Bacon to the Rescue: Thanksgiving Inspiration, Round Two

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This past weekend, we round up some links to help out home cooks with Thanksgiving menu planning and wine selection. Now we're reminding you of the simple solution: Just add bacon. Behold: some ideas for how to make any dish better -- from appetizers to sides to the big bird itself.

Bacon and dates
An easy go-to, bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with mascarpone or ricotta has become a home and restaurant staple. Check out these recipes for starters,

but be sure your dates are delicious madjools and your bacon is plenty

crisp before serving. Seems obvious, but I've had these plenty

in restaurants where the bacon served is underdone.

Bacon and Brussels sprouts
I love any rendition of Brussels sprouts, but the classic pairing with bacon is the crowd pleaser. Try this one suggested from by the New York Times last week or another version with figs.

Bacon and asparagus
OK, so this dish isn't particularly local or seasonal, yet I'm still seeing plenty of stalks in Publix as of late. For this incredibly easy side, Rachael Ray's recipe should do, though if she stirs your ire, there's always the Cook's Illustrated version.

Bacon and bread
This recipe for sweet potato spoon bread allows for add-ins such as spinach, corn, or bacon, naturally. With a nod to Southern cooking that's stylish right now, this recipe with sweet potato and cornmeal complemented with honey, cumin, cayenne, and cloves is an easy dish to make ahead.

Bacon and Turkey

For those who don't need the whole turkey, try this bacon-wrapped breast with pear hash, and for everyone else, just go ahead and wrap the whole damned bird in bacon.

Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB

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