Monthly Archives: May 2014

Bacon Mac and Cheese

When I am in the mood for something decadent, this is my go to dish. The title may deceive you just a tad, because this is a dairy free dish. Don’t let that scare you! Try it my way or use full dairy products if you prefer. This is a great make ahead meal, because you can start it, pause, top, bake, and no one will know you started it this morning for dinner tonight!

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This recipe starts with? You guessed it! Bacon! Cut one-half pound of slab bacon into strips and brown in a large skillet over medium heat.

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Once the bacon is nicely browned and all the fat is rendered, remove from the skillet to a paper towel lined plate.

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This is where we get truly decadent, and why we do not eat like this every day. Leave the rendered bacon fat right where it is and add about one-half cup of flour to make the roux.

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Stir the roux until it takes on a nice sandy consistency.

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Add in one cup of plain almond milk and whisk until smooth. At this point it starts to look like a white gravy. You can also use plain soy milk or plain old cow’s milk if you prefer. As you continue making the sauce, add more of your milk of choice as the sauce thickens up too much. I typically use a total of two cups.

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Time to add in four ounces of your favorite dairy free cream cheese and two tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Or for the dairy crowd, four ounces of cream cheese and two tablespoons of parmigiana reggiano. Again, whisk until smooth.

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Add in four ounces of dairy free cheddar, whisk until smooth, and then add additional four ounces and whisk until smooth again. Cheddar cheese works here also.

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Add in four ounces of dairy free sour cream, and again whisk until smooth. I think you should be getting the idea by now, but full dairy sour cream would also work.

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What you end up with is this rich, decadent, dairy free cheese sauce. No one ever misses the dairy when I serve mac and cheese around here!

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Add back in half of the browned bacon, salt and ancho chili powder and stir well to combine. I used peppered bacon. If you used plain bacon, add in some fresh cracked black pepper here as well.

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While you were hard at work whisking, one pound of pasta will have cooked two minutes shy of the package directions. It will cook the rest of the way in the oven. For this recipe I used campanelle. Add the pasta to the dairy free cheese sauce.

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Gently stir in the pasta until well combined.

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Empty into a greased baking pan. It is very important to grease the pan so your mac and cheese doesn’t stick when you are ready to serve it. If you are making ahead, stop here, cool and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.

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Preheat oven to 350*. If you made ahead, bring to room temperature before placing in the oven. Bake covered for fifteen minutes. Remove from oven, stir well, and top with remaining bacon and an additional sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Place back in the oven uncovered.

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Remove from oven when slightly browned and crunchy on top. This takes about another fifteen minutes.

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Scoop out on your favorite plate and enjoy! I served with some homemade stewed tomatoes to cut the richness just a little.

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Sriracha Orange Chicken

Sriracha is by far my favorite condiment. Whether I am cooking with it or using it in place of ketchup I absolutely love it. Take out orange chicken from the local Chinese restaurant was the inspiration for this dish and the sriracha takes it up a notch. There is no need to order take out when this dish comes together in the same thirty minutes it would take for the delivery guy to knock on your door.

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Start by heating two tablespoons of sesame oil in a large skillet. Cut one pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs into bite size pieces. Coat in corn starch seasoned with chili pepper, white pepper and salt. My favorite method for this is to shake the chicken pieces around with the corn starch mix in a ziplock bag.

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While the chicken is browning, cut up one small bunch of asparagus into small pieces. Take advantage of the delicious fresh asparagus while it is in season.

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When the chicken is browned, but not quite cooked through add in the asparagus pieces and continue sautéing. The chicken will take approximately fifteen minutes to brown nicely.

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While the chicken and asparagus are cooking through, it is time to whisk the sauce together. It will take an additional five minutes or so for them to cook through. In addition to sriracha, garlic and ginger add flavor to the sauce.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the zest and juice of two oranges, two tablespoons (more or less depending on how much heat you want) of sriracha, four tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce, two tablespoons of honey, two tablespoons of mirin, six cloves garlic grated and a one inch piece of ginger grated. Whisk together until well combined.

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Pour the sauce over the chicken and asparagus. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer.

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It will not take long for the sauce to thicken. Five minutes or so is all it will take. The dish is ready when the sauce is thickened up.

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All you need to do now is plate it up! I served it over red quinoa but it would be equally delicious over rice or noodles.


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