Get Healthy with Bacon!
If you're like us, you know that bacon is a wonder food. Everything's better with bacon. Well, just about everything. We've seen the gleeful proliferation of bacon desserts, bacon sides, bacon-wrapped meats, even bacon-wrapped bacon bombs. And these are all wonderful if artery-clogging taste treats we're sure.
But the addition of bacon flavor doesn't have to mean the death of healthy eating. In fact, a medium strip of bacon has only about 45 calories and 1 gram of saturated fat. There are plenty of ways to get incredible bacon flavor without blowing a weeks' worth of calories in a few tasty bites. Here are just a few ideas we've found to get that great taste of bacon without blowing your calorie bank account.
1. Add bacon to a favorite side. Cook up some brussels sprouts in a skillet with some Smart Balance or your favorite light buttery spread. When they're cooked and a little browned on the edges, toss in some bacon bits. Or, make your favorite baked beans recipe and toss in some of those crispy bacon bits at the end. A little goes a long way, and the strong flavors blend perfectly together.
2. Make a salad that's a meal with bacon. One of our faves is a Lyonnaise style salad that includes frisee lettuce, some large bacon bits and a poached egg on top. Add your favorite vinaigarette dressing and a couple of croutons if you like to round it out. This is filling enough to be a meal - we know, because we've done it!
3. Try a bacon libation. Yes, it's true. There's bacon-flavored vodka. Now you can enjoy your cocktail with the great taste of bacon, without added fat!
4. Spread some bacon on your sandwich. Make your own bacon-mayo for sandwiches and you can skip the bacon itself on your BLT. How you ask? Try this: 1/2 cup of liquid bacon fat (take it from the drippings after you've cooked up some bacon for your bits in the recipes above, cool it so it's not hot, but don't let it solidify), add 1 egg yolk (pasturized eggs remove the concerns) and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard/fresh lemon juice/or white vinegar. Add the egg yolk and mustard/lemon juice/or vinegar to your food processor or in a small bowl. Blend in the bacon fat with a hand mixer or your food processor by slowly adding one drop of the bacon fat at a time until it begins to emulsify, then at a slow drizzle until all the fat is completely mixed in - about 7 minutes. Then use it for your favorite sandwich or wrap, which would otherwise use bacon and mayo separately.
5. And, for a little indulgence, let's just say if you're going to give yourself a dessert treat, why not give yourself one with bacon? A super simple way to do this is to make whatever dessert you desire - brownies, cupcakes, donuts, ice cream - by making your favorite recipe. Take some of your bacon crumbles or a whole strip or pieces of bacon, as you prefer. Sprinkle it with a little maple syrup and pop it under the broiler for about 30-seconds until the maple is sealed onto the bacon. Then top your favorite sweet with your crisp little maple-bacon and there you go! Enjoy the same sweet you would with just a little bacon twist. You won't want to overdo it because a little goes a long way.
So, these are just a few creative ways to incorporate bacon into your diet without going, shall we say, hog wild. Enjoy and let us know any ways you've found to enjoy bacon without the guilt!