Monday, October 28, 2013

Scared Silly White Chili

This is the time of year when everyone is posting all those decadent pumpkin recipes, and candy recipes, and caramel recipes. And then come the pies, followed by the cookies and confections. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I like a holiday treat just as much as anyone. And I'm just as guilty as the rest as posting too many treats and not enough other stuff on this site. That said, sometimes it just gets to be too much. Sometimes it's nice to have something that is not candified to look forward to. Especially if it is warm and creamy and good.

This chili is a nice foil for all the sweets consumed on Halloween night. It may also take you to chili cook-off greatness (especially if you call it Scared Silly White Chili; how could you go wrong? You can thank my friend Catherine for the recipe and the name.)

And, as with many white chilis, it's easier for non-chili lovers to embrace with those delicate white beans instead of their firmer-skinned red neighbors (the kidney beans).

It's also a nice throw-it-in-the-pot recipe. I'm sure it would work great in a crock pot as well (I'm thinking 8 hours on low or 4 on high, but haven't tried it.)

Scared Silly White Chili
from Catherine
serves a crowd (probably 16 servings)
prep/cook time: 30-45 minutes
Cost: $10.00 or about $.60/serving
(chicken: 2.00, onion: .15, chicken broth: .35 (if made from granules), corn: 1.00-2.00, beans: 2.00, chilies: .50. sour cream: 1.00, cheese: 2.00)

Note: This makes a booty-load of chili. It's great for a crowd, but you may want to halve it if cooking just for you and yourn (unless you and yourn are chili pigs). It freezes pretty well, but is not as delicious as it was before freezing.

Note: This can be made with yellow corn instead of white and it's still delicious, but I've got to tell you that it's better with white.

1 lb chicken breast
1 onion, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 cans shoe peg corn (white corn)
1 bottle green salsa (16-oz.)
4 cans Great Northern white beans
1 can chopped chilies
1 lb sour cream
2 C shredded cheese (mexican or cheddar--I used sharp cheddar)
avocado for topping if desired

Put chicken, chicken broth, chopped onion, and lime juice in a pot. Cook until chicken is tender and fully cooked. Take chicken out and chop it. Put it back in. Drain beans and corn and add to the pot (I also rinse my beans). Add chilies, salsa verde, and sour cream. Heat thoroughly (this takes longer than you think if making the full recipe, just because there's so very much chili). Serve with cheese on top (and maybe avocado slices).


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cheater Caramel Fruit Dip

I love caramel. I love the real stuff that you painstakingly cook on the stove, melting sugar, whisking in butter and cream. I love it. But I don't always make it. I certainly don't whisk it up for an after school snack or to take to a play date with a bunch of young hooligans running around. And I certainly don't do it for a group of boy scouts who (somehow I suspect) would simply not have a proper appreciation for the art of melting sugar and who would just as soon eat burned marshmallows that fell onto the ground as they would lovingly prepared caramel sauce. That said, I wasn't going to send my son to the boy scout campout with burnt marshmallows. My assignment was a fruit salad, but all I had by way of fruit were apples and bananas and I really didn't want to make a run to the store (again--feeling that my efforts to accrue raspberries in October might be wasted on the adorable, yet perfectly clueless group of young boys). Still I wanted to dress our meager fruit offerings up with something. Something loving, something good, something that said, "You might not appreciate meticulously browned sugar, but I think you'll like this." And I did. And they did.

This dip is wonderfully easy, perfect for fall, and a crowd-pleaser. It's not really caramel at all (don't call it caramel to your foody friends; they'll mock you behind they're backs while they slurp oysters together). But there's something about it that tastes caramel-y. As such it's perfect to pair with apples or bananas. Especially at this time of year. I know that it feels a little like cheating. That's because it is a little like cheating. The thing is, sometimes with food it's okay to cheat (Warning: please do not try cheating with actual husbands, teachers, or the IRS; only food. Thank you.) Sometimes you're out of time, out of ingredients, or out of money (this is cheaper than real caramel too). Sometimes you just need something that says, "We're just going to relax and have fun tonight." That's an okay thing to say people; really it is.

And the fact is that this dip is delicious just how it is. So let it be and enjoy it. Call it Brown Sugar Dip if it makes you feel better about things. You can still make real caramel when the mood strikes or when you've got the time or an appreciative audience. But you don't have to tonight.

Cheaper Caramel Fruit Dip
from allrecipes
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cost: $1.35
cream cheese: 1.00, brown sugar: .35

8 oz cream cheese
1 C brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Beat it all together until smooth. If it's still grainy after 1 minute, let it sit for a couple minutes (the grainy bits will melt into the mixture) and then beat it again.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Homemade Greek Yogurt for Dummies (Crock Pot)

I mean, really. It's so easy it will change your life forever.

And it will save you a stinking butt load of money if you like Greek yogurt. For $2 (TWO DOLLARS!) I got no less than 10 cups (TEN CUPS!) Greek yogurt--that's $.20/cup if you're math impaired (don't worry--math unnecessary for this recipe; brains in general unnecessary for this recipe). Twenty cents for creamy, perfect Greek yogurt.

You can eat it with anything. I like it for breakfast with some jam mixed it. My kids like it best blended with jam and put into popsicle molds and frozen. My friend serves it as a dessert. She mixes it with jam and then adds a squirt of whipped cream to the top. But don't think it can only be served sweet. This thick Greek yogurt can be used as a substitute for sour cream and cream cheese. It can be used in savory dips, for ranch dressing, with tacos.

And in case you missed the whole Greek yogurt bandwagon (or were maybe too poor to buy a ticket), Greek yogurt is awesome and loveable because it is a) delicious and creamy, b) higher in protein, lower in sugar (lactose), and lower than sodium than regular yogurt. And did I mention creamy awesomeness? It's also just way versatile--it can really be subbed for a lot of things.

Let me say that making yogurt is not entirely new to me. I even have a yogurt maker (which I may now sell) that has cute little cups with lids. I used it faithfully when we lived in California, but when we moved here, it became cost INeffective. I couldn't find small amounts of plain yogurt and after I'd bought 32 oz of plain yogurt, well then it seemed silly to bother making little cupfuls of yogurt. And my homemade yogurt always came out somewhat runny. This is true of yogurt. Most (if not all) of what we find in the store has been artificially thickened--cornstarch and gluten are both in Dannon. Homemade yogurt tends to be thinner. Real Greek yogurt, on the other hand, is thick because much of the whey has been strained out of it. But because of that, it is often very expensive. Thus, for the last several years I haven't made my yogurt; I've just bought it. Until the fateful day when my friend (the dessert yogurt making one) brought over some yogurt with raspberry jam in it. It was better than ice cream. Oh, yes, it was. Thick, creamy, and beautiful. And it had cost her almost nothing. And it had been stupidly easy. Now that's what I'm talking about. Because many of the other homemade yogurt recipes I knew of (the ones without the handy yogurt-maker) seemed hard. There seemed to be lots of variables that could cause it to fail. Some required you to double boil your milk (I double boil nothing, people, nothing). Some gave detailed instructions for putting it in a cooler or oven and then keeping it consistently warm but not hot. If you got too cool or too hot, you'd wind up with curdled, runny nasties instead of yogurt. Yes, it was all too frightening. I needed fail proof. I needed dummy proof. I needed distracted mom proof. My friend provided that.

She had used a pot to make the yogurt. You can too if you don't have a crock pot. A regular pot works great, but it requires more of your attention. A crock pot, on the other hand, requires only a one-minute attention span and perhaps and IQ of 32 or so.

Now, what do you do? Let me pull back the curtain so you can be amazed.

1. Put 1 gallon whole milk into your crock pot. Put lid on. Heat until 180 degrees. This should take between two and four hours (depending on your crock pot). If you don't have a thermometer (though one is useful), it will be bubbly/foamy all over on top without actually boiling.
2. Remove lid and let cool to 110-115 degrees (if you don't have a thermometer, this will feel warm when you stick your finger in, but not hot--this is the temperature you'd kind of want to get baby formula to--warm, but nothing that would scald a baby's throat).
3. Add 1/2 C PLAIN yogurt and whisk it in. (I add yogurt to a small amount of milk and whisk in order to keep it from lumping up. Then I put that into the big pot of milk and whisk.)
4. Put lid back on.
5. Put crock pot in oven for 6-8 hours. You don't have to heat your oven or leave the oven light on. You don't have to do ANYTHING. The crock pot provides natural insulation, so it doesn't cool too quickly and the oven provides a space to trap the necessary warmth for your yogurt to yogurtify (it should be kept at a fairly stable 110 degrees; it does this naturally in a crock pot in the oven, so don't worry). That said, I would not recommend you put it into a cold oven (not a problem for us in the summer, but in winter it gets chilly around here). If your oven is cold, turn it on for 1 minute BEFORE you put the yogurt in. Then turn it off. Then put the yogurt in. (Ah, now the IQ requirements have moved up to 45). It will need 6-8 hours to yogurtify. It's nice if you can time this overnight. If you do it during the day, you may want to put a little post it note on your oven that says, "Do not turn on." I do this (yes, I do) because if you or someone you love comes in and decides to make cookies and pre-heats the oven before realizing there's yogurt in there, your yogurt will be ruined and you will be sad.
6. When you take it out, you'll have regular yogurt. Reserve 1/2 C of this for your next batch of yogurt and put that 1/2 C in the fridge.

 (It will look like this.)

7. Now: You can eat the rest of the yogurt regular-style if you want (it was actually a little thicker than that which my yogurt maker used to make). But I HIGHLY recommend straining it and making Greek yogurt (because it's awesome, that's why). Get a tea towel. Put it over a colander, and strain your yogurt. You can do this in the sink if you don't want the whey. Or you can strain it over a pan or large pot/bowl if you want the whey (Note: Whey can be used as a milk or buttermilk substitute in some recipes. It works well in muffins and things like that. That said, I throw my whey away most of the time (unless I know I'm making muffins or something soon). Lazy, I know. Straining will take between two and six hours depending on how thick you want your yogurt. I like mine thick. You might give it a stir after 2 hours to get it to strain more quickly.

And you're done. You will have a TON of Greek yogurt. In Evansville, we can currently get milk for $1.69 at Aldi. And then you'll need a bit of plain yogurt as a starter. Greek yogurt from the store occasionally goes on sale for $1.00/6 oz., but is usually much more. The nice brands can cost as much as $5.00(ish) for 16 oz. or so.

Now to answer some questions:

1. Do I need an instant read thermometer? No, but it is helpful; it takes any and all guesswork away from the process. And you will pretty much earn back the cost of your $9 thermometer in the first yogurt making, so it's a reasonable purchase. Still you don't have to have one. You just might need an IQ slightly higher than 32.
2. What will I do with all that yogurt? The sky is the limit. If you make this stuff, you can stop buying yogurt, sour cream, and (in some cases) cream cheese. You can make amazing smoothies and popsicles. You can do tons of stuff with it. 
3. Do I have to use whole milk? Probably not, but I always do. Still, I'm pretty sure you can make it with any type of cow's milk . However, I won't vouch for taste. True Greek yogurt is whole fat. It's only us Americans who've freaked out about that and developed lower fat versions. It is my opinion that skim Greek yogurt isn't really Greek yogurt at all. It is skim, strained yogurt. Eat it if you want. But my other opinion is that fat (without a lot of sugar) is NOT the enemy. I think natural fats are healthy and filling and great.
4. Why do I heat it and then let it cool? I don't have a complete scientific answer for you. All I know is that if you heat it to 180 you wind up with thicker yogurt than if you don't. I imagine you don't have to heat it that much. I know there are even raw yogurt recipes out there. You'll just likely end up with thinner yogurt. Of course, you'll be straining it, so will still end up with thick Greek yogurt--you'll just have a bit less of it because more will have strained out.
5. How do I make it on the stove top? Let's say you don't have a crock pot. You can still make this stove top. It's best to do when you have other jobs to do in the kitchen because it takes a while to heat and needs to be stirred occasionally so you don't want to burn on the bottom. (You can cook it faster, but you'll have to stir frequently or even constantly so it doesn't burn on the bottom.) Also, you'll want to make it in a heavy pot. The time I made it on the stove top, I used a porcelain-covered Dutch oven pot (WITH A LID). You need to do this because when you put it in the oven, it needs a sort of heat-holding pot. Otherwise it will cool too quickly and not set properly. I suppose you could use a normal pot and insulate it with towels or something, but for me the IQ requirements and fail factor get too high with that.
6. Can I make less? Probably. The problem you're going to come up against with this no fail method is that if you only have a little milk/yogurt in your pot, it will cool off faster. If it cools off too fast in your oven, you'll wind up with runny, curdled mess, not yogurt. If you really really want to make less, I recommend putting it in a small cooler instead of an oven. Or you might just have to babysit your oven a bit more and turn it on here or there throughout the setting process to ensure that your yogurt doesn't get too cool. Anyway, I'd really encourage you to make more simply because yogurt lasts a long time, which leads to...
7. How long does it last? I don't know. Ha. Because it's never gone bad on us and we've kept it in the fridge for upwards of two weeks. I imagine it would last a good month, maybe two, but can't promise that. I will try to do a little experiment next time I make yogurt and set some aside and see how long it takes for it to go bad.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How to Get Crayon Out of Washed and Dried Clothes Cheaply

This blog doesn't usually diverge from food (does it ever diverge from food). I don't claim to be the least bit crafty. I definitely don't claim to be super neat or organized or put together. Fashion? (I like things with butterflies/birds on them; and braids.) So, yeah, me and my girls kind of have the same fashion sense.

But today I want to give you a different kind of recipe--one you will not eat. Why? Because last week my girls' clothes went through the laundry (washer and dryer) with an orange crayon in it. Which--in case you're one of the lucky uninitiated--meant that all their laundry--new school clothes and all--came out with splotches of orange crayon all over them. And I do mean all over. And I do mean splotches. And I do mean orange. I knelt by the laundry basket for several minutes just looking through it in despair. What good does it do to try to save money on food if you have to go out and buy all new pants for your six-year-old only a month after you went out and bought a bunch of new clothes for your six-year-old.

Now--not shockingly because I am a sort of lazy mother--I'd had this happen to me once before several years ago (green crayon on my son's clothes). Then I had used a different (and effective) internet recipe and most of that green had come out. But it had required lots of somewhat expensive "ingredients" (Tide--like, a cup of it, Borax, Oxyclean, and some other stuff). Also, when my sister had come to our house once bearing a load of laundry that had crayon all over it, this "recipe" hadn't worked for her. I don't know why, but it didn't.

So I went back online to look for a different "recipe." And I found one with just three ingredients (plus HOT water) that were cheap. And it worked really really well. The crayon came off of almost everything the first time. The stuff that still had a little on I ran again and it came off of all except one pair of polyester Tinkerbell jammies (who knows?)

I didn't actually think it would work (too easy right), so I didn't take any before pictures. I should have. Fortunately for me and my lazy, slightly sloppy-basemented self, I found this sock after I'd washed all the clothes (orange splotches plus orange-ish hue). Now look at its nice clean mate. Impressive, eh? And many of the clothes were much much worse than this sock (no, I don't unroll my kids' socks either when I do the wash; told you--lazy parent; unrolling is their job and they do it badly).

And truly the extra beautiful thing about not needing to re-wardrobe my children was that one load of this de-crayoning laundry cost only about $.10-.20 more than a normal load of laundry.

How to Get Crayon Out of Washed and Dried Clothes Cheaply
thanks to Diary of a Doctor's Wife
Regular amount of laundry detergent for one load (I had some Tide coldwater, but any type should do--the original poster used All Free and Clear. I imagine even a cheaper laundry detergent would do as long as it's not super-cheap-watered-down-doesn't-clean-your-regular-laundry kind of stuff)
1/2 C vinegar
4-6 Tbsp dish soap (the kind you use to wash your dishes with by hand; I had Great Value)

Run the hot water in (you want it super hot, so turn up your water heater or add some boiling water or whatever, but lukewarm will not do). Add detergent, vinegar, and dish soap.

Put clothes in and shut lid so all that heat stays in.

Let sit for 15 minutes. Set a timer if you must because you don't want the water to get cold.

Run laundry.

Note: I did not have any crayon on my dryer (I think because I had a towel in there that seemed to wipe it off as it dried--that towel was covered in crayon and I really wish I'd taken a before and after of it, because after this recipe I could not see any orange). However, sometimes if a crayon gets in the dryer, the dryer gets crayon on it and that, my friends, is bad because it will then continue to color any clothes you put in there. Diary of a Doctor's Wife used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get her dryer clean after red crayon got all over it. So if you need to clean your dryer, this is probably a good method.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Double Chocolate Mint Cookies

Okay, so I know it's October and I should be making pumpkin something or others, but when I got Secrets from the Cookie Princess I knew I wanted to make a cookie for this month's Secret Recipe Club. And then I saw these and, I'm sorry, but my mind just fast-forwarded to December and I thought, "I have to make them." I even took them to the Halloween party we attended tonight. So much for pumpkiny pumpkin things. Incidentally, Colleen has tons of delicious-looking cookies on her site. Other things too, but, yes, lots and lots of great-looking cookies.

Anyway, if you really want Halloween-looking cookies, I'm sure you could dress these up for whatever holiday you wanted with some colored chocolate chips. Orange would be perfect for Halloween and I know you can find red and green for Christmas.

And let me tell you these cookies are good, but this dough--this dough is the best dough I've ever eaten in my life. Yeah, yeah, I'm a dough eater; wanna make something of it? Next time I make cookie dough ice cream, I'm making this dough (sans the eggs) and I think it will change my life forever.

Double Chocolate Mint Cookies
adapted from Secrets from the Cookie Princess
makes 4-5 dozen
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 9-10 minutes per batch
Cost: $4.65
butter: 1.50, brown sugar: .35, sugar: .15, eggs: .20, flour: .25, cocoa: .30, chocolate chips: 1.90

1 1/2 C butter, softened (I always get my really softened and I like it that way)
1 C brown sugar
1 C sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
3 C flour
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 C chocolate chips

Combine butter and sugars. Beat. Add eggs and extracts (and, yes, that is 2 tsp peppermint--I thought it was a lot too, but it's perfect). Add dry ingredients and mix. Add chocolate chips.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until those middles aren't raw looking (shiny) anymore. Chocolate cookies can be a little easy to overbake, so be sure to take them out as soon as that raw shininess is gone.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Classic Cheesecake (with a tip)

Growing up, cheesecake was one of those things my parents talked about like it was pure impossibility.  (Also they talked about how high fat it was and were always looking for low fat versions, which couldn't have helped). Anyway, I grew up believing cheesecake was just hard. My Uncle Ralph had this recipe that my parents just raved about, but were always talking about how they just couldn't make this cheesecake. I don't know that I ever actually ate this cheesecake--it was like fairy tale, Uncle Ralph's cheesecake.

As an adult, I realize that cheesecake can be a tiny bit tricky. It can crack on top or come out dry and crumbly or even chalky, or just be sort of lame and boring tasting (I believe that at least half of the cheesecake haters of this world don't like cheesecake for one of those reasons).

I, however, am a devoted cheesecake fan. As such, I've realized that cheesecake is not too terrifying of a beast--cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and a bit of lemon. The tricky thing is--and this is my tip in all its simplicity--you can't overcook it. And overcooking it is easy to do because when it's done it doesn't look done. When it's done it jiggles in the middle. Regular cake doesn't jiggle in the middle when it's done. Pregnant women don't jiggle in the middle when they're done. But cheesecake jiggles in the middle when it's done. You want to take your cheesecake out at about 160-180 degrees--preferably closer to 160. This will help prevent cracking, but more importantly (and more reliably--I still get a crack here or there), it will be silky smooth, creamy goodness. Now let me repeat that at 160-170, your center is still kind of jiggly and it's scary to take something out of the oven when it jiggles. I get it, but you should do it anyway. If it's at 160, it's thoroughly cooked heat-wise and it will continue to cook and set up as it sits and cools. Try it.

Below is Uncle Ralph's recipe--a steady, delicious classic cheesecake. A recipe that I finally--at the age of 36--made and thoroughly enjoyed.

I adorned it with this raspberry sauce, some squirts of homemade whipped cream, and raspberries from my bushes (because I'm cool. that's why).

Uncle Ralph's Classic Cheesecake
makes 1 9-inch spring form pan
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
Cool time: 4 hours
Cost: $3.80, plus crust, which will bring you up to about $4.50 (this is about $.45/serving--take that Cheesecake Factory)
cream cheese: 2.00, sugar: .10, eggs: .20, sour cream: 1.50

2 8-oz packages cream cheese
3/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1 pint sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
dash salt

Grease your springform pan (mine is 9 inches I think). Make a graham cracker crust (this is my favorite) and press it into the pan.

Preheat oven to 325. Cream together sugar and cream cheese. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Mix well. Add sour cream. Mix well. {See-it's not so hard--you just throw everything into a bowl and beat it; it's the cooking technique that's gonna make or break you. Jiggly middles, people, jiggly middles.}

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the center still wobbles and an instant read thermometer reads at least 160 (and for all that is cheesecakey good, less than 180) when inserted in the center.

Remove cheesecake from oven and let it cool completely, then refrigerate. This is a four-hour deal, so plan on that, okay.

Top with raspberry sauce or whatever your poison might be.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bacon Balsamic Salad

It's easy to get stuck in a salad rut--you know that rut where a salad has to be something with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber (and usually a good dose of ranch dressing, right)--the kind of thing you get before your meal at a chain restaurant. The problem with salad ruts is that soon enough they turn into salad famines because that type of salad just becomes so painfully boring to eat day in and day out.

This salad rocked my little salady world. It's the best thing I've had in a while. I made it to eat with some Julia Child chicken, and with all due respect to the mighty Julia and her decidedly delicious chicken, this salad just stole the show. It's all I wanted to eat. And the next day too. If we hadn't run out of bacon and lettuce, I would have had more today. Oh--and Kip loved it too. And he's a man. Nuf said.

Okay not quite enough said. I should tell you that this is a warm salad. Does that scare you? It scared me too, but just have faith because it's amazing. You can cook the lettuce on the grill (it just gets a quick char, not a long cooking) or do it on a hot skillet like I did. It's not cooked till wilting; just enough to warm it and make the flavors meld.

This salad is easy, satisfying, and uses just a few simple ingredients (like, you noticed it's half a head of romaine right--don't let that scare you). Also, it's cheap. Ah--wonderful salad.

The only tricky thing about it is that it's really best served right away and with family dinners timing can be tricky because, you know, family dinners involve families and families don't always consent to your timing. Yeah. But it's still worth it. More than worth it. And even if it has to wait a few minutes, it's still a delight.

Bacon Balsamic Salad
adapted from Jane's Adventures in Dinner
Serves 2
Cost: $1.35
romaine: .75, bacon: .25, Parmesan: .15, balsamic: .20

Note: You want your romaine to be a nice tight head. Usually it is, but every once in a while it's a little leafy. This is still good with a leafier head, but better with a tighter head.

1 head romaine lettuce, cut in half with the bottom part kept on so it holds together
olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Parmesan (a couple tablespoons probably)
lemon juice
balsamic glaze (see instructions below)

Bring romaine to room temperature. So get it out when you begin cooking stuff for the rest of your meal. (You don't have to do this, but it really does help; otherwise, you have a warm-on-the-outside-slightly-cool-on-the-inside salad--it's still good, but not as good.) Cut romaine head in half longways--keeping the bottom part so it holds together.

Drizzle olive oil on the heads and smear it all around. Add some minced garlic to each half. Sprinkle with pepper. Now let it sit while you make your dinner (if having more for dinner--this could easily be a light meal itself).

While it sits, cook your bacon. Drain it and crumble it.

To make balsamic glaze: Take your favorite balsamic vinegar, pour it in a pan, and cook it on high until it reduces to about half--it will thicken (especially if it cools a bit) and because a little syrupy.

When you're ready to have dinner, you're going to cook your lettuce. Heat a skillet till it's hot. Put your half heads of lettuce on it and cook each side for only about 30 seconds--they sizzle and possibly brown just the tiniest smidge on the edges.

Take the lettuce off the heat, sprinkle with lemon juice (don't forget; this is awesome). Then add bacon bits, Parmesan, and top with the balsamic glaze (which looked a little scary to me, but was so good I slathered it on my main course as well and decided I wanted to eat it on all foods from henceforth and forever--just wait--you'll see).

Eat while warm. Good, isn't it? Told you.



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