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BBQ Bacon, Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner

BBQ Bacon, Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner

I took the opportunity the other day to make another recipe using some of that delicious Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce I was sent last week.  I had in mind to make my Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner for  supper one night and decided to add some of the sauce to it with most delicious results! 

All suitable for VEGANS (except for the HONEY BBQ GLAZE)

With Jack Daniel’s Sauces, it’s easy to surprise and delight family and friends. Simply serve up luxuriously sticky, glazed chicken wings and ribs, add depth to ‘low and slow’ dishes like pulled pork or beef brisket, or use the sauces as a delicious dip for fries, wedges and veggies.

The latest addition to the range is Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Honey™ Barbecue Glaze, which is infused with the soft flavours of the popular Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Honey™ Liqueur, giving the glaze a smooth hint of honey.

Each Jack Daniel’s Sauce is virtually fat-free with around 40 calories per typical 25g serving. Each of the sauces is suitable for vegetarians. Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauces are available nationwide from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Waitrose, RRP £2.00. Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Honey™ Barbecue Glaze is available in Waitrose and Tesco stores nationwide RRP £1.99

This skillet meal is such a family friendly favourite of ours mine. True, Todd would like it better if it was made with potatoes, but somehow I don't think potatoes would give you quite the same delicious results.  And I love potatoes! 

Its a texture thing really.  I really think the only way to go with this is using macaroni. Oddly enough when I was a child I hated any kind of pasta with minced beef in it. The differences in the texture used to make gag.  I think I was an expert at getting minced beef out of any hole that would hold it.  At the end of a meal, the macaroni would be all gone, but there would be a tidy pile of hamburger bits sitting on the edge of my plate.

Now that I am an adult I find that if I leave the meat in larger lumps and brown it really well, I can tolerate it very nicely.  I have actually come to enjoy it, but then I do use extra extra lean ground steak.

Like I said, this is very family friendly and something children really enjoy, and normally men as well.  It contains nothing too out of the ordinary.  This time I substituted some of the Jack Danielle's smooth original sauce for the Worcestershire sauce in my regular recipe and I have to say it worked, really, REALLY well!

Just gave that sauce a little bit of extra tangy zip. I left out the herbs as well because I thought they might jar with the sauce.  We didn't miss them. 

I like to use a strong cheddar because it has a lot of flavour and you don't really need a lot of it to get the same flavour impact that you might get using a larger quantity of a milder one.  So less calories and fat that way. 

I do use tinned tomato soup in this.  I like Heinz. Its always been my favourite when it comes to tinned tomato soup.  That's just a personal preference.

There is  bacon in this, yes  . . .  but if you try to use the leanest streaky bacon you can find and then drain it well and pat it dry with paper towels, you can cut back on the fat and calories also.

Having said all that however, this is never ever going to be on any list of healthy options when it comes to eating, but it does make a wonderful, economical and delicious once in a blue moon treat!

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner*
Serves 4

This is one of those great family style dishes that not only tastes delicious, but is also quick, easy. It also freezes very well. 

235g uncooked elbow macaroni (2 cups)
500g extra lean minced beef (1 generous pound)
225g streaky bacon (1/2 pound)
1 small onion, peeled and minced
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 tin of tomato soup
120ml hot water (1/2 cup)
65g Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce (1/4 cup)
salt to taste
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
180g extra strong cheddar cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove with tongs and set aside to drain. Add the minced beef, onions and garlic to the drippings. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the beef is lightly browned and the vegetables are soft. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Crumble in the cooked bacon. Add the BBQ sauce, water, and tomato soup. Bring to the boil, then simmer while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted water according to the package directions until tender. Once tender, drain well and then stir into the beef mixture. Add 3/4 of the cheddar cheese and stir it in to melt, then sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top and allow to melt. Serve right from the pan with lots of crusty bread and a tasty salad on the side.

If  you are looking for a meal that is quick and easy, delicious and economical, and one that your family will love,  look no further.  This fits the bill on all fronts.  I like to serve it with a salad on the side.  Do note that it also freezes very well and you can freeze it in single serving sized portions to pop out from the freezer for when someone is going to be on their own, or home late or even to take for lunch at work were they can just pop it into a microwave!

If you would like to see the original recipe you can find that here.  That was actually the last time I made this, so five whole years ago. That really is once in a blue moon!  Also with there only being two of us, and no missionaries to feed, this time I cut the recipe in half so that it only made 4 servings instead of 8.  I sent the leftovers next door, and there were NO complaints!  ☺  Bon Appetit! 

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Marie Rayner
Mochachino Brownies with White Mocha Sauce

Mochachino Brownies with White Mocha Sauce


Its all about the dad's in the kitchen today!  Happy Father's Day to all you dad's our there in blog land!  Its time to pull out the stops and spoil our fathers a little bit and there is nothing like some lovin-from-the-oven to do just that!

I haven't seen my dad for probably 8 or 9 years now.  I haven't been back home now for quite a while.  He was away the last time I was home, which was about 5 years ago now.  I miss him. Not a lot I can do about it either as finances are kind of tight, but he knows I love him, and that if I could be there I would be there.  He would absolutely love these brownies though!  He has always been one of my biggest fans, and loves my cooking.  Dad, these are for you!

These are beautifully rich and decadent brownies, moist and delicious, stogged full of two kinds of chocolate and toasted nuts. The recipe comes from a book I picked up at M&S many moons ago, called Blissful Brownies. 
A compendium of many delicious looking brownies, each one looking a tad more decadent than the other.  You will want to bake them all.

Today I used toasted pecans, but toasted walnuts are equally as good.  They add a tiny bit of texture and crunch. There are some in the brownies, and you sprinkle some over the brownies when you go to serve them.

I don't know why chocolate is so difficult to photograph, but it is.  I took the liberty of sprinkling the brownies with a bit of icing sugar today so that they would photograph better and I actually liked the way it worked.

There is also some strong coffee in the brownie batter. Not a lot, just a hint.  Coffee really helps to enhance chocolate flavours. They have a perfect chemistry and affinity for each other  . . .  maybe that is because they are both beans . . .  coffee and cacao. You don't really need a lot of it to do it's job.

But that is not where all the deliciousness stops  . . .  there is also a decadent white chocolate and mocha sauce as well . . .  you spoon this over the warm brownies  . . .

Oh boy but it is some good.  Rich, creamy . . .  sweet, and again with just a hint of coffee.  You won't need a lot of it on your brownies, a little goes a long way . . .

Rich, chocolatey, mocha-ey, decadent . . .  moist . . .

Don't get me started on the nuts . . .  I know, who did I make these for anyways????

Yes, its true Todd doesn't like chocolate, so I guess they aren't really for him.  *Innocent-look*  I confess, I will have to give them away as much as I might want to eat them myself, I really shouldn't . . .

*Mochachino Brownies with White Mocha Sauce*
Serves 8 - 9

For the Mochachino lover in your life. You can leave out the nuts if you wish. 

For the brownies:
120g unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the pan (1/2 cup)
115g plain chocolate (4 ounces)
2 TBS extra strong black coffee
250g golden caster sugar (1 1/3 cups)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large free range eggs, beaten
85g plain flour (1/2 cup + 2 TBS)
55g milk chocolate chips (1/4 cup)
55g toasted walnuts or pecans (1/2 cup) (optional)
Plus more to decorate

For the sauce:
100ml double cream (3 1/2  fluid ounces)
85g white chocolate (3 ounces)
1 TBS strong black coffee

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter and line a 9 inch square baking tin.  (I like to leave an overhang to lift the brownies out with once they have cooled. Makes it easier to cut them.)  

Melt the chocolate, coffee and butter together in a saucepan over low heat, stirring, just until the mixture has all melted and is smooth.  Cool slightly. 

Whisk in the sugar, cinnamon and eggs, one at a time.  Beat in the flour, chocolate chips and walnuts/pecans if using.  Pour into the prepared pan. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, just until firm, but still moist. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.  Lift out and cut into squares for serving. 

To make the sauce, put all ingredients in a small saucepan, and place over low heat. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. 

Place the brownies onto individual serving plates and spoon the warm sauce over top. Sprinkle with additional toasted nuts, if using, and serve immediately.

I wasn't going to put any cream on top, but then I just had to see how it looked (and tasted) and so I did.  WOWSA!  Incredible!   Happy Father's Day and Bon Appetit! 

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Marie Rayner
Angel Cake

Angel Cake

Angel Cake is a completely different cake over here in the UK as compared to what I thought of as an Angel Cake when I was growing up. (Angel Food Cake)  North American Angel Food Cake is very light and airy, made with only egg whites, sugar, flour and no fat, and baked in a straight sided tube tin!  Angel Cake here is a  sponge cake about the size of a loaf, with three distinct and separate coloured layers.  White, pink and yellow.  Sandwiched together with vanilla butter cream.  Its quite nice, and something we quite like in our home from time to time.

Its really not that difficult to make, but you will need either 3 loaf tins the same size, or a larger cake tin that you can divide into three.

Children love this cake because of the colours . . .  and basically it is the same cake batter for each, just tinted separately for each layer.  The power of suggestion makes it taste better than a normal cake.  What is it they say?  We eat first with our eyes!

I love British Cakes.  They are quite substantial in comparison to North American Cakes, and I really like that about them.  Mind you most homemade cakes are a bit more substantial than a cake mix cake.

Its the same with bread . . .  homemade bread always has more substance than store bought . . .  and a lot less additives!  My sister and I used to play a game with the white bread from the store when we were children.  We could mash and roll a whole slice of it down into a ball about the size of a pea.  Try doing that with homemade.

Anyways, back to the cake.  This makes a lovely tea time cake, very similar in texture to a pound or Madeira cake.  I tend to cut it into two thick lengthwise slices at first . . .

And then I cut each longer piece into 4 shorter pieces, crosswise.  Or you can just cut it crosswise into 8 slices.  No matter how you cut it, you are sure to fall in love with it.

This is a cake that first made its appearance, becoming popular on British tables back in the late 19th century.  It actually won the "English Cake of the Year" award in 1986, so as you can see, its a very popular cake.

It goes beautifully served with hot cups of tea or cold glasses of milk . . .  or served after supper, cut into thin slices and served with small bowls of tinned fruit and cream.

During the war years that would have been tinned evaporated milk instead of cream . . .  but, thank goodness, those days are long since passed.  In any case, this cake is bound to be enjoyed no matter what!

Don't pay any attention to my skills for cutting things in straight lines.  DUH.  I cannot cut or draw a straight line for love or money.  I always mess it up.  Never mind . . . tis just as delicious no matter the size or shape! 

*Angel Cake*
cuts into 8 slices

Angel cake here in the UK is not the same as a North American Angel Cake. Ours is typically a three layer sponge cake, with white, pink and yellow layers of a sponge cake sandwiched together with a bit of vanilla butter cream.  You will need 3 (8 by 4 inch) loaf tins, or you can carefully divide a 9 by 13 inch cake tin into three equal sized rectangles using aluminium foil. 

For the cake:
200g butter, at room temperature ( 1 cup minus 3 1/2 TBS)
270g caster sugar (1 cup +2 1/2 TBS)
3 large free range eggs, beaten
270g plain flour (2 cups minus 1 1/4 TBS)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
225g sour cream (1 cup)
red and yellow food colouring

For the icing:
140g icing sugar sifted (1 cup + 1 1/2 TBS)
60g unsalted butter, softened (1/4 cup)
1 TBS milk
few drops vanilla extract

Icing sugar to dust (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter and line 3 (8 by 4) inch loaf tins with baking paper.  Alternately, butter and line a (9 by 13) inch cake tin, carefully creating 3 separate sections.  

Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl.  Set aside.  Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little bit at a time. If the mixture starts to curdle, beat in a TBS of the flour mixture.  Once all of the eggs have been incorporated stir in the flour mixture, alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with flour.  Divide the batter into three equal portions, placing 1/3 of the cake directly into the prepared cake tins. Tint one third of the remaining batter with red food colouring to give you a pink batter and the remaining third with yellow to give you a yellow batter.  Place each of these into the remaining tins. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly touched.  

Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before proceeding.  Once cold make the butter cream by beating together the icing ingredients until smooth and creamy only adding enough milk to give you an icing of spreading consistency.. Using a sharp knife, level off the pink and yellow layers, slicing off any domed portion.  Place the yellow layer on a plate.  Top with half of the butter cream, spreading it out evenly. Top with the pink layer and spread evenly with the remaining butter cream. Place the white layer on top.  Dust lightly with icing sugar and cut into 1 inch slices to serve.

The dusting of icing sugar is my own addition to the recipe,and a bit of literary licence on my part. I thought it looked a bit naked without it.  I just think every gal looks better with a little bit of lippy, don't you!!!  Bon Appetit!

PS - I have had an e-mail from someone accusing me of using their recipe for this.  I wrote them back to tell them that I had not done so, and that any similarities were an unhappy co-incidence.  The original recipe comes from my old friend Doreen that she shared with me back in 2003 not too long after I moved over here.  I had eaten it at her house and she was happy to copy it out for me.  I slipped it into a little green notebook I have that is filled with recipes from friends.  Usually when I use a friends recipe I am quick to point it out. Today I didn't.  I also make it a habit if I have used a recipe from a recipe book or another blog to link back to it, as you all have probably noticed. 

Here is my notebook and the handwritten recipe.  I am sorry that someone would think that I would use their recipe without sourcing them or linking back to them.  I do have to say though, that baking is an exact science and measurements are likely to be similar in most instances. I have had several looks at her recipe and yes, the ingredients are pretty much the same, except I used three separate colours instead of two.  She used a special cake tin for hers, I used three loaf tins.  Other than that I don't know what to say. I hate it when things like this happen, which is why I am always very careful to note my sources for everything.  Just saying . . .

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Marie Rayner
Jack Daniel's Patty Melt

Jack Daniel's Patty Melt

I thought I would entice you today with something delicious that you can cook up for all the Dads in your life for Father's Day.  Jack Daniel's Patty Melts!  These fabulous sandwiches are sure to put a wide smile on their faces and are bound to become sure family favourites!

Minced steak patties flavoured with some seasonings and a portion of the Jack Daniel's Original Smooth BBQ sauce are grilled and then placed into toasted sour dough bread along with sliced streaky bacon which has been glazed with Jack Daniel's Smoky Sweet BBQ Glaze, slices of Swiss Gruyere cheese and caramelised onions for a sandwich which packs a really delicious whammy of fabulous flavours!

As I said the burger Patty's themselves are flavoured with the original smooth and the bacon is glazed with the smoky  sweet glaze.  I was sent some of their line of sauces and glazes to try out.  I jumped at the opportunity as I just love the Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce products and actually have used them many times in the past.  They are fabulously tasty sauces and glazes.  I could eat them with a spoon!

All suitable for VEGANS (except for the HONEY BBQ GLAZE)

With Jack Daniel’s Sauces, it’s easy to surprise and delight family and friends. Simply serve up luxuriously sticky, glazed chicken wings and ribs, add depth to ‘low and slow’ dishes like pulled pork or beef brisket, or use the sauces as a delicious dip for fries, wedges and veggies.

The latest addition to the range is Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Honey™ Barbecue Glaze, which is infused with the soft flavours of the popular Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Honey™ Liqueur, giving the glaze a smooth hint of honey.

Each Jack Daniel’s Sauce is virtually fat-free with around 40 calories per typical 25g serving. Each of the sauces is suitable for vegetarians. Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauces are available nationwide from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Waitrose, RRP £2.00. Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Honey™ Barbecue Glaze is available in Waitrose and Tesco stores nationwide RRP £1.99

Lets get real here  . . .  who doesn't love a patty melt!  Not I!  I adore them, and I am slowly bringing Todd around to my way of thinking.  The only difference between us now is I eat mine by hand and he uses a knife and a fork!

I'll be up front here and tell you I didn't cook four of these, only one, which was plenty large enough for the pair of us to enjoy. I used a lovely Polish rye sourdough that I had picked up at the shops. Oh boy, was it ever good!  Look at that cheese melting onto the grill pan and those caramelised onions.  Wowsa good!

As you can see it makes for a lovely and hefty sandwich, which is not only a mouthful but a delicious handful as well!

I like to keep the meat patties fairly thinnish.  Bear in mind that they will shrink when you are cooking them a bit, so pat them out larger than you want them to be so that they fill the bread well.  I put some of the BBQ sauce in the meat mixture and I glazed the patty with some of the glaze while I was cooking it so that I could really get that lovely Jack Daniel's BBQ flavour into every bite! 

Mmmm . . .  the bacon was also glazed with some of the Jack Daniel's glaze for a really delicious sweet and salty finish! 

Just look at all those delicious layers . . . toasted bread, caramelised onions  . . .  melted cheese  . . .  crisp sticky sweet bacon . . .  all melded together with that lovely minced steak patty.  Now that's what I call a Patty Melt to die for!!! I think the dad in your life will more than agree!

*Jack Daniels Patty Melt*
Serves 4

Easy and delicious. The dad in your life will love LOVE this!  

6 TBS softened butter
1 large onion, peeled, halved and cut into thin half moons
1 1/2 lb. minced steak
65g Jack Daniels Original Smooth BBQ Sauce
1/2 tsp each garlic and onion powders (not salt)
salt and black pepper to taste
12 slices of streaky bacon
Jack Daniels Smoky Sweet BBQ Glaze
8 large slices of Gruyere Swiss style cheese
8 slices of sour dough bread 

Melt 2 TBS of the butter in a skillet.  Add the onions. Cook slowly over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelised and golden brown. Keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7. Line a baking tray with some aluminium foil. Place a baking rack on top of the baking sheet.  Lay the slices of bacon on top of the rack.  Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes.  Brush lightly with the BBQ Glaze, flip over, brush the bottom side with the glaze and return to the oven and roast for a further 8 to 10 minutes or until as crisp as you want your bacon to be.  Remove and keep warm.

Mix the ground steak with the BBQ sauce, garlic and onion powders, and salt and black pepper to taste.  Divide into 4 and shape each into a large oval flat patty, roughly the size of your slices of bread.   

Melt 2 TBS of butter in a large skillet.  Add the beef patties and grill over medium heat until done and no longer pink in the middle, about 4 minutes per side.  Brush with some of the BBQ Glaze half way through the cooking, if desired. Remove and keep warm.

Heat a large griddle pan over medium heat.  Butter all of your slices of bread lightly on one side. Place four slices, buttered side down on the griddle.  Top each with a slice of cheese, 1/4 of the onions, 3 slices of the cooked bacon, and one burger patty.  Place another slice of cheese on top of the burger patty and the final four slices of bread, butter side up. Grill the sandwiches until golden brown on the bottom, carefully flip over and grill until golden brown on the other side.  The cheese should be melted and the bread crisp.  Cut in half and serve! 

Now that was one mightily delicious mouthful!!!  Bon weekend and Bon Appetit! 

Note - Although I was sent product free of charge to use in this post, any and all opinions are my own.  I quite simply love these sauces. I would never recommend you to use anything that I didn't like myself!

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Marie Rayner

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