It all started with my aunt bringing me two gigantic and beautiful tomatoes last week when she visited. And to think I hated tomatoes when I was growing up… now, I could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if the opportunity arose. Tomatoes, loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals, specifically lycopene, which fights off cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, are boasted to be the most nutritious vegetable. I would disagree based on the lack of protein, and most importantly the sugar content, especially when cooked down into sauces and things. But I sure do love a fresh tomato.
So, these fresh tomatoes sat in my fridge, and I thought of my stepdad and his love for a thick slice of tomato smothered in mayo and topped with salt and pepper. I thought of BLTs. One of my favorite sandwiches once I started eating tomatoes as a teenager. There in lies the bacon. Organic turkey bacon. Pork bacon, well I haven’t eaten that in over two years. Not to say that turkey bacon is any better for you, yes the fat content is much less, but its still animal product that is processed and molded together into a slab. Hm, just talking about it makes me not want to eat it. But in any case, some turkey bacon every so often (maybe once every 3 months if that I buy some), won’t hurt.
A pound of turkey bacon, which is 10 slices in total, cooked for the week — created three dishes as well as leftovers for eggs (free-range, organic of course) in the morning if I really want to get crazy.
I started out with braised red cabbage (also from my aunt — she’s just the best, really). This simple dish started out with the pan used from frying the bacon (with basically no fat in it, again, turkey bacon has very little fat content), seared with vegetable stock to get all of the salty scrapings from the pan up. Then I added one whole red onion, thinly sliced. I sauteed this until soft and added the red cabbage. Look at how beautiful this glorious vegetable is…
Red cabbage is a million times more nutritious than green cabbage, and much more tasty. Its loaded with polyphenols which offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. Red cabbage is low in calories, a good source of dietary fiber and a rich source of several vitamins such as A, C and E.
I let the cabbage simmer with the red onion and 1 cup of vegetable stock until it was tender and soft. I topped it off with 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic minced and some black pepper. This dish is great hot or cold – perfect for this week since it will be sunny and in the 70’s…wahoo!
Then it was time for two dishes with the turkey bacon. The first, one of my favorite dishes that a dear friend of mine makes — sweet potatoes, avocado, and bacon mash. I did a little twist on the recipe:
2 strips of turkey bacon, cooked & chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed, and boiled until fork tender
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 avocado, cubed
1 cup arugula
*I mixed all of the ingredients together and topped with some ground black pepper. The combination of the sweet potatoes and avocado is good enough for me any day, but the addition of turkey bacon gives an added flavor and chewy texture that makes me feel like I’m consuming much more food…which I am, and more protein, which I always need!
When my friend makes it, she cooks the sweet potatoes a little longer, creating more of a semi-mashed potato dish and using a ton of fresh cilantro (I didn’t have any in the house, but I 110% recommend adding this!).
Lastly, the BLT. A paleo version. I took romaine heart leaves and stuffed them with the fresh tomatoes and 1 slice of turkey bacon. I topped each one with freshly ground black pepper. That’s it. Seriously, nothing else. The tomatoes were perfectly ripe that I didn’t need any sauce with this, especially not mayo. I think my stepdad would enjoy these alot, mayo added, of course.
Taking bets now on what I’ll use the extra bacon for this week — my moneys on the paleo BLTs.
Speaking of money, since my aunt brought me the tomatoes and cabbage, and I bought the red onions last week from the farmers market (6 for $2), I spent about $10 on these recipes for the week–
$5.99 for turkey bacon, $2 for sweet potatoes, $1 for avocado, $2 for romaine hearts. Even including the $5 or less that my aunt spent on the cabbage and tomatoes, thats less then $20 for the week. Pretty awesome if you ask me.
Enjoy the sunshine this week ya’ll, I know I sure will 🙂