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Some people wake up on a Sunday morning and leisurely grab their newspaper or turn on the TV to catch some cartoons or Meet the Press.  Not this girl.  I wake up on Sunday morning and find a huge hole in my kitchen wall that my weekend-warrior husband has created.  (Don’t worry, he filled the hole in with a new sliding glass door.)

Notice Buster waaaay back in the yard not wanting to be anywhere near the chaos.  He would rather take advantage of the last days of summer by playing in his pool (which we have to keep on an incline due to the number of holes that have formed over the past couple of months).

But all of that aside, it was still Sunday morning and cold cereal just wouldn’t cut it.  There are plain old waffles, but there are always waffles.  Or at least there have always been waffles ever since Mother’s Day when Jake got me my waffle maker.  It’s one of those presents that the giver benefits from just as much as the receiver.  So, I hunted around on the internet for waffle inspiration and I poked and prodded and eventually decided that the best course of action would be to put brown-sugar-covered bacon in the waffles.  Just throw it right in the batter. 

It’s like adding blueberries without having to worry about all those pesky antioxidants getting in the way.  And they turned out great.  There was salt and there was sugar and there was one very happy pregnant woman.

Bacon Brown Sugar Waffles

5 slices of bacon
3 tablespoons brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for the batter
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup oil 
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cook the bacon in a frying pan until it is almost crispy.  Cover the bacon with 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and let it sit for a minute to melt and for the bacon to finish cooking. (Don’t flip it!  That just makes a crazy sticky mess.  I learned the hard way.)  Remove the bacon and after letting it cool, cut it up into small pieces.

Beat the eggs until they are light and fluffy.  Then mix in the milk, oil, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and the other two tablespoons of brown sugar.  Fold in the bacon pieces.

Spray a pre-heated waffle iron with non-stick spray and pour the batter in.  Cook until crispy and golden, and eat warm with maple syrup.


Jake and I went to a picnic for the local PanCAN affiliate, and we took hot dogs.  Lots and lots of hot dogs.  And the turnout was… eehhh… not so great.  So, needless to say, we had a bunch left over and I have spent the past week trying to figure out how to cook them in different and interesting ways.  There are only so many meals in a row that you can open up the Hebrew National bag and throw a dog on a bun with ketchup and relish, right?  So, that’s how this pizza was born.

Normally, I stay away from the grill and let Jake live in peace, but this time I was determined to cook on the grill.  And then I broke the darn thing.  Or so I thought.  As it turned out, it ran out of gas, but I was dreading having to go inside and let Jake know that the one time I ventured outside I broke the grill.  He switched out the gas tank and all was well.  Until I spilled BBQ sauce on the grates and it dripped inside.  I guess that’s bad.  I don’t know.  But from that point on I had a grilling chaperone.

I will probably never be allowed near the grill unsupervised again, but all was well as soon as Jake tasted the pizza.  He loved it!  And at least I remembered to turn it off and turn the gas off when everything was said and done.  This house isn’t going to blow up on my watch. 

If you know of any other creative hot dog recipes let me know.  There is a whole Costco-sized stash in the freezer just waiting to be defrosted! 

Grilled Hot Dog BBQ Pizza

1 package raw pizza dough (or a pre-cooked one would probably work ok – just skip the part about cooking the dough)
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
2 hot dogs, thinly sliced
2 cups cheddar cheese
5 slices of cooked bacon, diced

Let the dough come to room temperature so that it is easier to handle (I usually leave it on the counter for an hour, but it doesn’t really need that much time) and preheat the grill.  Spray either the grill grates or aluminum foil/veggie try with grill-safe cooking spray (depending on how brave you are feeling).  Place the dough either directly onto the grill or onto the foil and let it cook for about 3 minutes on each side.  Then, right on the grill, spread the BBQ sauce across the dough, and add the hot dogs, cheese, and bacon.  Close the grill and let it cook until everything is melted and bubbly, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from the heat, let it cool for a couple of minutes, and then eat warm.  It is also good cold the next day if you are into that kind of thing.

Jake and I are pretty much all set for the baby to come.  The nursery is almost complete.  The gear is put together (the perks of marrying an engineer).  My belly is huge.  So now we just have to sit around for another month and a half and wait for her to make her grand entrance.  What to do, what to do…. 

I know!  Corn chowder!  As though we don’t already eat enough corn in this place.  But it’s summer and it’s corn season, so we might as well take this golden opportunity (pun intended) to eat as much as possible.  What’s funny is that there really isn’t anything as far from summer food as a hot, thick chowder.  It’s a bit of an oxymoron.  But the past week has been cold and rainy so everything worked out well and Jake and I didn’t have too much of a food identity crisis.

Originally, the idea was to make jalapeno cheddar corn bread.  But corn bread isn’t really a meal, and I didn’t want to have to make anything else (lazy).  So I made a chowder instead.  And it was deeelicious. 

The jalapenos make a big difference in the flavor.  They really gave the soup a good kick that you couldn’t get from plain old salt and pepper.  Obviously, use more or less as you like, but I definitely wouldn’t omit them.  Jake usually doesn’t like jalapenos and even he thought that they were great in this recipe. 

Cheesy Jalapeno Corn Chowder (adapted loosely from Ina Garten):

8 – 10 strips of bacon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
8 cups chicken broth
3 large light-skinned potatoes, unpeeled and cubed
2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
8 cups of corn (if fresh, cook the corn in boiling water for about 3 minutes, if frozen just use the corn as is)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese

In a large stockpot or dutch oven, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon set it aside, leaving the fat and olive oil in the pot. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Don’t forget to stir the onions to keep them from burning.

Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, jalapenos, and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.  Add the corn to the soup, then add the heavy cream and cheese. Cook for 5 more minutes until the cheese is melted.  Crumble the bacon on top.  The chowder can be refrigerated for a few days, and the leftovers are just as good as the first night.  Yum.

Have you heard that there is a new full-length Popeye The Sailor Man movie being made?  Oh, you don’t read about the oddball aspects of pop culture like me?  Well, that’s ok.  You can still make this spinach recipe.  And it is tasty even for people who aren’t big into the green stuff because the bacon really makes it more palatable.  But you’re still getting the iron and such from the spinach.  Win!

Isn’t it funny how a huge bag of spinach wilts down into practically nothing?  It is essentially a single serving.  But you wouldn’t sit down and eat an entire bag of spinach without it being wilted because it seems like a ridiculous amount.  This is why I just buy frozen spinach if it is just going into a casserole or something because they pack so much into that little box and it ends up being way cheaper.  I throw it into macaroni and cheese, and other normally unhealthy foods to take away some of the guilt.  It doesn’t take away any of the fat, but I don’t let that stop me from eating way too much of it. 


Sautéed Spinach with Bacon (from Martha Stewart):

2 slices of bacon
1 bag of spinach (Martha measures in bunches, but I just used a bag)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp white wine vinegar

In a large skillet (I actually used my dutch oven because the sides are high so the spinach wasn’t spilling all over) over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, 5 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon, leaving fat in skillet; drain on a paper towel. Set aside.

Increase heat to high; fill skillet with as much spinach as will fit. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing spinach and adding more as it wilts (it may take up to 2 minutes to fit it all). Continue to cook until tender, 1 to 3 minutes.

Tilt skillet to drain water from spinach (using slotted spoon or a spatula to hold spinach back). Mix in vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon over top and serve.

That’s how easy this recipe is.  And Jake ate it right up, so it was a success! 

I’ve been sick recently and not in the kitchen.  Sorry.  A girl’s gotta take care of herself and sauteing spinach just wasn’t on the top of my to-do list.  Don’t worry, I’ll get to the spinach.  It just didn’t happen last weekend.  Luckily, Jake stepped in and took over some of the cooking duties!  What a guy!  On Sunday morning he made what he would call “campin’ eggs” in the form of an egg sandwich.  I’m not sure if this is a common term, but it definitely isn’t something that I had ever heard of before meeting my in-laws.  Essentially, you cook bacon and then cook eggs in the bacon grease (something that people do while they are camping?  If I was camping I would live off of nothing but s’mores, but to each his own).  Not surprisingly, the fat makes the eggs taste better than spraying the skillet with Pam.  Imagine that.

Please note Jake’s fresh-out-of-slumber hairstyle.

If you look in the picture above, there are 7 slices of bacon for two sandwiches.  I wonder what happened to that extra slice

This sandwich would probably be really good on a biscuit, but we didn’t have any and a buttered, toasted bagel is almost as good.  So that’s what we did!  Here is a picture of the bagel pre-butter (well, we used margarine).  You don’t want to forget the butter because it keeps the egg from tasting like it is on two slabs of dry cardboard. 

And we just happened to have “Italian Blend” cheese, so that is what went on top.  There was no rhyme or reason to it.  It was in the fridge and no one was planning on making a trip to the store.  Actually, I don’t think the store was even open yet.  What kind of grocery store doesn’t open until 9 am?

Here’s how we made it, but many of the ingredients could be switched out depending on what you like.  This isn’t an exact science. 

Campin’ Egg Sandwich:

3 Slices of bacon
1 Egg
3 Tbsp of shredded cheese
1 bagel
Butter or margarine
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the bacon in a small skillet until crispy and then remove it from the pan, leaving the grease.  Put the egg directly into the pan and cook it in the bacon fat until it starts to bubble and it goes from being clear to white.  Flip the egg, breaking the yolk if you want, and turn the heat down to low.  Immediately add the cheese to the top of the egg and cover the pan.  This melts the cheese on the egg.  Jake used a sheet of aluminum foil, which was just fine and dandy.  When it is all melted, salt and pepper to taste.

Toast the bagel and butter it.  Put the completed egg onto the bagel and put the bacon on top of that.  I would then proceed to put ketchup on top, but don’t feel pressured to follow suit.  Not everyone is as weird as I am. 

While on the hunt for a fantastic tomato soup recipe, I looked at dozens of websites.   Literally.  There are a ton of them out there, but none of them really spoke to me.  I liked some parts of most of them, but there was always something amiss.  I’m sure that sherry is delicious in tomato soup, but I don’t keep it in the house and didn’t really want to go buy a bottle just for this.  I wanted a soup that I can make again in the future without going too far out of my way.   On the other hand, I also wanted the flavor to be more complex than just tomatoes and cream.  This Food Network recipe hit the spot.  It has several vegetables in it, so it isn’t really “tomato-y” and it has bacon in it, which is interesting and delicious.  It doesn’t call for red wine, but I put some in there and it really ended up being a nice flavor.

This soup isn’t really quick to make, but it certainly isn’t like you have to let it simmer for hours on end.  And the actual process of it is quite simple… though it’s easy for me to say that because I made it while I was alone in my house with my mute dog and no time constraints.   But, really, if you have the time to make this, it is way better than canned.  I mean, there’s bacon in it!  How bad could it be?!

Here is the recipe (slightly adapted from Food Network Test Kitchens):

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 slice bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup red wine
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and most of the fat has rendered, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. I also threw the bacon back in the pot at this point.  Why not, right?  Next, pour in the broth, wine and tomatoes. Bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Throw in the bay leaf, parsley, and thyme.  If you have fresh parsley and thyme then you can put all of the herbs into a little bundle, but it just wasn’t happening for me.  Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, and then remove the pot from the heat and let cool.

Remove the bay leaf. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot and reheat over medium heat.  If you have an immersion blender then you can do this process a lot more easily and I’m guessing that your clean-up will be quicker, too!

Whisk in the heavy cream, salt, and pepper, to taste. Divide among warm soup bowls and serve immediately.  I served my soup with toasted bagel croutons, which you can make by cutting up an old bagel, sprinkling it with olive oil, and toasting it.  Yum!

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