Savory Bacon & Onion Bread Pudding

By now, most of you now have probably seen the two-ingredient dough recipe floating around all over the internet.  Folks use the it to make lots of things, like pizza crust or pretzels, but the most popular use is bagels.  The bagels (recipe below) make great breakfast sandwiches so I bake them often.  I wish I knew who to give credit for this recipe, but it’s viral Internet information now and somewhere out there is a two-ingredient genius!

Anyway, I’ve been on a bread pudding kick.  I recently made a protein-packed cinnamon vanilla bread pudding.  It got me thinking about a savory bread pudding, as opposed to the traditional sweet versions.  It just so happened that, when I had this brainstorm, I had just baked up some two-ingredient bagels a couple days before.  Naturally, I immediately started experimenting, using the bagels as the base for the recipe.  I decided the best version of savory bread pudding would have to include my favorite 3 ingredients ever:  bacon, onions, and garlic.  Is there a better flavor combination?  No, ma’am, there is not.  It’s the flavor trifecta with an aroma that makes my mouth water every time!  I was right, it’s the perfect savory bread pudding mixture.

Most bread puddings have a sauce or topping of some kind.  I knew right away what I wanted as my topping… an over-easy fried egg that will ooze over the nooks and crannies of the top of the bread, seeping its creamy yolk into the garlicy bacon and onion bread.  I strongly urge you to top your slice with an egg.   I don’t even normally like runny eggs but, as a “sauce” for my bread pudding, it’s amazing (if I do say so myself).  ~Erin

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Here’s a quick rundown of how I make it (more detailed recipe below):

Cook the bagels & tear them up.

savory bread pudding step 1

Chop the bacon, mince the garlic, and dice the onions.  I use this thing to dice onions ALWAYS.  This is the Alligator Chopper and it saves me time and tears.  It’s one of my favorite kitchen gadgets!  I only share my favorites with y’all, promise.  Get yours here:  Alligator Chopper

 

Cook the bacon, onions, and garlic….. Mmmmmm

 

Mix it all with the bread and sprinkle on the cheese.

 

Whisk the custard ingredients together in a small bowl and pour them over the bread.

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Bake it, slice it, top it with an egg (if you like), and enjoy!

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Savory Bacon & Onion Bread Pudding
    Ingredients for Two-Ingredient Bagels:
  • ~ ½ c. self-rising flour (I use Gold Medal brand)
  • ~ ½ c. plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ~ dash of salt, optional
  • ~ 1 egg, beaten
    Ingredients for Savory Bacon & Onion Bread Pudding:
  • ~ 2 baked and cooled bagels (instructions for bagels are below)
  • ~ 5 slices center cut bacon (I use Oscar Mayer), sliced in small pieces
  • ~ 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • ~ 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced (I suggest only one, if they are large cloves.)
  • ~ 2 eggs
  • ~ 1 c. fat free half & half
  • ~ ¼ tsp. salt
  • ~ ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ~ 3 T. shredded parmesan cheese (not the powdery stuff)
  1. Instructions for making the bagels:
  2. Make the bagels the night before the bread pudding.
  3. To make the bagels, begin by combining the flour, salt, and non-fat Greek yogurt. I use a rubber spatula and just keep scraping and working it together until it forms a ball.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 portions and work each portion into a 1-inch “snake” by rolling it between your palms; connect the ends to make a circle.
  5. Brush each bagel top with beaten egg (or just dip them in it).
  6. Bake on the top rack of a preheated 375°F oven, on a parchment lined sheet pan, for 25 minutes; or bake in your air fryer (LINK TO AMAZON?) at 330°F for 11-12 minutes.
  7. After they cool, cut them open and toast them slightly in the oven, toaster, or air fryer. This step helps dry out the bread.
  8. Tear the bagels into small pieces and spread in a loaf pan or small casserole dish.
  9. Cover loosely and leave out overnight to dry further.
  10. Instructions for making the bread pudding:
  11. Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the bacon pieces brown.
  12. Reduce heat to low and add the onions and garlic; cook and stir often until the onions become translucent (about 5 minutes).
  13. Mix the bacon, onion, garlic mixture into the dry bagel pieces.
  14. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top.
  15. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, half & half, salt, and pepper; pour the egg mixture over the bread/bacon mixture.
  16. At this point, I preheat the oven to 350°F. The bread pudding needs to sit a while so the custard will soak into the dried bread. I’d say at least 20 minutes but it’s fine if you need to let it sit longer (just make sure to refrigerate it in the meantime). Let it come back to room temperature before baking if it’s been refrigerated.
  17. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes.*
  18. Serve warm. Perfect topped with an over-easy egg.

Weight Watchers Info.: This recipe makes 4 servings. Each serving is 4 SmartPoints on the WW Freestyle plan.

https://foursistersdish.com/2018/08/09/savory-bacon-onion-bread-pudding/

*This could also be cooked in the air fryer but I have not tested times and temps yet.  I’d try 350° for 10 minutes, to start with, but that’s just a guess.  If you try it, let me know how it works!  Or I’ll try it soon myself.  I was just too anxious to share this recipe to test it in the air fryer first.

 

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Jalapeno Popper Chicken Salad

My goodness it’s a busy time of year. All four of us sisters have been lamenting about the vast amounts of things that need checked off our daily to-do lists. Kids’ baseball games and other activities to shuttle them to, meetings & special trainings and deadlines at work, and various other responsibilities have got us run ragged and longing for one of our girls’ weekends.

Busy times like this call for meal prep. If I can find time to prep a few things to keep on-hand, we usually avoid the fast food drive thru. Last weekend I took the time to boil some chicken to use in various dishes this week. Having cooked chicken in the fridge or freezer is a major time saver on busy weeks… same for bacon (and ground beef). I like to cook up several pounds of bacon, freeze it in a single layer on a cookie sheet (so it won’t stick together), then transfer it to a freezer baggie. A few seconds in the microwave thaws it right out. Bonus: pre-cooking your own bacon is much cheaper than buying the pre-cooked kind at the grocery store.

Since I (almost) always have boiled shredded chicken and cooked bacon in the fridge or freezer, it takes no time to throw this Jalapeno Popper Chicken Salad together for lunch or a quick, no-bake dinner. I serve it on a low carb wrap with some fresh baby spinach. Quick, easy, and so much better than a cold cut sandwich! ~Erin

Here’s the Reader’s Digest Version of how to make it:

Chop up 2 jalapenos. This is how I cut them. Cut out the ribs & veins if you don’t like the heat. Leave some of the ribs if you like a little spice!

Salt & pepper the shredded chicken a bit (you can add more later if needed).

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Throw in some Greek yogurt, mayo, lime juice, and a little jarred jalapeno pickling brine if you’re so inclined. Stir it up! Then stir in the bacon and fresh jalapeno pieces.

Lastly, stir in the cheese. I do this last so I don’t totally obliterate the shreds but I don’t know if it really matters. It just makes me feel better to be gentle with the cheese. Ha!

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Ready to serve! I like mine on a wrap with some baby spinach. It’s good on some toasted bread too or just served on a plate with some Ritz crackers. Enjoy!

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Jalapeno Popper Chicken Salad
    Ingredients:
  • ~ 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 12 ounces cooked & shredded)
  • ~ 2 fresh jalapenos
  • ~ ¼ c. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ~ ¼ c. light mayonnaise
  • ~ 6 slices center cut bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
  • ~ Juice of one lime
  • ~ 1 T. brine from a jar of pickled jalapenos, optional
  • ~ ½ cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • ~ Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Boil & shred the chicken; set aside.
  2. Cut the tops off the jalapenos, slice, remove seeds and ribs (That’s where the heat is…leave some of the ribs if you like spicy.) and finely dice.
  3. Mix chopped jalapenos, shredded chicken, yogurt, mayo, bacon pieces, lime juice, pickled jalapeno brine, and cheddar cheese in a medium bowl.
  4. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
  5. Serve on toast, in a wrap with fresh baby spinach, or with Ritz Crackers.

Weight Watchers Info: This makes 4 servings of ½ cup each. Each serving is 3 Freestyle SmartPoints.

https://foursistersdish.com/2018/04/19/jalapeno-popper-chicken-salad/

Cotija and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breast

It was the famous Oklahoman, Will Rogers, who said “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, wait a minute and it’ll change.”  As I type this, Oklahoma is one of those weeks during which the weather has fluctuated from near 90 to freeze warnings in the span of 7 days.  Somewhere I imagine our favorite native son is now saying, “See. Told ya!”   Around here, as we wait for a true spring to finally set in, we are grabbing the rare nice day to fire up our grill and at least pretend the weather will stay warmer!  And seriously folks, when you’re eating chicken stuffed with melted cheese and bacon, and covered with more cheese, the weather really doesn’t matter!  ~Tracy

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Ingredients:

~ 4, 4 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts

~ 1 tsp. garlic powder

~ 2 tsp. seasoned salt (I use Lawry’s.)

~ 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

~ 4 oz. part skim Cotija cheese (I use Cacique brand.)

~ 3 T. Hormel Real Bacon Bits (no imitation)

~ 2 slices reduced fat pepper jack cheese

~ 8 toothpicks soaked in water for a few minutes

 

Trim any excess fat from chicken breasts.  Place chicken breasts on paper towels and pat dry (seasonings stick better to dry meat).

Combine garlic powder, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper; set aside.

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Using a very sharp knife, split open each chicken breast leaving the edge attached to create a sort of envelope for the cheese and bacon.

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Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over what will be the outside of each chicken breast.

Crumble 4 oz. of Cotija cheese and put ¼ of the cheese inside each chicken breast.

Sprinkle the bacon bits equally inside each breast with the cheese.

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Use toothpicks to pin each chicken breast closed to keep the cheese and bacon from falling out.  (Soaking toothpicks in water keeps them from burning on your grill.)

Carefully place each chicken breast on your pre-heated grill to cook, turning occasionally being careful not to spill out cheese and bacon.

Grill each stuffed chicken breast until it reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees.  Juices should be clear.

Just before each chicken breast is done, place ½ slice of pepper jack cheese on each piece of chicken.  Remove from heat when chicken is done and cheese is melted.  Cheese will melt within about a minute on a hot grill.

Remove toothpicks before serving.

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Cotija and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breast
    Ingredients
  • ~ 4, 4 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ~ 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ~ 2 tsp. seasoned salt (I use Lawry’s.)
  • ~ 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ~ 4 oz. part skim Cotija cheese (I use Cacique brand.)
  • ~ 3 T. Hormel Real Bacon Bits (no imitation)
  • ~ 2 slices reduced fat pepper jack cheese
  • ~ 8 toothpicks soaked in water for a few minutes
  1. Trim any excess fat from chicken breasts. Place chicken breasts on paper towels and pat dry (seasonings stick better to dry meat).
  2. Combine garlic powder, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper; set aside.
  3. Using a very sharp knife, split open each chicken breast leaving the edge attached to create a sort of envelope for the cheese and bacon.
  4. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over what will be the outside of each chicken breast.
  5. Crumble 4 oz. of Cotija cheese and put ¼ of the cheese inside each chicken breast.
  6. Sprinkle the bacon bits equally inside each breast with the cheese.
  7. Use toothpicks to pin each chicken breast closed to keep the cheese and bacon from falling out. (Soaking toothpicks in water keeps them from burning on your grill.)
  8. Carefully place each chicken breast on your pre-heated grill to cook, turning occasionally being careful not to spill out cheese and bacon.
  9. Grill each stuffed chicken breast until it reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees. Juices should be clear.
  10. Just before each chicken breast is done, place ½ slice of pepper jack cheese on each piece of chicken. Remove from heat when chicken is done and cheese is melted. Cheese will melt within about a minute on a hot grill.
  11. Remove toothpicks before serving.

Weight Watchers Info.: This recipe makes 4 servings. Each stuffed chicken breast is 5 Freestyle SmartPoints.

https://foursistersdish.com/2018/04/16/cotija-and-bacon-stuffed-chicken/

Jalapeño Pepper-Jack Turkey Meatballs

Y’all know one of my favorite flavor combinations is jalapenos and bacon. Remember my Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili? It’s the stuff dreams are made of. Well, I recently had the idea to make a more main dish version of the well-known appetizer. I mean, I made the chili and it’s become one of my favorite soups/chilis ever! Plus it’s one of our most popular recipes (have you tried it yet?), so it stands to reason that I need more of this in my life. I promise you need this in your life too. Bacon, wrapped around jalapeno seasoned ground turkey, stuffed with pepper-jack cheese? Yes, please!

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When I made these and served them to my family, I asked my youngest if he liked them. He just did this move…

Brady dab

I said, “what is that?!”

“A dab, Mom. That means I like it.”

Ha! Okay, I guess that’s a good review. Clearly, if my 7-year-old thinks these are dab-worthy, they must be good! ~Erin

Ingredients:

1 lb. 99% fat free ground turkey breast

3 fresh jalapenos

1 egg, beaten

½ tsp. garlic salt

½ tsp. onion powder

1 c. seasoned breadcrumbs (I used Progresso Garlic & Herb.)

8 slices center cut bacon, cut in half

3 oz. pepper jack cheese, cut into ¼ in. cubes (15 or 16 cubes)

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Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Seed & finely chop the jalapenos (remove all the seeds and ribs if you don’t want much spice – that’s where a jalapeno holds its heat).

Mix the ground turkey, chopped jalapenos, egg, garlic salt, onion powder until well combined.

Mix in the seasoned breadcrumbs until just combined. Do not overmix.

Make a patty about the size of your palm, place a cube of cheese in the center and form the turkey around it to make a ball.

Wrap the meatball in half a slice of bacon. (I find it helps to stretch the bacon a bit, lengthwise, beforehand.)

Place on a baking sheet and repeat until you’ve made about 15 or 16 bacon-wrapped meatballs.

Bake in a preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until bacon is fully cooked and meatballs are golden brown and cooked through.

Weight Watchers info.: 2 SmartPoints per meatball, on WW Freestyle.

Monterey Chicken

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Posted by Erin

This recipe is an oldie but a goodie… a classic in many restaurants and diners, Monterey Chicken is always a favorite.  It’s so easy to make, there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy it at home as well!  This is one of the first dishes I made when Albert and I were newlyweds… or at least one of the first successful dishes.  It’s still on the menu at our house quite often, 14 years later.  It’s a quick and easy meal for a busy night, especially if you have the bacon precooked.  I keep cooked bacon in my freezer all the time (We love bacon!) but, if you don’t have any on hand, you can easily substitute 1 T. pre-packaged real bacon bits per chicken breast.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

6 (approx. 4 ounce each) boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded 1-inch thick

1 tsp. each of cumin, garlic salt, onion powder, and smoked paprika

1 T. olive oil

6 T. barbecue sauce

6 thin slices Colby-Jack cheese (such as Sargento Ultra Thin)

6 slices center cut bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled

1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

1 green onion, chopped

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Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large oven-safe skillet.

Season chicken breasts with cumin, garlic salt, onion powder, and paprika.

Brown the chicken in the skillet for 3 or 4 minutes on each side until no longer pink; remove from heat.

Top each chicken breast with 1 T. barbecue sauce, 1 slice cheese, and 1 slice crumbled bacon.

Sprinkle evenly with chopped tomatoes and green onions.

Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake about 5-8 minutes, until cheese is fully melted.

 

Weight Watchers Info.:  6 servings (Each loaded chicken breast is one serving.)

Old SmartPoints:  6

Freestyle Smartpoints: 5

Bacon Burger Meatballs

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Tracy’s first cookbook was the 1972 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbook. While this cookbook helped us all learn to love cooking some of the options were, shall we say…less than gourmet, such as the “Peppy Frank Pizza” made with cut-up hotdogs and American cheese, or the Cinnamon Twists made with canned biscuits. Nevertheless, one of our favorite recipes, Bacon Burger Meatballs, was adapted from one of these basic recipes.  

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs. 93% lean ground beef

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1 T. hamburger seasoning (such as McCormick’s Grill Mates)

half sleeve saltine crackers

5 slices center cut bacon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425.

Slice each piece of bacon into four strips by cutting once lengthwise and then cutting each long strip in half.  Partially cook in microwave for approximately 2 minutes.  Set bacon aside.

Mix ground beef, egg, salt, pepper, and hamburger seasoning in large bowl.  Stir until mixture is well combined.

Crush saltine crackers and place crumbs into shallow bowl.  

Shape beef mixture into approximately 10 large meatballs.  Roll each meatball in saltine cracker crumbs coating all sides.

Wrap two slices of bacon around each meatball and place on lined baking sheet.

Bake meatballs for approximately 30 minutes or until cooked through.  

Hint: If bacon begins to become too crisp, loosely cover the top of pan with foil to avoid over-browning.  

Weight Watchers Smart Points: These meatballs are 4 SmartPoints each (even if you stuff a small cube of cheese inside)!