What is the deal with pancetta? Is it just fancy, more expensive, hard to find bacon? Is it really necessary in recipes or can you swap pancetta out with bacon? Why do people use pancetta? Is it really THAT much better than bacon? I've got a lot of questions. 🥓🤷🏻♀️
I used to be able to buy pancetta from the deli department in my local grocery store. They've recently stopped carrying it though and the only way that I can buy it now is in the prepackaged, sliced deli meat and cheese case. I'm not a pancetta expert so I really don't know if this kind of pre-packaged pancetta is any good or if I'd be better off with bacon. Where are my pancetta experts? Can you help a girl out? I need answers.
I did a little research and I found out that the biggest difference between bacon and pancetta is that bacon is smoked and cured and pancetta is seasoned, rolled and cured. I'd say that pancetta is the Italian cousin of bacon. It's used for things like soups, pastas and risottos. Most cooks believe that one can be swapped for the other in most recipes as long as you keep in mind that bacon will add a smoky flavor that pancetta will not.
This simple pasta and cheese recipe is what first stirred all of this bacon/pancetta curiosity. Changing just one of the five ingredients in the recipe can really alter the results. I decided to do a little of my own research. I made one batch with pancetta and the other batch with bacon. The results were inconclusive. We liked both pasta dishes. They were different but both were delicious. How's that for ambiguous?
Pasta with Pancetta and Pecorino
8 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/4" thick
1 Tablespoon oil
1 pound pasta
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
Reduce heat to low and add pasta, pancetta and pecorino. Stir 1 minute.
Serve with additional pepper and pecorino.
Hey pancetta people - where you at? Send me the information that you know about pancetta and any advice that you have for this novice pancetta user. I need support and more importantly - I need to know where I can buy great pancetta in the greater Atlanta area. 😂
When my kids were younger, we would to sit down as a family as soon as the kids got out of school and create a summer bucket list. My kids were quick to add things like eat s'mores, go out for ice cream and stay up late watching movies to the list. My husband would suggest family hiking trips and camping. As for me, I usually tried to include some sort of family cooking activity but to be honest, I was on board with anything that involved spending time together as a family. (Other than tent camping. 😂🏕)
Why did we ever stop making summer bucket lists? It's such a great way to make sure that time doesn't slip away while I occupy myself with the busyness of my daily routine. It's amazing how quickly I can end up cruising through life on autopilot without ever stopping to be truly present in the moment. I need that not-so-subtle, neon colored bucket list taped to my refrigerator door as a reminder that at the end of the day, the pile of dirty dishes next to my kitchen sink isn't what's important.
I may have missed the boat on making a summer bucket list this year but I'm not going to let that stop me from making an end of the year/holiday bucket list. These last few months of the year are by far the busiest for my business in addition to all of the other demands of Christmas. It's easy for me to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season and I'm hoping that my holiday bucket list will help me keep things in perspective this year.
I know that I need to get out of the house more, especially on busy baking days, so I'm adding dog walks and al fresco lunches to my bucket list. I also want to build in time for myself this Christmas. I'm working toward moving past my feelings of selfishness and scheduling "me" time this year. 😳 My list also includes things like spending less time on my phone and being more present when I have time with Ben.
Wish me luck - this holiday bucket list isn't going to be easy to execute. It was easy to generate a list of things that I WANT to do in these last 66 days of the year but it's going to be way harder to stay focused on what's important and stick to my list and not add additional tasks to my already busy schedule. Simplifying my holiday baking is one way that I can stick to my bucket list. This German Apple Almond Cake is simple and amazing. Yea for easy holiday cakes and more time to check things off my end of the year bucket list.
German Apple Almond Cake
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
4 ounces almond paste, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 small apples, peeled and cored
2 teaspoons sugar
Cool in pan 30 minutes. Remove from pan and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
I brought these apples home from our trip to the North Georgia mountains last weekend. You don't have to get your apples from an orchard while wearing cute boots and a flannel shirt but bonus points if you do. Most of the time, grocery store apples work just as wonderfully in this recipe as freshly picked ones.
Last month we spent a weekend puppy-sitting our beautiful, energetic, five month old German Shorthair GRANDDOG! He is the sweetest and friendliest dog ever - BUT he has endless energy too. It took 3 adults to care for this one furry, 50 pound bundle of liveliness for a weekend. (And it almost killed us.) 😂 He brought a vitality and intensity level to our house that we haven't seen from our 12 year old Weimaraner in quite a while.
I consider myself an active person and I thought that I was prepared to handle the stamina and endurance of a 5 month old puppy. hahahaha Boy was I wrong. This spunky fireball gave me a run for my money. We walked and ran and swam and played fetch and arranged playdates for this lively pooch from before sunrise to well after sunset. And our strategy to wear this canine out actually worked too - for both of us. We all crashed before 10:00 every night from complete exhaustion. 🤣 (The best kind of tired though.)
It was a weekend full of fun and adventure for sure. This cute canine went for his first swim while he was here and had his first face to face meeting with a cow and a donkey. Even though he drained us of energy, we absolutely loved having this mischievous puppy here for a few days.
I don't think that our grand dog is unusual. I have a feeling that all 5 month old puppies demand constant attention. CONSTANT! We managed to keep this little pup from eating things that he shouldn't but not much else got accomplished during our puppy-sitting weekend. Thank goodness I had some meals in the freezer that I could pull out and heat up while I distracted the snoopy pup with an empty water bottle. Lemon, Chicken, Kale and Orzo Soup is a great meal to keep in the freezer for extra busy days. Oh, and it's delicious too.
Lemon Chicken, Kale and Orzo Soup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless, chicken breast, cut into 1" pieces
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
2 onions, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup orzo pasta
4 cups kale, chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Remove bay leaf. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper as needed.
We loved spending the weekend with this cuddly GSP with endless energy and no sense of personal space.
I recognize that a recap of my dog-sitting experience has little to nothing to do with a Chicken Soup recipe but then again, this blog is called My Story in Recipes. I've yet to decide which is more interesting to read, the stories or the recipes.
If someone asked you to write down your all time favorite recipe, what would it be? A simple muffin recipe, a go-to weeknight chicken dinner, a spaghetti sauce recipe passed down from your grandmother or a decadent chocolate treat? I don't know about you, but I have a really hard time deciding on my top 10 favorite recipes - let alone my very favorite of all time.
My mom hosted a recipe shower for my son and his new wife last summer. Everyone that attended wrote down their favorite recipe and gave it to the new bride and groom in lieu of a congratulatory card. I was lucky enough to sneak a peak at some of the recipes that they were given and I have to say that it was very interesting to see the recipes that everyone gave to the newlyweds. There was everything from baked oatmeal to mashed potatoes. Even if they don't end up testing out ALL of the recipes, they have this fun keepsake from each of their shower guests.
I honestly don't know what my favorite recipe would be but I can say that quiche is probably one of the most versatile things that I make. It's perfect for a fancy Easter brunch, for a church potluck or just a simple Sunday night dinner in front of the tv. My family is a big fan of quiche especially when I load it up with bacon and cheese! 🥓🧀
My Herbed Ricotta Mini Quiche is a great little recipe to make as directed or customize to make it your own. A basic quiche recipe is something that anyone can make and it's super scrumptious.
Herbed Ricotta Mini Quiche
12 mini tart shells
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup half and half
3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons ricotta
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Bake 30 minutes at 350 until browned.
What are your favorite quiche recipes? Do you add green chilies and jalapeños to spice up your quiche? Do you like peppers and mushrooms in your quiche? Are you a ham and cheddar fan? I'd love to hear about your favorite quiche creations.
Since we moved to Georgia 14 years ago, it's been our family tradition to take a day trip to the North Georgia mountains every Fall to visit the apple orchards. 🍎 The trip was never really about the apples though. It was just a great place to spend the day together as a family. Hiking, wandering through a corn maze, picnicking, taking pictures in sunflower fields, searching for the perfect pumpkin in the patch, shooting the apple cannon, visiting the petting farm AND if we still had time - picking apples.
I highly recommend a Fall trip to the mountains if you live in the great state of Georgia. Even if you're not interested in apple picking - I suggest going for the apple treats alone - apple sticks, apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, fried apple pies, caramel apples and so much more. Deliciousness. 🍩🥧 The treats sold in the apple barn are legendary.
This year we decided to extend our stay in the mountains so we could add some new adventures to our annual Fall trip. We rode the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway on the Fall foliage tour, we took in the sights from horseback and we wandered around the apple festival booths in Ellijay.
It was a beautiful October weekend in the mountains. We had a lot of fun and we ate a lot of great food. We didn't pick any apples this year but we did buy some at the apple festival to bring home. They seemed like the perfect souvenir from our fun weekend get away.
Even though our weekend mountain escape is over, we still have the apples to remember our trip. Tonight I'm making Apple Bacon Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with some of our mountain apples. 🍎
Apple Bacon Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
3/4 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
Transfer to bowl and let cool 10 minutes. Stir in gruyere. Wipe skillet clean.
Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.
Remove twine and slice into 1" pieces.
Just a reminder - if you're not interested in all of the commentary that accompanies the recipes on my blog - just remember that you can always scroll to the bottom of the post and click on the blue link for a printable version of the recipe. I get it. We're not all visual learners. I recognize that there's a certain percentage of my followers who don't appreciate the step by step instructions and that is exactly why I spent endless hours adding a button to the bottom of each and every recipe. Simply click on the blue button for a link to a printable word document for each recipe. If you're the kind of person who likes to have a stack of recipes on hand - printing is also a great way to keep track of the recipes that you want to try.
Like my page on facebook.
Follow me on Instagram