Saving the Bacon

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It’s so quietly painful for me to see food go to waste. A lot of the time the food or sides or snacks I make are determined by what needs to be used before going bad. I made this last night because I had bacon I needed to use and asparagus I needed to use. I cooked the wrapped asparagus in my toaster oven for 10 minutes at 300F, then for 10 minutes at 450F, turning them about twice. Bacon flavors pair so well with so many things and asparagus is no exception.

I love the sweet, salty, and smoky flavors of good bacon. I am also somewhat obsessed with cooking bacon perfectly. I take great care in, generally, cooking bacon until it is entirely at least a light brown color because I am not a fan of floppy white pieces of fat. I cannot stand overcooked, crumbly bacon either, so I try to ensure that each individual slice of bacon is both crunchy and chewy.

There is really not much more to say, other than wrapping bacon around your asparagus is excellent. YUM!!!

Crock Pot Chicken

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If you haven’t cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot, you’re missing out. Firstly, I love buying and cooking whole chickens. You can cook or prepare them in many ways. You can break them down and use only certain pieces and save the rest. However, there is no other way of cooking a whole chicken that has a greater simple to delicious ratio than putting it in a crock pot with a simple seasoning. This chicken comes out falling off the bone. It is so moist and tender and so easy and so hard to screw up.

All you need to do is season a whole chicken that has been rinsed and patted dry and put it in the crock pot breast side up on a medium to low heat for 6-8 hours or 4 hours on high. Also, this may sound obvious to most but remove the innards. Every crock pot is different and I usually let my crock pot temperature and cooking time be dictated by my schedule. Yesterday was a crazy ass day at work and I figured it would be as much. So before I left in the morning, I put the chicken on a ten hour low heat setting so it would be ready after my long work day.

The last thing you need to know about making this dish is that you can get fancy with what you put in it besides the chicken but you really don’t need to do anything other than season with salt and pepper all over and under the skin to make it absolutely delicious. DO NOT worry about putting liquid in the crock pot, trust me, you really don’t need to. Instead of just salt and pepper, yesterday I used a seasoning blend that was a riff I did on Emeril’s “Essence” (Emeril’s creole seasoning) which is a seasoning blend I came across while looking up different recipes on fried onion rings of all things. If I had more time yesterday and wanted to do something different I could have mixed my seasoning blend with a can of crushed tomatoes and added onion and bell pepper. Once the chicken was done I could have removed and shredded the meat then added the meat back to the juices in the crock pot. I could have served that with black beans, rice, and homemade corn tortillas…. just a thought. Here’s the recipe for the seasoning blend I used for this chicken and I really hope you discover how easy and tasty it is to crock pot a whole chicken if you haven’t already.

1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon black pepper
½ tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon dried leaf oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon cumin