Monday, May 25, 2015

Artichoke Bacon Ravioli

When I worked at Comcast, one of my good friends would often eat Trader Joe's pasta. She loved Trader Joe's and so did many others. Unfortunately there isn't one too close to me so I never got to experience this "great" place. 

Until this weekend...we were in the area and in need of groceries. Trader Joe's had a lot more prepared items then raw ingredients. It was kinda difficult for me because I wanted to buy everything. And I ended up just picking up anything that caught my eye. Artichoke ravioli, pesto tortellini, truffled ravioli, bacon cheddar cheese, pesto cheese, curry marinated chicken, you name it!

When I got home though, I realized I didn't plan out my meals well. What was I to pair together? And I had a lot of carbs here! I decided to try the artichoke ravioli with the bacon cheddar cheese. Why not?

You can't really taste the artichoke in the ravioli. I get more of the olive flavor than artichoke. The bacon cheddar sauce was what made this dish. Its smoky flavor really was the star. They say everything is better with bacon, right?

Artichoke Bacon Ravioli

9 oz pkg Trader Joe's Artichoke Ravioli
1 tbsp unsalted butter 
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 c 2% reduced fat milk
1 c Trader Joe's bacon cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper
Chopped chives

Cook the ravioli according to the package's instructions. 

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir for about a minute to cook out the raw flour. Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a gentle boil then slowly stir in the cheese. Bring to a gentle simmer then reduce the heat to medium low. Cook until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the cooked ravioli and top with chives. Enjoy!

Fresh Creamed Corn

Creamed corn. You might think of the canned stuff that is all milky, and think it has some cream in it based on the name.  What if I told you you can make creamed corn in 30 mins from just fresh corn? No cream. And to make it even more special, let's throw in some bacon. Everything is better with bacon right??

Fresh Creamed Corn

3 ears corn
4 slices bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig lemon thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper
Chopped chives for topping

In a deep skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, until crisp. (I used center cut bacon which is less in fat, but gives enough fat to coat the corn and still crisped up like I needed.) When the bacon is cooked and crispy, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside for later. 

To prepare the corn, first shuck the corn. Using a large shallow dish as your working bowl, use a chef's knife to cut half the corn kernel off the cob. (The working bowl should catch the cut kernels.) Then with the back of the knife, carefully scrape off the remaining kernel on the cob. You'll notice that this method will extract the corn juice from the kernel and cob. This is the natural cream you're looking for. You should have about equal parts kernel and liquid. 

Turn the skillet you cooked the bacon in to low heat. Add the corn kernel and liquid to the bacon fat. Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally for 30 mins. 

Then transfer to a bowl. Chop the cooked bacon from earlier. Mix in the chopped bacon and top with chives. Enjoy!