Wake up to possibilities with bacon

When it comes to foods that spark passion, very few rival the emotional and mouthwatering response triggered by big, bold, flavorful strips of bacon.

"On the weekends, nothing is better than waking up to the smell of a freshly cooked breakfast, especially when bacon is involved," said Food Network host Aaron McCargo Jr. "[It] is my secret weapon to get the kids out of bed in the morning. It adds excitement, bold flavor and crispy texture to breakfast dishes and starts the day out deliciously."

To help Americans express their love of bacon at the breakfast table in new and unique ways, McCargo enlisted the help of Wright Brand Bacon to serve up the following tantalizing tips for adding bigger, better bacon sizzle to favorite breakfast dishes:

Mix it in: Add bacon to breakfast fare in unexpected ways. One of McCargo's favorites is bacon pancakes. Add large pieces of thick-cut bacon to your pancake batter along with your favorite berries or chocolate chips. The unexpected crunchy texture and salty taste of bacon complement fluffy, sweet pancakes perfectly.

Bacon to go: If your breakfast bunch is on the go, try McCargo's bacon, egg and cheese pitas. Scramble eggs, stuff into a pita and top with cheese and bacon. Wrap in foil, and you're ready to roll.

For additional bacon tips and recipes from McCargo, visit

When really trying to impress your breakfast guests, try creating these egg-filled bacon cups.

Bacon, egg and cheese cups

Serves 6

12 strips uncooked smoked bacon

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh white button mushrooms

Nonstick cooking spray

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or oregano

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While oven is preheating, cook bacon according to package directions until firm but pliable and not crispy. Remove bacon and set aside.

2. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in same skillet used to cook bacon and sauté mushrooms over medium heat for 6-10 minutes until golden brown in color. Set aside to cool.

3. Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Cut six strips of cooked bacon into quarters. Place one full strip of cooked bacon around the side and two quarters of a strip in the base of each of six muffin cups in a muffin tin. Use your fingers to press overlapping ends of bacon together.

4. In large bowl, beat eggs and whisk in mushrooms, chopped thyme and black pepper. Pour egg mixture in equal portions into muffin cups lined with bacon, about 2/3 full in each cup.

5. Sprinkle equal portions of shredded Swiss cheese into the cups and top each with two quarter strips of bacon. Place filled muffin tin in oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until egg is completely set, cheese is melted and tops are browned. Remove muffin tin from oven, use knife to loosen edges, serve and enjoy!

Nutritional analysis per serving: 163 calories, 12 grams fat, 2 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, 161 milligrams cholesterol, 271 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 68 percent of calories from fat.