Bacon Mushroom Asparagus Salad

Well, hello there, Sunday.

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I took off to Grand Rapids to put in some time at the hospital, so mine was pretty busy, but I am really happy that I got to see my family.

**Shout out to them for putting up with my crazy, scatter-brained, hectic self. I couldn’t have accomplished half of anything that I have been able to without you guys. So, thank you.

Only a few more months until I am an Auntie!

(Even thought I already am one to this blonde beauty)

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I am beyond excited, YAY! I have been hard at work preparing for the shower. I can’t wait to show you all how it turns out!

Today, back in East Lansing, I am taking the time to rest and charge up for the week. Carley and I have been veg-ing (hahaha, get it?) out and watching a movie before we have to get back to our very real, and very long, to-do lists. I urge you to do at least ONE relaxing thing today. Be it something small (jamming out while taking a nice, hot shower) or something a little bigger (like taking a long stroll in this gorgeous sunshine with a loved one) your future self will thank you later this week. I promise.

Speaking of promises, I am unveiling the recipe that YOU all helped create! I did my best to please everyone with their request and think I have come up with something that will do just that! I am proud to say that this recipe is a complete “Colleen Original” meaning that I used no recipes or recipe adaptations; I got this recipe simply from my own head and creative juices. I hope you are as happy with it as I am!

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Bacon Mushroom Asparagus Salad

Yield: about 8, 1 cup servings

Ingredients

1.5 lb fresh asparagus

1 red pepper

1/3 lb lean turkey bacon

2.5 cups sliced mushrooms

¼ cup high quality olive oil (I used a Tuscan flavored variety)

2/3 cup thinly sliced radishes

2/3 cup shaved parmesan cheese

First, fill a 2 qt pan with water and heat it until boiling. While the water is heating, snap off the woody ends of the asparagus (where it becomes fairly easy to snap off is where the ‘woody’, tough part of the stalk ends. It differs from stalk to stalk, but it is usually the last couple inches). Place the asparagus in the boiling water for about 2-4 minutes (the color will become such a vibrant, pretty green!) and immediately transfer them into a bath of ice cold water until cooled. (This is called “blanching”, everyone.) Once cooled, cut asparagus into bit-sized pieces on a diagonal. Set aside.

Remove the seeds & stem from the red pepper, wrap in aluminum foil and place it on the stovetop over a lit burner until it is roasted (this takes a few minutes, just keep an eye on it, but you can multi-task while this is happening. Score.). Boom. Super simple home-made roasted red peppers! Once roasted, chop the pepper.

Cook the bacon in a cast-iron skillet, blot excess oil off with a piece of paper towel and set side. You can drain off a tad of the excess grease, but leave some of it in there. Add the mushrooms into the same, un-washed skillet that you cooked the bacon in (This will add a great deal of delicious flavor to the mushrooms) Add about 1 tbsp olive oil. Sauté the mushrooms until they become deep brown (about 3-5 minutes, be sure to move them around during this time to cook evenly through).

In a large bowl combine asparagus, pepper, mushrooms, and radishes. Crumble the bacon directly into the bowl. Add the parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly. Drizzle in remaining olive oil until the salad is just coated (don’t soak it!)

Voila. Delish.

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I am really happy with the way that this recipe turned out. I love the strong, nutty flavor (the olive oil and cheese) combined with the savory flavor of the bacon. By blanching the asparagus (instead of cooking it longer) you still get a little bit of a crunch.

Bring this to a summer time backyard barbeque or family get together and it is sure to be a hit!

Not only does it taste divine but… **Queue entrance of the RD-to-be in me** the olive oil contains healthy MUFAs (mono-unsaturated fatty acids), you get antioxidants from the veggies, and the bacon is a good source of protein. So… what’s not to love?

8, 1 cup servings

** Nutrient info based on 8, 1 cup servings**

ps. Am I the only one who CANNOT believe that it is April already? Sheesh, how time flies!

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