07Mar

Recent newspaper columns

Try traditional favorites with ground turkey, published the week of February 25, 2013

Little bacon bits bring big flavor, published the week of February 18, 2013

18Feb

Little bacon bits bring big flavor

While bacon bits may have a permanent home on salad bars everywhere, their use doesn’t stop there. They are a tasty addition to everything from scrambled eggs to spinach to pizza.

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Cheddar Ranch Dip

1 16-ounce container sour cream
1 1-ounce package dry Ranch-style dressing mix
1 3-ounce can bacon bits
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the sour cream and ranch-style dressing mix. Mix in the bacon bits and Cheddar cheese. Chill in the refrigerator until flavors blend, at least 20 minutes. Makes 24 servings.

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Potato Skins

6 potatoes
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons bacon bits
1 16-ounce container sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. Pierce potatoes with a fork. Microwave the potatoes on high until they are soft; approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Cut the potatoes in half vertically. Scoop the inside out of the potatoes, until 1/4 inch of the potato shell remains. Arrange shells in the prepared baking pan. Bake until crispy, about 45 minutes. Fill the shells with cheese and bacon bits; bake until cheese melts, about 5 additional minutes. Serve hot with sour cream. Makes 6 servings.

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Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 4.3-ounce package real bacon bits
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs, or as needed
4 ounces sliced processed cheese food, such as Velveeta
2 tablespoons barbeque sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 5×9-inch loaf pan. Mix ground beef, 1/2 cup barbeque sauce, milk, egg, bacon bits, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper in a bowl; stir in bread crumbs to desired consistency. Place half the ground beef mixture into the prepared loaf pan and press an indentation into the meat mixture, leaving a 1-inch rim of meat all around the indentation. Fill the indentation with processed cheese and top with remaining meat mixture. Press lightly to seal. Brush 2 tablespoons barbeque sauce over the meatloaf. Bake until juices run clear and a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 160 degrees, about 60 to 80 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

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Pantry Pointers

To make your own bacon bits, partially freeze bacon to make it easier to slice. Cut it into 1/4-inch squares and fry over medium-high heat until done. Store leftovers in the freezer.