Bacon Curry Mac ‘n Cheese

This is the ultimate winter comfort food in my opinion. Bacon, curry, cheese – does it get any better? This recipe takes a little bit of prep time, but is so yummy it’s well worth it. It can also be assembled ahead of time and sit in the fridge until it’s time to cook it. And it makes great leftovers. I haven’t tried it, but a friend also suggested this would make great fried macaroni & cheese balls.

  • 1/2 lb. or 8 slices of bacon
  • 1 box pasta, cooked
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 c. half ‘n half or light cream
  • 1 or 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. Curry Garlic Spice Rub
  • 16 oz.+ shredded cheese (Be creative here! I like to blend Cheddar with Bacon & Smoked Gouda)
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. bread crumbs or panko (or try putting stale bread into the blender to make your own fresh crumbs)

Cook up the bacon and save 3 Tbsp of the bacon fat. My preferred way to easily cook this much bacon is to put it on a baking sheet and pop into a 420 degree oven for 11-16 minutes (depends on the thickness of the bacon). Chop each bacon strip into 1/2 inch slices.

Put the bacon fat (supplement with oil or butter if needed) in a pan and sauté the onions for about 20 minutes. This is a good time to also cook the pasta and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the flour into a small bit of the half ‘n half to remove all lumps, then add all of the half ‘n half  to the onions once cooked. Add the Curry Garlic Spice Rub and stir all together. Let simmer for 1-2 more minutes.

Transfer the pasta into a large casserole dish. Pour in the onion mixture and chopped bacon and stir. Set aside a some of the cheese (~1/3 c.). Add the remaining cheese to the casserole dish and blend well. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top.

In the same pan you cooked the onions, melt the butter (or use more bacon fat if you have it) and toss the breadcrumbs to coat them. Spread them evenly over the pasta mixture and cook uncovered in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. If you’ve prepped this beforehand and are pulling it out of the fridge, cook for 35-40 minutes.

When done, let cool for approx. 5 minutes.

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Salmon with Mint Nut Crumble

Picture a delicately poached salmon with a crunchy mint topping that will tantalize your taste buds. This is a lovely recipe to enjoy in the summer as it is best with fresh mint!

  • Salmon Fillets (with skin on is ideal)
  • Pine Nuts, chopped
  • Hazelnuts, chopped
  • Fresh Mint, minced
  • Honey
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar (just a splash or two!)

Make the Mint Nut Crumble first so flavors can really mingle together while the salmon cooks.

  • Chop the nuts and mint and combine in a bowl. I suggest a roughly 50/50 mix between volume of nuts (in total) and mint
  • Add in honey and olive oil to made a sticky paste like mixture.
  • Add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  • Taste and adjust as desired. Set aside.

Cook the salmon as follows:

  • Put a small amount of oil into the pan.
  • Cook the salmon skin side up for 2 minutes, then flip over and cook another 2 minutes.
  • Drain the oil out of the pan and fill with any combination of citrus juices. I like to use Dole’s Orange Peach Mango juice, but any combination of fresh squeezed or store bought juices such as orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime will do. The juice should come to about 2/3 of the height of the fish.
  • Cover and steam for approx. 10 minutes or until almost done. I find the salmon best when the very center is still a touch on the raw side, but you can cook it to whatever level of doneness appeals to you. The thickness of the filet(s) should also be accounted for.
  • Spread mint nut crumble over the top of the salmon. Cover and steam another 2 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

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Lime Pepper Salt

This tangy blend is great on vegetables

  • 2 Tbs. ground white pepper
  • 4 Tbs. ground red pepper
  • ½ cup ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 2 limes

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the zest and juice from the limes and mix well.

Pepper & Lime Salt

Spread the mixture in a thin layer over a cookie sheet and place in the oven at a very low heat (100 degrees usually works fine). Lift and mix the mixture occasionally and break up large clumps. After the spices seem thoroughly dry place them in a food processor and pulse a few times to break up the last clumps and store in a sealed dry container.

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Curry Garlic Spice Rub

This spice rub is very yummy and extremely versatile.

  • 4 parts curry powder
  • 3 parts garlic powder
  • 2 parts sugar
  • ½ part smoked paprika

Directions: Mix it all up.  Put it on your food.

Curry Garlic Spice Rub

This rub was originally formulated for grilled corn on the cob. To make that remove the husks from the corn. Brush them liberally with olive oil and sprinkle them with the spice rub. Place the corn over a hot grill and turn frequently until the kernels turn a dark yellow with just a bit of singeing.

We have since learned that it also make a great seasoning for roast meats (especially lamb), macaroni and cheese, turkey burgers, stir fries, sauces and popcorn.

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