Monday, December 30, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Meatballs with Roasted Butternut Squash

I am supposed to be taking down my Christmas decorations right now. I'm blogging instead. I had a great day at work and just spent a fun time making this dinner with #3. She is a great helper in the kitchen, up until it comes time to put food in the oven. She tends to forget that the oven gets preheated and she reaches in and grabs the oven racks every time we cook. I don't know why she does that. She's now sitting on the couch watching cartoons with an ice cube on her hand. Poor thing.

Tonight's dinner was a yummy find over at PaleOMG. It really was super easy to make, especially since my hubby bought me new knives for Christmas and I was able to cut the butternut squash like it was butter. So happy!

So that squash up there looks a little funny. It's prepped but not cooked yet. Cube a whole medium butternut squash into bite sized pieces and put onto a baking sheet that has a piece of parchment paper on it. Coat with 3 TBSP of melted bacon fat and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt. I used a very large butternut squash and doubled all the rest of the ingredients. I eyeballed the bacon fat so I don't think I used 6 TBSP and I probably could have still just used 3. I also used pink Himalayan sea salt because I have found I love the flavor. It's got a slightly sweeter taste than regular sea salt. At least both my husband and I think so.

Put the pan of prepped squash aside and start on the meatballs. In a large bowl combine 1 pound ground pork, 1/2 onion that has been diced, 2 cloves garlic that is minced, and a little salt and pepper to taste. I used my medium Pampered Chef scoop to make the perfect sized meatballs and this made about 20. The original recipe says it makes only 10, so if you want BIG meatballs and only want to make 10, use the big PC scoop.

So, depending on how many meatballs you have, take that many pieces of bacon and cut them in half. (20 meatballs = 20 pieces of bacon.) Place the 2 halfs of the bacon on top of each other overlapping to make an X, then place the meatball in the center. Wrap the bacon around the meatball then place the meatball bacon seam side down on a pan lined with parchment paper. In the pic of #3 above you can see her making the meatballs and placing them on the parchment paper.

Both the meatballs and the squash take 20-30 minutes to cook, so put both pans in the oven and cook at the same time. Mine took closer to the 30 minutes and came out perfectly.

Verdict: This meal is a keeper! If anything, the squash was just delicious. We all loved it. I can't wait to make it again.

Makes 20 Meatballs

1lb ground pork
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
20 pieces of bacon

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In large bowl, combine pork, diced onion, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well.
3. Using medium Pampered Chef Scoop, form 20 meatballs.
4. Slice bacon in half.
5. Take 2 pieces of bacon (1 full piece that’s been cut in half) and form an X. In the center place the meatball. Wrap the bacon around the meatball and place seam side down on the parchment paper.
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bacon is done.

Serves 4

1 medium butternut squash
3 TBSP bacon fat
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp Himalayan sea salt (or salt of choice)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Peel and dice butternut squash into bite sized pieces. Spread out on the parchment paper.
3. Melt bacon fat and drizzle over squash.
4. Sprinkle salt and seasonings over squash.
5. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until squash is tender.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sweet Potato, Bacon, and Egg Salad

I haven't blogged in a while. I'm really bad about that. So much has been happening around here. Hubby went back to work and has been working almost every weekend since the beginning of November, #2 turned 13, Christmas season was upon us, and the biggest change of all -- I went back to work. Right now I'm just the interim secretary at my church, but I might just be applying for the position once the church makes it available. It works out well to be there and the kids can come in with me and do their cyber school work in the church library while I'm working. Not a bad deal.

As for food, I've been sticking to easy meals. Some repeats, some new recipes, all Paleo friendly. The key things to remember when cooking Paleo is low carb, no grains, no refined sugar, lots of meat, veggies, and fat. Now, I'm not just talking bad fat, an avocado is fatty and good for you at the same time. All in moderation my friends.

With going back to work I'm now hunting down recipes that I can use for lunches. Of course I can always pack leftovers from dinner, but a lot of time we don't have leftovers. I do like buying flavored sausage links from my local Amish market because they are fresh and have no preservatives, but I just can't eat sausage every day. I found this recipe for a fun twist on egg salad. Keeping with the no preservatives theme, you need to make your own mayonnaise for this recipe. Don't get scared off, it's super easy. 1 egg, 2 tsp lemon juice, a generous pinch of salt, and 1 cup extra-light tasting olive oil. Follow the directions here and you'll have super yummy mayo that's healthy.

On to the lunch recipe! Hard boil 2 eggs, put in an ice bath, peel and dice. Dice 8 slices of bacon and cook for only 5 minutes. Peel and dice a medium sweet potato and add it to the bacon and cook until the bacon is done. Let the bacon and sweet potato mixture cool. In a container mix the diced eggs, 2 TBSP mayo, 2 TBSP lemon juice, 2 TBSP fresh dill (less if using dried dill.) Add the bacon and sweet potatoes when cooled. Mix up and eat warm or cold.

I'm actually looking forward to going to work tomorrow and eating this for lunch. I had a spoonful and it was tasty! Round this off with a piece of fruit, maybe some nuts, and I'm good to go.

Serves 2

1 medium sweet potato, diced
2 eggs
8 slices of bacon, diced
4 TBSP dill, finely chopped
2 TBSP mayonnaise (make it Paleo friendly with this recipe)
2 TBSP lemon juice

1. Hard boil the eggs, rinse in cold water or ice bath, peel, and dice.
2. Heat skillet on medium-high heat. When hot, add diced bacon and cook for 5 minutes.
3. While bacon is cooking, peel and dice sweet potato. After the 5 minutes, add sweet potato to bacon. Continue to cook until potato is tender and bacon is fully cooked. Let cool.
4. In a small bowl mix eggs, dill, mayonnaise, and lemon juice.
5. When sweet potatoes and bacon are cool add to egg mixture and mix to combine. Serve warm or cold.