Last weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada so my extended family and the Bookworm Family made the trek to my parents' cottage. Okay, truth be told the cottage is exactly 14 minutes from the front door of my house so for the Bookworm Family it wasn't so much of a trek as a slow, meander.
After looking at the amount of food we had planned (and to be neighbourly) we thought it wise to invite our cottage neighbours over for supper too. This wasn't a typical Thanksgiving feast -- this was the year for "Pub Grub Thanksgiving". It sounds great and oh-so-tasty and it was ... but it was also a tonne of work too.
Picture it if you will ... now we had 6 dogs, 11 kids and a tonne of adults milling around ready to be fed. The 'supper' became a 6 hour feeding frenzy where we dined on dishes like: chicken wings, my mom's awesome ribs, cheesy bacon fries, meatballs, chicken fingers, sausages and peppers (my Dad's version of his favourite appetizer at Carrabba's Grill in Florida), and the list goes on and on(we didn't even get to the Caesar Salad or loaded nachos!).
SO ... MUCH ... FOOD!
My donation to the family food trough was cheesy bacon fries and two of these bread loaves stuffed with cheese, bacon and a buttery ranch topping. If you suspect that I was going for a cheesy-bacony theme you'd be right.
These loaves didn't stand a chance with my hungry brethren. They were eaten up faster than one of Taylor Swift's relationships! My dad told me again last night how good my breads were. THAT, friends, is why I love to cook for others. Kudos from a happy belly is the best praise indeed! I have so many things to be thankful for and that is definitely a reason to celebrate. Enjoy!
1 large loaf of crusty bread **
1 1/4 cups marble cheese, shredded
1/2 cup good quality bacon bits (the real thing) ***
1/3 cup butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp Ranch dressing powder
2 green onion, sliced
more cheese (if desired)
** Note One: Due to Boy 1 and my nephew's peanut allergies I can't buy store-bought crusty bread so I baked two of my Garlic and Herb Topped Rosemary Bread. If you want to save some time (and have no food allergies to contend with) I highly recommend picking up a loaf at he store.
***Note Two: Only good quality, real bacon bits will do. I tend to love Costco's bacon bits and Walmart has a really good quality version too. Just DON'T use those reddish, nasty, hard fake bacon bits in the jar. Blech!
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Place two long pieces of aluminum foil in a cross shape (your bread loaf will go into the centre where the two pieces overlap).
Using a bread knife, slice the bread across, in approximately 1-inch strips, making sure that you don't go all the way through (go to about 1/2-inch from the bottom). Turn the loaf and cut the loaf again in 1-inch strips (not going all the way through) so that it looks like you have a nice checkerboard.
Using your fingers, stuff the cheese and bacon bits in between each of the bread crevices. Get that cheesy-bacony goodness down in there, y'all!!
Put the butter and minced garlic in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt the butter in your microwave (ensuring that you watch it carefully). Add the Ranch dressing powder and stir well.
Using a brush, brush on the butter mixture all over the bread. This concoction rocks, people!! Sprinkle more cheese over the top of the loaf if you feel the need to up your cheese intake for the day.
Fold up the top two side pieces of foil over the bread and then do the same with the remaining two pieces so that your loaf is completely encased in foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Uncover the top of the bread and bake for another 10 minutes to ensure that the top crisps up nicely.
Remove from oven and let it sit for a few minutes -- it will be HOT! Sprinkle green onion over top and then put it in front of your family/guests and watch it disappear before your very eyes. If you have any butter/ranch mixture left over it's great to dip the bread into it. You may also want to keep a knife handy because it can be a little tough getting all of the bread pieces out. This did not, in any way, deter the people at the party from inhaling this bread.