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Eric A. Strata

Let me warn you right up front that for the next week or so, you’ll be hearing a whole lot about my best friend Bethany. You may remember her from these Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes I made to say goodbye when she (sob) left me to move to Maui. Obviously there are benefits to her living there. Namely, we have a place to stay for the very reasonable price of free. Actually, Bethany does requires one thing…that you allow her to Martha Stewart you while visiting. She’s a meet you at the airport with a lei, basket of chocolates and lotions on your bed, act as your chauffeur/chef/activity coordinator, wash and fold your clothes, play with your children, pack a cooler and a bag of goodies for the beach, provide you with rockin’ sunblock, and set up an umbrella so your pale freckly skin is protected kind of friend. Being with Bethany is, in a word, ah-mazing. Bonus, we have equally out of control hair and manic smiles when being blown off the edge of the world on top of Haleakala. It’s always a good thing to have friends who are equals on the crazy train of life.

Eric A Strata06

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Monterey Chicken

Greatest company dinner ever. Amazing and gorgeous, not nearly as much work as it looks like and just incredible tasting. I’ve had this chicken on my Pinterest boards for a while now, just waiting for the right opportunity to make it. I served it up when my mother-in-law was visiting recently. Wow wow wow. I won’t be waiting long before making it again. It was glorious.

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Bubble & Squeak

My daughter became obsessed with this dinner when she heard about it from her Nanny. My family’s roots are embedded deeply in our English heritage and my mom loves to tell my kids about all things British. Traditionally this meal is made using leftovers from a roast or ham., thrown together with potatoes and cabbage to make a one pot wonder that is delicious and full of homey flavor.

Start with a head of cabbage. Chop half roughly into slices and boil until softened.

This dish has two kinds of pork in it. Bacon and ham. Mmmmm. Bacon!

Chop the bacon, and cook it about half way. Then add some sliced onion into the pan and let it get all soft and yummy in the bacon grease. Why yes, this is a low-fat/low-calorie dish. How could you tell?

Then we add the ham, the cooked cabbage and some diced potatoes. And some butter and seasonings.

Stir it all around until it’s combined and let it brown up just a bit. Make sure you have a big pan. It’s gonna be full! This is where the name comes from. It’s going to be squeaking in the pan as the cabbage and potatoes finish cooking.

A little more seasoning and it’s done!

Home cooking English style. Meat and potatoes and more meat all together in one glorious bite!

Print Recipe for Bubble and Squeak

Bubble & Squeak
from Allrecipes.com

  • 1/2 medium head cabbage, sliced
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cubed cooked ham
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cups potatoes – boiled, cooled and cubed (do not completely cook them – leave them a little firm)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, cook cabbage in a small amount of water for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain, and set aside.
  2. In a non-stick skillet, cook bacon halfway. Add onion to pan with bacon, cook until softened.  Add ham, and cook until heated through. Add butter, then mix in the cooked cabbage and potatoes. Season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook until browned on bottom, turn, and brown again.

Spiced Honey Lemon Chicken & Sweet Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

I realized the other day (with horror) that I have never made brussels sprouts. Maybe a carry-over from childhood rearing it’s ugly head in my adult life? I didn’t like them when I was little – really the only veggie I have no taste for – so I’ve never thought to make them for my family. Then I saw this recipe and was intrigued. Sprouts with caramelized onions and bacon? Well, that sounded absolutely divine. I had my dad over for dinner tonight (my mom is out-of-town visiting family) and made this perfectly paired meal. Oh so good. I had thirds of the brussels sprouts.  The chicken has a great depth of flavor and a spicy kick to it that will make you want to lick every last drop of sauce from your plate. Who knew onions could be so sweet and tangy? With the bright flavor of the sprouts and the moist savory chicken, this dinner was an out of the park success!
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Crack Bread

I’ve seen this “recipe” so many times on Pinterest, I just had to give it a try. It is not elegant. It is not classy. You should not serve this to impress your husband’s boss. This is as far from diet food as you can possibly get. Not good for you at all. I could feel my arteries seizing up as I ate it. But I could not stop. Need bread? And cheese? Think all things are better with bacon? And butter? Yeah…I told you it wasn’t good for you. When you are ready to kick that New Year’s resolution to the curb, this is the thing to help you along.
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Baked Potato Soup

Potatoes are quite possibly the thing I would eat forever if I could. Well, that and cheese. This soup has both. There is just about nothing more comforting to me than a steaming bowl of potato soup. I love it. This version has enough substance to satisfy even the heartiest eaters. And, it includes bacon. In the soup, and on top. If that weren’t enough for you – the veggies of the soup take a dunk in bacon fat before being added to the soup. Yeah. It’s good. [Read more…]

Chicken Florentine Casserole

I had just put this casserole in the oven when my husband walked in the door from work today. The first words out of his mouth were “Man, something sure smells good!”. I responded with “It could be the bacon, or the sautéed mushrooms, spinach and onions. Or possibly the Parmesan cheese cream sauce.” It was at that moment that I knew without a doubt tonight’s dinner was going to be ah-mazing. Oh momma and was it ever!

Chicken Florentine is a classic dish that’s made by pounding chicken flat, rolling spinach, cheese and mushrooms inside, breading the rolls and then frying them. Much like Chicken Kiev or Chicken Cordon Bleu. I found the idea for a casserole version and could tell that with some adjustments it was going to be fantastic with much less work than the traditional rolled type. Chicken Florentine is normally served with rice, but I thought some nice mashed potatoes would be a much better vehicle for soaking up all the delicious creamy sauce in this dish. Mmmmmmm yummy!

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