Tag Archive for Baconfest

Bacon Cheese Ball

As much as I love cheese, I am typically not a huge fan of a cheese ball. However, since “everything tastes better with bacon, ” I thought I’d try this Bacon Cheese Ball to see if I could learn to love it. Yep! Everything really does taste better with bacon…plus it just looks so pretty!!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 10 min; Chill Time – 30 minutes

Ingredients:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 c. sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 c.  sour cream

16 cooked bacon slices, finely chopped, divided in half

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 c. chopped chives

Thick Cut Potato Chips for serving

Preparing Bacon Cheese Ball:

In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, half of the bacon crumbles, and Dijon mustard. (This is one of those times when the best tools to mix the ingredients together are your hands).

Form into a large ball and place on a dish. Put in the refrigerator to chill. Before serving, roll the ball in the rest of the bacon crumbles and chives and serve with potato chips.

Bacon Cheese Ball

Variations:

You can add in whatever types of ingredients you would normally enjoy on a baked potato! Be creative!

Double Bacon Meatballs

Double Bacon Meatballs

When I was looking through recipes for Baconfest – The Sequel, I came across Double Bacon Meatballs in the March 2014 edition of Food Network magazine. Of course, the name alone caught my eye. Bacon, Beef, Canadian Bacon…how could these possibly be bad? As I usually do, I changed the recipe up a bit as well as the cooking process, but I didn’t mess with the 3 main ingredients!!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 30 min; Cook Time – 20-25 min

Ingredients:

2 lbs. lean ground beef

16 pieces of cooked bacon, finely chopped

8 slices of Canadian bacon, chopped

1 c. Italian breadcrumbs

1/4 c. finely chopped onion

2 eggs

BBQ Sauce for dipping

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Wire Rack

Preparing Double Bacon Meatballs:

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees. Combine all ingredients together (except BBQ Sauce) in a large mixing bowl USING YOUR HANDS! I know it’s gross, but it really is the best way to mix all of the ingredients together. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put a wire rack on top of the baking sheet. Spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray. Form 1 to 1/1/2 in. meatballs and place on the rack.

Double Bacon Meatballs

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with BBQ Sauce.

Double Bacon Meatballs

Note: You will have to cook the meatballs in several batches. You can’t cook them all at once unless you have multiple wire racks.

Variations:

Change up the sauce however you like. You can even use mustard if you want! 

How to Make a Bacon Bowl

Bacon Bowl

For a while now I’ve been wanting to make a Bacon Bowl. It wasn’t exactly the kind of thing I would make on a regular night, so I decided to save this for a special occasion…Baconfest – The Sequel!

It was easier (and messier) than I thought it would be. Here’s how I did it as well as some tips that I figured out in the middle of the process…

How to make a bacon bowl

1. Line a large microwave safe plate with parchment paper. Tip: Cut off excess edges of the parchment paper. My plate was so big that the excess paper hit the door of the microwave when it spun, causing the bacon to move. 

2. Put 8 or 10 (depending on the size of your plate and microwave) slices of bacon side by side on the parchment paper. Make sure it’s an even number. Fold back every other piece halfway and horizontally place another piece of bacon. Return the bacon to its original position. 

3. Now, fold back the other pieces of bacon and place a strip of bacon horizontally. 

4. Repeat to create a lattice. 

Bacon Bowl

5. Place bacon in the microwave and cover with a paper towel. Cook on 60% power for 10 minutes. Remove the paper towel and use more to dry the bacon. Tip: This is greasy. Have your trash can nearby so you’re not dripping across your floor. 

6. Put a dry paper towel on the bacon and cook on 60% power for an additional 10 minutes. Carefully remove the plate from the microwave. Tip: Use oven mitts. It’s going to be hot. 

7. Get a large measuring cup (I used a 4 c. glass measuring cup from Pampered Chef which I’m sure many of you have)! If you don’t have this, use something similar in size and you will be just fine. Tip: Put paper towels underneath your measuring cup to catch the greasy drippings. 

8. CAREFULLY invert the bacon lattice over the measuring cup. Place back in the microwave (with the paper towels underneath) and cook for about 10 more minutes on 60% power or until the bacon is done and holds its shape. 

9. Using oven mitts, remove the bacon and place on paper towels to cool. 

Bacon Bowl

10. Turn it back over and fill it with whatever yumminess you like. I chose cubes of delicious cheese!!!

Bacon Bowl

How to plan a party – Part 3: “Baconfest”

Baconfest

Baconfest

Baconfest

I’m sure you are all wondering how exactly “Baconfest” came to be. I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure myself. I know we were talking a while ago with some friends who love bacon and if memory serves, the idea of Baconfest just kind of morphed into an actual event. We had 25 people over. Some people brought dishes although it was not expected. At the 1st Baconfest, there WERE no expectations!!

Obviously the word “bacon” has some negative health connotations associated with it. Most of you who know me know that I try to live a relatively healthy lifestyle without going overboard, but you also know I love entertaining. When you’re cooking for a group it’s all about taste. I can assure you that during Baconfest, we did our best to be as healthy as possible. Here’s how:

1) We drank red wine (VERY good for the heart).

2) We served fruit AND vegetables…and no they were not ALL wrapped in bacon.

3) We baked most of the bacon in the oven instead of frying it in its own grease. That would have been gross.

4) We served grilled chicken. Yes, it was wrapped in bacon and rosemary, but still…. it was a grilled non-fatty meat. We get credit for this one.

5) We ate spinach salad. That’s right…SPINACH salad. Was it served with warm bacon dressing? Technically, yes. That’s not the point. The point is, leafy greens people!!!!

The Menu:

Bacon Wrapped Lil’ Smokies

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

Jalapeño Popper Dip

Baked Potato Dip

Pizza with Candied Bacon

Spinach Salad with Roasted Garlic and Warm Bacon Dressing

Grilled Chicken with Rosemary and Bacon

Vegetables and Dip

Fruit

Maple Cupcakes with Bacon

Baconfest Cupcakes

How to plan a party – baconfest

The Process:

THE DAY BEFORE Baconfest, I did one last store run to get my fresh produce. When I got home, I started cooking! I made the candied bacon for the pizza and Jalapeño Popper Dip. I also broke the green beans into appropriate sizes and stored them in a Ziploc bag. Since I am someone who likes to do as much as possible ahead of time, I also went ahead and prepared the bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers as well as the chicken, but didn’t cook them. I will say that I should have worn gloves when I was deseeding about 20 jalapeños. My fingers were burning by the time I was done!

Since Baconfest was the beginning of 5 days of entertaining, this is the day I did a good dusting of the house and cleaned the floors. The cats’ litter box was changed, and the last load of laundry done. I am a big believer in not doing chores when friends and family are around. I want to have as much fun as they are and prefer to spend my time with them, not cleaning and doing laundry!

THE DAY OF Baconfest, was a breeze. I can say this because all of my planning and list making paid off. I did a final cleaning of the bathrooms and deck. My son swiffered the floors (when you have animals, this really should be every time you have any guests over), and my daughter got the dog’s nose prints off our windows. I cleaned this kitchen counters, which, like the floors, were going to be done on a very regular basis this week.

I prepared the green beans before going to get a pedicure. Both kids then went with me to grab my sister and niece from the airport. Let the fun begin! Pedicures for the rest of the girls and a haircut for my son.

When we got home and the suitcases were put away, it was time to get ready for Baconfest. Wait…before we did that, I went ahead and marinated that pork for the COOKOUT WITH FRIENDS FROM THE OLD DAYS which was the next night. That took 5 minutes.

I made the smokies and then realized I forgot the vegetables for the vegetable tray. Fortunately, my sister went to the store while I finished the smokies.  When all of that was done, I got out the plates, napkins and utensils and put the serving pieces in their appropriate places on the counter.

About an hour before the guests arrived, I roasted the garlic for the salad. I got the beans, chicken, smokies, poppers and dip out of the refrigerator to bring them up to room temperature before cooking them. I also prepared the vegetable tray.

About 20 minutes before, I put the smokies, dip and poppers in the oven. After people got here, we cooked the pizzas, made the salad, cooked the green beans and grilled the chicken since those were more “dinner items”. As soon as the first round of poppers and smokies were eaten, the second and third batches were made. It was a day that I was very thankful that I have two ovens.

I did not serve a sit down dinner since just about everything was finger food and it was more of a “grazing” type of atmosphere.  There was nothing formal about Baconfest, I can assure you. It’s amazing how a simple conversation that started months ago could turn into something so fun. The food was amazing, if I do say so myself! Once our arteries unclog, we will start planning Baconfest: The Sequel!

Want to see more of this series? Here are the other parts:
Part 1 Original
Part 2 Getting Organized

Part 4 Dinner for 13
Part 5 July 4th Dinner
Part 6 Birthday party for 16