The BCLT – Bacon Cheese, Lettuce and Roasted Tomatoes

The BCLT Salad | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Here I go again, making up new names for the recipes I develop. The BCLT. Wait, what? Bacon cheese (YES! Cheese.With.Bacon!) lettuce and tomatoes, slow roasted to tender juiciness. Hence The BCLT Salad moniker. Everyone (except vegans and vegetarians) knows and loves a BLT Sandwich, so why not?

While shopping at my local market, I spotted a package of cheese called Juusto Baked Cheese. With bacon crumbles. Oh my! My curiosity was piqued, and into the shopping cart went the cheese. I’ve posted a frying cheese recipe before, the Warm Caprese Salad, but this was different. This cheese had BACON!

Those of you who have read my blog for a while, know about my love of all things pork. Especially bacon, even going so far as to make my own Homemade Maple Pepper Bacon.    Yes, I agree the whole “bacon in everything you can think of” fad is over, but my love of that smoky meat crack will never die.

Follow this recipe for instructions on how to make Roasted Tomatoes.

You can use any type of frying cheese for this recipe, but I would suggest cooking a couple slices of bacon, and crumbling them over the top!

 

The BCLT Salad | Black Girl Chef's Whites

Recipe: Bacon Cheese, Lettuce and Roasted Tomato Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 package (6 ounces) Juusto Baked Cheese with Bacon Crumbles, cut into 6 pieces
  • 4 cups mixed greens
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups oven roasted tomatoes, room temperature

Instructions

  1. Warm a medium skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Place the cheese pieces into the skillet. Warm the cheese 3-5 minutes, until the outside glistens and looks moist, turning occasionally.
  3. While the cheese warms, place the greens onto a large plate or platter.
  4. Remove the cheese from the skillet and place the pieces onto the mixed greens.
  5. Spoon the roasted tomatoes over the cheese.
  6. Serve immediately.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 5 minute(s)

Copyright © Cheryl D Lee.

Warm Caprese Salad

Warm Caprese Salad

“Summertime, and the living is easy.” Well I’m sure whoever wrote those lyrics meant to evoke a certain imagery, but they were not describing reality!  But if you tell me it is summertime and the tomatoes and basil are growing abundantly, then you got me!

Though my house has a large yard, the only thing that grows really well is boulders.  Really big boulders.  Two ton and up boulders.  That leaves the porch as the sole sunny spot to grow food.  My organic front porch container garden consists of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and two Topsy Turvy tomato planters.  Yes, I saw those commercials for the Topsy Turvy planters and thought they were a bunch of crap.  Then I actually bought some, and they are fantastic!  Both planters are loaded with fruit, and as a bonus they lend some shade to the front of the house.  Food and shade, what more can you ask for?  Oh yeah, wine.

Fresh Picked Organic Basil and Tomatoes

I just picked some ripe tomatoes, and trimmed my basil plant to make a small batch of pesto.  I didn’t want to make pasta, and was too lazy to make pizza.  I rummaged through the refrigerator and found some frying cheese I bought at Trader Joe’s to try.  Frying cheese, like Haloumi cheese from the island of Cyprus, is a firm cheese that does not turn into a gooey glob at high temperatures.  It holds its shape, even though it does soften.

Trader Joe's Frying Cheese

Warmed cheese topped with fresh tomatoes and pesto sauce.  Yes, that sounded very tasty indeed.

This recipe is not really a recipe because it is so simple and there are not specific quantities.  Feel free to add other toppings as well, such as toasted pine nuts, chopped olives or roasted peppers.

Warm Caprese Salad

Frying cheese or Haloumi cheese

Fresh tomatoes

Pesto sauce, homemade or a good quality store bought

Cut the frying cheese into cubes,  bite size or larger.  Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Saute the cubes on each side for a few minutes, until the cheese is softened.

Frying the Cubed Cheese

While the cheese is frying, cut the tomatoes into small pieces.

Cut Tomato Trio

Place the cheese onto a plate, drizzle with pesto sauce and top with tomatoes.  Eat.

Warm Caprese Salad

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

Mini Brie Stuffed Turkey Burger Recipe

Brie Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Garnishes

Summertime, and the living is easy.  Well, I honestly don’t know how easy it is, but at least the weather is nice!  Summer means days at the beach, picnics in the park, cold beer and lots of barbecue!  (That was my life 20 years ago and before giving birth, but I can still dream.)

Burgers are as American as apple pie, and no barbecue is complete without one.  Angus, Kobe and Wagyu beef burgers, turkey burgers, chicken burgers, tuna or salmon burgers and last but not least veggie burgers are fried, grilled, smoked, baked and barbecued.  Lately the oh-so-trendy folks in the food world are all about the mini burger or slider.  I like having a two or three bite burger, which then means I can have more than one without looking like a total pig.  Of course, when you see me shoveling in the baked beans and potato salad, that theory goes right out the window. . .

While shopping at Trader Joe’s I found some mini burger buns, and on impulse picked them up.  I then proceeded to stand in the middle of the aisle coming up with a recipe to go with the buns.  After a few minutes a very nice Trader Joe’s employee asked if there was something she could help me with, as I was still standing in the aisle,  my lips moving as I mentally prepared the burgers.  I smiled and told her I didn’t need help, and casually moved back to my cart before she called the men in the white jackets. But I had come up with my burger; mini turkey burgers stuffed with cheese!  My juicy little burgers would be fabulous with the addition of a nugget of soft, creamy, oozing brie cheese hidden in the middle of each burger.

Brie Stuffed Turkey Burger

Mini Brie Stuffed Turkey Burger

Makes 10 mini burgers

1 lb ground turkey, approximately (most packaged ground turkey weighs slightly more than a pound)

1 tsp poultry seasoning

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp granulated garlic

1/4  tsp freshly ground black pepper

brie cheese

1 TB olive oil

bread and butter pickles

olive tapenade

mini burger buns

In a large bowl mix the turkey, poultry seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper.  Using a 1/4 cup measure, portion out the seasoned turkey.

Quarter Cup Portions of Ground Turkey

Flatten each portion of turkey, then top with a small piece of brie, about the size of a teaspoon.

Brie on Ground Turkey

Fold the turkey meat around the brie, then roll it in your palm like you are rolling a meatball. Place the meat onto a plate and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Brie Rolled into the Ground Turkey

When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Flatten the turkey balls into a burger shape, being careful to make sure the cheese is covered by the turkey meat.  This will help prevent the cheese from oozing out of the burgers while they cook.  But don’t be surprised if it does happen.

Cooking Brie Stuffed Turkey Burgers
Melted Brie Oozing from a Turkey Burger

Cook the burgers for 4 – 5 minutes, then turn them over.  Cover the pan and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, until the burgers are cooked through.

Garnish each burger with either a bread and butter pickle slice or a dollop of olive tapenade.  The sweet tartness of the pickle or the tangy saltiness of the tapenade will compliment the rich and buttery cheese.

Brie Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Garnishes

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

The Richest and Best Macaroni and Cheese I Ever Made

Elbow Macaroni and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Is this really the best macaroni and cheese I ever made? YES and I have made a lot of macaroni and cheese in my lifetime! I’ve eaten a lot of macaroni and cheese, tested various recipes for macaroni and cheese, and have finally decided that this one is the best I have ever made.

There are some who like stove top mac and cheese and some who like baked mac and cheese.  They each have their merits, but I prefer mine baked.  Stove top tends to be cloyingly creamy, clinging to the macaroni like a thick winter coat.  Baked has a firmer consistency, the elbows surrounded by a rich custard infused with shreds of cheese.

My mother’s side of the family is from Louisiana, and like any self respecting Southern family we ate macaroni and cheese at every special occasion meal, be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or birthdays.  Not that it was reserved for special occasions, by any means.  My grandmother had her recipe, my mother had hers.  My late Uncle George, a retired Navy cook, had an incredible recipe, which sadly went with him when he passed.  Now I finally have my own to share with my daughter.

This macaroni and cheese is very rich, with heavy cream, sour cream and eggs.  This is not a dish you should eat every week.  Well, you can but don’t blame me when you can’t button your pants.

 

Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

 

Macaroni and Cheese


16 oz elbow macaroni

16 oz sharp cheddar cheese

1/3 cup AP flour

3 tsp sea salt

3 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 1/3 cups sour cream

4 eggs

4 cups half and half

2 cups heavy  cream

Cook the macaroni according to package directions.  Rinse with cool water, then drain the macaroni well.  Place the macaroni into a buttered 15 inch X 9 inch casserole dish.

Grate the cheese using a food processor, or if you are a glutton for punishment or have a child to keep busy, grate the cheese using the larger holes in a box grater.  Mix about 2/3 of the grated cheese into the macaroni.

Cheddar Cheese and Elbow Macaroni

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, mustard, cayenne and black pepper.

Flour, Mustard, Cayenne, Salt and Black Pepper

Whisk the sour cream into the dry ingredients until incorporated.  Whisk in the eggs, followed by the the half and half and cream.  Pour the custard over the macaroni.

Rich Custard Poured over Macaroni

Top the macaroni and custard with the remaining cheese.

Macaroni and Cheese Ready for the Oven

Bake the macaroni and cheese for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned around the edges.  The custard will be a bit jiggly in the center, but firms up as it cools.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Serve your macaroni and cheese as main dish or a side dish.  I made this for Easter and served it with baby back ribs. Not my traditional Easter dinner, but fabulous nonetheless!  Whatever you do, enjoy!

The Best Macaroni and Cheese with Baby Back Ribs

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

Baked Mexi-Cal Turkey Roll

Baked Mexi-Cal Turkey Roll

When I lived in New York, occasionally (OK, at least once a week) I would stop by my favorite pizza joint for a sausage roll.  Inside the dough would be Italian sausage, peppers, onion, pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Think of it as a pizza slice rolled up on itself.  Now that I am back in California, you don’t find them as easily.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve had one since I got back!  Oh the horror!

When I began developing recipes for Foodbuzz Family Bites I thought about making a pizza roll.  But then that idea began to morph into something similar, yet distinctly different.  Since these were to be family friendly recipes, I needed to make something that would come together easily, but still be a meal your family would want again and again.

Newman’s Own, which sponsors Family Bites, was my starting point.  I was sent some product samples to develop recipes with, but the product I used for this recipe was one I bought myself.  I really like their Black Bean and Corn Salsa, and thought it would be very tasty in a baked roll.  So once again, my idea morphed and began to get a more “South of the Border” feel.

This is basically a four ingredient (not counting spices) recipe, and would be great to make with your kids.  Prefer ground beef? Use it.  Have some shredded chicken in the fridge? Use it. Vegetarian? Dice up some tofu, toss it with the spices, and follow the rest of the recipe.

If you’re having a cocktail party serve this and watch your guests gobble it up!  They taste great whether you’re 4 or 40.

Baked Mexi-Cal Turkey Roll


1 pound ground turkey

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

¼ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp dried oregano

2 cans (8 ounce) refrigerated crescent roll seamless dough sheet

1 cup Newman’s Own Black Bean and Corn salsa

2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the turkey, salt, red pepper, cumin and oregano until well browned. Cool slightly.
  3. Spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Unroll the crescent roll dough onto the baking sheets.
  4. Spoon half the turkey lengthwise on the dough sheet, placing it towards one edge.  Spoon ½ cup Newman’s Own Black Bean and Corn Salsa down the length of the turkey, then top with 1 cup of cheese.  Repeat layering on the other dough sheet.
  5. Carefully fold the dough over the filling, tucking the edge under.  Press down on the ends to seal them, and tuck the sealed ends under.
  6. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, until golden brown.  Slice and serve with additional salsa for dipping.

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista