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Bacon Day Recipes

Bacon Day Recipes

I cannot believe that I almost forgot Bacon Day! Today is International Bacon Day, a day to celebrate all things bacon! Bacon is a truly wonderful food and it certainly does deserve it's very own day and what better way to celebrate then to throw a bacon party! Bacon is one of my favourite food as you can see by the sheer volume of recipes that I have that include bacon and for Bacon day I have gathered up some of my favourites. It was difficult to trim down the list of well more than 100 bacon recipes to just these but this list shows just how versatile bacon really is! It can be used in a wide variety of dishes from sandwiches to soups, salads, casseroles, pies, dips and even sweet things like cookies and pancakes! Now if you will excuse me, I have a pound of smoked bacon in the fridge that needs some lovin!

Peach, Chicken and Gorgonzola Balsamic Quesadillas with Arugula Pesto

Peach, Chicken and Gorgonzola Balsamic Quesadillas

I have been on a quesadilla kick this summer and with all of the peaches around these days I could not resist making some peach quesadillas. There are probably a million different ways to use peaches in quesadillas and I was thinking of taking a slightly different route with mine. Instead of going with spicy salsas and guacamole I was thinking that the sweet juicy peaches would pair nicely with some tangy and creamy gorgonzola! Gorgonzola dolce is a particularly nice mild blue cheese that melts well but it does not have that nice stringiness that Monterey Jack or cheddar has and it will not hold a quesadilla together very well so I filled out the quesadilla with some mildly flavoured mozzarella. I wanted these quesaidillas to eat like a meal so I threw in some chicken and I finished things off with some sweet and sour balsamic reduction and a touch of peppery fresh arugula pesto. These peach, chicken and gorgonzola balsamic quesadillas with arugula pesto have a lot going for them and all of the flavours work so well together! They are definitely an amazing summer treat!

Chipotle Lime Grilled Shrimp Salad in Cilantro Lime Dressing

Chipotle Lime Grilled Shrimp Salad in Cilantro Lime Dressing

Summer isn't quite over yet which means that I can still squeeze in some more salads, especially if they contain grilled meat like this chipotle lime grilled shrimp salad in cilantro lime dressing! I have been totally obsessed with grilled shrimp this summer including the chipotle lime grilled shrimp which has to be my favourite! I wanted to make the chipotle lime grilled shrimp at least once more and enjoying it in a salad with my newly minted cilantro lime vinaigrette seemed like a great way to go. I went for a simple salad using some more fresh summer produce including corn and tomatoes along with some avocados and black beans to get a nice mix of sweet, juicy and creamy. The cilantro lime vinaigrette and the chipotle lime shrimp go particularly well together in this salad but then again I think that the cilantro lime vinaigrette would go well on pretty much everything! This salad is definitely a great way to enjoy some of the amazing freshness of summer!

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

I have been into the cilantro lime combination for a long time now and I use it in many different things from marinades to sauces to soups, etc. and I also use it as a garnish on things like rice bowls, tacos, tostadas, fish, sandwiches, etc. The other day I had a thought: Wouldn't it be great if I could bottle the amazing cilantro and lime flavours so that I could pour them all over everything? With that idea this vibrant, light, bright and super tasty cilantro lime vinaigrette was born! I kept the vinaigrette nice and simple using plenty of fresh cilantro along with the lime juice, some oil, garlic and some jalapeno for a touch of heat. I don't know if you can bottle magic but you can certainly bottle the magical combination of cilantro and lime!

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Zucchini topped with Melted Cheddar, Bacon and an Avocado Blue Cheese Dressing

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Zucchini topped with Melted Cheddar, Bacon and an Avocado Blue Cheese Dressing

With all of the things that you can do with zucchini (aka courgettes) one thing that I find that I come back to year after year is stuffing it; I mean you really can'nt go wrong with stuffing zucchini with all sorts of good things! This year the first thing on my list to stuff into zucchini was one of my obsessions, buffalo chicken! The basic idea behind this kind of stuffed zucchini (aka zucchini boats) is that you cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, hollow it out and stuff it with a filling before baking it. Since this inspiration for this stuffed zucchini was buffalo chicken wings I started the filling out with some diced carrots and celery which are often served with the wings. Corn is also in season now and I was thinking that the sweetness of it would pair nicely with the spicy buffalo chicken flavours so I added some to the mix and together with carrots, celery and the zucchini that was hollowed out I had a really nice vegetable base. Up next of course was the chicken along with the buffalo hot sauce and a touch of blue cheese. When you are baking a dish like this it is always nice to top it with some cheese that will melt all over everything so I threw on some cheddar. I could have left things here with one super tasty buffalo chicken stuffed zucchini but I could not resist including two more of my favourite ingredients including bacon and avocados. I added the bacon simply by sprinkling it on as garnish and the avocado by mixing it into some blue cheese dressing that I drizzled over everything.

With so many good things in this buffalo chicken stuffed zucchini I knew that it was going to be good but I was not prepared for just how good! The first bite was almost magical and after I had devoured my first plateful I knew that I had just made my all time favourite new dish for the summer! If you are a fan of buffalo chicken this is one dish that you just have to try while there is plenty of zucchini around!

Parmesan Crusted Pesto Tilapia Bruschetta

Parmesan Crusted Pesto Tilapia Bruschetta

During the summer I often enjoy nice simple meals that focus on some of the amazing fresh ingredients that are available. These recipes may not be complex or glamorous but the perfectly ripe fresh ingredients make these meals magical none the less. Some of my favourite ingredients include field ripened tomatoes and basil and I never tire of using them together in tasty new dishes. A while ago I shared a version of this recipe for pesto tilapia with roasted tomatoes which I enjoy when good tomatoes are not available but by far my favourite version is this one using summer ripped tomatoes! The recipe is super quick and easy where you simply sprinkle some parmesan onto the tilapia, broil, then top with basil pesto and diced tomatoes and enjoy! This is one truly amazing way to enjoy some of summers finest!

Although you could use store bought, homemade basil pesto is so much better and well worth making for dishes like this one. One great thing about homemade pesto is that it freezes well so make a lot this summer and freeze it in an ice cube tray before placing in a freezer bag for convenient single serve portions that will get you through the long cold winter.

Moussaka Burgers

Moussaka Burgers

With the long weekend coming up I have been thinking about grilling and in particular about these moussaka burgers. Moussaka is a tasty Mediterranean dish that is typically made with layers of eggplant, meat, a tomato sauce and a cheese bechamel sauce and I have been wanting to try making burgers with these flavours for a while now. I started the burgers off by making a tomato sauce with the hints of cinnamon and allspice that moussaka often has and then I moved on to make a simple bechamel sauce with plenty of melted melted cheese. Up next were the patties which I kept nice and simple, once again seasoning with hints of cinnamon and allspice, and the last component was slices of eggplant that I grilled along with the patties.

All said and done these burgers are amazingly good and they definitely taste like moussaka, only better! These burgers take a bit of time to make but you can easily make the sauces and patties a day ahead and then just warm the sauces and grill the patties and eggplant of the day of your get together with minimal effort. I served the moussaka burgers with a fresh Greek salad.

Thai Green Curry Turkey and Zucchini Meatloaf in a Coconut Milk Green Curry Sauce

Thai Green Curry Turkey and Zucchini Meatloaf in a Coconut Milk Green Curry Sauce

I am a big fan of Thai curries and during the summer I cannot help but think of green curries filled with all of the amazing vegetables around and of course plenty of fresh herbs. I have been wanting to try making a Thai curry inspired meatloaf for a while now and with all of the zucchini around a green curried meatloaf filled with zucchini sounded like a great idea! I decided to go with turkey to keep the meatloaf lean and healthy and I knew that the zucchini would help keep it moist and a homemade Thai green curry paste would ensure that it was nice and tasty! I filled the meatloaf out with some of the usual culprits including an egg and breadcrumbs and further seasoned it with fish sauce, garlic, green onions and cilantro.

I often like to serve meatloaf with a sauce and since I already had a Thai curry theme going a simple green curry coconut milk sauce was the perfect way to go! I have to say that this is one of the tastiest meatloafs that I have had in a while and I really like the way that the zucchini worked in a turkey meatloaf keeping it light moist and tender! What an amazingly tasty way to enjoy some of summers bounty!

Fudgy Rolo Brownie Cookies

Fudgy Rolo Brownie Cookies

This weekend I visited a friend that is totally into the chocolate and caramel combo, especially rolos, and it was the perfect excuse to bake something chocolaty and caramel-y! After going through my Recipes to Try pinboard and my bookmarks I decided that these decadently delicious sounding caramel rolo fudge brownie cookies from Roxana's Home Baking were definitely the way to go. I mean you really cannot go wrong with brownies, fudge, chocolate, caramel and rolos and combining them all together could only be insanely good! These rolo brownie cookies are really easy to make and the only real catch is that the cookie 'dough' is more of a brownie 'batter' so you need to chill it until you can work with it.

If you are a fan of brownies, chocolate and caramel then you have to try these cookies! I certainly enjoy them a lot, ok, ok, maybe a little too much! Only half of the cookies went missing in action while I photographed them! Yes, my poor friend only got half a batch, but that just means that I will have to make things up by making another batch soon!

Tip: Throw these cookies into the microwave for 8 or so seconds to just melt the large chunks of caramel before devouring them.

Chicken Corn Chowder Zucchini Crust Pizza

Chicken Corn Chowder Zucchini Crust Pizza

When I made the zucchini pizza crust I decided that corn would be a good topping since it was also in season and because I wanted to try it since I had never had corn on pizza. The problem with that decision was that within a few minutes of thinking about it I had several great ideas for pizza topping combos including corn and I had a hard time deciding which to try first! After the fabulous success of the first corn topped pizza I had to try another and this time the idea was based on a chicken and corn chowder soup.

Corn chowders are commonly creamy so a regular tomato based pizza sauce was out and a creamy alfredo sauce was in! In addition to the chicken and corn I added bacon and onions which are also common ingredients in chowders and I finished the pizza off with a hint of thyme which I always enjoy in chowders.

I am a little embarrassed to admit that I have never actually had a pizza with alfredo sauce on it (I almost never order pizza) but I have to admit that it is pretty amazing, especially on this corn chowder inspired pizza! Cream and corn were practically meant for each other and the bacon and corn combo isn't too far behind, but with all three of them together on one pizza it is out of this world! This pizza reminded me of corn chowder and it definitely worked really well on a zucchini pizza crust! I have a feeling that I will be making this pizza many more times this summer!

Jerk Shrimp and Pineapple Salsa Quesadillas with Pina Colada Guacamole

Jerk Shrimp and Pineapple Salsa Quesadillas with Pina Colada Guacamole

Very often what works in tacos also works in quesadillas and I could not help but think of how good the grilled jerk shrimp and grilled pineapple salsa combo would be all smothered in melted cheese and wrapped in a toasted tortilla! I figured that I would leave it at the nice and simple combo of the spicy jerk shrimp and sweet pineapple salsa along with plenty of melted monterey jack cheese for the filling and that I would serve the quesadillas along with some pina colada guacamole and pina colada crema for dipping or topping. When you have all of the components made ahead of time these quesadillas only take a few minutes to make an they are so unbelievably good! Once again the spicy jerk shrimp and sweet and juicy pineapple salsa work magically well together only getting better with all of the melted cheese! The cool and creamy guacamole and crema play a brilliant counter point to both both the shrimp and salsa really bringing it all home!

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi and Corn in Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce with Crispy Crumbled Pancetta

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi and Corn in Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce with Crispy Crumbled Pancetta

Although I could easily eat the ricotta zucchini gnocchi all by itself I wanted to serve it in a tasty sauce! While I thought about sauces I kept drifting towards one of my favourite summer combos, corn and zucchini, and I liked the sound of the corns sweetness paired with the tasty zucchini gnocchi. I wanted the sauce itself to be fairly light to let the flavour of the gnocchi shine but I also wanted it to be tasty in it's own right so I opted for a mild blue cheese sauce using gorgonzola docle. With the addition of a bit of cream I had a super simple, light and tasty sauce for my zucchini gnocchi and all that was left was to garnish everything with some fresh summer basil and a bit of crispy crumble pancetta. The creamy and tangy blue cheese sauce goes very well with the soft and tasty zucchini ricotta gnocchi and the sweetness of the corn and saltiness of the pancetta play off of their flavours beautifully creating one truly magical summer dish! If you happen to have some more zucchini on hand the addition of some shredded zucchini to the sauce is particularly nice!

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi

Zucchini season is in full swing and it is both plentiful and cheap so I have been taking full advantage of it by using it in plenty of recipes both old and new! This zucchini ricotta gnocchi is one of the new recipes that I have tried this year and I could not wait to share it with you! Gnocchi are Italian soft dumplings that are typically made with either potato or ricotta along with flour, eggs and cheese and it is often served like pasta in a sauce. One of my favourite variations of gnocchi in the fall is a pumpkin gnocchi and I could not help but wonder about a summer zucchini version.

I wanted the zucchini gnocchi to be nice and light so I decided to go with a ricotta base rather than a potato one and this had the added benefit of making things easier since you do not have to start by cooking the potatoes. The one problem that I foresaw was that zucchini contains a lot of water and that meant that you would need to use more flour and that meant the gnocchi would be heavier so I started things off by salting the shredded zucchini and squeezing out as much liquid as possible. To give the gnocchi even more summery flavour I added a fresh basil and a touch of lemon zest.

Although it take a bit of work, gnocchi is actually pretty easy to make. Once the gnocchi dough is mixed all you need to do is roll it out, cut it into small pieces, roll the pieces over a fork or gnocchi board for texture and then boil it before tossing it in your favourite sauce.

I cannot believe how wonderfully good this zucchini ricotta gnocchi is! It is so light and fluffy and full of summery flavours! In all honesty I could not stop eating it after it was cooked, before it even made it into the sauce! You could easily serve this gnocchi in a simple sauce like butter and parmesan but check back tomorrow to see what I served it in.

Pina Colada Guacamole

Pina Colada Guacamole

When I think about tacos I often think about guacamole and even when I do not include the guacamole in the tocos I like to serve it on the side along with tortilla chips. It was no different when I made the jerk shrimp tacos and since I already had a Caribbean theme going I thought that it would be fun to continue and do a pina colada guacamole! The basic idea was to take a simple guacamole and add all of the flavours of a pina colada including pineapple, coconut and rum. Adding the pineapple was as easy as chopping some up and adding it to the guacamole and since I had the grill going anyways, I grilled it first. The coconut came in the form of coconut cream and the guacamole was finished off with a splash of rum. All in all I would have to say that this tropical inspired pina colada guacamole is amazing! The sweet and juicy pineapple works really well in guacamole and the coconut cream make the guacamole even creamier, if that is even possible, along with adding a hint of coconut and of course you really can't go wrong with a touch of rum!

Jerk Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple Salsa, Slaw and Pina Colada Crema

Jerk Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple Salsa, Slaw and Pina Colada Crema

As much as I enjoy eating grilled meat right off the stick it is always fun to use it as an ingredient in another dish and as I was munching on the grilled jerk shrimp and pineapple skewers I had several ideas! The first idea was for some grilled jerk shrimp tacos with a pineapple salsa which sounded so good that I had to make it right away. In addition to the shrimp and pineapple salsa I wanted one other ingredient, a simple red cabbage slaw both for the colour and for the crunchy texture. At first I was just going to toss the cabbage in some crema for creaminess but thoughts of the Caribbean and pineapples inspired me to make a pina colada crema flavoured with pineapple, coconut and of course rum! The combo of spicy jerk shrimp, sweet and juicy pineapple salsa, crunchy cabbage and the creamy pina colada crema in these tacos is simply divine!

Grilled Jerk Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers

Grilled Jerk Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers
Up next in my summer grilling adventures I head down south to the Caribbean for some grilled Jamaican jerk shrimp using a tasty homemade jerk marinade. Jamaican jerk spice comes in the form of a spice blend a paste or a marinade and its main ingredients are allspice, scotch bonnet peppers, green onions, thyme, nutmeg and garlic. I like to make my own jerk marinate from scratch and although the list of ingredients may be long it is super simple to make and you should have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. This jerk shrimp is as easy to make as marinating the shrimp in the jerk marinade, skewering it and grilling it! Jerk spice is typically on the spicy side so I like to serve it with fresh fruits or salsas, especially in the summer! The only thing that is better than fresh fruit is grilled fresh fruit so why not throw something like pineapple or peaches onto the skewer along with the shrimp for grilling? It is hard to beat grilled meat on a stick for summer entertaining but throw some fruit into the mix and you have to have one of the most perfect appetizers around!

Moroccan Chicken Manchego Melt

Moroccan Chicken Manchego Melt

I must be going through withdrawal, everywhere I look I see grilled cheese sandwiches including in the moroccan grilled chicken sandwich with preserved lemon tapenade and harissa mayo! Luckily I had some of everything from the sandwiches leftover and I was just itching to turn them into a grilled cheese sandwich! With the filling already decided, the moroccan grilled chicken, green olive tapenade with preserved lemon, pickled onions and harissa, that left only the cheese and I figured that I would go with a Mediterranean cheese, manchego. As you might guess just from reading the ingredients, this is one tasty grilled cheese sandwich that is just packed with flavour and it is sure to satisfy your grilled cheese cravings!

Moroccan Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Preserved Lemon Tapenade and Harissa Mayo

Moroccan Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Preserved Lemon Tapenade and Harissa Mayo

When I made the Moroccan grilled chicken the other day I made a double batch because I wanted to ensure leftovers so that I could make some sandwiches. I am sure that some of you saw something like this coming when I wrote about the green olive tapenade with preserved lemon and pickled red onions since I always use ingredient recipes in another recipe shortly after. This sandwich has been on my mind for a while and it is just packed with flavour from the Moroccan grilled chicken, lemony and salty tapenade, creamy and spicy harissa mayo and tangy pickled red onions all of which is on a bed of tender baby spinach leaves in whole grain bread. This is definitely one tasty sandwich and it is well worth the effort of making the ingredients!

Green Olive and Preserved Lemon Tapenade

Green Olive and Preserved Lemon Tapenade

A couple of weeks ago I made a fresh batch of preserved lemons and now that they were ready it was time to enjoy them! I knew exactly what I would be using the first of them in, a green olive tapenade, where they would add an amazing lemony freshness! Other than the preserved lemons this tapenade is pretty much a basic tapenade and it goes great as an appetizer with crusty bread or crostini or as a condiment in other things like sandwiches! I had the first of the preserved lemon green olive tapenade as a snack with some crusty bread and you will have to check back tomorrow to see what I used the rest of the batch for!

Harissa

Harissa

Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili sauce/paste that is gaining popularity in other countries and cuisines including Moroccan cuisine. It is typically made from piri piri chili peppers, garlic, coriander, caraway and oil and it is actually pretty easy to make at home. Although piri piri peppers are more traditional you can use pretty much any dried red chili peppers like cayenne, chilies de arbol, chipotle, guajillo so you can make harissa with whatever chili peppers that you have available. When I was first looking for harissa I could not find it so I decided to try making my own and I have been making it at home ever since! Once you have the base form of harissa down you can play around with if by changing up the peppers for different levels of heat and flavours in addition to adding other ingredients like tomatoes or roasted red peppers. I always enjoy experimenting with harissa and pretty much every batch that I make is different! I have included the recipes for a few of my favourites below including a traditional harissa, a harissa made with fresh red chili peppers along with roasted red peppers for some sweetness to balance the fiery heat and a Mexican style salsa roja take on harissa.

I use harissa in a number of my Moroccan recipes! Check out below for a list!