Smoky Bacon Guacamole

Avocado, meet Bacon. Bacon, Avocado.

Last Christmas I dropped some major hints to Santa that I wanted a molcajete. For justification, I even drew up a list of all the things I could do with it… and at the top of that list was guacamole. Needless to say it showed up under our tree and it’s been used more times than I can count – a fact GamerMan to this day still finds as “astounding” because he totally thought it’d be more of a paperweight than a regularly used utensil. I.SHOWED.HIMSANTA

Fast forward to this weekend where I found myself wondering what I was going to do with extra bacon. In a previous life I would have eaten it on the spot, but now that I’m on my way to becoming a vegetarian (yea, you heard that right… and I think Hell just froze over too. who’s down to ski tomorrow!?) I had a serious debate to bag or toss it.

And just as I was about to pitch those crispy strips into the bin, I had an epiphany. BACONGUAC.

Smoky Bacon Guacamole

FTY Original – Serves 6

1/4 cup white onion, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 yellow chili peppers, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (+ to taste)
2 Haas avocados, pitted, skinned, and diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 lime, juiced (+ to taste)
4 strips center cut bacon, hickory smoked, minced

This recipe works best when using a molcajete since mashing the ingredients creates a more finely textured finished product. No molcajete? Use a bowl and remember… Amazon is your friend!

 

In a molcajete, combine onion, garlic, chilis, and salt and mash until no singular pieces remain. Seriously, this takes a while so if you’re down with the chunky guac, go for it. If you want the smooth texture, mashing down chilis with a molcajete pestle is majorly therapeutic.

Once mashed to your preference, add in avocado meat and mash to combine. Again, if you like chunkage, mash less. Prefer smooth? Mash mas!

Using a spoon, stir in the red chili flakes and cumin until combined. Add lime.

Stir in bacon bits and adjust spiceage to taste. Transfer to serving bowl and enjoy!

BONUS: I totally added 1/2 teaspoon of STUBB’S Hickory Liquid Smoke to my guac for an extra dose of smokiness. If you have some on hand, use it. If not, no biggs!

I’ll be a real vegetarian next week. Scouts honor!

Macaroni and Cheese Skillet Bake

Yum!

 

Seriously, is there anything more delicious than a big bowl of cheesy noodles? Other than a massive boozy concoction, I can think of nothing I’d rather stuff in my face.

Oh, right. A big bowl of cheesy noodles topped with MORE CHEESE and PANKO. Yum, twice.

Jessica tipped me off to this recipe and though I adapted it to our tastes, she gets ALL the credit for these yummies :)

Macaroni and Cheese Skillet Bake

(serves 4-6)

1 pound pasta (we used rigatoni)
1 shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup AP flour
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
8 ounces freshly grated gruyere cheese
8 ounces freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces freshly grated fontina cheese
salt & pepper
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375F. Grate cheeses and toss them together in a large bowl. Boil water and prepare pasta according to directions, cooking for 3-4 minutes less than called-for time.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in olive oil and butter, then throw in shallots with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add flour to the skillet then whisk constantly to create a roux. Let cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Pour in milk, stirring continuously for another 1-2 minutes. Add in most of the grated cheeses, reserving about 1 cup of grated cheese for topping. Stir continuously until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then taste and season more if desired. Add pasta to the skillet and toss thoroughly to coat.

Sprinkle the top of the mixture with remaining cheese, then breadcrumbs. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbly.

Enjoy immediately!

GamerGirl

Spicy Avocado Pasta

I’m about to rock your world.

No, really. I am. You see, avocados aren’t just for guac and sandwiches anymore. Oh no, they’re popping up in unexpected places.

Like your pasta. PASTA! Ha, bet you weren’t expecting that, eh?

After you get over the gross factor (it took me some time too, I won’t judge you), promise me you’ll make this. It’s quickly become my favorite pasta dish and is my go-to weekend lunch :) I swear you’ll love it too!

Avocado Pasta

(adapted from TwoPeasAndTheirPod)

2 servings of pasta (your choice – we used fettuccine)
1 ripe avocado meat, smashed
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cook pasta as directed on box. Before draining, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and return to pasta pot. Add into the pot the avocado meat, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt to taste and serve, adding more red pepper flakes as desired.

GamerGirl

Stuffed Mushrooms

Today GamerMan and I experienced the best part of wedding planning: FREE FOOD. Seriously, is there anything better than people trying to woo your taste buds with samples of nom noms? I think not.

Riley’s Farm, as always, did not disappoint. Everything we tasted was delicious (which is going to make it that much harder to pick between them, but really… can a girl ever have too many choices? ;) but it was their stuffed mushrooms that had me really excited.

So much so, that after we left I coerced GamerMan to make a stop at our grocer’s so I could pick up the fixin’s for dinner. NOMS.

Stuffed Mushrooms

(inspired by Riley’s Farm)

2 packages baby bella mushrooms (apx 25)
1 8oz package cream cheese (we use neufchatel)
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, finely diced
1 tablespoon chives, finely sliced
2 tablespoons parmesean cheese, finely grated
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons bacon bits (optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil // 1 liberal spray of PAM
1 plastic zip-top sandwich bag

Preheat oven to 375F.

Rinse mushrooms thoroughly to remove any clinging dirt. Remove stems, using a paring knife as needed to hollow out the center – you’ll need a good sized cavity for the cheesy filling! Place mushrooms cap-side up on a paper towel to drain excess water. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and spray with PAM/drizzle with olive oil to prevent mushrooms from sticking. Place mushrooms cap-side down on lined baking sheet and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whip the rest of the ingredients together with a hand blender. Scrape mixture into your zippy sandwich bag. With your fingers, guide the filling toward a bottom corner of the bag, snip the corner off (about a .5 inch diameter opening is plenty for this job), and squeeze mixture into mushroom caps. Top with additional parmesean if desired.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

 

GamerGirl