Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday Dudes-Day: Manly Bacon Cheeseburger Dip!

 photo baconcheeseburgerblog1_zps1dad6cf9.jpg

We've all had a ton of party dips, from your basic salsa to different taco dips, french onion dips, Mexican dips, and many others.  Sure, they usually taste good, which is why they are often staples at most snack/appetizer tables for home parties and get togethers.  However, don't you ever get sick of the same old thing to dip your tortilla in? Hopefully I have a solution for you...That solution is called Bacon Cheeseburger Dip!  Not that you should need anymore convincing to make a dip with this title, but here's one more reason to make it...You use bacon grease! I'll say it again, YOU USE BACON GREASE! What I'm saying is, bacon grease is an actual ingredient in this dish! Oh, and if you prefer to eat the same diet as a rabbit or a supermodel, this dip may not be for you.  Otherwise, have at it and remember....sharing any dish that involves bacon is 100% optional! To be completely honest, you're more than welcome to punch someone in the mouth if you notice them going after the spots with more bacon. 

Here is one thing I need to confess:  There are a lot of ingredients in this dish and it's time consuming, but it's NOT hard to make! Besides, I added a little more of this and little more of that just because I wanted to.  I mean come on, what's the harm in adding a little bit more bacon than the recipe calls for?  If you said "nothing at all Brian," you are correct! If you have a problem with adding extra bacon, you should go play in traffic. And, If you make this dip right, chances are, your chip will break at least 50% of the time when attempting to go in for the kill.  That's not a problem!  Just be a hog and scoop it out however you see fit.


* 1/2 lb. of ground beef (Are you kidding me?  I used 1 LB of 80/20)
* 8 strips of bacon (What!?  How about 12 and a few strips just to eat while cooking!)
* 1.5 tablespoons of bacon grease (In man terms that mean AT LEAST 2 tablespoons!)
* 1/2 diced onion
* 1 clove garlic (that is 1-1.5 teaspoons of minced garlic) 
* 4 oz. of SOFTENED cream cheese (Make sure it's very soft, otherwise it won't mix evenly)
* 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce 
* 2 tablespoons of ketchup
* 1/2 cup of sour cream
* 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
* 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella (I used at least 3/4 of a cup, probably 1 cup) 
* 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar (See above!)
* Shitload of your favorite tortilla chips

 photo 6fc70a8c-ee24-45c2-8a4e-9296d37456c5_zps03fe6c9c.jpg

Ok, now that you have your ingredients, here is what you do with them!  Trust me at your own risk! 

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
2) Get your bacon out and ready to cook- As you know, I like using non stick foil and cooking my bacon in the oven at 350 degrees.
3) Get your ground beef on the stove and start browning it. 
4) While all of your meat is cooking, dice up half an onion and combine your garlic and onion into a small bowl, which will make it easier to add later. 
5)  In a large mixing bowl, combine the following: cream cheese, sour cream, worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, and both cheeses. Mix to combine. 
6) Drain your beef and put the beef into a bowl.  Using the same already hot pan, add the saved bacon grease, garlic and onion and saute until you notice some golden brown color.  It will smell GREAT!
7) Chop your bacon into pieces to any size of your liking. (Mine are roughly the size of a stamp)
8) Add the bacon, beef, onion and garlic to the other combined ingredients.  Mix with a rubber spatula
9) Add into an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish, depending on how much of the ingredients you used.  If you used noticeably more cheese, bacon, etc. than the recipe calls for, I'd go with the 9x9
10) Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  

Side note:  I added another 1/4 cup-ish of cheddar and mozzarella on the top before baking.  Why the hell not? Adding more cheese is just as awesome as adding more bacon, unless of course, you're a dude who actually thinks it's ok to wear skinny jeans.

 photo 3e5304c3-a30e-4727-9372-a7ccdb6d911a_zps8c8f66f6.jpg

 photo f305ae3e-59c6-4d81-b6d7-2d72909257ed_zps94ea286e.jpg

 photo be54e549-1675-47fe-87bf-3de8705a496e_zpsb570290a.jpg

 photo a869ddd1-0c0a-4933-80d6-abac6641dc2d_zps7fd04a3e.jpg

 photo 09720687-b13a-418c-be6d-88d5ab5f5612_zps8a4210e0.jpg

 photo b19fea9b-c52b-47e6-aef6-c898a918f82a_zps905cf823.jpg

 photo eb2f8c32-bc6e-4828-8137-76143c4846d8_zpsfe4634f1.jpg

There you have it!  You only have one more job to do.  Pile as many tortilla chips into a bowl as you can, do the same with the Bacon Cheeseburger Dip and start scarfing! Seriously, go eat the damn dip, you just spent all that time making it!  Also, don't share this with anyone who doesn't help with all the dirty F'n dishes! 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday Dudes-Day: My Bucket List!

 photo 80da2c5c-fab4-4af3-837f-e0432ced70cb_zps01884661.jpg
Do you have a Bucket List?  Everyone claims to have a Bucket List, but have you actually written down that list?  I haven't...until today!  I'm sure I'll add to this list through out my life, and if I do, it means I'm living.  I want to be able to add to the Bucket List, but for now here are a dozen things I'd love to do before the big man snags me off this Earth! Seriously, go ahead and take the time to write out your Bucket List.  You'll be amazed at how much you have been lucky enough to do or you might be motivated to make some of your items happen.  Either way, I believe a Bucket List went from a once popular saying to a healthy checklist to see if you're living, want to live, or if you need to re-evaluate your time on this planet...

12) Go Bungee Jumping. 

 photo 350bc00e-f9c4-4fdf-945b-79d90f286dd4_zps1b0ed8de.jpg

 I think anything that causes my body a rush (within the law), is flat out worth doing sometime in my life!  Come on, how could Bungee Jumping NOT be a rush!? Is it smart to tie a giant rubber band to your ankle and jump off a bridge, tower, crane, etc?  No!  That's why I want to do it!

11) Become a Loyal And Consistent Church Goer.

 photo d8cc1522-83b9-4386-8a45-f2eb5053bc53_zpsf13206ab.jpg

I grew up going to church every Sunday.  However, like most kids I didn't make the most of it.  Now that I'm a grown man with a wife and two small children, I'd like for all of us to become involved with a church that makes us feel happy, welcome, and comfortable.  I don't need it to be a specific religion, just a happy place that welcomes people from all backgrounds, races, social classes, etc. 

10) Complete a 5K, 10K and Half Marathon With My Wife.
 photo 499a7772-d881-4fde-9394-14a5762561b1_zps6024f407.jpg
 At first I just wanted to complete a 5K, but if it's going on my Bucket List, I believe I should aim a little higher, and considering I have never run in a race during my 31 years on this Earth, I think wanting to complete a half marathon is worth taking up a slot on my Bucket List! But....rumor has it, you need to be in shape to complete a race?  Ut oh...

9) Attend The Superbowl.

 photo 0e4bb977-2221-45d6-84d1-8df4b557d717_zps54b58fb8.jpg

Of course I'd prefer if my Buffalo Bills are playing in it, but let's face it, I eat entirely too much bacon which means I'll die sooner than I was hoping so I'll settle for any Superbowl!  And since it's my Bucket List, I'll go one better.  I would really love to get there 3-4 days early and enjoy all the events/activities that go along with it!

8) Have A Big Yard.

 photo f65eca9f-5065-4d3d-ae16-d8e7e13c8c23_zpsec9fd37c.jpg

 I've always wanted a big yard "when I grew up."  Now that I have children and a dog, I want one even more.  I want a place where the kids and dog can run freely and I want the satisfaction of mowing it when needed.  I want that fresh cut grass smell, an awesome grilling station, fresh veggies and bad ass summer wiffle ball games! 

7) Cliff Dive in Hawaii.

 photo e2e2cad4-89ce-482f-9d24-4deddf08d4c4_zps2770d6c6.jpg
I guess this one could be considered a two part Bucket List Item.  If I cliff dive in Hawaii, it means I have to be IN Hawaii, right?  That would be awesome....A serious rush in one of the most beautiful places in the world! This one does not need any more of an explanation! 

6)  Play A Role In A Horror Movie.

 photo 6b570713-d2eb-4e91-b463-9c30f040e5a9_zps9e3dfdf7.jpg

 It doesn't have to be a big Hollywood financed film.  Wait, this is my Bucket List so it DOES have to be a big Hollywood financed film!  However, I don't care about being paid but I do want to live all the way to the end to!  I don't want to be the "hero" because I actually like when the bad guy wins in a horror movie  ....It means there will be a sequel in the future!

5) Go To California With My Wife.

 photo d7bbeade-8d43-4d8a-9c3e-02578d45db4b_zpsc01e11c3.jpg

 I'd love to go to L.A. for a week or so.  Because I love films, I'd love to visit and tour studio's, sets, and maybe go to a live shooting of a sitcom? Either way, I just want to go to California!  Oh, and I would LOVE to wear one of my Notre Dame shirts around USC's campus.

4) Attend A World Series.

 photo ae78d084-16e1-462b-978b-c493a255943c_zpsca8ec0be.jpg

 Just like the Superbowl, I'd prefer to be at a World Series game while the Orioles are playing but I would still be sincerely grateful to be in the stands at ANY World Series game!  God Bless baseball!

3) Go To Las Vegas!

 photo 9602bfcd-4f4d-4695-b89b-953f46bf9785_zpscbb0e140.jpg
Before I met Stacy, she went to Las Vegas for a few days and she has vowed to make sure we get there ever since we met.  She's been telling me great stories about Vegas for two years, so naturally, I want to go and I want her as my tour guide!

2) Go to a Notre Dame Home Game.

 photo 783b0ea9-a5bf-4f5e-8497-781340cbc115_zps47ef4b26.jpg
Not just the game, but I'd like to be in South Bend on Thursday and start enjoying the events that surround each home game.  I was born into an Irish Catholic family, which means I have been a Notre Dame fan since birth.  The problem is, the things just haven't aligned correctly in order to allow me to get there.  I know this is Tuesday Dudes-Day and all but I have a confession to make...I may cry if I'm ever lucky enough to go to Notre Dame for a weekend and finish it up with a victory!

1) To be able to HONESTLY answer "Yes" when god asks me if I found joy through out my life.

 photo 34951208-f397-4db5-adcb-caca81c1ef7b_zps5334771b.jpg
 I know one thing, I found the woman and children who brought me more joy than anyone or anything in this world so it looks like I'm a head of the curve!  With all of that being said, experiencing the things on my Bucket List sure wouldn't hurt my chances of completing number 12!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Homemade Hamburger Rolls

 photo 0c7c1e66-9b68-447b-9de5-031a979d1ec2_zps7b1d79d7.jpg
I guess we could call them buns, I mean after all they technically are.  But to me "buns"  (when it comes to food) just sounds.... I dunno.... gross!  Haven't we been over this before where it comes to my weird hang up with food aversions due to the name attached to them?  For example in this post when we discussed my refusal to call them cake "balls' and instead I insisted you call them "bon bons".  Okay, so some things obviously didn't change and won't change no matter how long I'm gone from blogging.  Regardless of what you want to call them, you can call them amazing and I'd be okay with that.  I mean how can you go wrong with homemade rolls? Plain and simple.... ya can't. There's just something about a fresh roll that can't be duplicated in prepackaged ones. We used ours for cheeseburgers and I was just telling Brian how freakin' fantastic they'd be as a deli sandwich as well.  He and Auden even enjoyed them with just a little bit of butter on them!  While cooking them, the house smelled like a bakery and I admit, it made me feel like I was channeling my inner 1950's housewife by making them from scratch.  This was the first time using this recipe or even attempting to make a homemade roll from scratch, so I will confess that I'm no expert when it comes to it.  It's a work in progress and the one recommendation that I will tell you is that the next time I make them, I will be dividing them into smaller portions and making smaller rolls.  The original recipe said to divide the dough into 8 pieces which made rather large rolls which were still delicious but quite substantial in size. Anyway.... enough of this jibber jabber... let me show you my buns! ;)
 photo e48df5ae-1042-4af5-80c0-d73fd3572017_zps0dec932f.jpg
Homemade Hamburger Rolls


1 Tablespoon of instant yeast (I used Fleischmann's RapidRise Highly Active Yeast.)
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1/4 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
3/4 -1 Cup of lukewarm water - (I started with 3/4 cup and then kept adding as needed using the entire 1 Cup amount.  See King Arthur's website for help in determining how much water to use.)
1 large egg


3 Tablespoons of melted butter
1 egg plus 1 teaspoon of water
Sesame Seeds (to taste) and optional


Mix all of the ingredients by hand, bread machine on the dough cycle or in a mixer using the dough hook and kneading for about 5-7 min until dough is soft and smooth.

Cover the dough and allow dough to rise in a place free of drafts for about one and a half hours or until dough has doubled in size.

Gently deflate dough and divide it into 8 pieces (I honestly think for better results divide into 10-12 piece, however it will produce slightly smaller rolls).  Shape each piece into a round ball and flatted to about 3 inches across.  Place rolls on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet.  Cover and allow to rise again for 45 min to an hour and until rolls are noticeably puffy.

Brush the top of rolls with 1.5 Tablespoons of melted butter or I used an egg wash that consisted of 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon of water. Garnish with sesame seeds (optional).

Bake the buns in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15-18 min or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining butter.  This will give the rolls a satiny, buttery crust.

Cool the rolls on a rack for 20 min prior to serving.

 photo 82d4ed0f-b843-4cb6-947c-0c1fe77b58f3_zps8408654e.jpg

 photo 6c09e5d8-f845-4e01-ae55-4be75f9c5ef0_zps9cfb6215.jpg

 photo d4756e4f-93b4-48b5-a9e2-6a3cc8c06be5_zps24a1e027.jpg

 photo f0ad0a04-4a03-42c9-8208-edb579c4d204_zps88f5693f.jpg

 photo c602b753-fa65-4a88-9db0-82d598a531b8_zps67ae6547.jpg

 photo ce61661d-16e1-469f-9fd0-457b05dccbf1_zps134788ab.jpg

 photo 3e73dcf0-2475-44bc-9a57-4c968f3e8443_zpsb756dbc6.jpg

 photo 1806f2c9-8c3e-4f48-b36d-a7e396e57432_zpsb53be262.jpg

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday Dudes Day- The Manly Bacon, Egg, Ham And Cheese Croissant!

 photo 6820a14d-ec49-4948-9511-85b7f0d00c49_zpsde2129b4.jpg

Dear Other Manly Men,

If you're like me, every now and then (or very often) you wake up in the morning and say "I want to make a breakfast that tastes awesome and I just don't give a sh!t if it takes a few years off my life!  If oatmeal and fruit is what you have for breakfast every day with no exceptions, I'll just say it....Your wasting your time on this specific blog entry. I have no problems with a healthy breakfast, but I sure do enjoy living a little...

How about we make a breakfast sandwich stuffed full of goodness!  Also known as bacon, egg, ham and cheese on a toasted croissant. I'm not going to try and figure out ways to tell you how this is healthy. There is nothing healthy about this sandwich, but EVERYTHING about it is oh so tasty!  Besides, if you want to bitch about the nutrition facts, think about it this way....You have all day to work it off! There's plenty of protein and plenty of carbs so you shouldn't have any excuses about your future work out, right?

And if you REALLLLLLY want to make it "healthier," use honey wheat bread instead of a flaky, buttery, soft and mouth watering croissant...Sure, go ahead... If you just took me up on this offer, you obviously sit down to pee. 

Another "alternative" would be to use a sunny side up egg instead of scrambled.  Stacy likes a sunny side up egg, I like scrambled eggs with the ham and cheese cooked right in the same pan with the eggs. 

Anyway, enough of my blabbing, hopefully you'll enjoy this sandwich.  Check out the rest of the blog to see how to make it!

Bacon, Egg, Ham And Cheese on A Toasted Croissant

 photo c7ad2a67-e42d-4f36-a463-aba15847ba65_zps61851a1c.jpg

Ingredients and materials you will need: 

1) Croissants (one croissant per sandwich...duh!)
2) Eggs (two eggs for scrambled, one egg for dippy or as many damn eggs as you want)
3) American cheese (two slices or as many damn slices as you want)
4) 1 Package of bacon
5) 3-4 slices of ham (or as many damn slices as you want)
6) Cooking spray
7) Salt and pepper to taste 
8) Non-Stick Foil. (non stick is important!)
9) Franks Red Hot Sauce (optional....for a woman)

* Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees, if you cook your bacon in the oven like I do. I love cooking it in the oven for two reasons; It tastes GREAT and I can get several other things done while it's cooking, unlike cooking it in a frying pan.

*While the oven is pre-heating, line two average sized cookie sheets with Reynolds Non Stick Aluminum Foil. If you're a dude, you'll make the entire package of bacon because you will want to eat a few pieces just because you can! Also, my favorite bacon (as of now) is Kunzler Hardwood Smoked. The bacon in the photo is the original.  We also LOVE the Honey Cured, but they were out of it.  However, I'm always willing to give other brands a try!

 photo 69335b72-bf27-45b2-929e-81b03d2ca8ca_zps0aed311b.jpg

 photo 13927bf4-5bd9-4df1-a468-4274e7c81b48_zps6230d2f5.jpg

*Once your bacon is on the lined pan, the oven should be done pre-heating so go ahead and throw both pans in.  At about 12 minutes (give or take 1-2 minutes), take bacon out and rotate each sheet of bacon on to the opposite rack it began cooking on.  Let it bake for another 10-12 minutes. Please check your bacon as you see fit.

*Now that your bacon is cooking, take your 3-4 slices of ham and chop them up.  It's your choice whether you chop them fine or not.  I like chopping mine up into pieces about the size of my ring finger nail.

 photo 14727042-e2fa-4e8a-bc05-afed65a9dac9_zpsd6ac7057.jpg

*Next, go ahead and crack your eggs, put them into a bowl with a tiny bit of milk and add your salt and pepper to taste.  What I just did is tell you how to make scrambled eggs.  If you needed me to tell you that, I'm truly scared for you.  If you're over the age of 7, you should know how to make scrambled eggs. Seriously, I burn oven mitts and kitchen towels and I can make scrambled eggs!

*Don't forget to rotate your bacon and then take it out! Assuming you haven't screwed up, your kitchen should be smelling FANTASTIC right now because of....

 photo 9c378864-7eca-4de0-8be7-776fd5fa734b_zpsffb1516d.jpg

*See?  Making an entire package of bacon makes total sense now.  I'm well aware you're only making 1-2 sandwiches, which gives you plenty of spare bacon to munch on while your finishing your sandwich! Oh, and leave the oven on at 350 degrees! If you're making several sandwiches, you may not have extra bacon.  If that scenario arrases, I'm sorry and I will pray for you.

*The next step is by far the most difficult....Cutting the croissant as evenly as possible! Yes, I'm serious and you'll understand what I mean when you try. Too thin on either half and your croissant won't be able to support all the ingredients.  So, with that being said, take your time and use a large, sharp knife!  I use this exact one made by Faberware, and I sharpen it every time I use it to cut a croissant.  If it's sharp enough, it should slide right through with a gentle push. Again, make sure your knife is centered into the croissant before giving it that gentle push, otherwise you'll end up with 3/4 and 1/4 of a croissant instead of 1/2 and 1/2.

 photo 55e5596f-a7ae-4a52-8a2c-5feeb678d350_zps2488c9b0.jpg

* Put the croissants in the oven for 5-7 minutes on 350 degrees (oven should still be on).  You can either put the cheese on before you put them in the oven (like the photo below), or you can add your cheese right into your eggs along with your ham all in the same pan.  My preference is all together in the pan, Stacy's preference is melting the cheese on the croissant. Basically, her way is civilized, my way is probably similar to how a cave man would do it.  Either way, it's tastes GREAT!

 photo cd893cf4-4b05-47f9-8e52-c57a3f18f302_zps71888529.jpg

*Now, just pile on bacon, eggs, ham and cheese....Add a little (or alot) Franks Red Hot, squish the croissant together and you have.....a very manly breakfast sandwich!  Eat up! And no, I wouldn't share any of the left over bacon either! Also, if you have bacon, ham and eggs falling out of your sandwich and onto the plate as you go in for the kill, it means you put on enough ingredients and you should be proud of yourself!

 photo 6820a14d-ec49-4948-9511-85b7f0d00c49_zpsde2129b4.jpg

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

 photo be7f25e3-a6bd-4cbc-95b2-78a6cd576409_zpsaa2e38d8.jpg

I want to rename this recipe "You betcha I love Bruschetta" (actually pronounced "brusketta" in Italian)! The reason for the desire to rename it you might ask?  It was Brian's first time ever having it and I'm pretty sure his taste buds fell in love! In fact, his original request to "only have a bite" ended up in him being pretty happy that I made the rest of our leftover garlic bread! I have ALWAYS been a huge fan of this recipe and I am SO happy that I have converted him over into my little world!

This was somewhat of an impromptu recipe.  You see I am somewhat of a veggie abuser.  I tend to go grocery shopping for 2 weeks (or more) at a time and it NEVER fails that I buy too many veggies to use in recipes.  They end up looking all ugly, sad, shriveled or wilted before I ever have a chance to show them some proper love!  I have made an effort to NOT allow that to continue to happen so when I saw 5 little Roma or plum tomatoes sitting in my fridge looking at me in despair, I knew exactly what I needed to do!

This can and probably would be considered an appetizer.  I think it is quite common to be served cold on toasted bread,  but since I hadn't eaten lunch, I turned mine into a warmed version with Mozzarella cheese and make a little makeshift Bruschetta pizza.  The results?  DELIZIOSO!

 photo c985871d-c879-4545-83f1-b3edf2ae2a52_zpsa98bb3a2.jpg

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

6 Roma or Plum Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons of Minced Garlic
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 teaspoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil (although I would have used and preferred fresh if we had it)
1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian Seasoning 
Bread of your choice baguette French bread, Italian bread or frozen garlic bread.
Mozzarella Cheese - optional and to your liking

Preparation Instructions:

Wash and chop into small cubes all 6 of the tomatoes
Add Garlic, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Sugar, Basil and Italian Seasoning to the chopped tomatoes.
Mix thoroughly.

Prepare bread by baking in a preheated 400 degree oven. (if using French or Italian Bread, slice 1/2 inch thick slices on a diagonal, brush with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet, oil side down.)  Toast for 5-7 min or until bread begins to turn golden brown.  Once bread has been toasted, place bread olive oil side up (either side for frozen garlic bread) and add a generous amount of the bruschetta mixture, top with mozzarella cheese and garnish with Italian Seasoning. Place back in the oven and continue baking until the cheese has slightly melted.  If you are serving this cold as a side dish or hor dourve at a party, place in a bowl and allow guests to serve themselves so that the bread doesn't becoming too saturated or soggy prior to serving.

 photo 3d6975ac-cf72-4072-8a97-1d5a4e5cd7bd_zps8805ac04.jpg

 photo 58225921-8785-42b6-8226-f22b4f9e3ba1_zps2843d3dd.jpg

 photo 196936b3-0f9e-4618-8eee-638cffc39c13_zps3c72b2c2.jpg

 photo b9f81e4a-77f6-456c-84d6-41fcffb164f7_zpsfaa35098.jpg

 photo 8c01aa03-75bd-4631-a8e3-c94eb88bf323_zpsf3ad32b7.jpg