what’s bakin’ bacon?

Everyone loves bacon. Even vegetarians love bacon — they just don’t want to admit it. There are websites devoted entirely to bacon. Bacon ice cream. Bacon liquor. Even bacon gum balls. I get it: Bacon is awesome. You what’s not awesome? Cooking bacon.

At least that’s how I felt before I discovered the wonder of baking bacon. (Say that five times fast; you end up sounding like that dog in the Beggin’ Strips commercial.) I’ve openly admitted how much of a baby I am whilst frying bacon in a pan. Being lured in by a seemingly stable slice only to have hot grease splatter up at me. And the popping! The crackling! The short sting from a grease splatter doesn’t even hurt that much, but I’m a jumpy person and the overall experience is just too much stress for me to handle. (I realize how sad this all is — don’t worry.)

Even if you’re not afraid of frying bacon, it’s still an irksome process. The bacon rarely cooks evenly; it’s always curling up and leaving half the piece inedible. It’s messy, you have to continuously drain the grease and it takes forever. Baking bacon is simple, effective and a breeze to clean up. You don’t lose out on taste, either!

Do not preheat the oven. Line an old baking sheet with tinfoil. Place bacon slices on the foil, put sheet on the center rack of the oven, close the door and turn the oven on to 200 degrees. Bake for 15-17 minutes, checking in the later minutes to make sure nothing’s burning. Remove from oven and immediately transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to cool and crisp. If you like your bacon sweet, sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar on slices before baking.

Now that you’ve got bountiful bacon, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding something to do with it, but here’s a recipe for a tasty spinach bacon wrap you can have as an easy weeknight dinner or save for lunch.

♦1/4 red onion, chopped (can omit or cook if you don’t like them raw)
1 tbs. low-fat cream cheese
1/2 tbs. jalapeno, chopped (seeds removed)
2 handfuls of baby spinach
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Sprinkle of shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
♦Drizzle of honey (optional; I do this with just about everything)

Flour tortillas

Toast tortilla very lightly (so it’s still pliable). Smooth cream cheese all over, add red onion, jalapeno, bacon, spinach and cheese. Drizzle with some honey if you are so inclined. Roll. Repeat if hungry.

Total time? 5 minutes, sans bacon baking, bacon baking, baking bacon, baking bacon…
Cost? $1.25 tortillas, $1 red onion, ¢50 jalapeno, $1 cream cheese, $3 bacon (obviously enough for 10+ wraps)
Overall success relative to expectations? 7 out of 10. This wrap was easy to make and kept well as leftovers. The bacon was fantastically crispy. The jalapeno was present, but the cream cheese kept it under control and added a nice creaminess. I’d like to add some grilled chicken next time for a more substantial meal, but overall, it was pretty satisfying.


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