Recipes to Share

Monday, March 22, 2010

bacon: my way

"And please make sure the bacon is extra crispy."

I still hear my mom's voice as she kindly insisted that the waiter personally see to it that her bacon is prepared just right. This is what she requested every. single. time. I used to be a little embarrassed that she was so particular about bacon. I mean - it's just bacon, right?

Now I'm older. I'm wiser. I see the benefits to having bacon prepared properly. And like my mom, I've totally become a bacon snob. And today, I'm pleased to announce that I have officially nailed it. I totally have it down for making the best bacon ever. Mom, you'd be so proud. I can't wait to make you a batch of crispy bacon.

So I'm sharing with you my bacon secrets. Of course there are many "right" ways to make bacon. This is my way. I invite you to share your own bacon tips in the comments.

Shall we call it ... BECKY BACON (??)

I can't claim much in the kitchen. I really don't make up recipes. And David claims to be better than me at most things in the kitchen. So yes, we will call this Becky Bacon. It has taken me years to perfect the art of getting this right.

1. Use a baking stone (make sure it has edges because the grease will puddle!) from Pampered Chef. I've used this one for bacon (and many other things) for 10-15 years.

2. Do it in the oven, not on top of the stove. This reason alone is worth it: Much cleaner. No splattery mess on your stove top.

3. Convection temperature set at 400 (which means that my oven automatically stops at 375 degrees because I set it on convection).

4. 40 minutes. Leave the bacon alone for 40 minutes. No flipping. Nothing. And I don't cover it. After 40 minutes, the bacon should look crispy, verging on sightly burnt.

5. Upon removal, the bacon comes off the stone and onto a plate with paper towels ready to absorb the dripping grease.

6. Allow to settle and cool a little and get a little more crispy here for a few minutes.

That's it. I'm telling you -- it will melt like buttah in your mouth. And if you happen to need to crumple the bacon for, say, an omelet or a recipe like this one, well then -- you will love how the bacon just falls apart.

And since I know a few of you are wondering ... yes, I totally use disposable rubber gloves to crumple my bacon.


Added note: My friend just sent me a picture of her black bacon. Oops! This is a friendly reminder to anyone making bacon in the oven ... to WATCH your bacon. Each oven is different. Just watch for it to get crispy and to start getting dark like it wants to start thinking about being burnt. Don't just rely on my 40 minutes. : )

Thursday, March 11, 2010

turkey sandwich

I don't know about you, but I find myself remembering that certain foods exist once in a while. Like sprouts. My friend mentioned them the other day and I remembered that I actually quite enjoy sprouts and needed to reintroduce them to my sandwiches.

Hello, sprouts. Nice to taste you again. (Actually, I think it's more of a textural thing for me.) Anyway, this is the way I'm enjoying a turkey sandwich for lunch these days.


whole wheat bread
tukey, thinly sliced
Harvati cheese
cucumbers, thinly sliced
avocado, sliced
salt & pepper

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

chicken-corn-blue cheese salad

Okay, so that's kind of a lame name for a salad but who cares? I'm just focused on the yum factor.

Most of the recipes I share are ones I either found online or in a magazine or from a friend. I don't consider myself original in the kitchen by any means. That's not where I am creative. But I saw this concept somewhere and David & I improvised and changed things up a bit. I guess that makes this recipe our own little creation.


[ dressing ]

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. honey
salt & pepper

[ salad ]

6-8 c. loosely packed baby mixed greens
2 large tomatoes, sliced into wedges
2 c. shredded pieces from a rotisserie chicken (pick it up at the store already cooked)
1 c. sweet corn, thawed if frozen
1/3 c. crumpled blue cheese
1/2 c. glazed walnuts or pecans

Put the salad together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss the dressing with the salad and serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

apple pear salad

In our family, we love Costco for many reasons. The most recent reason? This recipe. Came across it in The Costco Connection magazine, actually. Made this for the first time last night and oh. my. goodness. We are so hooked. Absolutely, positively our new favorite salad. Thank you, Costco.


[ dressing ]

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. orange juice
3 Tbsp. pecan halves, chopped (we prefer glazed pecans)
2 Tbsp. honey
Sea salt
Black pepper, ground

[ salad ]

6 c. loosely packed baby mixed greens
1 apple pear, halved, cored, and sliced into thin wedges
*NOTE: We used a pear and an apple, which worked just fine too
1/3 c. pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries
1/3 c. feta cheese

Friday, November 27, 2009

butter-pecan sweet potatoes

This recipe comes straight from, where we have found some of our very favorite recipes. We are sweet potato fans, and this version is so savory and sweet, but not in an "overloaded" way.


8 medium sweet potatoes (5 lbs.)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
coarse salt
2 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1/3 c. pecan pieces
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel potatoes and halve lengthwise; slice crosswise 1/2 inch thick. On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with olive oil; season with coarse salt.

2. Transfer half the potatoes to a second baking sheet; cook both sheets until potatoes are tender, tossing occasionally, 25-30 minutes.

(Note: To make ahead (up to 5 hours) prepare recipe through step 2. Cool; cover and refrigerate. About 15 minutes before ready to serve, proceed with recipe.

3. Sprinkle with butter, brown sugar, pecan pieces, and cayenne pepper, dividing evenly. Bake until sugar is caramelized and hard, about 10 minutes. Gently toss; serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

mom's chocolate chip cookies

I don't know that I need to say more. They're Mom's cookies, so they're the best. My mom is known for a few things. Counted cross-stitching is one of them. Chocolate chip cookies is another. And it's no wonder. Everyone loves them. And she makes them all the time. For all sorts of occasions. For every occasion.


2/3 c. shortening
2/3 c. butter (not margarine)
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped nuts
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix thoroughly first 6 ingredients. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop on ungreased baking stone. Bake 8 to 10 minutes at 375 degrees. This is a single recipe which makes about 7 dozen. Mom always makes a double batch.

Monday, October 5, 2009

best buttermilk pancakes & butter syrup

First of all, I want to be crystal-clear that this recipe is right from Martha Stewart's website. In fact, here's the direct link. I just wanted to share this because it's the recipe we decided to try for Sunday brunch yesterday. And it's unanimous. They are undeniably amazingly yummy. This is so going down in the Higgins' Favorite Recipes. David was the main chef, actually, so total kudos to him.


[ Makes nine 6-inch pancakes ]

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 c. buttermilk
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle

Heat griddle to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps. Heat oven to 175 degrees (for keeping the finished pancakes warm). Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter or reserved bacon fat onto griddle. Wipe off excess. Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven. Serve warm.

Says Martha's people: "The key to fluffy pancakes is not to overmix the batter; it should not be beaten smooth. If serving these pancakes with bacon, reserve half a teaspoon of bacon drippings to grease the griddle instead of butter."


And here's a perfectly complimentary -- and equally healthy (ha!) -- recipe to top those pancakes. This comes from my sister-in-law Heidi (thank you for sharing!).


1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 stick butter
1 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Melt together whipping cream, butter and sugar over low heat. Slowly increase heat until the mixture barely comes to a boil. Add vanilla & baking soda. Turn off heat while whisking continually until ready to serve.