Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Paleo Bacon Madness

As I've mentioned before, I don't subscribe to any specific diet or style of eating, but I do like to steal borrow recipes and ideas from them as part of my own personal eating style. I figure certain eating styles must work well for people, otherwise they wouldn't be so popular. And although I won't commit wholy to any one "diet" or "lifestyle" (I refuse to completely cut out an entire group of food or carbs, etc.), I often find myself searching and making recipes by those who do. This usually includes the vegan lifestyle (some days I eat an entire vegan menu without even meaning to) and the Paleo diet/lifestyle. Today, I ended up making two Paleo recipes that both included BACON for dinner and dessert. And since I was too busy to post a Monday Meal Plan (shocking), I decided to share some of what I ate today with you, and I actually took pictures!

A friend of mine who is currently eating Paleo sent me a recipe a while back that sounded fantastic, and this week I finally remembered to buy all of the ingredients I needed to make it. The recipe comes from the PaleOMG blog and the original can be found here. I modified it a little, like I usually do. My friend made her version with turkey bacon, but I knew the hubs would never go for that. So I chose to use real bacon. Now, unlike my husband and most of America, I'm not a huge fan of bacon. I mean, it's okay, and I eat it on occasion. But I could really take it or leave it. I have to tell you though, the recipes I made tonight were so good, they might just have put bacon on the map for me.

So here are the details on dinner:

See that? It's roasted spaghetti squash. And it's delicious! I love using spaghetti squash in recipes that call for pasta. Although I usually replace about half of the pasta with squash, since this recipe is Paleo, that meant NO PASTA. But in this recipe, I didn't really miss it. Okay, so the first thing I did was cut the spaghetti squash in half and roast it, cut sides down on a cookie sheet, in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes. The original recipe said to roast for 20-25 minutes for a medium spaghetti squash, but my guy was pretty big. While the squash was roasting, I prepared the rest of the recipe:

That pretty package of bacon pictured at the top of this post got cut up into 1/2 inch pieces. The original recipe calls for a full pound of bacon, but I reserved three slices from the package for my dessert recipe. The original recipe also calls for uncured bacon, but I had regular bacon and used that. (Not sure if that makes my version of the recipe non-Paleo). I cooked the sliced bacon in a pan over medium heat. This recipe makes a crap ton of food, so you will want to use a large pan. I used a wok.

Once the bacon was cooked crispy, I removed it from the pan using a slotted spoon, and set it aside in a bowl. The original recipe states to then remove half of the bacon grease, and leave the rest in the pan. I dumped out about two-thirds of the bacon fat.

I threw three cloves garlic minced, and half of a yellow onion diced into the pan with the bacon fat, and cooked those until the onion turned translucent. (If you have any doubts about this recipe, the smell of garlic and onion cooking in bacon fat will clear those right up for you). Then I added a small jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained. The original recipe says to cut the artichokes into halves or quarters, but I cut them into thirds because I'm a rebel like that. I then added half a pound of chicken, diced (no picture on the chicken, sorry). The original recipe calls for a half pound of chicken tenders cooked into the recipe. I used about six ounces of the precooked stuff. I know, I know, GASP! Look, I don't always have a ton of time, and precooked chicken is okay in my book. If you buy it from a store like Trader Joe's or Sprouts, you end up with a little more sodium than if you cooked it yourself, and that's about it. Moving on...

Spaghetti squash was done and had cooled enough for me to handle. I scooped out the flesh of one half of the squash and threw that in the pan. This came out to about four cups of squash. Since my squash was so large, I decided to reserve the other half for lunch tomorrow. Then I added the cooked bacon back in and mixed it all up. Last, I turned the heat down to low, added about five cups of spinach, and cooked that until it started to wilt. This is the end result:

Nom, nom, nom, nom!!!
Not sure that the picture does this recipe justice, but like I said, it made a crap ton of food! FYI: I'm pretty sure I coined the term crap ton, just sayin'. Also, you can see a glimpse of my awesome new kitchen in the picture above. Swoon.

If you divide this recipe into six servings, each serving clocks in at 305 calories, 14 grams fat (4 saturated), 14 grams carbs, and 32 grams protein. I really liked this recipe. I added just a tiny bit of Spike seasoning and black pepper to my portion. The hubs liked it too, but thought it might be even better with some acidity, like some lemon juice or a tomato sauce. So I have some good ideas for next time...

Now let's get to the good stuff: dessert. I stumbled upon this recipe while bouncing around on some recipe blogs and it was so simple, I just had to make it. Four ingredients, all of which I already had? Sold.  The recipe comes from another Paleo recipe blog, http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/, and can be found here. I only made slight changes to this one because it was so simple. Here are the ingredients and measurements I used:

3 medium bananas
3 slices bacon cooked crispy (the original recipe calls for 4 slices)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
5 tablespoons almond butter (the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup)

The recipe also calls for a specific brand of chocolate chips, Enjoy Life. They are gluten free, grain free, soy free, nut free, dairy free, etc. They sound awesome, but I didn't have 'em. So I used regular old store brand semi-sweet chocolate chips. (Pretty sure this time that this definitely disqualifies my version of the recipe as Paleo). Anyway...

Slice the bacon into thirds (I did this before I cooked them). Slice the bananas into thirds, then slice the thirds in half. Spread each banana half with almond butter (about 1/2 tbsp for each pair), and place a slice of bacon in the middle. You should now have nine little banana almond butter bacon sandwiches. Place them on parchment paper and stick them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Melt the chocolate chips over low heat. You can do this in a double broiler, but I did it in a small sauce pan. Just watch it, stir it, and remove it from the burner when the mixture is slightly lumpy. The remaining lumps will melt, but if you leave it on the burner until they do, the mixture will burn. Dip each frozen banana sandwich into the melted chocolate, and place them back on the parchment paper like so:

The bacon kind of looks like little tongues sticking out. Martha Stewart I am not.
The amount of chocolate is just enough to cover about half of each sandwich. Which was fine with me, because they are a little less messy to hold on the non-chocolate end. After you dip them, freeze them again until you are ready to eat, which for me was about five minutes. Here they are again:

And look, you can see apples and pears behind them. See, it's not all bacon at my house. These little babies clock in at 183 calories, 11 grams of fat (4 saturated), 23 grams carbs, and 3 grams protein per sandwich. And they are fantastic. The combination of textures and flavors in these is amazing. They are so good,  I didn't even mind eating a frozen treat while it's still so damn cold out.

So there you go, bacon and Paleo (sort of) dinner and dessert. And I still ate slightly less than my calorie goal today. And we have leftovers for tomorrow. Score!

What's your favorite bacon recipe?


  1. Favorite bacon recipe? I actually prefer bacon in stuff. Like potato salad, bacon stuffing pork chops.

    That recipe looks yummy! I'm pinning it!

    Now, did you make enough for Travis? Or is that just for you and Abby?

  2. Bacon stuffed pork chops sound yummy! Believe me, these recipes make so much food, I had leftovers for three days! Plenty for all :)