Weeknight Cooking

1 Slab of Bacon, 5 Dinners

May 19, 2014

Put time into dinner now, and you can make it last forever -- or at least the whole week. Welcome to Halfway to Dinner, where we show you how to stretch your staples every which way.

Today: Food52's Managing Editor Brette Warshaw shows you the best ways to work bacon into your dinners -- all week long.

Bacon from Food52

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One large quantity of bacon, five dinners: sounds way too easy, you're thinking. Because yes, eggs and bacon and toast is one of life's greatest dinners, and that's dinner number one. Dinner number two: Eating those crimped little strips straight from the pan with your fingers, while standing in your kitchen in a fluffy pair of slippers, with a drink in hand and without pants on.

But what's so beautiful about bacon -- other than the obvious -- is its ability to flavor things: to infuse and season a whole pot with smoky, piggy goodness. And so while eating plates of bacon for dinner all week might not be so great for you, using bacon's heft to carry a week's worth of meals -- a strip or two, here and there -- can add a depth and intensity to your weeknight meals that's hard to find otherwise.

Here's how to use bacon in your dinners, all week long -- and to come out feeling good

Radicchio and shrimp salad from Food52

Roasted Radicchio and Shrimp with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
This salad's got everything in the entire world going for it: the bitterness of the radicchio, pleasantly lean shrimp, the sweet balsamic and maple syrup, and, of course, the bacon. Roast your radicchio and shrimp, make a stovetop vinaigrette with the bacon, maple syrup, and tomatoes, and toss it all together.

Bacon & Egg Ramen from Food52

Bacon & Egg Ramen
Okay yes, this is totally a cheater's ramen -- no simmering or roasting of bones here -- but it's pretty damn good for a weeknight. Infuse chicken broth with garlic, bacon, ginger, and lemongrass; boil some ramen noodes; season with soy and black vinegar; and garnish with bacon and an egg. It's breakfast for dinner in a whole new way.

Risotto from Food52

Shrimp and Grits Style Risotto
This might just be the perfect bowl of food: spicy, acidic, rich, carby, and smoky, thanks to just a few slices of bacon. Marinate your shrimp, then cook them in a tomato-wine mixture. Take the shrimp out, and add stock, then cook your risotto with that tomato-wine-stock. Add your shrimp and bacon back in at the end. 

Bacon and Egg Salad Sandwich from Food52

Bacon and Egg Salad Sandwich with Dukkah and Peppery Greens
A week of bacon dinners wouldn't be complete without an egg sandwich. Here, you make egg salad with dukkah, which gives it a deep, toasty quality, a je ne sais quoi. With the peppery greens and the rich, salty bacon, it's one awesome incarnation of that bacon-egg duo.

Chickpea Bolognese from Food52

Chickpea Bolognese
Instead of making rich, meaty bolognese -- which is tough to pull off on a random evening -- use just a few slices of bacon to flavor a sauce of chickpeas, carrots, celery, onion, wine, and tomato. It feels lightened up in the best possible way, putting the heft of bacon to good use.

What are your favorite ways to use bacon? Let us know in the comments!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Brette Warshaw

Written by: Brette Warshaw

I'm a reader, eater, culinary thrill-seeker, and food nerd.


ARDATH July 27, 2014
I fry bacon crisp in large skillet. Pour off all but one T grease. Drain bacon on paper towels thoroughly. Cook white rice in separate pan. With remaining bacon grease in pan, saute diced onion, then add shredded cabbage (I prefer green). As soon as it is cooked, add rice and crumbled bacon. Serve hot.
cucina D. May 20, 2014
I love to cook with bacon, guanciale and pancetta. I roast bacon in batches and store in the refrigerator to add to vegetable dishes for base flavor or a crispy topping for salads and risottos. I use small amounts as the flavor goes a long way :)
aargersi May 19, 2014
Um, Brett - do you EVER wear pants in your kitchen? Ha! Pants and the wearing thereof are overrated.

we put bacon in everything - try it in your next PB&J