Make it Better with Bacon

The rich smell and crisp, smoky flavor of fresh sizzling bacon is a temptation few diners can resist. Indeed, some 53 percent of Americans eat bacon at least once a week, according to a recent survey by Smithfield. This love for bacon is fueling a culinary craze for bacon-infused and -inspired foods — everything from the tame (sauces) to the outrageous (ice cream).

But perhaps this trend should come as no surprise. After all, a full 78 percent of Smithfield’s survey respondents agreed that bacon makes everything better.

Whether you’re pairing your morning eggs with strips of their most perfect protein sidekick, loading up a BLT with an extra layer of bacon-y crunch, or following the lead of the nation’s top chefs and experimenting with new flavor combinations, you’re likely to achieve a crowd pleaser.

Quirky products and recipes aside, for the average consumer, the simple versatility of bacon makes it a winning addition to most meals. Even a classic pork chop, one of the most popular cuts of fresh pork, takes on a new personality when paired with the distinctly savory flavor of bacon, as in this recipe for Bacon Pork Chops with BBQ Glaze.

For more inspired recipes featuring beloved bacon, visit www.Smithfield.com and www.Facebook.com/CookingWithSmithfield.

Fun Family Meals in Minutes

Make dinnertime simple, delicious and fun by using different proteins, such as shrimp, for tried-and-true dishes like tacos, pasta or even slider sandwiches.

To make the most of evenings together, smart families shop for time-saving ingredients. Using the frozen food aisle can help save time preparing dinner, without sacrificing quality. Nature’s original preservation method, freezing, locks in the great taste of quality ingredients that are ready to go when you are, leaving more time for you to enjoy fun family moments. Frozen products that come semi-prepared, such as SeaPak Popcorn Shrimp and SeaPak Shrimp Scampi, can be used in family-friendly recipes for meals that are ready in a snap.

For example, take the taco — a dinnertime favorite that’s also popping up in new varieties on trendy menus — and elevate it from ordinary to exciting! Shrimp Scampi Tacos can be prepared in less than 25 minutes and can put a refreshing twist on the mealtime fare. Top a bed of crisp lettuce with savory shrimp, fragrant cilantro and a spritz from some fresh lemon and lime for an ideal family dish that is easy to prepare and fun to enjoy together. Plus, each shrimp is tossed in SeaPak’s signature blend of seasonings, breading and sauces, so you can bring the best coastal tastes to your table in minutes.

Use the time you save preparing the meal to catch up with your family — recapping the day’s activities or discussing your children’s high and low points with them. And, remember, dinner doesn’t need to last an hour. Research shows that even 20 minutes together, instead of 40 or 60, gives the family similar benefits.

Tasty tips to maximize family time

Here are some easy ideas to get the most out of enjoying dinner with your family:

• Get the kids to help in the kitchen. When they’re involved with the preparation, they’re more likely to be interested in mealtime and enjoy helping you prepare. While you bake or sauté the shrimp, let them set the table, wash and strain vegetables or help keep an eye on the timer.

• If schedules are overwhelming, designate a specific day of the week for fun family meals to be the top priority. Write it on a calendar in the kitchen, so every member is aware of this special time together and can look forward to it during the week.

• Remove distractions, so everyone can participate in meaningful conversations. This requires turning off the television, leaving phones in another room and focusing on having a good time together.

The combination of easy-to-make meals and ideas for making the most of time together is the perfect recipe for a family fun night. Visit www.seapak.com for additional family-friendly, coastal recipes.