CARTHAGE, Mo. —
I've said many times that my dad considered bacon its own food group, and I couldn't argue with him. We fried up regular bacon last Christmas morning, but I usually keep precooked bacon in the fridge because it's just so darn fast and easy to fix in the microwave.
It takes longer to toast the bread for a BLT than it does to fix the bacon.
But, what if you get out the skillet and fry up a batch of bacon? Does it always turn out as planned? Yahoofood.com offers some helpful tips for getting that perfect yummy strip.
Probably the best tip is to cook bacon in the oven instead of on top of the stove. Place a single layer of bacon on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. You won't have any complaints.
If your skillet bacon is burnt, start with room temperature bacon and fry it slow and steady over medium heat. If it's limp and floppy, you are probably overcrowding the bacon in the pan; give it some space. Soggy bacon? It isn't being cooked long enough. There's a fine line between done and burnt, so keep a watchful eye. Also, when you drain the bacon, drain it on a wire rack and put the paper towels under the rack instead of placing the bacon on the paper. This will improve the crisp factor. How to avoid little pieces of bacon? Choose the thick-cut pieces for a more substantial end result. I hope these tips help you produce perfect bacon slices for a serving of that other food group.
The newest copy of Food Network Magazine mentioned an item that I have to tell you about. It's a container with a lockable lid designed to keep you from over-snacking. Once filled with cookies or candy, close the lid and set the timer, and the container stays sealed for up to 10 days. Plus, there's no override option. I wonder if it's unbreakable, because I could see it getting tossed against a cabinet or two. At $40, it might be nice to own. Then you can set the timer for a special treat countdown, especially if your willpower is nonexistent like mine.
My daughter, Sarah, has a new favorite store on the south side of the Carthage Square: The Screen Door. I have to agree with her. It is full of wonderful antiques and vintage miscellany. The store now has one less butter dish because it's sitting pretty on my buffet. But perhaps the best part about our visit to this cute store was meeting Nola Williams, of Neosho. Nola recognized me and was so kind to share how she has read this column for years. I introduced her to Sarah, and she told me she already knows Sarah and her son, Atlas. Nola has endured considerable loss over the past year but has a zest for life that we would all be lucky to have. She was adorable, and she's on my list to look up and take out to lunch next time I'm in Neosho. Nola, you made my day!
Looking for a way to add a little zing to those fresh vegetables? Try the cottage cheese dip from "Cooking Light." You will want to make sure the veggies are big enough to scoop up a bunch of this dip. The tilapia recipe from allrecipes.com is a delicious way to prepare this popular fish. Be sure not to overcook it. The lemon dessert also comes from allrecipes.com. It's delicious with its graham cracker crust. For a more tart taste, add a little lemon juice to the lemon filling.
Come see Greg Brady at the Joplin Business Expo today and happy eating!
Tangy cottage cheese dip
1 (12-ounce) carton low-fat cottage cheese
1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried whole dill weed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 drops Worcestershire sauce
Combine all ingredient in blender; process until smooth. Chill. Serve with assorted vegetables. Yields 13/4 cups.
Broiled tilapia Parmesan
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
2 pounds tilapia fillets
In a small bowl, mix together first four ingredients. Season with remaining spices. Mix well and set aside. Arrange fillets in a single layer on a greased or foil-lined broiling pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for 2 more minutes. Remove from oven and cover with cheese mixture over top. Broil 2 minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Yields 4 servings.
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 (3.4-ounce) packages instant lemon pudding mix
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 graham cracker pie crust
In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and well-blended. Spread evenly over the crust. In another bowl, whisk the pudding mix and milk together for 3 to 5 minutes. Spread over the cream cheese layer. Chill until set, then top with whipped topping. Yields 12 servings.
Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.