Hey! It’s Still Better Than McDonalds!

Hey!  It’s Still Better Than McDonalds!

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We were invited to the neighbor’s Open House tonight.  I spent about an hour getting ready, trying to cram myself into my “good jeans,” that fit really well, 10 pounds ago.  It took an hour because, as someone once said (Nora Ephron?) it takes me twice as long these days to look half as good.

Bill had a new client (yes, on a Saturday evening) and that made me very, very happy.  He is getting ready to stop commuting 4 hours a day, dealing with stop and go traffic, and having to constantly be on the lookout for omnipresent patrolling sharks cops.

Well, there was exactly 20 minutes left in the Open House and I am not one to overstay my welcome.  Showing up that late would be really awful.  The gal next door has been going through cancer treatments, and when she said 4 to 7, I took it to mean 4 to 7.

So, I undid all of the squeezing garments (yes!) and got back into my slob uniform.

Bill came home and said, well, let’s just go.

Really?  Men are so clueless, swear to God.  Here I am, having removed more undergarments than Carter has Pills, and am back into my baggy, faded jeans, my fake uggs, an old jammie t-shirt and a sweater I got at Goodwill.  And I’m supposed to just “put that stuff back on?”  I had to remove 4 strategically placed safety pins!

Anyway, I had bought our neighbor a hostess gift, so I told him to stop off for a quick glass of wine, send my love, and give her her little gift.

Getting all dolled up was pretty exhausting, I have to say.  Well, that and brownie baking and working out and painting Christmas cards for the kids and packing the brownies up and cleaning the bathrooms and doing the laundry.

I had told Bill we were going to have tostados tonight because I love to see his face light up when I mention certain meals.  And hell, they are pretty damned good.

So, yesterday, he went to the store and got a ripe avocado, some tomatoes, and a bunch of cilantro.  We were pretty low in the fridge department, because we have a mega, mega shopping order to pick up tomorrow.

I went to do some prep before going to the “party” and, lo and behold, I had given the last of the corn tortillas to our recently deceased flock.  So sad.  Well, it was one of their favorite things, so I guess it’s fitting, for a last meal.

I haven’t even told him yet that the tostadas will have to wait until tomorrow.

But I’ve got some defrosted ground beef and a hamburger bun (for him) and an English muffin (for me).

I also found some leftover potato chips in the freezer, so I’ll use those.  Funny how that bag of chips that I put in the freezer after Thanksgiving miraculously got so much smaller.  Wonder how that happened?  (Like peanuts, they are only permitted into my pantry once a year).

So, since my adorable, precocious and vibrant granddaughter is coming tomorrow for four entire nights (yay!!), I thought I’d pre-cook the remaining bacon in the fridge, so it would be ready to heat up for her breakfasts.

She says she is a vegetarian, and indeed, she won’t eat chicken or beef.  She will, however, make an exception for bacon.  I mean, can you really blame her?  Who doesn’t love bacon?  What’s not to love?

We’ll put some on our burgers, too, since I successfully squeezed into those “good jeans” and it’s the Holidays.  You know the saying: “Eat, Drink and Be Merry, for Tomorrow We Diet?” Lately, for me, tomorrow never really comes.  I’m just not sure I’ll ever be able to eat another salad with sautéed chicken.  At least not until the warmer weather comes.

So, if you find yourself no longer the life of the party you never made it to, you can throw together a hamburger with the 3 chips that are left in the bag.

Line a brownie pan or a larger one, depending, with a lot of foil.  I put one sheet on the bottom, long enough to drape over the sides.

Then I take two more long sheets of foil and pleat them in the middle.  I lay these in the pan and tuck them in, like a little kid.  Scrunch up the foil around the edges of your casserole pan.  Lay out your bacon in a single layer.  It’s ok if they touch, but don’t let them overlap.

Hamburger FixingsTurn your oven onto 400° and immediately put your pan of bacon into the oven.  There’s a reason they say to put your bacon in a cold oven, but I’m not curious enough to Google “why.”

Let your bacon enjoy its own personal tanning bed for about 10 minutes, and then check it.  I doubt it will be done, but I would not like to be responsible for your burnt bacon.  So, check it and set it for another 5 or 10 minutes, until it’s crispy or nearly burnt, the way Bill likes it.  I gather his mother had a habit of burning everything.  Frankly, if I had had 6 kids in 9 years, I would have burned everything, too.  At any rate, he likes everything on the burnt side.  I’ve managed to convert him in most everything but his bacon.

When your bacon is burnt crispy, remove from the oven and let it cool a bit.  Then get a whole bunch of paper towels and, using your tongs, remove to drain.

If you put the casserole dish or brownie sheet in the fridge, you can get the bacon fat to solidify.

Buns in Bacon FatBut I just had an “aha” moment.  I looked at Bill’s hamburger bun, ready to put under the broiler.  And then I looked at that pan of warm bacon fat.  1+1 equals delicious, right?  So I stuck his bun down into that wonderful bacon fat.  I left my English Muffin alone, thank God.  Later, I stuck his buns under the broiler, fat side up.

Or, you can do one of two things.

One, you can wait until the bacon fat is solid, then wrap it up in the foil and toss it in the garbage.

OR – you can save your bacon fat and make some really awesome, amazing grilled cheese sandwiches.  From a health and waistline perspective, I would not recommend this.

From a “I’ve died and gone to Heaven perspective,” I would definitely do this.  I would scoop that cold bacon fat into a nice little mason jar, and put it in the fridge.  And then, the next time you’re making grilled cheese sandwiches, use this bacon fat, brought to room temp, instead of butter on the outside of your grilled cheese sandwiches.

And do you know what would make your grilled cheese sandwiches even more over the top???

First, use a good French Bread.  Secondly, use a cast iron skillet.  Man, Lodge should be paying me for my raving about cast iron!  Maybe I’ll send them a text.

After slathering the outside of your sandwiches with room temperature bacon fat (don’t use cold – it’ll tear up your bread!), place the first slice, fat side down, in your hot skillet. Then add the cheeses of your choice, and then add a couple of slices of pre-cooked, crispy bacon).  Wow.  Talk about a diet-buster.  But so, so, so worth it.

So, tonight’s dinner (it’s already half an hour past the end of the Open House and no Bill – guess I blew it) will just be a cheeseburger cooked in a – you guessed it – cast iron skillet.  With bacon, tomato and lettuce.  And some homemade pickles a client gave him, as well as the Thousand Island Dressing I threw together.  Now, that is good eats!

Oh, and the remaining 3 potato chips.

Have a fun Holiday Season, and don’t forget to remove the safety pins!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!




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