In my 20s I was vegetarian for nearly a year but a bacon sandwich, passed to me on a long distance walk through the night, was my downfall. I love bacon but I know a lot of it is not good for us as it has a lot of cholesterol in it, and it is a processed meat which have been shown to increase the risk of cancer. It is also expensive. Four or five times a year I will buy the packs of bacon mis-shapes to satisfy that bacon taste. I know that they are not the best quality bacon but they are cheap, versatile and can make a lot of meals for little money.
I buy mine from B&M or Poundland, but you can buy them everywhere. They are £1.29 at B&M where I picked one up recently , (one pictured), but are often quite lean and have a variety of thicknesses in them which makes them useful for different recipes. I search through the shelf for the best one and don’t buy them unless I see lean ones. For me half the fun is not knowing how many thick or thin slices I am going to get, and adapting my meals and recipes to what I find. I always take some on holiday so that we can enjoy a bacon sandwich which is why I bought a pack last week.
Bacon freezes well for about 3 months and so I tend to split my pack and freeze some and keep some in the fridge. Here are some of the things we use it for. I will often get 6 to 8 meals from one of these big packs and use it for main meals, lunches and breakfasts. Sometimes it is the main ingredient but at other times it just adds flavour.
1. I add a few bits to bubble and squeak to use up left over mash and cabbage. Also using the residue bacon fat to cook these in adds taste.
2. Pigs in blankets. I only make these at Christmas now but my kids loved the bacon wrapped around the sausage when they were younger.
3. Adding a few bits of cut up thicker bits to a pizza topping with pineapple.
4. I use the cut up thicker bits in pasta with a white or cheese sauce.
5. Bacon sandwiches with brown sauce.
6. In mac and cheese to make it feel more luxurious.
7. In a quiche.
8. With beans and cheese on a baked potato
9. BLT sandwich
10. Chicken and bacon wraps with salad (in a flour tortilla)
11. Egg and bacon wraps for breakfast (you only need a little bit of bacon).
12. Bacon and cheese wrap (like Mcdonalds). We crisp them up in the air fryer.
13. Egg and bacon pie
14. Elvis sandwich which is bacon, banana and peanut butter on white bread (Mr S loves Elvis but hates bananas and so won’t even try these). An American friend introduced me to these.
15.Bacon and beans with mash (I add chopped onion, a bit of tomato sauce, a bit of the chopped thicker bacon and a bit of paprika to half a tin of baked beans for the two of us.)
16.Roasted with vegetables in the oven (the taste seeps into the veg and I use the bits with more fat on.)
17. Bacon pancakes (cook the pancake in a pan tinged with the bacon grease, and scatter cooked bacon in the batter. Sometimes I will put some bacon in a carbonara sauce and put inside pancakes and then crisp them up in the air fryer like those frozen ones you could buy in the 70s.
18. Chicken wrapped in bacon and baked (nice stuffed with cheese too)
19. Bacon wrapped around cubes of white fish on a skewer
20. Bacon wrapped around asparagus (good for streaky bits)
21. Cooked and baked in bread.
22. Cooked with sprouts
23. Bacon, cheese and apple toastie.
24. I add some chopped, cooked gammon bits, or some crispy thinner bits to salad.
25. Add crispy bits to cheese scone
26. Added to minestrone soup
27. To pad out chicken in a pie
28. Use in a bolognaise with lentils instead of mince
29. Eat as gammon with pineapple or egg
Some people use bacon in sweet dishes eg chocolate and bacon bark or chocolate and bacon brownies but I have never tried it. The thing I have have found is that if you can only afford a few ingredients it does not mean that food has to be boring. There are always lots of ways to add variety to your food. How do you like to use bacon?