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Bacon, sausage: Not just for breakfast

If you are among those that enjoy bacon or sausage at breakfast, there is a good chance you’d enjoy it at other times of the day as well.

Just to give you a hint at how these meats usually reserved for a morning meal are good at other times, I’ve rounded up a few recipes that you just might find tasty.

Bacon Jam

1 lb. thick sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1/3 c. balsamic vinegar

1/3 c. packed brown sugar

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon in batches so as not to crowd the pan while cooking. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is browned and the fat has been rendered. Don’t overcook the bacon, you don’t want it too crispy for this jam. Scoop out the bacon pieces and drain on a plate linged with paper towels.  Drain all but about two tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Add the bacon back to the skillet along with the onions and garlic. Continue cooking on medium heat until the onions are tender and translucent. This will take five to six minutes. Add the vinegar and brown sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for about two minutes scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer until the liquid becomes syrupy (this could take about 30 minutes). Serve right away, or store in airtight jars and refrigerate for up to four weeks. This jam is best served warm and can be rewarmed in the microwave or a small saucepan before serving later.

If you like gumbo, you will certainly appreciate this next recipe that calls for sausage as one of the main stars of the dish.

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

3 tbsp. cooking oil

3 tbsp. flour

1 onion, chopped

2 rib celery, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

10 oz. frozen sliced okra

1 bay leave

1 12 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. cayanne

1 3/4 c. crushed tomatoes

32 oz. chicken broth

1/2 lb. smoked sausage

1 lb. boneless chicken breasts

Salt & Pepper to taste

Cut sausage in half lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Cut chicken breast into 3/4-inch pieces.In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring until browning begins. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the onion, celery, bell pepper and cook until vegetables begin to soften. Add the okra, bay leaf, and other seasonings along with the tomatoes. Stir to combine ingredients. Cover and cook for about five minutes. Stir in the broth and sausage and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add chicken and stir to mix in well. Cook just until the chicken is done (about five minutes). Remove the bay leaf before serving on a bed of rice.

Note: You can certainly add more than a half-pound of sausage. You can also leave out the chicken and replace that weight with additional sausage.

And finally, here’s a great recipe to use if you are entertaining. Your guests will love you.

Bacon Pinwheels

3 oz. softened cream cheese

2 tbsp. finely chopped onion

1tsp. milk

5 bacon strips, cooked and finley chopped

1 pkg. refrigerated crescent roll dough

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, onion and milk until well blended. On a lightly floured surface, unroll the crescent dough into a long rectangle pressing the perforations to seal. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the dough and sprinkle with the bacon. Roll-up jelly roll style starting from the long side. Pinch the seam to seal. Using a serated knife, cut the roll into 1/2-inch slices. You should get 24. Place on an ungreased cooking sheet pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

I hope that you find these recipes useful and tasty for your family. And if you have any leftovers, give me a call.