3 Simple bacon dishes

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Almost everything is better with bacon, especially pizza.

Almost everything is better with bacon, especially pizza. Above, caramelized onion, bacon and goat-cheese pizza. Photo Credit: Marge Perry

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Marge Perry Newsday columnist Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.

TIP One strip of center-cut bacon has 25 calories and 2 grams of fat, while regular bacon has 43 calories and 3 grams of fat. Center-cut bacon also has 50 milligrams less sodium.

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CARAMELIZED ONION, BACON AND GOAT-CHEESE PIZZA

4 slices center-cut bacon

2 cups thinly sliced red onion

1 (12-inch, 10-ounce) whole-wheat thin pizza crust

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4 ounces goat cheese

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Cook the bacon in a large, nonstick skillet; transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.

3. Add the onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft and golden, 12 to 13 minutes.

4. Crumble the bacon. Place the pizza crust on a baking sheet; spread half the goat cheese over the surface, leaving a 1-inch perimeter clear. Top the cheese with the onions and bacon. Crumble the remaining 2 ounces of goat cheese over the onions and bake 8 minutes, until the crust is heated through. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition for each serving 319 calories, 17 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 12 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 615 mg sodium

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SPINACH SALAD WITH SAUTEED APPLES AND BACON VINAIGRETTE

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3 slices center-cut bacon

1 small shallot, chopped

2 apples, thinly sliced

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

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1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon honey

6 cups baby spinach

1. Cook bacon in a large, nonstick skillet; transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Pour off into a bowl all but a thin film of the fat and reserve.

2. Add shallots to skillet and cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add apple slices and cook until lightly browned on undersides; turn and cook until crisp-tender when poked with a fork, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove apples from skillet; remove skillet from heat.

3. Combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard and honey, then whisk into skillet, scraping up any bits clinging to the bottom. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in reserved bacon drippings until the mixture is thickened and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Toss together spinach, dressing, apples and crumbled bacon, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition for each serving 173 calories, 3g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 178 mg sodium

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PASTA WITH KALE, BACON AND WILTED CHERRY TOMATOES

8 ounces farfalle (or other pasta)

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 slices center-cut bacon

5 cups torn kale leaves

1 cup grape cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1. Cook pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water until al dente. Scoop out 1/2cup of the pasta water and set aside; drain the pasta, toss with the olive oil and transfer to a large bowl.

2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large, nonstick skillet; transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain and crumble when cool.

3. Add the kale to the pan in batches, if necessary, tossing with tongs until it is bright green and wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add reserved pasta water, cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and cook until kale is tender and tomatoes soften, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl with pasta; add bacon and Parmesan, toss and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition for each serving 375 calories, 15 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 12 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 278 mg sodium

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