Chicken and Veggie Summer Rolls

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Want to *wow* your dinner guests with dish that looks way harder to make than it is?  Or!  Even better…have your guests make their own!  Summer rolls are the way to go – crunch, fresh veggies, fab dipping sauces, easy on the eyes, and a boost of protein with delicious chicken!

I highly advise gathering and preparing your ingredients ahead of time so the assembly line goes rather quickly!  Once your rice paper wrappings are wet, you’ll want to work fast to put together the ingredients and roll it all up.  Feel free to experiment with the veggies – radishes or purple cabbage would add a pretty splash of color!

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Bacon Bourbon Jam and Baked Brie

The only picture I could capture before people started digging in!

The only picture I could capture before people started digging in!

Back in college, I had three main food groups – Eggo (waffles), Choco(late) , and Baco(n).  Let’s be clear…I was NOT a good cook in college.  My life’s motto was, “How is Maddy going to use her toaster oven today?”, which resulted in a lot of quesadillas, broiled hot dogs, dino nuggets, and Eggo waffles.  It was by FAR my favorite kitchen appliance.

Now, I occasionally eat weird foodie whole grain waffles with fruit, antioxidant-filled dark chocolate, and last, but most certainly not least, a lot of bacon.  Good ol’, thick cut, salty, fatty bacon.  Balance, right?  Or something like that…

So, when I was brainstorming potential burger toppings, I wanted to try and make homemade bacon jam.  I’ve seen it on charcuterie boards in restaurants and thought it couldn’t be THAT hard, so I went at it!  The process took a while, but it was incredibly rewarding.  What resulted was this delicious, savory jam that I couldn’t wait to try on everything.  We ate it on burgers that night which was DELISH – and I had some leftover and my mind started turning for the perfect appetizer combination that would wow a crowd.  Bacon and Brie!  Classic combination!

I used a variation of this recipe to create the jam.  Check it out below and let me know what you all think!

Bacon Bourbon Jam and Baked Brie
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 appetizer servings
 
This bacon jam and baked brie will definitely impress a crowd! The jam will keep for some time in your fridge, so you can make ahead of time and quickly assemble this appetizer.
Ingredients
For the Bacon Jam:
  • 1 lb thick cut bacon
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dry thyme
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. bourbon
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • ⅓ cup of water
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium wheel of brie
  • 1 sleeve of savory crackers (I chose cracked pepper flavor)
Instructions
  1. Using a cast iron pan, cook the bacon strips until crispy, then set aside. You may need to do this in 2-3 sets because you don't want to overcrowd the pan.
  2. Drain excess bacon grease into a bowl.
  3. Chop your bacon into small pieces.
  4. Put two tsp. of bacon grease back into pan and add butter. Saute onions over medium heat until translucent - about 7 minutes.
  5. Add salt, thyme, brown sugar, sherry vinegar, bourbon, pepper, and cayenne pepper to pan and stir until combined.
  6. Add water and bacon. Stir consistently until mixture results in a "jammy" texture and a red/brown color - about 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  8. To heat the brie: Wrap in aluminum foil and bake for about 8-10 minutes (around 375 degrees). Preheat jam before serving. You'll have plenty of extra jam with this recipe.
  9. Serve with crackers and enjoy!

 

 

Edamame “Hummus” + Vail Adventures

Superbowl Spread! Healthy Style

Superbowl Spread! Healthy Style

A few weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to fly out to Colorado, drive up through the beautiful mountains, and spend the weekend with 15 friends from high school and college.  My good friend, Hannah, whom I’ve known for over TEN years (OMG!) had all of us to her family’s BEAUTIFUL house overlooking BeaverCreek/Avon.  The view was insane, the food we made was delicious, and the company was even better.

Snowboarding Crew! At the top of the mountain by Two Elks

Snowboarding Crew! At the top of the mountain by Two Elks

I gladly took on the task of planning three giant meals for the crew – I settled on this pulled pork recipe which I’ve made a few times and it’s a real crowd pleaser, Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken for a taco night, and this delicious spaghetti recipe (minus the green pepper).  All three dinners turned out really well and were so easy for such a large group of people!

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Fool-Proof Guacamole

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Fool-Proof Guacamole in all its glory

First recipe!  I decided to kick off our culinary adventure together with guacamole – fantastic for all cooking levels.  A college student could make it in their dorm room if they were determined enough.  When I am asked to bring an appetizer to a party, wine night, Netflix-binging-get-together, you NAME it – there’s a 99% chance it will be this guacamole.  Everyone from your grandparents to little munchkins eat it right up and you’ll be asked to make it again and again.

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