Apr 242015
 
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Homemade Bacon Bits

This is a country-style breakfast dish that puts the emphasis on country. If you prefer to prepare a dish that’s a bit leaner and healthier, then scroll down for the light version made with turkey bacon. I usually serve fried potatoes with scrambled eggs and reconstituted orange juice. This meal sticks to the ribs and will keep someone going until dinner time. It’s hearty and delicious.

Bacon ends and pieces are available in some markets. They’re usually sold in 3-pound boxes, and can be found in the regular bacon aisle of your supermarket. The bacon in these boxes is not all uniformly sliced in even thicknesses. Some of it is cut thicker and some is cut thinner. There are chunks of fat without any lean and chunks of lean without any fat. Since some pieces are thick, it’s better to cut it with a knife on a chopping board, than to use kitchen shears. It tastes just like regular pork bacon and used to be a common article in frugal country kitchens. My family really loved bacon ends and pieces. I don’t indulge the very often these days, and they have learned to make do with turkey bacon. Still, if your family prefers pork bacon, seek out bacon ends and pieces at your local markets and give it a try. You’ll be delighted with how affordable and versatile it is.

Country Fried Potatoes & Bacon

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces or 1/2-pound bacon, ends and pieces are fine
  • 2-pounds raw potatoes about 6 medium sized
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

We usually eat these for breakfast. You need an extra-large skillet to prepare this dish, or use two regular skillets, or even a spaghetti pot. A deep 12-inch iron skillet works perfectly.

First use scissors to cut the bacon into narrow pieces, an inch wide or smaller. I do this by cutting the package of bacon in half first. Then, holding the whole big hunk of bacon over the skillet, I use the scissors to cut the bacon into narrow pieces. While the bacon fries it’s an easy matter to separate it into small bits. This method makes a lot of little bacon bits which I find easier to fry than slices of bacon. Cook the bacon over medium-high heat until it’s brown and crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate or bowl and set it aside, preferably covered with a napkin so no one is tempted to nibble on it as they wander through the kitchen to see what smells so good. Be sure to leave all of the good bacon fat in the pan.

While the bacon cooks prepare the potatoes and onion. Wash the potatoes but don’t bother to peel them. The peel tastes good and provides extra vitamins. Cut the top and bottom off of the onion. Remove the outer papery skin. Slice both the potatoes and onion very thin. I use a gadget called a mandolin and get them paper thin. If you prefer to use the slicing attachment on your food processor or even if a knife is all you’ve got then just go to it and get them cut. When preparing smaller amounts I usually use a knife simply for convenience sake.

After the bacon is removed from the pan and the veggies are sliced it’s time to add the veggies to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Allow the potatoes and onion to cook briefly and then turn them with a spatula. Do this until the potatoes are well coated with the bacon grease. Now add 1/4 to 1/2-cup water to the pan and place a lid on top. Allow the potatoes to simmer and steam for 10-minutes. This will get them tender and well cooked. If you have somewhat thick slices then you  may need to steam them a little longer, perhaps 15-minutes. Turn the potatoes a couple of times while they simmer so they don’t burn on the bottom.

When the potatoes are tender remove the lid. Sprinkle in the bacon bits and gently stir the potatoes until the bacon is evenly distributed. Allow the potatoes to cook until the water evaporates and the bottom is nicely browned and crispy. Ideally you’ll be able to cut the potatoes into four pretty wedges and place one on each plate. In reality, I usually end up spooning it out in uneven chunks. This is not exactly the most attractive breakfast in creation, but it is certainly tasty enough to make it’s homely appearance easy to overlook.

If you need to stretch this to serve six hungry people then divide the potatoes into 6 portions and top each with a fried egg. Serve with sliced or stewed tomatoes or salsa on the side.

Makes 4 hearty servings.

Per Serving: 517 Calories; 28g Fat (49.0% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 44g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 48mg Cholesterol; 1452mg Sodium.

Exchanges: 2-1/2 Grain(Starch); 2-1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 4 Fat.


 

Light Version

I make this recipe the way it’s written above because I’m feeding starving teenagers who are well within normal weight limits. When I make it just for Fred and I, who are both a bit thick in the middle, I lighten it with the following changes:

Replace the bacon with 6-ounces of turkey bacon, cut into bits. Fry the bacon in a nonstick skillet or well seasoned iron skillet coated with nonstick spray. When the bacon is somewhat crispy set it aside.

Prepare the potatoes as directed. You really need a good skillet for this part because the potatoes will stick something terrible if you aren’t careful.
Proceed as directed in the original recipe.

Serve with scrambled egg whites and orange wedges for a healthy breakfast.

Assume 6 servings.

Per Serving: 196 Calories; 6g Fat (25.6% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 29g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 25mg Cholesterol; 738mg Sodium.

Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat.

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