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Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
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Bacon Rice Bake


By Kathy Little

Fri, Feb 14th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

Move over Arnold S., “The Baconator” has replaced “The Terminator” in American pop culture! The pulse of the nation is on bacon, and it’s not just for breakfast anymore. Bacon frying is one of my favorite smells.....right up there with bread baking, coffee brewing, and gasoline pumping into my car. It sounds odd, but I really do love the smell of gasoline. I hung around service stations a lot in my youth. My husband says this explains many things.

But, back to bacon. Bacon and eggs and BLT’s used to be the norm. Now bacon is not just for breakfast anymore. It is the not-so-secret ingredient in everything from appetizers to burgers to side salads to veggie casseroles and even desserts. Bacon freaks post their recipes on the internet food sites- recipes for bacon waffles, bacon brownies and doughnuts, bacon maple cream bars, and even bacon ice cream. Some recommend pouring bacon grease on popcorn instead of butter. They fashion bacon into bowls to hold salad. Chicken fried bacon in batter and chocolate covered bacon get rave reviews. Burger King even featured a bacon sundae recently!

Gourmet cooks expound that home cooks can get more “bang for their buck” with the addition of bacon to any green vegetable to make the flavor pop. Of course, they also like squash and carrots with lots of brown sugar and butter. My how this must rile the “Food Police”. The Food Police have waged war on transfats and are now scrutinizing sugar and salt. Perhaps in the future, bacon will be banned (over my dead body and the bodies of all the hog farmers).

Yes, I have eaten turkey bacon and brats for the past two years. I considered them a healthy alternative until I checked the sodium content. Fake bacon tasted fine until I ate real bacon again (just once) and promptly fell off the wagon. The trick to eating “diet foods” is to never again eat the real stuff. Eventually, you forget what you are missing. Reprogramming involves denying the delicious taste of the original by programming your brain and mouth that the low-cal, no sugar, no fat, no salt substitute is fantastic. Then never relapse. They say “the devil is in the details”; I say it is in the sizzle of hot fat. Satan, get thee away from my frying pan!

Maybe butter and bacon will be taxed or banned in the future. Think how well that worked with prohibition!

Talking about taxes, have you noticed the price of bacon lately? I’m starting to realize why my thrifty grandmother and others of her generation saved bacon grease. There were even commercially produced containers for this called “grease or dripping jars”. My husband, who calls me “the clutter queen”, actually collects these jars along with their matching salt and pepper shakers. Salt shakers and sugar bowls might soon go the way of dripping jars and ashtrays!

The allure of sweet and salty probably accounts for the love of pancakes and maple syrup and bacon, brown sugared bacon and even beans with bacon. I calm my conscience by eating low-sodium bacon and using bacon with vegetables. I think of bacon as a spice. A little goes a long way. I also bought a bacon scented candle. It came with a warning that it was not edible.



Bacon Rice Bake



2 C uncooked white, brown or wild rice

2 small green peppers, chopped

l large onion chopped

2 T butter

8 oz. fresh button mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp. salt

4-6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled.



In a large saucepan, cook rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a skillet, sauté green peppers. onion and mushrooms. Add salt. Stir into the cooked rice and add bacon. Transfer to a greased 13x9 inch pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 5-l0 minutes more until heated through. Serves 12-14. This could be served alone or as a side dish with Cornish game hen or roast chicken.

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