Squeez Bacon

April 7, 2009

I think I would like to try this!

“Vilhelm Lillefläsk’s Squeez Bacon® is fully cooked 100% bacon. Due to the patented electro-mechanical process by which Squeez Bacon® is rendered, it requires no preservatives or other additives. Each serving is as healthy as real bacon, and equivalent to 4 premium slices of bacon! You can put it on sandwiches, pizza, pastas, bacon, soups, pies, eat it hot or cold (warm Squeez Bacon® on toasted rye is to die for), substitute it for bacon in your recipes, or even eat it right out of the tube like we do! If it’s edible, it’s better with Squeez Bacon®.”

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Meatloaf Cordon Bleu

February 22, 2009

Meatloaf, good. Cordon Bleu, good. Meatloaf Cordon Bleu, awesome! I received this in an email from allrecipes.com and had to try it. I was not disappointed at all! It is a little more complicated than normal meatloaf, but is well worth the additional effort. Here it is…

2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 small onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces thinly sliced cooked ham
4 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pat the meat mixture out onto a piece of waxed paper, and flatten to 1/2 inch thick. Lay slices of ham onto the flattened meat, and top with slices of cheese. Pick up the edge of the waxed paper to roll the flattened meat up into a log. Remove waxed paper, seal the ends and seam, and place the loaf into a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
3. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the loaf is no longer pink inside.

Mixing together the first ingredients is just like any other meatloaf. I tend to do it in smaller amounts and slowly add everything together. That way I know all the spices are evenly distributed in the mixture. Here it is all mixed up ready for the next step…

Now it is time to make this meatloaf into Cordon Bleu meatloaf. I took the mixture out and placed it on some wax paper. I tend to have a lot of wax paper around, but if you don’t, it is very cheap at the store. I flatted the mixture out till it was about half an inch thick all around. I then placed the ham and cheese on top…

The next part can be a little tricky. I took one end of the wax paper and lifted it up. This started the meatloaf to curl a little bit. I then took the meatloaf and continued to curl it till it became a loaf again. I then sealed up the ends and seam…

Now it was time to put it in the oven. So the steps for this are really not to bad. It smells great as it cooks. When it was done I pulled it out and noticed I had not sealed the seams very well. It had split open a little bit. I am not to concerned with presentation and it does not effect the taste. The ham burned a little, but it still was great!

Here is a photo after I had cut a piece out. I did notice that the cheese and ham were closer to the top of the loaf. Next time I will flatten it out more so that they are closer to the middle. This is probably why it opened up in the oven.

Rotisserie Chicken Wrap

February 18, 2009

As you know, I have been cooking a lot of chickens in my new Showtime Rotisserie. One of the problems I have come across is I get tired of having just rotisserie chicken all the time. For something new I tried making a cool ranch chicken wrap. This came out great! I got some tortillas, diced up some tomatoes, added lettuce, bacon bits, ranch dressing, and some cold rotisserie chicken. I even tried added some cheese. It was great! A nice change of pace.

Frozen Sandwich Project

February 8, 2009

I keep seeing all these different types of frozen sandwiches at the grocery store. Unfortunately they are very expensive. I was thinking that maybe I could make my own sandwiches and freeze them. For me this is all about convenience. Sometimes I am running out the door for work and don’t have time to make a sandwich. I thought it would be nice to have a bunch of them in my freezer. Looking at the different variates available, I decided on trying a turkey with cheese and bacon bits on white bread. I did not add any mayonnaise.

I then used the ziploc freezer bags and air removal pump to seal them real tight. This really flattened the sandwiches out. I thought it would be better to get as much of the air out than to have the sandwich look nice.

A lot of my friends think I am crazy for trying this. I was very careful about what I used. I know mayonnaise is very bad to freeze. When ready to eat, just take it out of the bad and microwave for between one and two minutes. It is going to be interesting to see if this works. Anyone have any ideas about this?

Showtime Rotisserie

January 24, 2009

I am sure you have seen the infomercials on TV for the Ronco Showtime Rotisseries. I have to say they really work! I got the smaller compact model and so far love it. When you go to the grocery store they sell rotisserie chickens for around $7.00. Now I can cook my own rotisserie chicken for around $4.00. It only takes a little over an hour to fully cook the chicken. The rotisserie also has a basket that goes in it to cook things like chicken wings, steaks, or even vegetables. I am really looking forward to trying some rotisserie wings!

Here is a photo of the model I got. I also put some tin foil in the back behind the heating element to make clean up even easier.

The first step after washing the chicken is to season it any way you like. I like to you lemon pepper seasoning. I sometimes also cut a lemon in half and put it in the cavity. A very important step is to tie the bird up. If you don’t do this the wings will come out and start hitting the heating element. The Showtime Rotisserie comes with elastic ties that are easy to use. You can also use twine. Here is one chicken ties up.

Then all you have to do is insert the rods into the chicken. It is very simple. It even comes with a stand to hold it up.

Then just put it in and turn the rotisserie on!

It really comes out great. Very juicy and cooked all the way though.

Ziploc Air Removal Pump

January 1, 2009

I have been looking around to find a vacuum sealer to help freeze left over foods. I was at Kroger and came across a little hand pump that pulls the air out of special Ziploc bags. It was only $3.99 so I decided to give it a try. It is kinda a neat system. There is a special valve on the Ziploc bags that allows air to be pulled out but does not let it back in. The bags themselves are $2.99 and come in a couple different sizes. Here are the three items that I purchased…

The top one is the pump and the bottom two are the extra bags. One problem I see with this system so far is that you can not do liquid type foods like soups. The liquid would just be pulled out of the bag with the air. One thing I really like is that you can put the bags in the microwave to heat the food back up again. Here is a better photo of what the bags and pump look like…

The first food I tried to seal was a couple of large meatballs. I even added a lot of juice in the bag. It seems to have pulled out all of the air. Here is what it looked like after using the pump…

For such a low price I think this will help reduce freezer burn. I guess only time will tell. Has anyone else used this or similar products?

Porcupines

December 24, 2008

It was this unique name that first caught my attention when looking for a new recipe. I was on allrecipes.com trying to find something easy to cook for the week. I had no idea why they were called Porcupines until I took them out of the oven. As you will see later in this post it is pretty cool! Recipe link here.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, rice, 1/2 cup of water and onion. Blend in salt, celery salt, garlic powder and pepper. Mix well. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the meatballs; drain fat.
  3. In an 11×7 inch baking dish, combine the tomato sauce and 1 cup of water. Place the browned meatballs into the tomato sauce, turning to coat well.
  4. Cover and bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover, and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

One of the things that is great about this recipe is that most of the ingredients are common ingredients that I already had on hand. Mixing the meat mixture was very easy. I am guessing it has to do with adding water. In the past when I made meatballs I had a terrible time getting them to form properly. Not this time! After forming them the recipe says to brown them. This was also very easy. I was a little afraid that they would fall apart as I tried to roll them around. They held their shape very well. I think I made them a little bigger than the recipe called for, but who cares. Here they are formed and ready to be browned…

After they were browned I added them to the tomato sauce and rolled them around. I covered them and put them in the oven for 45 minutes. This was a favorite part because I was able to sit down and have a beer. After the 45 minutes I uncovered them and was totally caught off guard. This is why they are called Porcupines…

I never thought they would do that! If you can’t see in the picture, the rice started poking out of the meatballs. I returned them to the oven for 15 more minutes. They came out just perfectly done. I also made some mashed potatoes and corn to make this a full meal. It was great!

Price Breakdown…

Beef $1.99

Tomato Sauce $0.55

TOTAL COST $2.54

I already had everything else to cook this dish. Very common ingredients.

Taco Pie

December 14, 2008

I found an interesting recipe on allrecipies.com that I had to try. It is called Taco Pie. I love tacos, but they don’t keep well over the week. I liked this because it was a cross between tacos and a casserole. The recipe said that you can top it with any kind of taco sides like lettuce and tomatoes. I just kept mine plan.

  • 1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 8 ounces shredded Mexican-style cheese blend
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) package crushed tortilla chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Lay crescent dough flat on the bottom of a square cake pan and bake according to package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the taco seasoning and stir together well. When dough is done, remove from oven and place meat mixture on top, then layer with sour cream and cheese, and then top off with the crushed nacho chips.
  4. Return to oven and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

I had some crescent dough left after I covered the bottom of the pan, so I went up some of the sides with it. That ended up turning out pretty well. Here is how I lined the pan with the dough…

I put it in the oven and let it bake according to the directions on the package. It started smelling great! I was ready just to eat the crescent rolls!

One thing I was not sure about was how to add the taco seasoning to the ground beef. I ended up just pouring the powder onto the beef and mixing it up. The package said to add water, but the recipe did not call for it. I think I made the right choice. I added the beef mixture and sour cream into the dish. The recipe now calls for 14.5 oz of chips. This is a typical bag size. I crushed the chips up in the bag and topped the casserole. I definitely did not need the whole bag. I now wish I had only crushed just the amount of chips I needed. I ended up throwing a bunch out that I could have used with a dip if they were still whole. Here it is about to go in the oven…

See what I mean? That’s a lot of chips on top! I let it bake for the 10 minutes the recipe called for. I had hoped that the chips would have browned a little but they did not. It really turned out great though. Here is a little side photo so you can see how it layers…

It lasted me about three days. Great taste. The only problem I had was about the second day the chips started to get stale. Probably because it was in the refrigerator and then heated back up in a microwave. But all in all I really liked this. Here is the price breakdown…

Chips $3.80

Sour Cream $1.16

Taco Mix $0.43

Cheese $2.19

Beef $1.99

Rolls $1.34

TOTAL COST $10.91

Happy Thanksgiving

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It also just happens to be the one year anniversary of Solitary Refinement! That’s right, one year ago today I flipped the switch and started this blog up. Thank you so much to everyone out there that has supported me and given me great ideas. I really look forward to another year coming up. This next year is going to see some big changes with the blog, so stay tuned. Now go have some left over turkey!

Sausage and Pepper Pizza

November 22, 2008

I received an email the other day asking if I was still making pizza. I sure am! I find pizza very easy and a great long lasting meal. I am still using my old recipe for pizza sauce. You can find it here in one of my posts. I tend to add a little more garlic to it depending on the mood I am in. Sometimes I use the frozen dough you find in the freezer section of Kroger. It makes the prep time much faster. I don’t think it is as good, but saves time.

The other day I tried a sausage and pepper pizza. It turned out great! I used regular bulk sausage, red, green peppers, onion, and garlic. After baking I topped the pizza with fresh parmesan cheese. It was great! That is one thing I really love about pizza, add anything you feel like and it will probably turn out wonderful.

Here it is about to go in the oven…

Here it is fresh out of the oven…

And then cut and topped with parmesan cheese…

What is your favorite pizza?