Bringing home the bacon used to be a noble thing. Today, it's considered a health hazard.
What's a bacon lover to do? Read nutrition labels and use common sense.
The good news is bacon is so loaded with flavor a little goes a long way. Using just a bit to garnish a salad or speckle a meatloaf or burger can feel indulgent without ruining a diet.
Also look for center-cut varieties, which often have less fat and fewer calories per serving than the regular stuff. Low-sodium variations also are available.
And consider poultry-based bacons, which can be surprisingly good. Just be sure to read the labels and compare the amounts of fat, saturated fat and sodium. Some turkey bacons, for instance, have as much fat per serving as pork varieties.
This double chicken club sandwich with saffron aioli makes a great packed lunch or light supper for a busy school night. It has a sophisticated flavor adults will love, but can easily be tailored to younger tastes by using lettuce rather than arugula and subbing plain mayo for the saffron aioli.
The sandwich was developed using Murray's Uncured Chicken Bacon, a low-fat variety that has nice flavor and crisps up quite well. It has just 35 calories per ounce, compared to several hundred for pork. If you can't find it in your market, use center-cut pork bacon or one of the leaner varieties of turkey bacon.
Double Chicken Club with Saffron Aioli
Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled (4 to 5 threads)
2 teaspoons warm water
1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Ground black pepper, to taste
6 ounces chicken or turkey bacon
8 slices whole-grain sandwich bread
8 ounces sliced cooked chicken breast
2 cups arugula or leaf lettuce
1 large tomato, sliced
1/2 small avocado, sliced (optional)
In a small bowl, combine the saffron and warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes.
In a blender or food processor, combine saffron mix, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard and garlic, then blend until smooth. Season with pepper to taste. Set aside. Aioli can be store, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 1 week.
Cook the chicken (or turkey) bacon according to package instructions. Toast the bread.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread some of the saffron aioli on each piece of toast. Divide the bacon, sliced chicken breast, arugula (or lettuce), tomato and avocado (if using) among 4 slices of toast; top with the remaining toast.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 398 calories; 172 calories from fat; 19 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 60 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrate; 24 g protein; 6 g fiber; 1,535 mg sodium.