Asparagus and Bacon Salad

Asparagus and Bacon Salad

I didn’t set out to blog about this salad today, but it was so, so, SOOOO delicious that I had to share it with you. If you’d simply like to get the recipe then scroll down. It’s there waiting for you! If you’d like to hear about my crazy cook-fest week, I’ll tell you about it.

Last weekend, we had a dinner party. I used to throw dinner parties all the time, but I hadn’t had one in 9.5 years!! It was a lot of fun to entertain friends for dinner, but I was really rusty and it took longer than anticipated to prepare the pico de gallo, salsa and guacamole. I also over-bought produce – whoops! I had a giant 2 Quart container overflowing with leftover pico de gallo, plus salsa, cilantro-lime rice, black beans, as well as 12 Roma tomatoes, 3 yellow onions, 2 bunches of cilantro, 4 jalapeños, 7 limes, 4 avocados and some green onions. The next day was Easter, so we weren’t exactly having Mexican leftovers. Then my husband went out of town for the week and my step-son worked each evening, so I was left at home to figure out a plan for all this perishing food! I do NOT like to waste food and since acquiring a FoodSaver machine (LOVE this thing), we’ve hardly thrown out a single unused food item.

The first night my guy was out of town, I went to a couple of grocery stores after work and picked up chicken breast meat. I figured the best way to use up all that pico de gallo was to make “salsa chicken” in the slow-cooker. When I got home, I used up some beef broth, tomatoes and an avocado by making 2 servings of a tortilla soup. There’s no recipe for this. That was my dinner and lunch for the next day. I prepared the chicken and pulled out all the dry ingredients I’d need in the morning.

The next day, I added the chicken, pico de gallo, garlic and spices to the slow-cooker and when I came home from work the house was filled with that incredible smell of slow-cooked food! I had to act quickly because I only had 50 minutes until I had to leave for Bible class. I shredded the chicken and used up some up the rice and beans to make a tiny serving of a burrito bowl so I could test the chicken. Then, I wanted to try out something I’d seen on Pinterest and I cut an avocado in half, scooped out some of the flesh from the middle and poured most of the lightly scrambled seasoned egg into the well. I sprinkled some chopped, pre-cooked bacon and baked it in the oven along with a few zucchinis I’d sliced in half and doctored up with olive oil, herbs and cheese. The avocado was good and I had a little of the roasted zucchini and that was tasty, as well. When I returned home, I assembled 4 individual servings of enchiladas, using the shredded chicken, salsa, beans, rice and cheese. Then I vacuum-sealed and froze 3 of them in their containers.

Last night, I wanted to try the asparagus salad recipe I’d seen on Pinterest. My husband doesn’t enjoy asparagus or zucchini, so when he’s gone I like to eat those veggies. He’s not picky – he eats a LOT more things than I do, but when he’s home I like to cook for US and I serve things we both will enjoy. I’d also seen a tip on Pinterest that suggested eggs peel easier and taste better when baked in muffin tins at 325 for 25-30 minutes so I gave that a try. My guys love hard-boiled eggs, so I baked 8 of them. I don’t particularly enjoy hard-boiled eggs but I was willing to add them to this salad. While the eggs were baking, I also baked one of the enchiladas dishes so I could reheat it for lunch the next day. As things were cooking, I was simmering the remainder of the tomatoes, fresh garlic and half an onion on the stove so I could make a nice Italian red sauce. I found some leftover crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste in the fridge and added them so I could use them up. As all this was happening, I was making my dinner. I’d stopped at the grocery store on the way home and picked up some rice tortillas because they’re gluten-free and I missed eating flour tortillas. I love The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for jalapeño quesadillas, so I was excited to be able to make this easy snack again! I used up some roasted garlic and most of a jalapeno for my 1/2-size quesadillas dinner. YUM!

Laundry was running, and now it was time to start the asparagus salad. I recently read that my beloved skinny asparagus are actually from an older plant that can’t squeak out fat asparagus anymore. I was surprised to discover that the fatter asparagus was from a younger, more tender plant. So this time I bought thick asparagus and after snapping off the woody parts, I cut them on a bias and cut the thicker stems/trunks in half lengthwise. I love pre-cooked bacon, so I reheated 5 strips in the microwave as I prepared the asparagus. I cooked it for 3 minutes, but I think 2-2.5 minutes would have been better. It was a little more cooked than I wanted for the salad. The dressing came together really easily and since I’m not crazy about hard-boiled eggs, I only used one to make two salads. As I was plating the salad with half the cooked asparagus, I started to think this was too much salad and maybe I should make three salads from it! Haha, silly me… after two bites of this salad, I wanted to eat the second serving, which was to be saved for my lunch! I also felt I would be fine with one egg per serving, so I’ve adjusted the recipe but my photo shows the salad I ate last night with just a half egg. The egg imparted a nice flavor to this salad.

Also, I must add that I tried this trick and it didn’t work so well. I’ll try it again, but peeling away parts of an egg on the top and bottom and trying to blow the egg out with your mouth didn’t launch the egg across the kitchen like I saw on a video someone shared on Facebook. It just loosened the shell and made it easier to peel. But, back to the salad….

Let me tell you, this salad is RIDICULOUSLY delicious. I love different salads and this is a very special, simple, easy-to-make salad that I will enjoy again next time my guy is out of town. I felt like I was eating at a fancy restaurant! If this were on the menu somewhere, it would be wildly popular! It was really, really good. If you like asparagus, you will LOVE this salad.

I’m sorry for not posting any recipes on my blog for a while. Between getting sick, hosting a dinner party, making lots of food and doing lots and lots of dishes, I just haven’t had the time. I’m happy to be blogging again and sharing this fabulous salad recipe with you. This recipe was adapted from the original recipe from SkinnyTaste. It’s naturally gluten-free and I believe it’s Paleo if you use local bacon, eggs and asparagus. I don’t think the dressing Paleo, but if you cheat then we can call this “Daleo” as a nod to my husband Dale.

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Click here to pin the recipe for Asparagus and Bacon Salad

Asparagus and Bacon Salad

Serves: 2

Ingredients for the salad:

1 bunch of asparagus (washed, cut on a bias and cut again lengthwise if you’re using thick asparagus)
2 medium or large hard-boiled eggs (peeled and sliced or chopped)
5 strips of pre-cooked bacon (I use Oscar Mayer brand)

Ingredients for the salad dressing:

2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
a pinch of salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions:

While preparing the asparagus, bring a medium pot of water to a boil, then add the asparagus. Don’t wait for the pot to begin boiling again – just start the timer once you add the veggies and cook them for 2 to 2 and a half minutes. They should be tender, but a little firm for this salad.

If using pre-cooked bacon, microwave them on a bacon tray and cover with a paper towel. I cook my bacon for 30 seconds, check on it and then zap it for another 15 seconds. After cooking, let the bacon rest, wrapped up in the paper towel.

Drain the asparagus in a sieve or colander and immediately run the veggies under cold water to stop the cooking. Set them aside to continue draining.

In a small bowl or container, whisk together the salad ingredients.

Plate the salad by placing half the asparagus on one plate and half on another. Drop the chopped or sliced egg pieces onto the salads. Using kitchen shears, cut the bacon bunch onto the salads.  If you like pepper on your salad, grind some black pepper onto your masterpiece, then drizzle your homemade vinaigrette on top.

ENJOY!!20140425-095217.jpg

My leftover salad was calling my name from the lunch room refrigerator. I couldn’t take it any longer and ate it at my desk as I worked! This is how it looked after adding the salad dressing; before tossing; and after I gave two of my co-worker friends one bite each. I knew I should have stored the bacon separately so it wouldn’t soften, but it was still good having sat in this lidded bowl overnight.

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