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How to Cook Bacon Perfectly Like a Chef

How to Cook Bacon Perfectly Like a Chef

Everyone loves bacon, but few of us know how to cook it properly. Read on to learn some very valuable tips for preparing this delicious meat

    1. Cooking in the Microwave

    Sometimes we do not have 20 minutes to cook our bacon and we need to do it quickly. There are all kinds of bacon racks out there these days for your microwave, and most of them use a runoff system to drain away the extra grease when you are cooking.

    However, you do not need this for really good microwave bacon: place three paper towel layers on a plate and lay your strips side by side. Cover this with another paper towel. To cook it, one minute per slice is usually the way to go, but every microwave is different, so watch the bacon as it cooks to ensure you do not overdo it.

    2. Cooking in the Skillet

    Most people like to fry bacon in a skillet in its own grease. There’s nothing wrong with tradition, but you are going to want to follow a few guidelines:

    • Choose a large, flat skillet and lay out the strips so they don’t overlap, as this will leave parts of the bacon uncooked, and we don’t want that!
    • Cooking only 1-2 strips will cause problems because there won’t be enough grease generated to prevent burning.
    • Do not—do NOT—throw cold bacon onto a hot skillet. You should set your bacon out on the counter for a few minutes before you cook it, which will allow the fat to loosen up and go back to its more natural, softer state. When you are ready to start cooking, put the bacon in a room temperature pan and put in on medium heat. This will allow your bacon to slowly absorb the heat and cook evenly; this is the best way to avoid scorching and burning bacon.
    • Don’t flip too much. You do not need to do this more than one time. If you are cooking on medium heat, expect to flip your bacon after 10 minutes, but every stove is different so keep a close eye on it.

    3. Oven Style Bacon

    If you ever wondered how restaurants are able to serve such perfect bacon, you need wonder no more: most restaurants have to cook large quantities of bacon, so they bake it.

    To do so in your kitchen, preheat the oven to 350. Lay your slices out on a cookie sheet without overlapping them, and then place them in the oven. The entire cooking process should take about 15 minutes, but of course, cooking bacon is art, not science, so it would be to your benefit to keep an eye on it.

    Many bacon lovers think that cooking bacon in the oven is the best way to go—you will get very crispy, flat bacon that you will never forget!

    4. Vermont Style Bacon 

    Frying bacon is great, but there are several ways that you can spice it up, and one way to do so is to add maple syrup to the mix. Marinating bacon in syrup might seem strange; we do not normally marinate bacon before we cook it, but let me tell you, it will give your bacon a delicious twist that you will want to try again.

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    To do this, you just need to put several slices into a bowl and douse them with your favorite maple syrup. We recommend that you use thinner types of syrup because this will make less of a mess when you are cooking.

    Be sure that the syrup covers all sides of the bacon slices, and then put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let it all soak in. Then you fry up the bacon in your skillet the regular way. Delicious!

    5. Boiling

    Ever thought of boiling your bacon? Doesn’t quite sound right, does it? But boiling your rashers eliminates fat splattering and keeps the bacon moist.

    Add your rashers to a cold frying pan or skillet making and add water making sure you’ve covered the pieces of bacon. Turn the temperature up high to get the water reaching boiling point. All you need to do it allow the water to completely boil off and once it has, turn the temperature down to a low/medium heat.

    This is the stage where the bacon can crisp up nicely and evenly but without the grease splattering or the rashers drying out. Perfectly moist, browned bacon!

    Tips To Cook The Perfect Rasher of Bacon

    1. Always add your bacon to a cold pan and then heat it up. This reduces the chances of it burning and gives the fat enough time to melt away giving you less flabby fat to deal with.
    2. Don’t add too many rashers to a pan. This will cause the bacon to become flabby and floppy rather than crispy.
    3. Opt for a cast iron skillet if possible. It allows the bacon to cook more quickly producing crispier rashers.
    4. If you want tender bacon pieces but don’t want to fully go for the boiling option, just try adding a little water to your pan when frying.

    How To De-Grease Your Bacon

    Sometimes greasy bacon can be exactly what you want but if you’re turned off by your rashers swimming in fat, there are ways of avoiding the grease fest.

    If you’re cooking bacon in the oven try cooking it on an incline. This allows the fat to heat up and crisp the rashers but then drip off reducing the overall fat on the bacon.

    As mentioned before, adding water to your bacon reduces the fat so once it comes to crisping it up, most of the fat has melted off.

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    Maple-Glazed Bacon

    Marinating your bacon Vermont-style in maple syrup can be delicious but what if you don’t want to spend time preparing it first?

    Maple-glazing your bacon is the solution and is much quicker to do. Just cook your rashers until browned (but not crispy) drain and set aside. Mix up some maple syrup, dijon mustard and brown sugar in equal measure and using a brush, glaze your bacon on one side.

    Return your browned rashers to the pan on a low heat and cook glaze-side down for 2 minutes. Turn and repeat on the other side. Keep adding glaze and turning 5-10 times until you get a nice caramel crisp. Serve immediately.

    5 Easy Bacon Recipes You Need to Try At Home

    1. Bacon Halloumi Bites

      Make these as a snack or hors d’oeuvre at a party – either way they’re extremely easy to whip up and will be eaten pretty quickly!

      • 225g block of halloumi
      • 12 rashers of bacon
      • Pepper to taste

      Line a baking tin with foil and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cut the halloumi up into 24 pieces and each rasher in half.

      Lay the halved bacon rashers out and grind some pepper on to taste. Proceed to place one piece of halloumi on each half rasher and roll them up. Place in the baking tin and place in the oven for 18-20 mins. And voila!

      2. Bacon Jam

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        Bacon jam makes an amazing condiment with a meal or simply spread on a piece of bread, put into sandwiches or even smothered on pancakes.

        • 450g thick bacon cut into 2 inch pieces
        • 1/2 sliced onion
        • 65g of brown sugar
        • 235ml of beef stock
        • 2 tablespoons of honey
        • 1 teaspoon of paprika
        • 2 tablespoons of butter
        • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

        Place the bacon pieces into a pan on medium heat and cook for around 10-15 minutes. Add the sliced onion and fry off for a further 5 minutes until soft.

        Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Pour in 1/4 of the stock, letting it simmer until reduced and thickened (usually takes around 10 minutes). Repeat this process in 3 further stages until all the stock has been used.

        Put the mixture into a blender adding in the honey, paprika, and black pepper. Blend for around 30 seconds so the mixture is still chunky and not smooth. Add the butter and mix until completely melted. Let it cool and transfer to a container of choice.

        3. Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

          Not convinced? This sweet and salty treat is worth a try!

          • 1 and a half sticks of softened butter
          • 3/4 cup of light brown sugar
          • 1/2 cup of white sugar
          • 2 eggs
          • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
          • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
          • 2 and 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
          • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
          • 2 teaspoons of corn starch
          • 7 slices bacon pre-cooked crispy and roughly chopped
          • 2 cups of chocolate chips

          Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. (350 degrees F.) In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add to this, the eggs, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and cornstarch to create a wet mixture.

          Gradually add the flour to the mixture a little at a time until everything is combined and smooth. Fold in the bacon and chocolate chips. Place the cookie dough onto a lined baking tray (the mixture should make approx. 24 cookies) and bake for 8-10 minutes.

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          Remove and place on a cooling rack and make sure to store the cookies in the fridge.

          4. Bacon and Egg Cups

            These are simple to make for a snack or breakfast alternative using the great combination of bacon, egg and cheese!

            • 12 slices of bacon
            • 12 eggs
            • 113g grated cheddar cheese

            Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F). Grease a 12 cup muffin tray and place a rasher of bacon into each mould. Crack an egg into each one and sprinkle with grated cheese.

            Bake for 20 minutes or until the egg whites have fully cooked.

            5. Slow Cooker Chicken with Bacon Gravy

              An easy slow cooker recipe with a wonderful bacon taste running through.

              • 680g boneless and skinless chicken breast
              • Few grinds of pepper
              • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
              • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
              • 6 cooked rashers of bacon
              • 24g chicken gravy powder
              • 350ml water
              • 160ml heavy cream

              Add the chicken breasts, thyme, garlic, pepper and bacon to the slow cooker. Mix the gravy powder with the 350ml of water (ignoring the measurements found on the gravy packet itself) until smooth. Pour the mixture over the chicken.

              Cover and cook for 3.5 hours on the highest setting making sure not to take the lid off during this time. When the time is up, add the cream and mix into the gravy. Serve with mashed potato and vegetables.

              Featured photo credit: pdoctor via pixabay.com

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              How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

              How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

              Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

              Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

              I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

              You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

              Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

              When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

              I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

              Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

              Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

              Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

              1. The Inner Critic

              This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

              • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
              • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
              • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
              • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

              He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

              Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

              2. The Worrier

              This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

              He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

              Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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              3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

              He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

              He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

              He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

              4. The Sleep Depriver

              This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

              His motivation can be:

              • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
              • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
              • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
              • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

              How can you control these squatters?

              How to Master Your Mind

              You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

              Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

              There are two ways to control your thoughts:

              • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
              • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

              This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

              The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

              Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

              For the Inner Critic

              When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

              You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

              For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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              You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

              “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

              If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

              • He riles up the Worrier.
              • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
              • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
              • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
              • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

              Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

              Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

              For the Worrier

              Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

              Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

              You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

              • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
              • Muscles tense

              Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

              If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

              Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

              “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

              Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

              If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

              Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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              Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

              For example:

              If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

              “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

              Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

              “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

              Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

              For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

              Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

              The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

              • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
              • Muscles tension

              I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

              Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

              Breathe in through your nose:

              • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
              • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
              • Focus on your belly rising.

              Breathe out through your nose:

              • Feel your lungs emptying.
              • Focus on your belly falling.
              • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

              Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

              Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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              One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

              Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

              For the Sleep Depriver

              (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

              I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

              Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

              1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
              2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

              When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

              From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

              For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

              If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

              You can also use this technique any time you want to:

              • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
              • Shut down your thinking.
              • Calm your feelings.
              • Simply focus on the present moment. 

              Becoming the Master of Your Mind

              Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

              You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

              Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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