Tag Archives: bacon

Green Tomato and Vidalia Onion Gratin

Farmer Steven with Just Natural Farms has green tomatoes in the CSA boxes (CSA = Community Supported Agriculture) this week!  What shall we do with them?  Hmmm… here’s one of our favorite recipes that uses green tomato. It’s from the recipe files of Culinary Center of Kansas City Chef/Instructor Sandy DiGiovanni.  Serve up this colorful, unique dish to friends and family, and ENJOY!

green tomatoGreen Tomato and Vidalia Onion Gratin

Prep Time: 15 minutes; Cook Time: 1 hour


  • 1/4 pound bacon or pancetta
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 large Vidalia onions, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 4 large green tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Render bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the breadcrumbs to a small bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet and stir into the bread crumbs. Add the onion rounds to the skillet in batches and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes per side, without breaking the round slices apart, until there is some golden color.

To assemble the gratin, overlap the green tomato slices in one row in a 9- x 11-inch baking dish.  Next, make a row slightly overlapping of the partially cooked onion rounds, being careful to keep the slices intact. Repeat steps until all tomatoes and onions are used. Season tomatoes and onions lightly with salt and heavily with pepper.

Crumble the bacon over the vegetables; sprinkle the grated cheddar over the top, followed by the bread crumbs. Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. If the top is getting too brown, loosely cover with foil. Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Comfort Food in a Bowl

This recipe is a staple of our All Hands For Hunger™ interactive teambuilding model where local companies create freezers full of food for local charities here in the Kansas City area.  It’s hearty, healthy and freezes well.  Oh yes … and it’s delicious. We have it available for sale by the quart in our Dinners on Demand freezers too!

Tuscan Bean SoupTuscan Bean Soup

  • 1/8 pound bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, washed, peeled, diced
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • ½ cup celery, washed, diced
  • 1 white potato, peeled, ¼-inch dice
  • 1 1/2 large red bell peppers, washed, seeded, medium dice
  • 1 1/2 quarts white beans, cooked, drained
  • 1 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 cup whole tomatoes, canned, processed slightly in food processor (or blender)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon rosemary, fresh, washed

In a 1-gallon stock pot heat add bacon and sauté over medium-high heat until lightly crisp, stirring constantly.  Add oil, carrots, onions, celery, potatoes and peppers and sauté until halfway tender, stirring constantly to prevent burning.  Add beans, water, tomatoes, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper and rosemary.  Stir to mix and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  To serve, ladle into individual soup bowls.  Serve warm. 

Makes 4 quarts.

ETC: Serve a moist cornbread and honey butter alongside this soup for a full meal experience.    

Find this and other CCKC favorite recipes in our cookbook –|
“The Culinary Center of Kansas City’s BEST RECIPES – SECOND EDITION.” ™
Available for purchase online at www.kcculinary.com and in our retail store – “The Kitchen Shop.”™


French Cassoulet Is A One-Pot Wonder!

French Country CassouletBack by popular demand at our Tuesday Lunch today was Chef Sandy’s one-pot wonder, French Cassoulet. This thick stew makes for a hearty meal on a cold night, and it’s just chock full of flavor. How can such a delicious entree be so easy?!  (The Cassoulet is available in our Dinners on Demand freezers by the quart, as well. Click here for more information.)

French Cassoulet

  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on, cut in 1/2 through the bone
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound bacon, large dice
  • 1-2 links garlic sausage or dry chorizo or kielbasa, sliced into ½ to 1-inch slices
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups cooked Northern white beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Garlic bread crumbs (recipe follows)
  • 1 baguette, sliced, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rinse and dry the chicken well. Season with salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven, over medium-low heat, add the bacon and slowly render the fat. Remove the bacon to a plate when crispy, leaving the fat in the pan. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the chicken, skin side down. Brown the chicken on both sides and then remove to a plate. Add the sausage and brown; remove to a plate. Add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce by half. Stir in the beans, bay leaf and thyme. Nestle the chicken thighs, sausage and bacon into the pot. Add the chicken stock, cover, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the lid, and top the cassoulet with garlic bread crumbs. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer. Serve the cassoulet with baguette slices.

Garlic Bread Crumbs

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 slices slightly stale or dried bread, pulsed into crumbs in food processor
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small sauté pan over low heat, add the oil and the garlic. Stir until the oil is fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss in the bread crumbs and cook until the bread crumbs start to turn golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


Spinach Salad With The Works

A classic time-honored salad that is just the thing for picnics and tailgate parties! Enjoy and… Go Royals!

Spinach SaladRuthie’s Spinach Salad


  • 1 cup salad oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, fresh, peeled, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 8 cups spinach, fresh, stems removed, thoroughly washed, dried
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 4 to 6 slices bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled
  • ½ cup almonds, toasted, slivered

For the dressing, in a container with a tight fitting lid add oil, sugar, vinegar, garlic, salt, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cover and shake well to mix well.  (Dressing may be made up to one week ahead of time and stored in refrigerator.)  Set aside.

To assemble salad, in a large salad bowl add spinach, cranberries, cheese, onions, bacon, and almonds.  Pour dressing over top and toss to combine. Serve immediately.  Makes 6 servings.

ECCKC Loves BaseballTC:

If you have extra spinach, try sautéing a little minced garlic in olive oil, then adding coarsely chopped spinach leaves.  Sauté just until leaves begin to be limp.  This makes a flavorful side dish with almost any main course entrée. 


Sliders To ‘Up’ Your Brat Game

Brats at your tailgate? That’s so been done. Want to really wow them at your game party? Try these bratwurst sliders instead. Go Royals!

tailgateBratwurst Sliders with Cheesy Bacon Sauce

  • 5 bacon strips, thick-sliced, chopped
  • 1 pound bratwurst links, uncooked
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup beer, good quality
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 16 slider buns, split, toasted

Preheat a cast iron skillet over coals of grill, medium high heat.

In the skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; drain, reserving drippings.

Remove the casings from the bratwurst by making a slit lengthwise. Form into ½-inch thick and 2-inch diameter patties. Add the patties and onions to the skillet with reserved drippings, and cook over medium heat for 1 minute or until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Remove patties and set aside to drain.

Immediately stir the cream cheese, beer, mustard and pepper into the skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in reserved bacon.

CCKC Loves BaseballTo serve, place one brat patty onto each toasted bun bottom. Top with 1/4 cup of the thickened cheese and beer sauce and the top of each bun.

Makes 16 sliders



You Had Me At Bacon…

Sometimes I’d just rather stay a kid. It seems easier, doesn’t it?  But if this is ‘Grown-Up Mac & Cheese’, I’m willing to act like an adult for awhile. This stuff is seriously d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s.  If you’re not up for making it yourself with the recipe below, come on in and buy some from our Dinners on Demand freezers – this decadent version of the classic macaroni and cheese has become a constant in the Dinners on Demand program, which offers frozen chef-prepared dishes for sale.  For heaven’s sake, it has bacon in it, so how can you go wrong?!

Grown-Up Mac & Cheese

Grown-Up Mac & Cheese


  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup butter, unsalted, melted


  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta, dry


  • ½ pound bacon, roughly cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons roasted garlic pepper seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or 2 tablespoons prepared hot sauce)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the topping, in a bowl add bread crumbs and butter. Toss to combine well. Set aside.

For the pasta, in a medium stockpot add the water and salt. Bring to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until pasta is tender. Remove from heat and drain in colander. Set aside.

For the sauce, in a heavy skillet over medium heat add bacon and brown, leaving the rendered fat in the skillet. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon and set aside. Add onions to bacon fat and cook until translucent. With a slotted spoon, remove onions and place in container. Set aside.

In same medium stockpot, add butter and melt over medium-high heat until foaming, stirring constantly. Add flour, mustard, garlic seasoning, and cayenne. Whisk for 1 minute or until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color. Gradually add milk and stock and whisk to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken.) Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat. Add cheeses, salt and pepper. Whisk mixture until cheeses are fully melted and incorporated into the sauce. Add pasta and reserved bacon and onions and mix well.

Transfer to an oven-safe baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and top evenly with prepared topping. Turn oven settings to broil and broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until topping is a deep golden brown, rotating pan for even browning, if necessary. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly. Serve warm. Makes 4 to 6 servings

ETC: It is thought that the combination of macaroni and cheese originated in Italy and its popularity then spread across Europe. From there, it traveled across the ocean to America and was served on many colonial dinner tables – even Thomas Jefferson’s. Whether you make it from scratch, or buy it in that famous blue box, it is undeniably one of the world’s favorite comfort foods. Now you know.


Find this and other CCKC favorite recipes in our cookbook

“The Culinary Center of Kansas City’s BEST RECIPES – SECOND EDITION.” ™  Available for purchase online at www.kcculinary.com and in our retail store – “The Kitchen Shop.”™

The People Want The Meatloaf Recipe…So They Get It!

Wow! The people have spoken…. and we listened. While we shared the sugar cookie recipe last week, that apparently wasn’t enough. We received a crazy number of requests for Chef Sandy’s Cheeseburger Meatloaf after last Tuesday Lunch. Never say we don’t listen to you – we are posting the recipe below!

Cheeseburger MeatloafCheeseburger Meatloaf

  • Spray oil, for baking dish
  • 2 pounds bacon, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup fried onions, crushed (preferably Durkee’s)
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix (preferably Lipton’s)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce, divided (store bought)
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese, divided
  • Water, to moisten

Preheat oven to 325.  Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Cook 1 pound of bacon over medium heat until it is just beginning to turn brown (still limp).   Then line pan with ½ pound of partially cooked bacon. Remove the rest of the cooked bacon and let drain on a paper towel.  Cook the other pound of bacon until browned. When it is cooled, crumble and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add the eggs and beat. Add the crushed onions, onion soup mix, salt, pepper, garlic, 1 cup BBQ sauce, ½ of the cooked crumbled bacon and the ground beef together. With your hands, mix together well.   If it feels dry, add a little water to moisten.

Shape ¾ of the meat mixture into a loaf.  Make a well down in the center of the meatloaf leaving about 1-inch on each end in tact.  Take 1½ cups cheddar cheese and 1 cup of the Swiss cheese and the remainder of the crumbled bacon and fill your well.  Cover with the remaining ¼ of meat mixture.  Pinch the ends to seal in the cheese. (Use water to moisten, if needed.)

Place loaf onto bacon in the pan and wrap upward the remaining ½ limp bacon.  Wrap from top so loaf is totally wrapped in bacon.

Bake for about 30 minutes then brush with remaining 1 cup BBQ sauce and return to the oven for another 30 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1½ cups cheddar cheese and 1 cup Swiss cheese and return to the oven to bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. The meatloaf should have internal temp of 160-165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  Remove from oven and let your loaf rest about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Prep time: 30 minutes; Cook time 1 ½ hours