Of all the things I am addicted to, one of the most dangerous is meat fat. Typically, I try to cut back on the number smiling faces I eat in a week, but lately, it’s been hard. There’s been bacon in my refrigerator for a few weeks–consistently. There’s been one reason or another to eat the beef, the chicken…And the more saturated fats I intake, the more I cannot seem to get away from them. I begin to crave bacon for breakfast, sometimes even lunch or dinner. I begin to feel more hungry when I do not include a meaty side with my quinoa salad or pasta or even in the rice and beans. It’s rice and beans; the point is, no meat! But there is something about meat (particularly the fatty parts) that is simply irresistible.
I wanted something fancy for my birthday dinner, especially since I decided to make some of the foods myself and, frankly, I love to eat. My mind flashed to something I had seen in my Paula Deen cookbook, something my mother made once at the holidays that I couldn’t stop shoving in my mouth: bacon-wrapped dates. These little delights are stuffed by Paula and many others with pecans; my mother and I, however, stuff ours with cheese. I couldn’t remember what she chose so many years ago, but I decided to stick with what I think would be my desert island cheese: goat cheese. For an added zing, because I just couldn’t help myself, I bought herbed goat cheese. The log is rolled in herbs, but i mixed the creamy chevre with the basil, parsley, thyme, the beautiful greens mixing with the creamy white cheese and stuffed inside the purpley-browns of the dates and bacon. The whole ordeal was beautiful…and after they’d been baked, I couldn’t keep my hands off them. The bacon crisped, the stiff texture complementing the graininess of the dates and a complete juxtaposition to the melted cheese inside. Oh, the salty, fatty, sweet, tangy….morsels. Addicting. It worsened the salivating I did every morning thinking about bacon.
Then, a few nights ago, the hockey party. A small get-together to watch the Lakers duke it out in the dorm because we just couldn’t be there in Minnesota. I tried to decide on a good finger food to bring to a party of college-aged guys. Pigs in a blanket seemed appropriate. I hadn’t had many of them in my life, just a few here and there at parties. I always liked them, but had never made them myself or even wanted to eat them that much. And, this cook is not afraid to admit that they were difficult! First of all, I don’t understand pressurized cans and probably never will. It wouldn’t open! I was sawing my crescent roll can open with a serrated knife and hoping it wouldn’t explode. Second, who can get past all the weird smells and textures? There’s the yeast and the fatty salt, the greasy mini sausages and the doughy, sticky crescent rolls…it’s all too much. Finally, they are hard to roll! The greasy little wieners get the dough all wet, making it unable to stick, so unless you are there toweling off your wieners, they are a mess. I ended up with a lot of pigs in sleeping bags instead of blankets because of all this calamity. But, when they came out of the oven, piping hot and tasty, I guess it was all worth it. The hockey fans loved them, even though I made them with turkey wieners (I couldn’t bring myself to buy the real stuff – they are too “blended” and freak me out).
The pigs in a blanket recipe is nothing special, but the bacon-wrapped dates recipe is unique; I used herbed cheese and did not use the huge medjool dates (they’re more expensive). Just take caution: if you make these recipes too close to each other, you will be craving meat fats just like I am now. After quinoa and mangoes for breakfast, still, all I can think about is bacon 🙂
Bacon-wrapped Dates with Herbed Goat Cheese
12 oz. bacon (something that will crisp nicely – I’d advise against turkey bacon)
4 oz. herbed goat cheese
12 oz. package pitted dates
1 package toothpicks
-Prepare 20-30 pitted dates for stuffing by slicing them up one side from top to bottom. They should almost fold out flat, but be sure not to tear the other side.
-Stuff each date with enough goat cheese to fill the date, but not prevent them from closing shut.
-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
-Cut slices of bacon into three pieces and wrap each date with a third of a slice of bacon, overlapping the ends slightly. Pin together with a toothpick, making sure that you pin through the overlapped portion of bacon.
-Place bacon-wrapped dates on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake 15-20 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp. Remove from the oven and enjoy!
Skinny Pigs in a Blanket
1 package mini turkey sausages or “li’l wieners”
1 can crescent rolls
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees F or follow the directions for the crescent rolls
-Cut each crescent roll triangle into four triangles and roll a sausage in each, being sure to overlap the ends. Tip: The sausages may make it hard for the dough to stick because they are wet coming out of the package. If this is the case, simply get a paper towel and dry them off.
-Place on cookie sheet with aluminum foil and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown (or follow the crescent roll instructions if different). Remove from oven and enjoy!
This recipe would probably be great for a Superbowl snack as well – it’s probably easy and fairly quick for others to make (though not for me!).
Caution: Let this be a warning that these recipes will cause addiction to meat fat.