RSS Feed

Posts Tagged ‘Bacon’

  1. Livin’ the Dream: Bacon Rice Krispie Treats

    January 27, 2013 by Barb


    2:34.  2:34? 2:34!  Why the heck did I wake up at 2:34?!  Now according to my husband, I was not fully awake.  I would have to agree.  I remember lifting my head, looking at the clock and plopping my head back on my pillow.

    I know I didn’t fully go to sleep for a few reasons.  First, my husband said I kept muttering it was a “bad time.”  I don’t know what that means.  Unless it is what a wife usually says to a husband in the middle of the night when she is trying to sleep.  (In his defense, I don’t think that was the issue….this time.)

    Second reason, I know I wasn’t asleep because I was thinking and not dreaming.  Unfortunately, my thoughts are sometimes as random and bizarre as dreams so this can be a bit of a gray area.  (If you know anything about dream analysis, you probably would find me an interesting case.)

    Finally, my perception was my reality when I got out of bed the next morning and had a clear and concise motive…I needed to make Rice Krispie treats…..with bacon.

    One of my friends had recently made a comment about Rice Krispie treats and I couldn’t (obviously) get them out of my head.  As for adding bacon, it was simple.  I like bacon.

    To me this was going to be the perfect marriage between salty and sweet.  I also thought while I am at it, I might as well toss some spicy, candied bacon on the top.  My taste buds were awakened and if this was a dream I hope no one pinches me to wake me up!

    Livin’ The Dream Rice Krispie Treat

    Ingredients for the Treat

    (The Krispie treat recipe is true to the original because you don’t mess with that magic)

    4 cups of mini-marshmallows

    6 cups Rice Krispies (use the real stuff!!!)

    3 TBsp butter

    1 tsp bacon butter (yes, I am still calling bacon fat butter)

    8 pieces of bacon, cooked and finely chopped (Reserve some of the drippings for the recipe.)


    Prepare a 13 x 9 dish by spraying it with cooking spray.

    1. In a large bowl, mix Rice Krispie Treats with the finely chopped bacon

    2.  In a large pot, melt butter over low heat.

    3.  Add bacon butter (or drippings or fat whatever you want to call it)

    4.  Add Marshmallows and stir until they are COMPLETELY melted.

    5.  Remove from heat and gently mix in the Rice Krispie/bacon mix.

    6.  Butter up your hands and press the marshmallowy goodness into the pan.

    7.  Let cool (and make the topping)

    Optional Topping (Really there is no option you need to make this!)


    4 slices bacon

    3 Tbsp brown sugar

    1 Tbsp water

    ¼ tsp chili powder (If you have more of sweet tooth, you may want to omit the heat.  I like spice and less sweet so this was a perfect match for my taste buds.)


    Oven at 350 and cover a baking sheet with nonstick foil.

    Mix sugar, water and chili powder in a small bowl.  Individually coat each strip of bacon in sugar mixtures and lay flay on baking sheet.

    Bake for about 8 minutes a side.  (You want the bacon cooked but you don’t want to burn you sugar.  Mine went 8 minutes first side and 10 on the 2nd.)

    Let cool on cooling rack.

    When cool enough to touch (that sugar gets hot so be careful), thinly slice and sprinkle on top rice Krispie treats.

    I tried the treats with and without the topping.  I don’t have a sweet tooth so I preferred the smoky, spicy addition to the sweet and spicy treat.

    I think I just gave Snap, Krackle and Pop something to talk about!

  2. Bacon Buttered Potatoes

    August 13, 2012 by Barb


    The summer of 2012 will probably remind most people of the events of the Olympics in London, women’s boxing and Michael Phelps,   (Okay, I personally am not a big Olympics viewer so that’s all I’ve got on that topic.)

    The summer 2012 will mean something completely different to me.  This is the summer of the BLT. My little side garden has grown some gold medal winning tomatoes and I am making yummy sandwiches daily. (No, I’m not going to tell you how to make a BLT.  Seriously people, we are a little more advanced than that.)

    The best thing that comes out of making a lot of bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches is the bacon butter!!!  Bacon butter?  Also known in my world as bacon juice, bacon butter is all the liquor left after you make bacon.  (Some cultures call it “drippings” or “grease” but that seems so unpolished.)

    The other week I started a bacon butter jar after making lunch.  I kept looking at this jar of smoky infused goodness and was trying to think of a proper use.  (My dog thought it should all be hers.  She has some selfish tendencies that we need to work on.)

    Now for the record, I KNOW healthier eaters may say I should just pitch it.  (Healthier eaters also would say I shouldn’t eat BLT’s everyday for lunch.)  In my defense, I don’t use bacon butter each time I cook.  (It’s not like a have a gallon jug sitting on my counter, it is in a cabinet!)

    I had some nice new potatoes that I wanted to eat with dinner.  I like new potatoes because the skin is thin and almost flaky.  My original thought was just to toss them in some olive oil and roast them.  Simple and tasty, right?

    Well, you know what is simple?  Tossing those sweet little babies into some bacon butter and THEN roast them!  Now I’m talking…to myself..but that happens quite often in my kitchen.

    What turned out were little golden circles of sunshine.  Each slice held the depth of flavor that only bacon can give you plus the comforting soft texture of a potato.  I am in hog heaven!

    Bacon Butter New Potatoes


    4 cups new potatoes, thinly sliced, not paper thin, but thin

    2 Tbsp bacon “butter”

    4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

    A healthy sprinkle of fresh chives (about 1 tsp)

    Optional:  Cheddar cheese and sour cream


    Heat oven to 375.

    In a large bowl, mix bacon butter and sliced potatoes.  I found heating the butter a minute or two in the microwave allowed it to coat easier.

    On a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread the potatoes so they are in one layer.  You may need two baking sheets.

    Roast for about 15 minutes and give them a stir.  I cooked mine for another 15 minutes but I also like my potatoes REALLY done.  (I would cook for 15, stir and then check after 10 minutes.)

    Ding.  Potatoes are done.  In a large bowl, toss the hot potatoes with crumbled bacon and chives.  (Add some cheese too if you are feeling naughty.)

    When I started using the term “bacon butter,” I realized there are actual recipes for making something called bacon butter.  I haven’t tried any of those yet but they are on my list!  (I wonder if you could dip BLT’s in bacon butter?)


  3. Foodie Fun Day #14: Baconfest

    April 15, 2012 by Barb

    Check out my bacon t-shirt!

    Everyone has at least one obsession.  The obsession can bring you together with a diverse group of people with only one thing in common.  It brings joy to you like no other commodity and you will all talk about it whenever you get the chance.

    So when I heard that there was something called Baconfest in Chicago, I just had to go.  I love bacon and I wanted to be surrounded by my other bacon lovin’ soul mates.

    Started in 2008, Baconfest was born from the pork loins or I should say pork belly’s of Michael Griggs, Andre “Vonbaconvitch” Pluess, and Seth Zurer. Three guys with a common goal of bringing the “bacon nation” together for a day of food, fun and comradeship.

    With my periodic table bacon t-shirt on, I had the joy of being inducted into the bacon nation this weekend.  (There is more bacon attire out there than I ever realized.)

    It was like the scene from Charlie and Chocolate Factory when the kids first see all of the candy….except replace candy with bacon.   Table after table of some of the coolest chefs in Chicago offering tasting samples of creative dishes that showcase bacon.(Apparently there was a restaurant who did a Willy Wonka theme at dinner.  Not being at the dinner session, I did not know they did that.  With that said, I apologize if I offended anyone by using a Roald Dahl reference.  I was just painting a picture and was not trying to steal their thunder by writing that description.)

    I was grateful that Baconfest provided me with a map but for a lot of us, it wasn’t necessary.  It was just fun to go to the tables and see (and taste) the chef’s creations.  (There were over 55 things to taste at my lunch session and ANOTHER 55 things to taste at dinner.)

    All my bacon dreams were fulfilled as I tried innovative dishes like “Baconomiyaki”  (Japanese style pizza with bacon, napa cabbage, pickled ginger, scallion, nori and bonito flakes) from Chizakaya, Bacon-Wrapped Peppadew Peppers from Frontier, and the finger licking, Peppered bacon-wrapped pork wing with a bourbon coffee bbq sauce from Flo and Santos.

    And for those REAL fanatics, there was some pork on pork action going on.  Barn & Company’s smoked brisket slider with bacon jam, Bistro Campagne’s roasted pork belly with bacon apricot marmalade and bacon brittle, and The Florentine’s Short rib crostini with bacon jam were all so delicious.

    Another highlight was being able to eat a couple lighter (if you can say that when bacon is involved) options.  Union Sushi + BBQ and Spacca Napoli served a couple of really flavorful salads that weren’t overshadowed by the heartier dishes.

    I loved everything I tried but special shout-outs go to Moderno (bacon cannoli, shaved reggiano, crushed pea powder), N9NE Steakhouse (topless bacon and steak slider), and Red Butter (sweet and spicy balls).

    Props to all of the people who were able to get to all the tables.  My small frame filled up quicker than I imagined.   (I will train next year so I can eat more.)  There were so many dishes I did not get to try and I’m glad that a lot of the chefs will be featuring them on their menu.  (Here is a full list of all of the participants and dishes.)

    The lunch session ended with an entertaining Golden Rasher Awards (the Oscar’s of the bacon world), raffle and check presentation to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  (They received multiple barrels of food donations and a check for $50,000)  It was a touching way to end the event.

    Great job to the “bacon boys” for organizing the event and all of your volunteers.  I hope I can be a part of the “feastivities” next year.

    And a special thank you to all of my new friends in the Bacon Nation.  It was so much fun standing in line with you, hearing your stories, and sharing our mutual love of bacon.  I hope to run into you again.





  4. Baking with Bacon….The Cupcake’s New Best Friend

    December 9, 2011 by Barb

    Cream cheese frosted maple cupcakes with bacon topping foodie recipe

    ‘Tis the season to bake or so that is what I am told but the big problem is that I really don’t enjoy baking.  I may have tried out for Masterchef but I’m no Masterbaker!  (I think that is a late night show on Cinemax.)

    I know my issue with baking is that you can’t really get a feel of how the finished product is going to taste until it is completely cooked.  (You can taste but it is like reading the last page of a novel before you officially start a book.  It may be interesting but it just isn’t right.)  I LOVE to taste my food and baking bursts that bubble of excitement in the kitchen for me.

    I have to stop psyching myself out.  If I keep telling myself that I hate it, I will never be able to put the love in the food, right?  So today I channeled one of my friend’s who loves to bake.  Jen is a wizard with cakes and all that is pastry.  Many people must need her strength.  What else would those WWJD t-shirts imply?  What Would Jen Do?  Right?

    Well, Jen has a goal in 2012 of baking 52 cakes in 52 weeks so she has been posting all sorts of her inspirations.  (No pressure Jen, I know you can do it or else I’ll mock you on the web).  A couple of her cupcakes were based on traditional breakfast foods (French-toast, pancakes, pizza) really caught my eye.  (She didn’t have a pizza cupcake but that would be a challenge!)  But I can’t have breakfast without my favorite breakfast protein…bacon.  WAIT!!  I just got inspired!  Why can’t I make a maple cupcake with caramelized bacon?  No reason at all!!!

    I surfed the web (and my pantry) and was able to mix and match a couple of recipes to come up with a moist and delicious a cream cheese frosted cupcake topped with a wonderful bacon crumble.  I was shocked at how satisfying the combination of the salty/sweet cupcake tasted.  (I confess I ate too many cupcakes in lieu of a real breakfast and am now feeling a bit wonky.)  It is a different flavor “profile” but it is just what the “masterchef” needs to get in the mood to masterbake!!  *My cupcake came out a little more like a muffin than a cupcake.  Looking back I think I “overbeat” it.

    Maple Cupcakes Recipe

    Ingredients for Cupcakes

    2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

    1-tablespoon baking powder

    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temp.

    1 ½ cups pure maple syrup

    3 large eggs, room temp

    1-cup milk

    1-teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
    2. Mix together flour and baking powder.
    3. In a large mixing bowl (or your Kitchenaid mixer), cream butter until smooth.
    4. Add maple syrup slowly and mix.
    5. One at a time, add the eggs until each is fully mixed in.
    6. Add in flour mixture.
    7. Finally, slowly add milk and vanilla bean
    8. Fill lined muffin tins, evenly.  Bake at 350 for about 17 minutes.
    9. Set aside to cool on a rack.

    Cream Cheese Frosting


    8 ounces cream cheese, softened

    1 stick of butter, unsalted and softened

    1 ½ cup sugar

    1 tsp vanilla bean paste


    1. Using a hand held mixer beat cream cheese and butter together.
    2. Slowly add sugar.  Taste as you go along to make sure it isn’t too sweet.
    3. Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
    4. Put in a pastry bag to pipe onto cupcakes.

    Bacon Topping


    ½ tsp cayenne pepper (if you don’t like heat, add less)

    2 TBsp brown sugar

    3 TBsp toasted almonds

    8 slices of center cut bacon, cooked until crisp.


    1. In a small food processor, add all ingredients.
    2. Process until they resemble a crumble not a powder.
    3. Frost cupcakes with the maple frosting and using a small spoon add the bacon topping.
    4. If you are going for a WOW factor, add a small slice of caramelized bacon!


    It was funny, after I stopped talking myself out of it; I really started to enjoy myself.  I had music playing in the kitchen and just took my time and enjoyed the art of baking.  The results were rewarding and I’m grateful that I FINALLY figured out WWJD!


  5. Bacon Vacation

    July 31, 2011 by Barb


    August is almost here and that means one thing to a lot of people….vacation.  Fortunately for me, a lot of my friends consider coming to my house a vacation!  (If you ever have seen my house, you would realize William Shatner couldn’t get them a great deal anywhere better so they had to come here.)

    Our guests this weekend were college friends of my husbands.  Our friend, Michelle, made a comment to me about my love of bacon.  I was shocked that I didn’t hide my love affair.  Was it the 3 Little Piggy Burger I made for dinner?  Or was it the extra bacon we put on the burgers?  Maybe it was the breakfast dish I made that had potatoes sautéed in bacon juice?

    I had always loved bacon but it just wasn’t something I talked about openly.  It seems like bacon is now the “cool” food so I don’t feel so odd talking about how much I adore it.  (Kind of like when I was a teenager and still played with Cabbage Patch Kids.  Wait, that was never cool, was it?)

    Michelle’s husband, Brad, asked if I had ever tried making caramelized bacon.  I replied that I hadn’t but took his question as a challenge.  I had heard of it but I didn’t understand what could possibly make the smoky, salty wonderfulness (this is not a word unless you are talking about bacon) of bacon any better.

    Caramelized Bacon
    • 6 slices of thick cut bacon
    • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
    • 1-2 Tbsp water
    1. Oven 400 degrees.
    2. Place a piece of parchment paper on a large, deep rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
    3. In a small bowl, mix sugar with about one tablespoon of water. You don’t want to make it dissolve, you want slurry.
    4. Take one piece of bacon at a time and put it in the sugar slurry. Make sure the bacon is coated. (When I made it, the bacon strips resembled wallpaper strips. I would pick one up and pull the paste down off of the strip.)
    5. Use your fingers to gently remove the excess sugar and lay flat on your baking sheet.
    6. Repeat with the additional strips of bacon.
    7. Bake for 8 minutes per side. If it isn’t crispy at the end of the 16 minutes, continue to bake but watch it so the sugar doesn’t scorch.
    8. Use tongs and let cool a few minutes on a cooling rack.
    A couple of my faithful readers told me to add some cayenne pepper to add a little heat. I tried it and would say try it both ways!

    This bacon can be eaten alone as a sweet treat, added in contrast to a savory dish or as a dessert topping.  I confess that the process of coating bacon in brown sugar made me skeptical but my taste buds had a different opinion.  I think I have my new favorite treat to serve guest on their “ba”cation!

  6. The 3 Little Piggies Burger

    July 7, 2011 by Barb


    Once upon a time, there were three little chefs who were ready to test their cooking skills in their own restaurant.  Before they went out on their venture, their mother said “Whatever you do, make the most unique burger so everyone keeps coming back because that is the only way you will survive in this economy.”

    The first little chef bought a pre-made pub burger that the store sold because that was the easiest way to serve the customers.

    The second little chef bought ground turkey because he thought people would eat more if they thought the meat was healthier.

    The third little chef decided that a ground pork burger with bacon would make the people sit up and take notice.

    One day, the big bad food critic came into their restaurant.  He was skeptical and wanted these chefs to work for his hard earned money.  He said, “Order in, order in, Little Chef, or I’ll huff and grump and turn a bad review in.”

    The little chef said, “Taste my burger it is the best of my kin.”

    The critic took one bite and threw it at the little chef and knocked him out cold with his pre-made patty.

    Next the critic decided to try the turkey burger.  He said, “Order in, order in, Little Chef, or I’ll huff and grump and turn a bad review in.”

    The next little chef said, “Taste my burger it is the best of my kin.”

    The critic took one bite and nearly choked because it was so dry.  He whipped it at the little chef who ducked out of the way.  The burger was so dry that it shattered against the wall and its shrapnel killed the second little chef.

    Finally, the critic was ready to try the burger from the third little chef.

    He said, “Order in, order in, Little Chef, or I’ll huff and grump and turn a bad review in.”

    The next little chef said, “Taste my burger it is the best of my kin.”

    The critic took a bite and the third little chef stood there shaking as he watched the critic eat.  The critic slowly smiled as he ate the last bite of his burger.  He finally said, “Little Chef, the challenge you met and so a great review your restaurant will get.”

    The little chef smiled and shook the man’s hand and lived happily ever after with his “3 Little Piggies” burger in high demand.

    The 3 Little Piggies Burger
    Recipe type: Main
    • 8 slices of bacon (4 raw, 4 cooked) (I use center cut bacon)
    • 1 tsp. of fresh garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp fresh sage
    • 1-pound ground pork
    • Salt & pepper
    1. On your cutting board, chopped the raw bacon until is minced very small.
    2. Combine raw bacon, garlic, sage, ground pork, salt and pepper.
    3. Divide mixture into fourths and make burger patties.
    4. On a preheated grill (medium-high), grill about 5 minutes with grill cover closed.
    5. Flip the burger, lower the heat to medium and cook another 6 minutes. This is pork so it needs to be 160 degrees in the center. If you poke it in the center, it should be firm not mushy.
    6. Serve on your favorite bun with toppings of coleslaw and an additional slice of your cooked bacon.

    I hope you enjoyed my story and try the recipe.  The moral of the story is when making your burgers take the time to think outside of the box.  You never know when a food critic will taste your food!