe, the one you find yourself dreaming about when you’re deep in the middle of that sleep.

Mine has no frills: butter, flour, milk, pasta, cheddar, salt and pepper.  Even the simplicity of it is comforting.  I’ve tried a lot of other recipes, but this one that my mom gave me is still my favorite.

However.

We got a little carried away buying cheese at the market on Saturday and came home with (among other things) a beautiful piece of blue cheese, 2-for-the-price-of-1 wedges of fontina, and a big piece of super sharp cheddar.

So, the mac and cheese plan sort of amped itself up.

bacon and poblano

I really liked the way this turned out.  You can taste the blue cheese in here without it being so bold that it’s overwhelming (e.g., I ate three huge helpings of this without any problem).  The smokiness that the rendered bacon adds to the sauce permeates the whole dish and really complements the tender poblano pieces.

Yum.

bacon poblano blue cheese mac and cheese

The only slight trick to this is getting the fat-to-flour ratio right when you’re thickening up your white sauce.  Since we’re using bacon – and all the goodness it leaves behind – you may or may not need to add butter (and, you may actually need to drain some fat off) before you throw in the flour and the milk.  Comfort is the order of the day when making mac and cheese, though, so no need to overthink it.  Just eyeball it and try to get what you think is 4T of fat in the pan before you add the flour.

So, don’t feel like you’re cheating on your go-to recipe here.  Just keep this one in your back pocket for all your happy, accidental cheese finds.

Bacon Poblano & Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 cups medium shell pasta
  • 7 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 medium poblano peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 T. unsalted butter
  • 4 T. flour
  • 3 ½ cups whole milk, warmed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 ½ cups shredded fontina
  • 1 ½ cups shredded extra sharp white cheddar
  • 2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup seasoned panko
  • 1 T. olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x12” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until the pieces are browned and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  4. Add poblanos to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  5. Add butter to the rendered bacon fat and let melt. (The amount of butter you need will depend on how much bacon fat you have in the pan. You want to aim for a ratio of 4T fat to 4T flour. I needed 1T. butter).
  6. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and cook together for one minute. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is thick. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add fontina, cheddar, and blue cheeses, and stir until totally melted.
  8. Combine the pasta, sauce, bacon, and poblanos, and stir to combine. Pour the mac and cheese into the prepared baking dish, and top with panko crumbs. Drizzle olive oil lightly over the top.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until pasta is bubbling, and crust is brown.

 

Swiss, Bacon & Almond Dip

swiss bacon and almond dip

swiss bacon and almond dip

A girl really can’t have too many dip recipes, am I right?

I’m forever needing new variations on appetizers, especially during football season and throughout the holidays.  And, hot dips are perfect to take when we trade houses with a couple of our good friends for game viewing occasions during the fall and winter.  Just pop it out of the oven, throw on some foil, and hit the road.

This particular dip feels a bit “Oktoberfest” to me.  With the mustard and the Swiss, it feels like something you’d want to slather on a brat.

Actually…

You could crush up some of the pretzel chips you’re using for dipping, stir them in, and then slap it on a brat.  Hmmm…

No, I didn’t.  I stuck with the dip.  But, that really does sound good…

Swiss, Bacon & Almond Dip
 
Author:
Makes: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 8 pieces of bacon, chopped
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. whole grain mustard
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Swiss cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Spread sliced almonds out into an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 4 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  3. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until pieces are browned and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, and black pepper until well combined. Stir in the scallions, swiss, and cooked bacon. Gently fold in the toasted almonds, leaving a handful for garnish at the end.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the top is brown and the dip is bubbling. Garnish with remaining almonds.
  6. Serve with pretzel chips or crackers.

Adapted from Rachael Ray.