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Posts Tagged ‘bacon’

1 lb. of Bacon...just waiting to be cooked up in delicious dishes

This year September 3 marks the annual International Bacon Day. Each year the Saturday before Labor Day is a day devoted to the irresistible, crunchy, salty delicious meat known as bacon. I thought about doing several recipes and posting them all together, using up the entire 1 lb. of bacon I bought to celebrate International Bacon Day. It sounds like a nice idea, but my waistline told me otherwise…not to mention cholesterol. Like most delicious foods, bacon should be consumed in moderation…it takes some will-power, but a few slices can be enough to satisfy your craving.

So this post is just a simple way to start the day off with some bacon….

Basic Breakfast Bacon

Ingredients:

4 slices of bacon, cut in half (I like to cut the slices in half, it makes me feel like I’m eating more; this should be enough for two people, approx 2 whole bacon slices pieces per person)

non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet

To make:

Heat the pan on medium to medium/high heat. Place the bacon in the pan, do not overlap. Cook for about 5-7 minutes then flip over and continue to cook until your desired crispness level. I find tongs are the best way to maneuver the bacon. The bacon will not actually get crisp until you remove it to the pan onto some paper towels to wick away the oil and cool down a bit–keep this in mind if you like really crunchy bacon, because burnt bacon is eatable, but not the best.  I like mine on the crunchy side so I look for some slight brown color (not uniform, but in some areas) on the fat before removing it from the pan.

Cooked Bacon

Serve along with some buttered toast with strawberry jam and you’ve got yourself a great start to International Bacon Day!  I actually place my bacon on top of the toast to combine the sweet and salty flavor into one bite–yummmm 🙂

Bacon & Toast: feel free to keep the bacon on the side if you aren't a food mixer like me 🙂

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Pancetta & Pecorino Twice baked Potato

Stuffed potatoes or “twice baked potatoes” are an easy dish to make that can be adapted with all types of flavor combinations–you imagination is the only limiting factor here. This recipe here features a few ingredients I had on hand: pancetta, onion, cheese, sour cream, and garlic. Pair these potatoes with a side salad and you have a perfect bite!

Pancetta is an Italian version of bacon. If you don’t have pancetta on hand feel free to substitute with bacon or diced ham. I picked up a thick round of pancetta (cut about 1/2 inch thick) from the deli. This makes a nice size to add come crunchy, salty texture to the stuffed potatoes. If you use bacon try to get a thick cut. Also, I like to use Pecorino Romano cheese for these potatoes to give more of a tangy salty flavor vs. the more nutty, mild flavor of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Again, if you can’t find fresh Pecorino Romano feel free to use Parmigiano instead. But…with either cheese you use….don’t waste the money or calories buying either of these cheeses in their pre-grated version…buy fresh. The fresh cheese will keep in the fridge for a very long time and grate easily on any box grater.

Pancetta & Pecorino Stuffed Potatoes

Pancetta aka, Italian Bacon

1 cup Pancetta (diced)

2 baking potatoes

1/2 cup light sour cream

3 cloves garlic (chopped)

1/2 vidalia/sweet onion (you can use regular yellow onion if sweet vidalia are not available)

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes

To make:

Poke a few holes in the potatoes with a fork and wrap individually in foil. Bake the potatoes in a 400 degree oven for approx. one hour. While the potatoes are baking, cook the pancetta in a saute pan. Alternate the heat between med/high and low to balance rendering the fat while crisping the pancetta–do not burn. Drain the cooked pancetta on paper towels and set aside. Pour out fat from pan leaving approx. 1 Tbsp in the pan. Return the pan to medium heat and add the onions; saute until translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Add olive oil to the pan if the onion mixture gets too dry. Finish cooking the onions until slightly browned.

Stuffed potatoes...ready to bake!

Once potatoes are finished cooking, remove from the oven and let cool  for approx 10 minutes or until you are able to handle them–they should still be a bit warm.Lower oven temperature to 350. Place pancetta, onion mixture, cheeses, and sour cream in a large mixing bowl.

Cut potatoes in half then scoop out center leaving a small border to support the stuffing. Add scooped out potato center to the mixing bowl. Combine all stuffing ingredients and stir until evenly distributed. Divide stuffing into four portions and re-fill potato shells. Return to oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm. Top with cracked black pepper if desired. No need to add salt because both the pancetta and cheeses have natural salt that should be enough for enjoying a perfect bite of stuffed potatoes!

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I must admit I’ve never been a big fan of eggs, but somehow deviled eggs are in a category of their own. Being that Easter is just around the corner–I figured now is the time of the egg! Forget the bright-colored boiled eggs that are pretty to look at and fun to make, but lacking in any flavor whatsoever and not really safe to eat once they sit around at room temperature for very long. I have experimented with several herbs, spices, and add-ins for making deviled eggs and this is by far my best deviled egg recipe–the bacon adds an irresistible crunch and saltiness that keeps you coming back for more. I made this recipe using 5 eggs, but it can easily be doubled or even tripled to feed a crowd!

Deviled Easter Eggs

Ingredients

5 hard-boiled eggs (see note below)

1/4 cup crumbled bacon, plus a few larger pieces for garnish

1/2 Tbsp dry mustard powder

2 Tbsp sweet relish

dash of cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp paprika

ground black pepper to taste

4 Tbsp mayonnaise (more or less depending on the consistency you want)

To make:

Slice the boiled eggs in half and remove the yolk,being careful not to tear the whites. Place the yolks in a medium mixing bowl and set aside whites on separate dish for serving. Mix the crumbled bacon, dried mustard powder, black pepper, sweet relish, mayonnaise, cayenne and paprika into the yolks. Place a heaping spoonful back into each egg white half and garnish each egg with a small piece of the reserved crispy cooked bacon. Serve immediately–leftovers (if there are any) can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge to enjoy the next day (or a late night snack) 🙂

Foodie Tip: The key is taste as you go–keep a small spoon on the side to taste the mixture an add any of the seasonings that will balance out the flavors to your liking–this is the key to making any dish have perfect bites, every bite! All of these seasonings are safe to try alone, so feel free to taste each ingredient and really understand the different flavors you are combining to make the yolk mixture.

Cooking Note:

Boiling eggs–place eggs in cold water (covering eggs about 1-2 inches), bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and cover. Let sit for about 12-20 minutes covered. Place eggs in a bowl of cool water–once they are cool enough to handle gently peel the eggs and, voila–hard boiled eggs!

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B-a-c-o-n

I love bacon…it is very plain and simple. My preference is bacon that has been cooked on the crispy side, but really any bacon will do.

This is a super quick way to add some flavor to bacon that pairs well with soups, would go great in a BLT, or really any way you can imagine to use regular bacon this Honey Mustard version would work.

Honey Mustard Bacon

1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

3 Tbsp honey

1/4 cup Dijon mustard (I use coarse grain)

1 lb of thick sliced bacon

Mix all ingredients in a large zip top bag. Make sure bacon is coated well. Arrange bacon in a single layer on  a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Using the rack insert allows for the fat to drip away, but is not mandatory for cooking the bacon. The aluminum foil lining is mandatory if you want to use your baking sheet again (see picture below). If you are using a disposable version then you can skip the foil lining. The sugar mixture will drip and be a burnt, sticky mess that would be impossible to clean off !

Bake according to package directions. Usually at 350 for 20-25 minutes. The time may be a little longer depending on how thick the bacon was coated with the honey mustard mixture and how crispy you like you bacon. The bacon will firm up as it cools.

Enjoy!

Remember: everything in moderation so beware—this savory sweet combination is true taste-bud temptation. Eating an entire lb of bacon is not recommended!

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