20 Uses for Tastefully Simple Bacon Pepper Jam

20 Uses for bacon pepper jamI don’t remember when I first tried the bacon pepper jam, but it was before I even started doing Tastefully Simple. I was hooked and decided I needed to have this on hand at all times. It’s only available seasonally, so I stocked up on several jars before the end of last year’s fall/winter season. I just told my wife it’s back for the current fall/winter season, and she was very excited.

There are so many things you can make with it. Here are some ideas:

  • Deviled eggs
  • Use on crostini with…
  • Top baked potatoes
  • Mix into mashed potatoes
  • Burgers (on top or mix in)
  • Grilled cheese (use a few white cheeses or brie)
  • Spread on bread for BLT or other sandwich
  • Bloody mary
  • Jalapeno poppers
  • Flatbread (Tastefully Simple recipe)
  • Make a dip with cream cheese and swiss
  • Topping for chicken or pork
  • Combine with mayo to make a dipping sauce
  • Glaze for party meatballs
  • Stir fry (add toward the end)
  • Baked beans
  • Glaze for grilled shrimp

Need to buy some? Visit my Tastefully Simple page! (Disclosure: I receive compensation for purchases made using this link.)

Sauteed Rustic Herb Green Beans

Rustic Herb Green BeansThis is one of the sides I made the other night to go with the steak. This uses one of the seasoning blends from Tastefully Simple*. Sometimes people ask why I buy seasoning blends like that when I like cooking from scratch so much. Well, there are times when I just don’t want to have to think about the proportions of oregano to rosemary and would rather only think about how much seasoning I need in general. Plus, it’s delicious, so why not?

You can do these on a sheet pan or in a saute pan on the stove. I made them on the stovetop because all of my oven space was occupied with other things.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (marked wth *), which means I receive compensation for purchases made using the links.

Ingredients

1 pound fresh green beans
2 tbsp Tastefully Simple* Rustic Herb seasoning
½ tsp salt
Olive oil

Instructions

Preheat saute pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, trim green beans (another shortcut – buy ones that are already trimmed).

Place green beans in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil to coat. Use enough olive oil so that they are just coated, not overly oiled. Add the salt and herb seasoning, and stir/toss to combine.

Add the green beans to the pan. Cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Variation: Preheat oven to 400. Spread green beans on a foil-lined sheet pan and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Freezer Prep: Combine all ingredients, place in a freezer bag. Move to fridge the morning of (if cooking for dinner), or place the bag in a large bowl of water to thaw. It’s not the end of the world if you put them in the saute pan frozen, just watch out because the ice/oil combo can pop and burn you.

Crostini with Boursin, quince paste, & bacon pepper jam

Crostini

This was one of those appetizers I kind of threw together because I had some bread to use, and I needed something fast and easy.

Ingredients

French bread, sliced into thin pieces
Boursin cheese
Quince paste
Tastefully Simple* bacon pepper jam

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Meanwhile, spread one leg of Boursin and quince paste on each crostini. Top with bacon pepper jam. Bake until warm and bread is toasted.

Perfect Steak

Steaks

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (marked wth *), which means I receive compensation for purchases made using the links.

We had someone over for dinner last night, and steak is usually the go-to when we have meat eating friends over for dinner. Steak is a good weeknight dinner, too, because it’s easy and fast. I love the perfect portions grass fed steaks from Wegmans. The ones I chose yesterday were about 7oz each. While I used sirloins yesterday, this is my go-to method for most steaks (including filet, as mentioned in this abbreviated post). I served these with honey yeast rolls, rustic herb green beans, roasted potatoes, and Ross Andrew “The Huntsman” 2015 cabernet sauvignon.

The cooking times on this are an approximation for a medium cook on a 7oz cut about 2 inches thick, so you may need to adjust depending on the sizes of your steaks and desired level of doneness. My steaks were also cold from the fridge. It’s best if you can allow them to sit out for about 30-45 minutes before cooking, but I forgot to take them out.

Make sure your pan is oven safe – not all pans are. If your pans are not oven safe, you could probably preheat a stone baking dish and transfer the steaks onto that to finish in the oven. Preheating will be key because you want the surface they’re transferred onto to be hot. (I use a Calphalon pan like this one*)

Ingredients

Four 7oz sirloin steaks
Olive oil
Seasoning (I use Tastefully Simple* seasoned salt, but simple salt and pepper is always a good choice too)

Instructions 

Preheat oven to 400° (or 375° on convection). Also preheat an oven safe skillet over medium-high heat. I’m not kidding – give your pan enough time to get really, really hot.

Meanwhile, blot each steak dry with a paper towel and rub with olive oil and a lot of seasoning.

Once the pan is extra hot, coat it with a bit of olive oil. You should be able to tell right away that the pan is hot. The olive oil will be really liquid-y upon hitting the pan, and will smoke a little.

Place steaks in the pan and sear for about 4 minutes. Flip and sear for another 4 minutes.

Transfer the pan directly to the oven, and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from the oven, and check internal temperature with a thermometer (140-145° for medium). Let them rest for about 3 minutes before serving. (Note: USDA recommends cooking to 145° before resting.)

Jalapeno Popper Corn Dip

Jalapeno Popper Corn DipI haven’t posted in a while! Right after I made the mint chocolate chip ice cream in the previous post, our fridge died. We were without a fridge for almost 3 weeks (long story), which resulted in eating out a lot. Then we went on vacation. So now I’m back and ready for more cooking and blogging.

We went to a family cookout today, and I wanted to bring something really easy. We went to the pool earlier in the day, so I was short on time. Tastefully Simple to the rescue! Everyone loved this dip. Pretty sure it was gone within about a half hour.

Ingredients

1 envelope Tastefully Simple jalapeño popper dip mix
1 package cream cheese (8oz), softened
1 can corn, drained
1 cup monterey jack or cheddar cheese

Instructions

Combine all ingredients. Spread dip into a small baking dish. Bake at 350 until it’s hot and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips.

Lasagna

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Ingredients (Sauce)

2 x 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp Tastefully Simple Onion Onion seasoning
2 tsp Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic seasoning
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil
½ tsp sage
½ tsp salt

Spice measurements are for dried spices.

Ingredients (Pasta)

3 cups flour
3 eggs
Pinch salt
Cold water (if needed)

Ingredients (Other)

½ to ¾ container ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup grated asiago
8oz fresh mozzarella (optional – you can just use more shredded instead. If you use the fresh, strain some of the moisture from it)
1 lb lean ground beef

Instructions

Start the sauce. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat on medium, covered, until it starts to bubble. Reduce to low and let it simmer while you continue the rest of the steps.

Brown the ground beef and set aside.

Make the pasta dough. Scoop flour onto work surface. Make a well in the center. Add salt. Add one egg and start to incorporate with a fork. Continue to add eggs one at a time, incorporating more of the flour after each one. You will reach a point where it’s clear you can’t do any more with the fork and you just need to use your hands. Once you have a dough ball, knead, knead, knead for several minutes. If the dough feels dry, add some of the cold water to get it to the right texture. The texture should be kind of elastic-y, but not really sticky.

Separate dough into portions about a half cup in size. Cover unused dough with plastic wrap. Roll out dough to #4 setting using pasta machine (start on the widest setting, #1, and work your way thinner). Place dough onto work surface and cut into lasagna-sized noodles. I like to make the noodles as I assemble the lasagna, so I stop after making one layer’s worth.

Spread sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Layer noodles on top. Spread more sauce on top of the noodles. Add beef.

Make more noodles. Next layer is sauce, ricotta, and shredded mozzarella.

Make more noodles. Top with sauce, asiago, and mozzarella (fresh or shredded).

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil if the cheese looks like it’s going to get too brown.

This reheats really well. I had leftovers for lunch this week!

Dilly Pasta Salad

IMG_5150I went with my horseback riding club to tailgate at the Winterthur point-to -point races last week. This pasta salad was one of the things I brought to share. It was chilly and rained off and on, but we still had a great time.

Ingredients

1 box of tricolor farfalle pasta
Large pack of grape tomatoes (1qt)
1 package mozzarella pearls (8oz)
1 envelope Tastefully Simple dill pickle dip mix
2½ tsp to 1 tbsp dried dill weed
½+ tsp kosher salt
½ cup mayonnaise
Red wine vinegar to taste (about 6-10 dashes/shakes)

Instructions

Cook and drain pasta. Let it cool to at least room temperature. If you don’t cook and cool pasta in advance, you can do the remaining steps and set everything aside to be combined once the pasta cools.

Cut grape tomatoes into quarters. Drain the mozzarella pearls and combine with grape tomatoes. Set aside.

Combine mayonnaise, dill pickle dip mix, dil, and salt.

Once pasta is cooled to at least room temperature, stir in mayonnaise mixture until the pasta is well-coated. Stir in tomatoes and mozzarella until they are distributed evenly throughout. This is a good time to taste to see if you need to add more dill. If the salad is too dry, add more mayo.

Add red wine vinegar and combine well into the salad. Taste and add more if needed.

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We had a great tailgating spot right on the rail!

 

Breakfast Minis

IMG_4792This recipe uses the Tastefully Simple silicone bar pan. You can also use a regular muffin tin, but silicone muffin cups would be better because the ingredients won’t stick.

These are great to pack in your lunchbox and reheat once you get to the office!

Recipe makes about 12.

Ingredients

4-6 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled
5 eggs
3 cups hash browns
½ cup shredded cheddar
½ cup shredded mozzarella
¼ tsp salt

Instructions

Mix all of the ingredients well. Press firmly into the compartments of the bar pan. Fill the unused compartments of the bar pan with water. Bake at 375 until the hash browns are crispy on top.

Mini Chocolate Cakes

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I had a party yesterday afternoon and needed a quick and easy dessert to make. I was already running behind schedule. I had some chocolate pound cake mix, which would be super easy to do something with. (I’m totally serious – you just add butter and water to this magical mix!)

Ingredients

1 package Tastefully Simple Classy Chocolate Pound Cake Mix
¾ cup melted butter
1 cup water
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 ¾ cups heavy cream
¼ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup powdered sugar

If you want to use store bought whipped cream, you don’t need the powdered sugar or vanilla, and you only need 1 ¾ cups heavy cream.

Instructions

Cake

Mix the pound cake mix, melted butter, and water. Grease two 9-inch round pans. I probably would’ve used a jelly roll pan if I had one. Make sure you set your cakes up to bake flat. I have these Wilton bake even strips that go around the pan to promote even baking. A Cozy Kitchen also had a DIY method here. I totally forgot to use the strips, which is why you see some uneven layers in the photo.

Bake at 325 for about 15-18 minutes. I think I did 12 minutes, tested, and put it back for another 5. Like a regular cake, a toothpick will come out clean when it’s done. Don’t be scared if the toothpick comes out clean and the cake still looks a little jiggly in the center.

Cool cakes fully before assembling.

Filling

Beat 1 ¾ heavy cream until it thickens slightly. Add ¼ cup milk and the packet of pudding mix. Beat for 2 minutes. Cover and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

Whipped Cream

Beat 1 cup heavy cream, 1 tsp vanilla, and ¼ cup powdered sugar until it’s a whipped cream consistency with stiff peaks. I could’ve beaten mine for a few more minutes. It wasn’t runny, but it wasn’t quite as stiff as I wanted. Keep it in the fridge until ready to use.

Assembly

Remove the cakes from the pans. (Caution – don’t remove until your cake is fully cooled!) Use a biscuit cutter to cut the cakes into small circular pieces. You can use whatever size cutter you want. The one I used was about 2″ and I was able to get 16 pieces (for 8 cakes). Go smaller if you don’t want people to need a fork.

Use a piping bag to pipe the filling onto each bottom piece. Stack with the top cake piece and top with whipped cream. You could also add some chocolate shavings.

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Cold, cold day today, and I spent several hours outside at the barn this afternoon. Soup was definitely a good choice to help me warm up when I got home.

Ingredients

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp Tastefully Simple Wahoo! chili seasoning
1 jalapeno
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 chipotle pepper in adobo + about 2tsp of the sauce
28oz can diced tomatoes
3 cups frozen corn
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup masa harina
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Monterey jack cheese
Tortilla strips (store bought or homemade)
Salt

Instructions

Dice onion and jalapeño (after removing seeds). Mince garlic. Rough chop chili. Don’t worry too much about having perfect knife skills because you’re just going to puree it all later.

Boil chicken breasts in a medium pot. Salt the water! Set the chicken aside when finished.

Melt butter in a dutch oven (or other large pot) over medium heat. Cook onions, jalapeño, garlic, & chipotle+sauce until the onions are translucent.

Add tomatoes and chili seasoning. Cook for a few minutes, then add chicken stock.

Use an immersion blender to puree everything in the pot. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender. Just be careful because hot/steamy stuff + blenders aren’t always a good combo.

Add the masa harina. Use the immersion blender to get rid of any chunks that form. This is a good time to taste it and add salt. Don’t worry if you think it’s too spicy right now. The cream will take care of that later. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Add the corn. (Get the tortilla strips in the oven now if you’re making them)

Pull or shred the chicken. I use the stand mixer for this. Toss the chicken in and use the beater on speed 2 for about 30-45 seconds. I always cover it with a towel because sometimes pieces like to fly out. You can also pull it with a fork instead.

Add the chicken to the soup. Stir in the heavy cream. Taste again, and add more salt if needed. Let it cook on low for about 10 more minutes.

Serve and garnish with the cheese and tortilla strips.

Tortilla Strips

Use a pizza cutter to cut tortillas into strips. I cut small tortillas into quarters, then cut into strips. You have two options – fry until golden, or bake. I baked these since they were going in soup. Coat in olive oil, season with salt. Line up the strips on a baking sheet and bake on 350 until golden.