I like to bake more than cook, but when I do cook, I prefer easy recipes. I like to use the ready-made biscuit and box items to make prep work easier on me. Here are some of my faves.
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 Bacon Appetizers

Bacon-Cheese Croquettes

  1. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan.
  2. Whisk in 1/3 cup flour until smooth, then 1 1/2 cups whole milk.
  3. Cook, whisking, 5 minutes.
  4. Add 8 chopped cooked bacon slices, 1/2 cup grated Manchego, 1 chopped scallion and a pinch each of salt and nutmeg;
  5. Chill. Form into 2-inch logs. Roll in flour, dredge in beaten eggs, then roll in panko breadcrumbs.
  6. Fry in 360 degrees F vegetable oil, 3 minutes.

Bacon Breadsticks

  1. Roll out 1 pound pizza dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle;
  2. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 cup each shredded cheddar and mozzarella, and 8 chopped cooked bacon slices.
  3. Roll up like a jelly roll, then press flat and roll out again to 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips and twist each strip.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees F, 18 minutes.

Bacon-Chive Biscuits

  1. Whisk 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons each baking powder and chopped chives, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
  2. Cut in 1 stick chopped cold butter.
  3. Stir in 4 chopped cooked bacon slices and 3/4 cup buttermilk until combined.
  4. Roll out to 1/2 inch thick on a floured surface; cut out 1-inch rounds.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F, 16 minutes.

Bacon Hushpuppies

  1. Whisk 3/4 cup cornmeal, 1/3 cup flour, 1 teaspoon each baking powder and sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon each baking soda and kosher salt.
  2. Whisk in 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1 large egg.
  3. Stir in 5 chopped cooked bacon slices and 2 chopped scallions.
  4. Deep-fry tablespoonfuls of the batter in 350 degrees F vegetable oil, 4 minutes

 

Gingerbread Scones with Eggnog Glaze

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold heavy cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
granulated sugar for sprinkling

Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons eggnog

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of cream, molasses and the egg. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, salt and cloves.
  2. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. With a fork, stir in the cream mixture until just combined. The dough will still be crumbly.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat into a 6-inch circle. Cut into 6 wedges and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with 1 tablespoon cream and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden, 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheet pan halfway through. Allow to cool on the sheet pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. While the scones cool, whisk together the powdered sugar and eggnog until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the scones. Allow the glaze to set, approximately 30 minutes, before serving.
  5. Store in an airtight container for up to 48 hours. Best when served the same day.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Serves 6-8

2 cups diced cooked chicken (about 1 1/2 pounds chicken), shredded
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese blend (or desired cheese combo)
1 (4.5 oz.) can chopped green chilies, undrained
1 package of flour or corn tortillas
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
1 (19 oz.) can enchilada sauce (or equivalent of homemade sauce)
1/4 cup medium green onions, sliced (optional, for garnish)

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Mix the chicken, 1 1/2 cups of cheese, and the chiles in a bowl together.
  3. Add a few spoonfuls of enchilada sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish and spread it evenly across the dish, then layer two tortillas on top of the sauce, making sure that the entire bottom of the dish and part of the sides are completely covered by the tortillas.
  4. Spread about half of the beans on top of the tortillas, followed by half the chicken mixture and then half of the enchilada sauce.
  5. Put another two tortillas on top of this layer, followed by the rest of the beans and chicken mixture.
  6. Add the rest of the enchilada sauce on top of these tortillas and finish by sprinkling the rest of the cheese (1 1/2 cups) on top.
  7. Cover the dish in foil and bake it for 45 to 55 minutes, or until bubbly (peek under the foil to check). Cheese
  8. Garnish with chips and cilantro if desired, then serve after letting the dish stand for about five minutes.

 

Herbed Potato Crisps

3 large potatoes
2 tablespoons oil
1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper…
1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon thyme
1⁄2 teaspoon sage
1⁄2 teaspoon rosemary
celery salt, to taste
garlic salt, to taste

  1. Pre-heat the oven to a high temperature.
  2. Cut the unpeeled potatoes into 1/4 inch slices.
  3. Place the potato slices on well-greased oven trays.
  4. Brush the potato slices with oil and a sprinkling of the pepper and herbs. (Alternatively, you can combine the oil, the pepper and the herbs in a bowl and toss the potato slices in the oil/herb mixture until they are well-coated – but this would take longer.).
  5. Bake the potato slices for about 20 minutes or until they are well-browned and crisp.
  6. Sprinkle with combined salts and serve.

 

Salted Caramel Popcorn

Makes about 16 cups of caramel corn

½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels (about 16 cups popped corn)
1 cup salted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup light corn syrup
1½ – 2 tsp kosher or sea salt, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
  3. Pop popcorn kernels using air popper into a large bowl.
  4. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and 1 tsp salt together over medium heat. Bring to boil. Boil for 4 minutes without stirring.
  5. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.
  6. Pour popcorn into lined pan, sprinkle remaining salt on top (1/2 tsp – 1 tsp depending on your personal taste preference) and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  7. Allow popcorn to cool on a parchment lined counter.
  8. You can add in 2 cups of nuts to the un-coated popcorn if desired! Coat with caramel as states!