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Oven bacon

INGREDIENTS

12 ounces sliced bacon

Parchment paper or aluminum foil

Rimmed baking sheet(s)

Tongs

Paper towels

Platter

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 400°F and prepare the baking sheet. Arrange rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, making sure there is overhang on all 4 sides (overlap a few sheets if needed, this makes cleanup easier).

Arrange the bacon on the baking sheet. Arrange 12 ounces bacon on the baking sheet in a single layer. The slices can be close together or touching, but don't let them overlap or they'll stick together during cooking.

Bake the bacon. Bake until the bacon is deep golden-brown and crispy, about 14 minutes for regular bacon and 18 minutes for thick-cut bacon. Exact baking time will depend on the thickness of the bacon and how crispy you like it. Begin checking the bacon after 12 minutes. The bacon fat will sputter and bubble as the bacon cooks, but shouldn't splatter the way it does on the stovetop.

Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Use tongs to transfer the bacon to the paper towels to drain and finish crisping. Serve immediately.

Clean up. If you want to save the bacon grease, let it cool slightly, then pour it through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof container and refrigerate. If you don't want to save the grease, let it solidify on the baking sheet, then crumple the foil or paper around it and discard.

WARM AND CHEESY BACON DIP

INGREDIENTS:

16 ounces sour cream

12 ounces bacon (cooked and crumbled)

8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)

8 ounces cheddar cheese (shredded (about 2 cups))

⅓ cup sliced scallions (about 3 scallions)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Spoon mixture into a 1½-quart baking dish.

Bake until the dip is bubbling and starting to brown on top, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve warm with chips, baguette slices or your favorite crackers.

Bacon Onion Rings

INGREDIENTS

1 large yellow onion

12 strips bacon

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Ranch, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a medium baking sheet with aluminum foil and fit with a metal cooling rack.

Cut onion into 1/2" rings, then separate every other ring, so that each ring contains two rounds of onion. Stir together brown sugar and cayenne pepper on a large shallow plate, then lay bacon on mixture to coat. Wrap doubled up rings with bacon, then set on baking sheet. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and golden. Serve with Ranch, if using.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

INGREDIENTS

1 (8-oz.) block cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 c. shredded Pepper Jack

1 clove garlic, minced

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

12 jalapeños

12 slices bacon, halved

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, Pepper Jack, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Halve jalapeños lengthwise, then use a spoon to remove seeds and veins. Fill with cheese mixture and wrap each with a halved slice of bacon.

Place on a baking sheet and bake until bacon is crispy and peppers are tender, about 25 minutes.

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