Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bacon, it turns out, could save the world! (Bacon Salisbury Steaks)




You know that angel and devil that sit on your shoulder to help guide your moral compass?  I think my devil is actually a pig.  Cloven hooves; check.  Curly tail; check.   And I swear, when he speaks, all I hear are the sizzling sounds of bacon.  He probably led me to this site here, convincing me of the positive, Sodium-tastic health benefits from bacon consumption.  Yeah, yeah.  I know.  But it’s what I need to tell myself, so that I can get to sleep at night.



I made this for dinner the other night, and my husband started publically thanking me on facebook, when I posted the picture.  I do believe the plates were licked clean.
 




Bacon Salisbury Steak
Ingredients
4-6 slices of bacon, diced
2-4 portions of the Versatile Beef Mix (recipe below)
1 tsp dried Parsley flakes
1 tsp dried Minced Onion
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup beef gravy
¼ cup water

In a pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Meanwhile, place beef mix in a bowl; stir in parsley and onion.  Shape into a patty and then coat in flour.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain.

In the bacon drippings, brown the patty on both sides (2 minutes or so, per side).  Add gravy and water.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or so, until the meat is no longer pink.  Remove from pan, top with gravy and bacon.


Versatile Beef Mix
Ingredients
1 egg
½ cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp black pepper
1 lb lean ground beef (85% or 90% lean)

In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients.  Crumble beef over mixture and mix well, although try not to over mix.  Divide into 4 portions.  You can use this right away, or you can freeze for up to 3 months.  Thaw in refrigerator before using (if frozen).


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Shameless Baconry Bravo! (Bacon Havarti Pretzel Sandwiches)



So today was a busy day!  I was supposed to have a college friend over for brunch, and I was going to make these awesome bacon egg cups.  Plans changed and we went out for brunch instead (not to fear, I had a french omelette that consisted of bacon, ham and sausage).  Then I was wondering what I would make as a back-up bacon blog meal because it's Saturday and I usually post Saturdays (yeah, yeah, I know, but I take my passion seriously).  So I broke out the Bacon Playing Cards I picked up on last week's outing, and flipped up the Queen of Spades which said Bacon Salisbury Steak.  Sweet.  Got the ingredients to make that for dinner, and then went to the mall to shop for my Aunt's 75th birthday party.  Racing thru the mall, because we were already running late, we pass an Aunt Annie's Pretzel stand.  God, I love those things.  It was very distracting.  We then got our presents and left the mall for the party.  The party had tons of food... deviled eggs, turkey meatballs in gravy (I know!  Gravy!  Pure deliciousness!)...and it was late by the time we got home.  Too late to start making dinner and not really hungry enough for a huge Salisbury Steak dinner...but still needed to munch on something...what to make?  Only the most delicious snack sandwich concocted.


(Posted this pic on facebook, and within minutes my friend posted "wait i just realized that sandwich violates Islam and Judaism. Shameless baconry bravo."...Yes Bravo...2 religions out, 1 sandwich! Bravo indeed!)
Bacon Havarti Pretzel Sandwich
2 Frozen Pretzels
Havarti Cheese
6 slices of Bacon
Start by cooking your bacon.  Any method, any way.  A free for all.  Be it pan, oven, microwave, boiling it in water (shut up, I've heard it can be done...still have to test this method out myself), cook to desired crispiness and drain the bacon on a paper towel.  Rule of thumb, you want about 3 pieces of bacon per pretzel.  Take your regular frozen pretzels and either let them thaw out (if you have the patience.  I don't), or microwave them for 30 seconds per pretzel.  Doing 2 at once? Nuke it for 1 minute.  Cut the pretzel in half, like a roll. (Not rocket science) then layer your bacon, and sliced havarti slices.  (Havarti is a mild, melty soft cheese.  You can use any cheese, I just like the melt with this havarti.)  Top with top of pretzel.  Place in a frying pan, lightly sprayed with cooking spray or, a little bacon grease (lightbulb!).  Keep it on medium heat, put the pretzels down in the pan, once hot enough, use a couple drops of water and cover the sandwiches to get the cheese to melt (old diner trick).  Once cheese melts, eat it.  Seriously, eat it before someone else does, cause it's just that delicious!
 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bacon...For President! (Breakfast Bacon Cake!)
















   

        


                                                                                                    
I’m ALWAYS in search of new and inventive Bacon-Inspired ideas!  Some are really clever and successful products, and some fail miserably.  And that’s ok; can’t be perfect all the time.  This week’s winner is the Bacon Recipe Playing cards I found.  Every card has a different recipe featuring Bacon.  Brilliant!  This week’s loser is the Bacon Gum Balls.  Neither tasted like Bacon, nor gum.  Lifespan of the gum in my mouth:  7 (bacon-un-inspired) minutes.

So, you win some, and you lose some.  Why don’t you be a winner with this recipe?….Imagine it’s your birthday, or just a Tuesday and you’re having cake, for breakfast.  It’s ok though, cause this cake tastes like hot buttered pancakes with maple syrup and bacon.  My hubby’s boss (another Bacon-Lover herself) got a special delivery today of Bacon Cake.  I bet you’ll be blowing out the birthday candles on your next birthday cake, wishing that cake was Bacon Cake!  The recipe makes 2 circle cakes.  However, I made a 9” by 7” rectangular cake and a dozen cupcakes.  There isn’t a frosting on this cake (it’s breakfast cake after all) so a good healthy squirt of Pancake Syrup on the top finishes it off.  Make it for breakfast. Or your next non-birthday!
(note the bottom… it’s an upside-down cake, so that bottom layer is bacon, then brown sugar, then cake. 3 words…Nom Nom Nom)

Upside-Down Bacon Breakfast Cake
1 lb of Bacon
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 (9 ounce) package of white cake mix (prepared as directed on box)
1 tsp maple flavored extract
¼ cup maple syrup

Like every other recipe, start by cooking off the bacon your preferred method.  (For this rectangular cake pan, I did a small bacon weave of 6 by 6 slices) I like the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit on a cooling rack placed on a baking sheet for 20 minutes.  You can also cook the bacon in a pan on the stove.  Remove and place on paper towels to drain.

Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).  Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans, or 24 muffin tins.  Place cooked bacon on the bottom of the cake pan or muffin paper, then sprinkle the bacon strips with brown sugar.

Combine the prepared cake batter, maple extract and maple syrup in a large bowl, mixing well.  Pour the batter over the brown sugar and bacon in the cake pan or muffin tins.  Bake in the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; 15-20 minutes.  Cool Cake slightly and remove from pan by inverting onto a serving platter.  Top with maple syrup and devour!




                            

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Trips with Bacon (-Wrapped Cajun Jalapeños)


So, I saw this video online the other day, and it reminded me of That 70's Show, with it's funny/trippy backgrounds and transitions, and wouldn't you know, That 70's Show doesn't fail to provide good Bacon Entertainment!  Check out That 70's Bacon.



So, I bought some Cajun seasoning for Mardi Gras, and I was wondering what else I could use the spice in, and I found this TREASURE.  These peppers are so addictive, that you most certainly have to make a double or quadruple batch.  I don't actually think my husband got to try many, as I couldn't stop at 2.  The Jalapeños are not that spicy after they have been baked, as the seeds and membranes have been removed.  The flavor is out of this world!


Bacon-Wrapped Cajun Jalapeño Peppers

Ingredients
  • 8 large Jalapeños peppers
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded mild cheddar cheese
  •  1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 8 thick-sliced bacon strips
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut bacon strips in half width wise.  In a skillet cook bacon until partially cooked.  Drain on a paper towel.

Cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise; remove the seeds and center membranes.  In a smaller bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese and Cajun seasoning.  Stuff the peppers with about 1 to 1 and a 1/2 tsps into each pepper half.  Wrap the bacon piece around each pepper; secure with a toothpick.

Place peppers on wire rack in a shallow baking pan.  Bake, uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until bacon is crisp.  Discard toothpicks. Serve immediately.



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

3 words, 11 letters…say it and I’m yours... “I have bacon”

Here are 2 cards I wouldn't mind receiving on Valentine's Day (or any day, really)...


 However you choose to say I Love You on Valentine’s day, say it with Bacon!

 (Bacon Hearts pre-chocolate-covered)

Bacon Hearts (Chocolate-Covered)
You need:
Bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut your bacon slices in half.  Use 2 pieces of bacon per heart, and shape one side at a time into a heart shape.  Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes.  Once cooled completely, dip in chocolate.  




Bacon Truffles
You need:
2 tsp dark brown sugar
¾ cup Cashews, salted
8 slices of bacon, cooked and divided
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp honey
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Parchment Paper

Add dark brown sugar, cashews and honey to the food processor, and 6 slices of bacon roughly chopped.  Pulse in Food Processor for 20-30 seconds or until finely ground.  Stir together bacon mixture and peanut butter in a small bowl until smooth.  Cover and chill for 1 hour in the freezer or 2 hours in the fridge.

Shape rounded teaspoons of mixture into ¾-inch balls.  Place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, and chill for an hour in the fridge or freezer.

Chop remaining 2 bacon slices finely.  I prefer the double boiler method for melting chocolate, however, you can do this also in the microwave.  If using a double boiler, place a glass bowl over a saucepan with boiling water.  Bowl needs to be larger than the mouth of the saucepan.  If using the microwave, Microwave chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on high for 1 to 1 and ½ minutes or until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Stirring about half-way through.  Dip Chilled bacon balls into chocolate.  Place back on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and top with leftover chopped bacon.  Chill 30 minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or longer in the freezer. 



Saturday, February 9, 2013

Taste the Rainbow (of Bacon)



Mardi Gras is coming up this Tuesday (February 12, 2013).  I thought, how can I celebrate?  How about tye-dying bacon in the spirit and fanfare of the holiday?  Take your bacon and in a container, put a slice or 3, cover with food-dyed water overnight in the fridge.  Cook as normal!


Yes, it's bizarre, but hey, how cool is Purple Bacon?  It didn't quite work for Ketchup, maybe Bacon will have better luck.


I chopped up this cooked, thick-cut bacon and put them in these very delicious buns.  Thumbs up from my guinea pig, err, my husband.  To celebrate Mardi Gras, I added a teaspoon of Cajun Seasonings to the onions and bacon. Bòn Chans!


Mardi Gras Bacon Buns

Ingredients

  • 10 bacon strips, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 package (16 ounces) hot roll mix (Remember the Pillsbury Hot Roll and Bread mix from the Sweet Rolls with bacon recipe? Blue Box, Pillsbury Dough Boy, Cinnamon Roll on the box)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (optional)

Directions

In a skillet, cook bacon and remove from the pan, drain on a paper towel.  Add the onion to 1 tablespoon of bacon grease and saute over medium heat until onion is tender.  remove from heat and add bacon back in and one teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (optional).

Prepare roll mix according to package directions. Turn the dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Divide dough into 18 pieces. On a floured surface, roll out each piece into a 5-in. circle. Top each with 1 tablespoon of bacon filling. Fold dough around filling, shaping each piece into a small loaf; pinch edges to seal. Place seam side down on greased baking sheets. Cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray. Let rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.
Brush egg over buns. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. (Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Jammin With Bacon



Best imitation bacon uses I’ve found this week:










Over the weekend I experimented in my laboratory, ugh, I mean kitchen and developed this sweet concoction.  It isn’t pretty, and it might sound strange or weird.  But let’s embrace the bizarre and peculiar, and explore BACON JAM!

This is the most concentrated form of bacon I have ever experienced.  It’s got a rich, smoky, porky flavor with a sweet and salty finish.  I found it best on buttered toast, or toasted corn muffin, however, there are many uses, so experiment and enjoy!

  • Put it on your breakfast toast/muffin/bagel over butter or cream cheese
  • Spread it thickly on buns for a twist on burgers.
  • Livin up your grilled cheese sandwiches by spreading it on bread before adding the cheese.
  • stir a spoonful into your favorite brownie or cookie batter before baking
  • Make an awesome BLT sandwich
  •  Or try it on chicken - slice a chicken breast in half, and put the bacon jam on the inside of the chicken, add a piece of Swiss cheese, fold back, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.



They say that “Forbidden Fruit creates many jams”, but I’d like to add that it can also create Bacon Jam.  What a perfect expression of Bacon! 



Bacon Jam
1 and ½ pounds of Bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

2 medium yellow onions

3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

½ cup of cider vinegar

¾ cup packed dark-brown sugar

½ cup pure maple syrup

¾ cup of brewed coffee

2 tbsp honey



In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned, about 15 minutes or so.  With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the skillet (reserve rest for future use); add onions, garlic and cook until onions are translucent (about 6 minutes).  Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring often (about 2 minutes).  Add bacon in and stir to combine.



Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on high, uncovered until liquid is syrupy, 3 and ½ to 4 hours.  Transfer to a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped.  Let cool then refrigerate in airtight containers up to 4 weeks. This recipe yields two 6-ounce jars of bacon jam.