amped up drunken blondies

oh my gosh y’all.

i’ve been totally holding out.

but but but not purposefully!!

i’ve been meaning to share these for like 2 weeks now but things have been crazy and then i had a viral infection last week so the crazy was even crazier!

so since i’ve been holding out i’m not going to blab on and on about something…. we’ll get straight to the food.

i couple weeks ago i was in the mood to make something but i wasn’t really sure what. well that’s kinda a lie. i really wanted to make brownies but while i was browsing pinterest for an idea, i saw these cookies over at heather’s site. {yes i’m totally aware that cookies and brownies aren’t the same thing.} then i turned to one of my new favorite cookbooks and saw a recipe for drunken blondies and it was like everything righted itself in the world and i got to work.

and of course me being me, i couldn’t leave things alone. but let’s be real…. melted butter is really just screaming to be brown butter. {which if you are looking for a fabulous tutorial on, see darla’s here!} and i mean bourbon really loves maple and bacon so why not make sure the bffs are together? it’s only right.

so if you’re looking for a dessert to bring to your tailgate this upcoming weekend or something different for your thanksgiving dessert buffet, give these a try!

amped up drunken blondiesamped up drunken blondies

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 c {8-10 slices} bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 c {2 sticks} brown butter
  • 2 tbs bacon grease
  • 1 c dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 2 tbs bourbon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c dark chocolate chips
  1. preheat oven to 350F. line a 9×13 baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing the ends to hang over the edges of the pan; grease with baking spray.
  2. whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. in a large mixing bowl, stir together the butter, bacon grease, and brown sugars until smooth and well combined. add in the eggs, bourbon, vanilla extract and maple extract; mix until thoroughly combined. stir in the dry ingredients followed by the bacon bits, pecans and chocolate chips.
  4. pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. bake 20-25 min or until the top is golden brown. remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. cut into bars and keep in an airtight container.

seriously good bars and no fancy mixer required!


recipe adapted from: the back in the day bakery cookbook


jalapeno cheesy bacon swirl rolls

so… i try hard not to overshare on these interwebs. i say that because i’m staring at the screen trying to type something fluffy and hysterical but nothing is coming to me…. which works because it lets me talk more about these rolls!

these rolls are the next edition to my participation in the pass the cookbook club. i had a lot going on last month so i didn’t participate because the date snuck up on me. but this month i was determined not to let that happen again! {which it totally still did but not as last minute as before…}

when i first saw the choices from this month’s selection {the smitten kitchen cookbook by deb perelman}, i was immediately drawn to the sweet option… shocker right? but then i decided i needed to be brave and make these rolls.

see i have this tremendous fear of baking with yeast… what if i kill the yeast? what if it doesn’t rise? what if it turns out like a rock? what if? what if? what it?

well the recipe for these rolls hit on my love of carbs and my love of cheese so i figured it was high time i tried again! and guess what?!? i totally rocked this yeast recipe!! yay for my little yeast victory!!

and when i decided to make these, i knew i couldn’t leave well enough alone. see deb’s recipe was great and all but i felt it needed a little heat… in the form of some fresh jalapenos. oh and since we were remixing this little swirl, why not change the cheese from regular ol’ cheddar to something with some pizzazz… say maybe some smoked gouda. plus what makes any spread / filling better… roasted garlic so let’s just add that in there. and while we’re at it, let’s add the ultimate condiment…BACON!

{side note: bacon truly is the ultimate condiment. it goes with everything. for true.}

jalapeno cheddar bacon swirl rolls

jalapeno cheddar bacon swirl rolls


  • 3 c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs + 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 {1/4 oz} package) instant yeast
  • 1 c warm milk (110-115F)
  • 4 tbs melted butter


  • 1/2 c grated onion
  • 1-1/2 c grated smoked gouda
  • 1 small head garlic, roasted*
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and chopped (saving 1 tbs of the bacon grease)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

to make the dough:

  1. combine the flour, salt, pepper and 1 tbs sugar in the bottom of a large bowl. in a separate bowl, combine the warm milk, 1/4 tsp sugar and yeast; stir until the yeast dissolves and let bloom until the bubbles double in size (or until the yeast “blooms”). pour the yeast-milk mixture into the flour; add in the melted butter.  mix them together with the paddle of an stand mixer or a wooden spoon until a shaggy ball forms.
  2. if you’re using a stand mixer, switch to your dough hook and knead on low for 6 min or until a smooth, slightly sticky ball is formed. if you’re making this by hand, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until smooth, about 8 min.
  3. place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. let the dough rest until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. {you can also chill the dough for up to 3 days before bringing it back to room temp and moving on.}
  4. scoop the risen dough out of the bowl and onto a floured surface. roll the dough into a 12×16 in rectangle. mix the filling ingredients and spread over the dough; leave about 1/2 in border on the shorter ends. roll short end to short end making a log. carefully cut into 1 in rounds using a sharp knife.
  5. line the bottom of either {2} 9 in / 8 in round / square pans or 1 9×13 in baking pan with parchment paper; arrange the rolls in the pan(s) with an even amount of space in between. brush the tops of the rolls with bacon grease; cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled again, about another 2 hours. when almost doubled, preheat your oven to 350F. once buns are fully doubled, bake for 20-25 min, until tops are golden and cheese is bubbling. serve immediately.

*my method for roasting garlic: preheat your oven / toaster oven to 350F. cut the top off your head of garlic and place it in some aluminum foil. pour a little olive oil (about 1 tbs or so) over top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. tightly wrap the head up in the aluminum foil and let bake for 75 min.

seriously. these rolls. make them. now.


check out some of the other great things others made from the pass the cookbook club:

recipe adapted from: the smitten kitchen cookbook

this post is linked up to these fun link parties: what’s cookin wednesday and what’s in your kitchen wednesday

overnight breakfast casserole

true story…

i’m not a morning person.

and i’m actually not really a night owl either.

i’m a “let me get up when i feel like it and go to bed when i feel like it” kind of girl. i like my sleep what can i say?

i’m also not necessarily a breakfast person. i mean i can go for a good muffin or some french toast but traditional breakfast foods? not my thing. i think it has to do with the fact that i don’t eat eggs. i mean i’ll totally use eggs in baked goods and mac & cheese but straight up eggs. not.a.chance. gag.

(and by the way… my mom would like you to know i used to eat eggs. i loved them. but now i don’t. trust me when i say that’s all that matters in this story.)


i see you looking at the title of this post and saying to yourself… “if she’s not a egg eating breakfast kind of person, WHY is she posting a breakfast casserole that contains eggs?” simple answer. it is one of my most requested recipes at work. remember how i told you all about me making birthday treats for my co-workers? well one of my co-workers ventured off the sweet path and requested breakfast. so i did a lot of looking and found this one. it was a hit. so much of a hit that some other co-workers bought me an insulated pyrex dish (THANKS GUYS!) so the casseroles could continue on after my dad took his with him when he moved. i’ve made this dish several times since that first morning and even brought some home with me around christmas, where i was asked for the recipe. and now i’m sharing it.

this casserole is super simple to put together, even if it requires a little forethought. in fact, you put it together and then just let it hang out in the fridge overnight before you bake it off. it would be a perfect lazy saturday / sunday breakfast… ya know if you’re into mornings and breakfast. 🙂

overnight breakfast casserole

breakfast casserole

  • 1 lb breakfast sausage
  • 1 package (12 oz) bacon, sliced in small pieces
  • 4 c frozen southern style hashbrowns, thawed
  • 1-1/2 c pepperjack cheese
  • 1-1/2 c cheddar cheese
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
  1. place the sausage in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. brown the sausage until cooked through; remove from the skillet and set aside. in the same skillet, cook the bacon until brown and crispy. remove to a plate with a slotted spoon leaving the bacon grease to cook off the green onions. cook the green onions until tender.
  2. while the sausage and bacon are cooking, spread the hashbrowns evenly in an 11×7 dish (or you could you a standard 9in pie plate). mix the cheeses together and spread evenly over the potato mixture.
  3. after the green onions have cooked, spread them over the potatoes and cheeses. next add the sausage and bacon. whisk together the milk, eggs and seasonings; pour evenly over the casserole. cover and place in the fridge overnight, 7 – 8 hours.
  4. when you’re ready to bake it off, preheat oven to 350F. bake uncovered 40-45 min or until the cheese is bubbly but not browned (don’t be like me and let the green onions get dark!). allow to stand 15 min before cutting into it.

if you’re making this for people, be prepared for them to harass you to make it for them all the time.


recipe adapted from: our best bites

bacon caramel brownies

ok so you know how i literally just said that this year is flying by?!? well this week… not so much. this week has been moving so sloooooooooooooooooow. like slower than molasses during the wintertime. (not that i really know what “wintertime” is since it’s always hot here.)

but seriously…

this week has been super slow. and not just slow. it’s felt like an extended monday. i’m not normally one to complain about monday but i felt like friday would never ever ever get here.

but alas. friday finally came. and i don’t want the weekend to end. thank goodness for this monday being a holiday. it’s like a little something extra. know what else has a little something extra? these brownies. not only do they have the added benefit of caramel being baked in them but they also have bacon and bacon fat. i’m gonna let that digest in your brain for a little bit.




ok good.

let’s talk about these brownies.

oh where do i even begin other than the fact that they have bacon on every level and it’s awesomeness. i mean bacon just makes everything better right? let make sure you know the right answer to that question… yes. yes it does. the idea of having bacon in a brownie (or any baked good) kinda freaks people out. they’re not quite sure what to do with that information. others are intrigued. and then there are the people who know that bacon in sweets is awesome. it combines everything you could ever love. salty and sweet all baked into this super rich chocolate goodness. and these brownies are super rich and indulgent. and something you must make today.

bacon caramel brownies

  • 1.5 c (3 sticks) butter, divided
  • 8 strips of bacon, divided – to start you want 4 strips uncooked and 4 cooked and crumbled
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 4 c sugar, divided
  • 12 oz dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 2.5 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  1. preheat oven to 350F. generously grease a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. first make your caramel: fry the 4 uncooked slices of bacon in a pan until crisp. remove the bacon and reserve the bacon grease. add the cream to the bacon grease and let cool completely. (you can also bake your bacon on a sheet tray and pour your bacon grease into the measuring cup with the heavy cream. your choice on bacon cooking method.) in a pot, heat 2 c sugar over medium heat until it liquifies and turns a golden amber color. add 12 tbs (1.5 sticks) butter and the bacon grease cream mixture. stir until combined and liquid. be super careful because this is scaldingly hot. set this aside.
  3. next make your brownies: in a double broiler, melt together the dark chocolate chips and remaining butter. remove from heat and add the cocoa and eggs (one at a time) until well combined. add the sugar and vanilla and stir until well combined. finally, add the flour and stir until just combined.
  4. now assemble your brownie batter: pour half the brownie batter into the bottom of your pan. top this with half the caramel mixture. scoop the rest of your brownie batter onto the top and pour the remaining caramel mixture. swirl the layers together. top with the crumbled bacon. bake for 40-50 min. you want to bake it until it just starts to set around the edges. let cool completely and cut into small pieces.

ok so a couple notes. first, next time i make these (because there will most def be a next time), i’m not going to use all the caramel mixture in the brownies. i’ll only use half for the actual brownies and reserve the other half to top the ice cream that i plan to put on the warm brownie. i really felt like using all the caramel made these brownies almost too rich. these really are super super rich brownies so i feel that my plan for saving half the caramel will help that out.

also. here’s another picture just to make you drool some more:

and while i’ve gotten some comments about all the stuff i’ve posted, i just had to share an email a coworker sent me about these brownies because it was the best ever!

Julie and I watch the show “Intervention”, and all these addicts talk about is how they can’t stop thinking about the drug, how it feels and even tastes – they dream about it.   I never really understood what that was like until I ate these brownies. 

now if that doesn’t make you understand the absolute need for you to be whipping up a batch of these brownies tonight, i don’t know what else will convince you.


recipe from: beth michelle

baked potato dip

ok so since we started with super bowl dessert first, let’s go with a dip now.

what’s that you’re saying?

the super bowl was ages ago and you can’t believe it’s taken me this long to post this…

well it has. i don’t know what to tell you other than it’s taken this long to post it. but i don’t care. it’s relevant. you can bring it to your mardi gras party next week. it’s great to put out among the spread of other things. or you could start to attempt to make potato salad only to realize you are out of everything that you need and use this instead of the mayo, mustard, relish, etc. just saying.

oh did i mention how SUPER easy this dip is??

i didn’t?

well now i am. it’s SUPER easy. like it has 5 ingredients and one of those is chips (if you don’t use it for your potato salad mix-in!

baked potato dip

  • 16 oz sour cream
  • 16 slices or 1 lb bacon – depending on how you want to buy your bacon… if you buy it in a package, just use one package; if you buy it by the slice, get 16 slices
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 5 green onions, sliced
  1. cook and slice your bacon
  2. put it in a bowl
  3. throw everything else in a bowl and stir together and put in the fridge so all the flavors can get to know each other for at least an hour, but they would really like all night to mingle.
  4. enjoy.

see… i told you it was super easy.

and totally awesome.

and addictive.

like needs to be hidden so i don’t eat an entire bowl in one sitting. which i could totally do.


recipe from: brown eyed baker 

there are some nights you wish you could clone yourself…

and wednesday night was one of those nights… see i love music. i really do believe that there are many times when we cannot find the right words for the right moment and finding a song that can express that makes me beyond happy – ok well it makes me excited even in the sad/angry/whatever non-happy moments. i think that there are lyrics that express what we want to say better than if we could pull the words out of the air. that being said, i love going to concerts especially when it’s someone i really like. so it would be safe to assume that when an artist (say justin moore) comes to town, i would jump on the tickets…

…but i didn’t.

by choice.

oh it kills me to write that.

but here’s the other thing…

…there are certain “celebrity” chefs (or really just chefs in general) that i’m obsessed with. and not obsessed in the creepy way. just in the i really admire them and wish that we could be best friends so they could cook with/for me all the time. john besh is one of those chefs. he recently took over la provence restaurant and has a fabulous chef there and they host a monthly tasting dinner which my mom and stepdad attended in september and i was lucky enough to attend in october. he also just released a new cookbook. where am i going with all this? well at the end of the dinner in october they mentioned that he would be at the event in november so what’s the first thing i do when i hear that? promptly walk up to the hostess desk and make reservations. see these dinners are normally the third thursday of the month but because john besh is so awesome, his calendar is super packed so it had to be on a wednesday. the wednesday of the justin moore concert.

so i had to choose.

i choose food and john besh.

i don’t regret it either but i just wanted to be in two places at once. thankfully i did see justin moore when he came here with miranda lambert. i still would have liked to see HIS show and not him being an opener. but what can you do?

meet john besh!

and i did!!

he was awesome and really nice and i totally geeked out.

anyways… now that i blabbed forever on to the food.

i made the recipe before and i recently fond the magazine page where i tore it out so i decided to make it again.  the best part about this recipe is that it is super easy but looks super fancy. i mean there are a few steps to it but each step is simple and pretty non timeconsuming. it makes a great week night meal especially when you want to pretend to be fancy on a tuesday. oh and there’s no fancy name so…

chicken with brie and bacon in puff pastry (like i said.. no fancy name)

  • 1 lb chicken breast cutlets – you can buy 2 chicken breasts and cut them in half horizontally if where you shop doesn’t offer cutlets; and not these are not tenderloins
  • a wedge of brie cheese – i don’t know exactly how much i had, i just bought a wedge and used it
  • 6 slices bacon – i actually only used 4 slices but i needed extra to snack on; and if you can get good applewood smoked bacon, spend the little extra and get it.
  • 1 box puff pastry – make sure it’s thawed in the fridge the night before
  • cajun seasoning – you can really use any type of seasoning you’d like; i used slap ya mama, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • olive oil
  1. cook your bacon until it’s just crispy – that was about 25 minutes in my oven set to 350F. set the cooked bacon aside and snack on the extra strips you made because you know you can’t resist it either. leave your oven on.
  2. season both sides of your chicken breast cutlets with the seasoning and brown off in a skillet on medium / medium-high heat coated with olive oil – i did mine in two batches (2 cutlets per batch) because all 4 cutlets wouldn’t fit in my skillet comfortably.
  3. cut the brie into slices (you can remove the rind if you want to or you can leave it on, that’s your call).
  4. roll out the puff pastry sheets so you can cut each half in half so you have long rectangles of puff pasty. you want to roll it and cut it so that you can put the chicken breast cutlet in there and still be able to “close” it up.
  5. assemble your puff pasty chicken… it goes a little like this: puff pastry –> chicken breast –> brie cheese –> bacon. then you “close” up the puff pastry and press it together and put it on a baking sheet – if you’re smart (or insane) like me you’ll use the same baking sheet that you used for the bacon after you drained and saved the bacon grease (that stuff is like gold in my kitchen).
  6. cut a small slit in each side so the pastry doesn’t explode while baking.
  7. bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

and that’s it.

told you it was simple and seemed really fancy. you can serve it with a salad or green beans. or whatever else floats your boat.


oh the weather outside is frightful…

…ok so it’s not really. but it is finally getting cooler around here and that’s what matters. see, when you live in the south and aren’t a big fan on 100F weather, you take what you can get. and i’ll take 40F nights and 70F days. i’d prefer it to be cooler all the time but hey… beggers can’t be choosers. (although i think that’s a semi-load of crap 🙂 ) colder weather is not just a great zac brown band song but also means that it’s soup and gumbo time!! holla!!

which i should just warn ya’ll… if i was forced to eat one meal every single day, that meal could quite possibly be chicken and sausage gumbo. seriously. no joke. i freaking love it. but that’s another time, another blog post.

but just as much as i love gumbo, i love me a good soup. i mean is there anything else that warms you quite like a good soup? i think not and politely disagree with you if you think i’m wrong. so this cold snap hits and i am so much about making a soup that words cannot quite contain the excitement. i’m all about making a soup. not a gumbo this weekend but a soup.

so i did.

once again, i originally found the recipe on pinterest. shocker i know. this one came via a pin by my friend alicia. yes, i repinned her pin. but that’s what it’s all about. this was a very straightforward soup but the title deceives you…. better homes and garden’s website (which is where it was originally found) calls it spicy chicken-corn chowder. but let me tell you. they miss the potatoes in the chowder. i mean i get it. it has chicken and corn and some jalapenos to make it spicy. but seriously. it has potatoes too. and how can you forget those little nuggets of deliciousness?? so i officially decided to call it, get this, spicy chicken, corn and potato chowder. super creative no? i know i know but give me a break.

anyway this soup/chowder was everything that it should have been. i mean it was spicy without being inedible. and the little nuggets of deliciousness known as potatoes… well they melted in your mouth. i mean who would think you would ever describe potatoes as melting in your mouth?? not me. but they did. they kept their shape and then just melted away. to be honest, i was leary about the chicken in the chowder. don’t get me wrong, i like chicken in soups and chowders and such but i wasn’t sure about it in what most people would initially consider to be a corn and potato chowder. i felt like maybe the chicken was that kid on the playground that didn’t have any friends so you invited them to the party because you felt bad for them. but no. maybe that’s how it started out but they ended up being a party starter. the corn provided exactly what the corn was there to provide… that little burst of corny goodness. i’m telling you… try this soup. it was

spicy chicken, corn and potato chowder

  • 8 slices bacon, chopped (the package i bought had 10 slices so i used all 10)
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in bite size pieces (season with salt, pepper and slap ya mama)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1-2 jalapenos, diced (i actually used 2 1/2 because jalapenos don’t scare me)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large yukon gold potatoes (i used 4 potatoes because mine were not what i would call large. more like small/medium that wanted to be big time)
  • 2 cups fresh sweet corn kernels (so it’s colder weather, that means it’s not summer which in turn means corn’s not in season. buy 2 cans of corn, you’ll thank me for the trouble saved)
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (i used more slap ya mama because i didn’t know that i was out of cayenne until i went to use it)
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. in a 5-6 qt dutch oven, cook bacon pieces (you’ll want to get them crispy). remove when browned nicely and set aside.
  2. add chicken to the bacon drippings; brown over medium / medium-high heat until it is cooked all the way through. remove from the pan.
  3. add the red pepper and onion (i put these through a whirl in my food processor because i’m not a huge fan of chunks of seasonings) to the pan. cook about 5 minutes then add the jalapenos and garlic. cook about 3 minutes. stir in flour and cook another minute.
  4. add the stock and potatoes. (make sure to stir/wisk well so you can get all the flour clumps taken care of). bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. cook uncovered 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  5. stir in chicken, corn, cream, cayenne and bay leaves. simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. remove bay leaves before serving. top with jalapeno slices if you so choose to. you can also top with the reserved bacon that the original recipe never told you what to do with it other than set aside. i used as a garnish and it was DELISH. makes 8 servings.

you really need to try this soup. i’m just saying.

oh and a semi-tangent here… did you know that spike mendelsohn was competing on the next iron chef on food network??? i didn’t know that until this week and it really bums me out that he was eliminated. (sorry if you dvr’ed it and hadn’t watched it yet.) chef spike owns this really cool burger joint in one of my all time favorite cities, DC. it’s a place called good stuff eatery. if you’re ever in DC you should go check it out. they have really yummy milkshakes too – one of which is a toasted marshmallow kind!! he also opened a pizza joint next door. we didn’t get to eat there last time i was there but you can bet i’m going to try it next time i’m there. i just thought i would share that because i was so bummed to see him go.


go get to soup making! 🙂