In the past month I’ve gotten four requests on my blog, cuisinebyeileen.wordpress.com, for recipes that utilize bacon.
While I do my best to accommodate my readers’ requests, for a variety of reasons I don’t eat bacon. I typically suggest to these readers that they try alternatives to traditional bacon, or that they modify the recipes utilizing a fake bacon as an alternative ingredient. The stuff that looks like and almost taste like the real stuff is a healthier and tasty choice.
Don’t wait for the doctor to tell you it’s time to change your diet, try the following recipes using turkey bacon, turkey pastrami and the Morning Star Farm’s non-meat equivalent. While the taste may not be exactly the same, you’ll be around a whole lot longer to complain about it.
I do not recommend using any of the in-the-jar bacon bits for any of the following recipes.
Savory Pepper Poppers
12 large sweet, long red peppers, whole (you can use jalapeno peppers if you prefer)
8 to 12 ounces low-fat cream cheese
6 to 8 green onions sliced thin
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained well and chopped
12 slices of turkey bacon or the Morning Star Farm fake bacon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray foil lined jelly roll pan with vegetable non-stick spray. Slice the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membrane. Dry and place on the cookie sheet. Place the cream cheese, green onion and water chestnuts in a bowl. Mix to combine. Divide cheese between the pepper halves. Split the turkey bacon slices into half lengthwise. Wrap the pieces around the stuffed pepper, ensuring the ends are on the bottom. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until turkey bacon is crispy. Makes 24.
Zucchini and Bacon Turkey Breast
1 3- to 4-pound boneless turkey breast (remove the skin)
2 thinly sliced zucchini
8 to 10 slices turkey pastrami or turkey bacon
1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly season the turkey with the onion powder, paprika and garlic powder. Place the zucchini slices on top of the turkey breast. Place the turkey pastrami on top of the zucchini and secure it in place with toothpicks. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Place the turkey breast on a cooking rack and bake for 45 minutes to one hour or until meat thermometer reads at 165 degrees. Let cool for about 6 or 7 minutes before you try to slice it. Great with wild rice. Serves 4.
Pasta with Spinach and Bacon
1 (12-ounce) package penne or rotini pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 slices turkey bacon or turkey pastrami, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with the juice
4 cups fresh spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Add the turkey bacon, red pepper and onion. Cook until the turkey bacon is crispy. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook, stirring until hot throughout.
Place the spinach into a colander, and drain the cooked pasta over it (this is so the spinach will be wilted). Put the wilted spinach in a serving bowl and add the pasta and remaining olive oil. Toss to coat and add the turkey bacon or pastrami, tomato mixture, oregano and basil. Mix to combine and serve with Parmesan. Serves 6.