Roasted Jalapeno & Garlic Bacon Guacamole

Roasted Jalapeno & Garlic Bacon Guacamole: Smooth, creamy and loaded with crispy bacon!

Rich, creamy guacamole with roasted jalapenos and roasted garlic loaded with crispy bacon. This guacamole is a total crowd pleaser and will take the traditional dip to a whole new level!

Roasted Jalapeno & Garlic Bacon Guacamole: Smooth, creamy and loaded with crispy bacon!

One of my favorite local restaurants is The Taco Guild, a super cute taco shop type restaurant built in an old church. They have amazing, creative tacos that you can order a la carte so you can mix and match, and they also have ridiculously good guacamole. In fact, my brother refers to it as “the place with the guacamole”.

Roasted Jalapeno & Garlic Bacon Guacamole: Smooth, creamy and loaded with crispy bacon!

Now don’t get me wrong, guacamole is one of those things that is fantastic on it’s own without any crazy add ins, but I do believe that with the right customization, traditional guac can get even better! And when is bacon ever the wrong customization? Ummm…never.

Roasted Jalapeno & Garlic Bacon Guacamole: Smooth, creamy and loaded with crispy bacon!

This actually isn’t that different than my normal guac. I used my normal recipe, but I roasted the jalapeno and garlic to bring out their flavor. I am of the opinion that almost all things are better roasted, especially garlic. I could eat cloves of roasted garlic all on their own, but I don’t think that’s quite normal. I just freakin’ love it.

Roasted Jalapeno & Garlic Bacon Guacamole: Smooth, creamy and loaded with crispy bacon!

Now let’s chat for a second about the bacon. Bacon gets a super bad rap. In fact, for a long time, I avoided it like the plague and used words like “heart-attack-inducing”. While it may not be the leanest meat on the planet, if you choose the right kind, I really don’t see it as “diet-busting”. In fact, as far as calories, fat and protein go, 2 slices of center cut bacon are about equal to a whole egg. If you love bacon and haven’t tried center cut yet, you are missing out! It is exactly what it sounds like–the center cut of the meat. It cuts out a lot of the extra fat without sacrificing any taster and texture the way turkey bacon does. I mean, turkey bacon  is okay and you can totally use it, but if you love the prefer the real stuff, center cut is the way to go.

Roasted Jalapeno & Garlic Bacon Guacamole: Smooth, creamy and loaded with crispy bacon!

With the spicy jalapeno and heavy hand of garlic mixed with the creamy avocado and crunchy bacon, this guacamole is insanely addicting with a flavor you won’t be able to stop thinking about! I like mine ultra smooth, so I use an immersion blender, but if you prefer a chunkier bacon, feel free to mash with a fork. Either way, you will want to make this stuff over and over again!

Roasted Jalapeno & Garlic Bacon Guacamole

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Roasted Jalapeno & Garlic Bacon Guacamole

Rich, creamy guacamole with roasted jalapenos and roasted garlic loaded with crispy bacon. This guacamole is a total crowd pleaser and will take the traditional dip to a whole new level!

Ingredients

  • 4 large cloves garlic, roasted*
  • 1 medium jalapeno, roasted, seeds removed*
  • 3 small avocados, pitted and peeled
  • 1 small lime, zest and juice
  • small handful cilantro
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
  • generous pinch each salt and pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 slices center cut bacon, cooked and chopped

Instructions

  1. Place roasted garlic, roasted jalapeno, avocados, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper in a large bowl. For smooth guacamole, blend with an immersion blender. For chunkier guacamole, finely chop garlic, jalapeno and cilantro before mixing, then mash all ingredients together with a fork. Stir in onion and bacon. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. For best results, store with avocado pit in leftovers. This will help prevent browning.

Notes

*To roasted garlic, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and wrap in tin foil. Bake at 400 until softened, about 30 minutes. *To roast jalapeno, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in tin foil. Bake at 400 until softened, then open tin foil and turn oven to broil. Broil just until jalapeno gets a little char on the outside. Watch very carefully! They can burn very quickly.

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Sweet Potato Avocado Salad

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad #vegan #glutenfree

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad #vegan #glutenfree

You know that feeling when you’re super excited for a long weekend, but getting ready for it is so stressful that by the time you’re done getting ready for said long weekend, you feel like you need a second long weekend just to recover from it? Yeah…I’m there.

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad #vegan #glutenfree

Tomorrow morning (at some hour that shouldn’t even be legal), Nicole and I fly to Minneapolis for the Healthy Living Summit. It seems like we’ve been anticipating this day foreeevvvverrrr, and I can’t believe it’s finally here! This week has been spent getting things taken care of at work, and putting the final touches on our presentation. I’m totally nervous, but mostly excited for the next 4 days!

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad #vegan #glutenfree

So in my absence, I leave you  this salad. I wasn’t sure if it was a salad or a salsa. I mean, it’s actually nothing like salsa, except it kind of reminds me of a salsa? Kinda like this one. Anyway, I first made this salad when I was staying with my friend Karisa this summer, and one bite in I knew I needed to make it again so I could share it with you guys. It is hands down one of my favorite things I’ve ever eaten. The sweetness from the sweet potatoes against the spicy jalapenos and creamy avocado…ugggghhh, it just all…fits. Like a glove.

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad #vegan #glutenfree

This recipe is so simple, and aside from the time spent roasting the potatoes, it all comes together really quickly. Just a few fresh ingredients, and totally fool proof–the perfect side for some grilled chicken or steak for a nice, easy, and healthy weeknight dinner!

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Approx 6 servings

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large avocados, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp honey or agave

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line sweet potatoes out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Roast until tender, but not mushy, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, add cooked sweet potato, remaining tablespoon olive oil, avocado, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and honey/agave. Toss together lightly to coat. Serve immediately. May be served warm or cold. Keep leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
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Guacamole Chicken Salad

Guacamole Chicken Salad #glutenfree #dairyfree

Guacamole Chicken Salad #glutenfree #dairyfree

My name is Ari, and I have a chicken salad problem.

Guacamole Chicken Salad #glutenfree #dairyfree

There, I admit it. I just…I get on these kicks, and I have to make something every way humanly possible until I decide I’m bored, then I move on to the next best thing. Right now, I enjoy about 3 meals. Burgers, hot dogs (just you wait…so many are coming), and chicken salad (duh). At least my tastes seem to be seasonal?

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So I actually realized I’ve been holding out on you guys. I’ve never actually posted my guacamole recipe. That’s probably because, until now, I had absolutely no idea what it was. I always just messed with a few key ingredients until it tasted the way I wanted. That’s the best part about guacamole–mess it up? Oh, just add more of something else, and it’s sure to even out eventually.

Guacamole Chicken Salad #glutenfree #dairyfree

So for the first time in my life, I measured out every single ingredient for my guacamole. Because I didn’t think using instructions like “Add salt until it’s salty enough” really counted as “quality content”. And I don’t mean to brag, but my guacamole is AWESOME! Spicy, fresh and creamy–it gets requested all.the.time.

Guacamole Chicken Salad #glutenfree #dairyfree

So I made it, then I added a rotisserie chicken, some tomatoes, and after all the photography was done, I had the brilliant idea to add dried cranberries. Oh Em Gee. ADD THE DRIED CRANBERRIES!!! I’m sorry they’re not in the picture. Add them anyway. You’re welcome.

This is legit the best chicken salad I have EVER tasted. It lasted about 3 days, and Steve and I were fighting each other for it. It’s perfect for all you dairy-free folk, and anyone who loves guacamole, or chicken, or food in general.

Guacamole Chicken Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Guacamole Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 large (or 3 small) avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1 lime, zest & juice
  • small handful fresh cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped (remove stems and heat for less heat)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • generous pinch each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional, but recommended)
  • 10-12 oz cooked and shredded chicken (I used one rotisserie)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine avocado, lime (zest and juice), cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Blend for less time if you like a thick and chunky consistency.
  2. Stir in onion, tomatoes, cranberries and chicken. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container with half a lime (this prevent browning) for up to 5 days.
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Want more chicken salad options? I have lots (and none of them have mayo)!

Curried Chicken Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.comDid I ever tell you about the time I gave up red meat? I was actually super strict about it for a couple of years. When I first started losing weight, it was one of those easy swaps that was easy to make, and for the most part, I still stick to lean poultry and fish, but I’m not so sure red meat deserves the bad rep it seems to get.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

I had never even eaten skirt steak (to my knowledge), but we went out a couple of weeks ago for my step-dad’s birthday, and I ordered this salad with skirt steak and avocado. It had other things, but I can’t even tell you what they were. For me, it was all about the skirt steak and avocado.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

It was so bold and flavorful that I immediately became obsessed with the idea of recreating my own at home. I’d also been dying to try a fruit salsa. A lot of people make them with strawberries, but I hate strawberries almost as much as I hate pineapple. I know, I’m so weird about the fruits I hate.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

Anyway, I have a pretty serious blackberry obsession. Specifically blackberry jam on wheat toast with an egg white omelet whenever I go out to breakfast. Something about that perfect combination…I crave it. As soon as I sit down, I check to see if blackberry is in that little stack of jams. I’ve also recently put it in pancakes, muffins, and now….salsa. Weird, right?

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

If by weird you mean DELICIOUS, then yes. It’s totally weird. This is one of those instances where the flavors just magically work together. You can’t really explain it, it just works.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

It was really easy to make. The longest part is marinating the steaks, but you just need to do it. You can totally do it in the morning before work, or even begin the night before, but the steak and the marinade need to become BFFs for at least an hour, preferably more. Give them time to fall deeply in love, which if you saw Les Mis, you will know it can happen unconvincingly after about 90 minutes of far more interesting exposition.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

So, moral of the story: marinate your meat. Longer is better. In the end, the star is going to be the blackberry avocado salsa anyway. It’s sweet, citrusy, spicy and creamy from the avocado. It’s pretty much the thing dreams are made of.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

 

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 6

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa

Bold marinated and grilled skirt steaks topped with a sweet and spicy blackberry avocado salsa.

Ingredients

    For the steak:
  • 1 1/2 lbs skirt steak, fat trimmed as much as possible
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • heavy pinch each of salt and pepper
  • For the Blackberry Avocado Salsa:
  • 12 oz blackberries, chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Begin by making the steak marinade. In a large bowl, whisk together wine, garlic, worcestershire, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Transfer with steaks to an airtight container. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover your steaks. If not, add extra red wine. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight.
  2. To make the salsa, gently toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Do not over mix or you will lose the chunks of avocado. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
  3. Grill meat until desired doneness. I like mine medium and it took about 4 minutes per side. Serve topped with blackberry avocado salsa.

Notes

You may use any cut of steak (or any meat, or non meat) you like. The salsa would be great with a filet, or sea bass, or even over some cooked quinoa if you want to keep it vegetarian!

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Spaghetti & Spinach Avocado “Pesto”

avacadopasta-15

I used to be a really picky eater. Okay, who am I kidding…I am a really picky eater, but now I’m picky differently. I actually do like almost everything, but there was a time where anything green was immediately vetoed.

These days, I see green things and I think GET IN MY BELLY!! Seriously. I freaking love vegetables. It’s kind of ridiculous. Sometimes Steve calls me a rabbit because I eat so many veggies. There are worse things to love, right?

I actually didn’t intend for this to be a pesto. The original recipe didn’t call it a pesto, but I was surprised that, at least in my weird-o taste buds, it tasted just like delicious, oily, cheesy pesto sauce!

You guys, I freaking love pesto sauce. I also used to think it was healthy. Because it was green and not alfredo sauce. But let’s be real friends, the main ingredient is olive oil. And yes, olive oil is good in moderation, but when you like your noodles like me–sauce with a side of pasta, it adds up real quick.

So I was happy and surprised when this dish tasted just like a creamy pesto sauce! I made it for Steve, my mom, Hank and Charlie, and everyone was a huge fun!

Spaghetti & Spinach Avocado “Pesto”

yield 5 servings

adapted from Perry’s Plate’s Creamy Spinach Avocado Pasta

  • 10 oz box whole grain spaghetti (whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, etc.)
  • 1/2 tbs light whipped butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8 oz baby spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
  • 1 tbs dried rosemary
  • 1 oz bleu cheese
  • 2 tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. When it’s finished, drain, setting aside 1 cup starchy cooking liquid. Set pasta and reserved liquid aside.
  2. In a large, high rimmed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add salt, pepper, and spinach to the saucepan. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 4-5 minutes or until the spinach is completely wilted.
  4. Transfer spinach and garlic to a medium mixing bowl. Add yogurt, avocado, dried rosemary, and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water. Stir lightly, then blend using an immersion blender (or transfer to full blender or food processor).
  5. Transfer sauce back to pan, and stir in cheeses. If sauce is too thick, add extra pasta water until is reaches your desired consistency.
  6. Add cooked pasta and toss thoroughly to combine. Serve and top with extra parmesan if desired.

Buffalo Deviled Eggs

buffalodeviledeggs-26

You know what food I really missed when I stopped eating deep fried food? Buffalo wings. Those things are freaking delicious! But really, it is not the breaded deep fried chicken that has anything to do with this deliciousness. The chicken is purely the vehicle to get to the delicious, bold, spicy, flavorful buffalo sauce.

And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love deviled eggs??? Crazies. Weird people. Humans with defective taste buds.

Wanna know something strange about me? I don’t love mayonnaise. In fact, if I am going to eat it, I’m one of those freaks that only really likes the light Miracle Whip with a million fake ingredients. It’s strange, but I’ll own up to it. I mean, if you put some creamy potato salad in my face, I will eat it, don’t get me wrong. But like when I see people slather it on a sandwich, I just kind of don’t get it. Good thing there are much healthier and tastier solutions to getting that mayo consistency, like Greek yogurt!

I know many of you are skeptical. “What can someone who doesn’t like mayo know about finding a suitable replacement?!?!” Well, I may not love mayo, but I do love food, and trust me, you won’t be missing anything!

These, along with the super popular cake batter dip, were also made last weekend for Deann’s bridal shower. I think I made close to 20 eggs, and not a single one was left over.

On a random note, I apparently need to work on my drizzling height because the red sauce coming from seemingly no where freaks me out a little bit in this next picture. I promise, these are deviled eggs, not scenes out of a vampire movie.

Because, honestly, who doesn’t want their eggs to be spicier?

 

Buffalo Deviled Eggs

inspired by Baked By Rachel

yield 1 dozen

  • 6 hard boiled eggs, shelled
  • 3 tbs nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs light miracle whip (or light mayo, or whatever you like)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • garlic pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot (or buffalo sauce of choice, but we all know Frank’s is the best)
  • 1-2 stalks celery, minced
  • paprika for dusting
  • extra buffalo sauce for drizzling (optional)
  • crumbled bleu cheese for topping (optional–I LOVE it with bleu cheese, but not everyone shares my sentiment)

Directions:

  1. Slice eggs length wise. Scoop out yolks into a medium mixing bowl and set whites aside.
  2. Add yogurt, mayo, avocado, pepper and buffalo sauce to the yolks and mix well. Then use an immersion blender to smooth completely.
  3. Transfer yolk mixture to a piping bag or plastic bag with the tip cut off and divide evenly between the egg whites (I used the star tip because I thought it made them pretty ;) ).
  4. Sprinkle lightly with paprika, then top with celery.
  5. Add any desired optional ingredients, and serve immediately.