Loaded Bacon and Potato Chowder

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12 ounces bacon, diced

2 cups sweet onions, diced

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup celery, diced

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken stock

2 1/2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 Tbsp. Creole seasoning

pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste

4 cups milk

2 cups corn

8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

1/3 cup green onions, chopped

Add bacon to a large Dutch oven or stockpot and cook over medium-high heat until crisp, about 10 minutes; stirring often. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pot and place on paper towels and set aside. Keep the bacon grease in the stockpot.

Add the onion, carrots, celery, and sauté for about 7 to 9 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften.

Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the flour and whisk constantly until lightly browned, about 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock, potatoes, thyme, oregano, Creole seasoning, optional cayenne, and bring to a boil. Allow chowder to boil fairly rapidly for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender; add milk, and simmer for 5 minutes. If the liquid level is lower than you like and the chowder is too thick, add a cup of extra chicken stock. At the end, adjust the seasoning.

Add the corn.

Reduce the heat to low, add most of the bacon bits (reserve about 1/4 cup for garnishing) and add the cheese slowly, and stir continuously until melted and combined.

Add the parsley and green onions, stir to combine.

Crisped bacon, cheese, and sour cream can be used garnish each bowl.

Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Puff Pastry Twist

1 package frozen puff pastry

1 egg beaten

1 Tbsp. Creole seasoning

1 Tbsp. thyme

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese finely shredded (or a mix of your favorite cheese)

18 pieces of thin, or thick cut bacon slices

flour for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray.

Open one sheet of puff pastry on a cutting board. Brush the surface lightly with some of the beaten egg. Sprinkle with your desired amount of Creole seasoning, and thyme. Sprinkle surface with 1/2 cup of cheese to evenly cover entire surface. Dust a rolling pin lightly with flour and then roll the rolling pin over the cheese to gently press the cheese into the puff pastry.

Cut the puff pastry into long 1/2-inch-wide strips and then take each strip, fold in half and pinch the ends together. Now gently twist each strip several times.

Take a piece of bacon and wrap it around the twisted pastry and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry and bacon until everything has been used.

Bake the twist for 30 to 50 minutes (depending on thickness), rotating the pans halfway through. Once the bacon is cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool 5 minutes. Then use a spatula to carefully lift the twists off the baking sheet.