You had me at Bacon, Beer, and Cheddar Dip!

There is nothing better than a good dip.  I am always on the search for easy and impressive dips to bring to parties and gatherings with family and friends.  This easy dip only takes four ingredients, and less than 10 minutes to prepare.  It was a big hit at a friend’s 30th birthday party today, and I will definitely be making this one again.

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Dip

Ingredients:
• 2 (8oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 cup creamy ranch dressing
• 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup beer (I used Miller Lite)*
• 3/4 cup cooked & chopped bacon

Method:
In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and ranch dressing using an electric mixer or stand mixer until smooth and creamy.
Mix in your favorite beer until combined.
Add in shredded cheese.
Add chopped bacon and mix until combined.
Place dip in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Top with additional shredded cheese and chopped bacon. Serve with crackers, pretzels, and potato chips.
* You can use any beer you like.

Whip 2 blocks of cream cheese until fluffy.

Mix in Ranch dressing.

Mix in beer.

Mix in 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.

Crumble up crisp cooked bacon.

Mix in the bacon.

Mix everything evenly.

Put in a serving bowl and chill for at least an hour.

Obviously I had to run some quality control…it passed the test. OMG it was delicious.

Garnish with more cheese and bacon before serving.

Serve with crackers, pretzels and chips!

Serve with crackers, pretzels and chips!

Stuffed Zucchini…Bacon is involved!

I think that zucchini might be one of my favourite vegetables.  I always make sure we plant lots of it in our garden, and it is my go-to vegetable buy when we go to the farmer’s market.  I’m never really overly adventurous with it, usually just grilling it, or breading and frying it, and of course making zucchini bread.  But I got it into my head that I wanted to do something exciting with it, so I started looking up recipes for stuffed zucchini and came up with this.  I don’t have a recipe with precise measurements, as I usually just start mixing in what I think makes a good amount, but I think that with this recipe anything could go.  Here is what I did.

I started by cutting 2 small to medium sized zucchinis in half length-wise.  I then used a teaspoon to hollow out a sort of tunnel in the centre of the zucchini halves, sort of making zucchini boats. 

Hollowed out zucchini boats

Hollowed out zucchini boats

Set aside the zucchini innards because they will become part of the stuffing.

Zucchini innards

Zucchini innards

I then set the zucchini boats aside and diced the zucchini innards into very small pieces.

IMG_3945

Diced up zucchini innards

Next I diced up half an onion and 4 pieces of bacon and sauteed them in a bit of butter.

Bacon and onion

Bacon and onion

Once the bacon and onions are nice and browned, you can remove them from the stove.

Nice and browned

Nice and browned

In a bowl, mix the diced zucchini, with enough plain Greek yogurt to coat it.  Most recipes I looked at called for sour cream, but in general I’ve been substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream, I find that it has a richer taste, and packs a nice protein punch.

Diced zucchini and greek yogurt

Diced zucchini and greek yogurt

Next, I poured in a liberal amount of Italian bread crumbs, sort of just enough to cover the zucchini lightly.

Add in Italian bread crumbs

Add in Italian bread crumbs

Next, I added in a diced tomato (mostly to give the filling some colour).  When you dice the tomato, leave out the wet, seedy bits, or your filling will be too wet.

Add in diced tomato

Add in diced tomato

Next, add in the cooled bacon and onions.

Add bacon and onions

Add bacon and onions

Now, gently mix the filling so that it is combined.  Add in some salt and pepper to taste. I also added a pinch of cayenne pepper for some heat.

Mix to combine

Mix to combine

I happened to have some feta cheese in the fridge, so I mixed in a liberal amount of that.  For me, the more cheese the better, but add to your taste.

Add in some feta cheese

Add in some feta cheese

Once you mix in the feta, you can then fill up your zucchini boats with this mixture.

Zucchini boats all filled up

Zucchini boats all filled up

Finally, sprinkle the stuffed zucchini with grated cheese (I used marble because that is what I had, but I think they would benefit from an old cheddar for an extra punch of flavour).

Sprinkle with grated cheese

Sprinkle with grated cheese

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and things are a bit browned up.

Delicious!

Delicious!

Let them sit for a few minutes after taking them out of the oven and serve.

Serve!

Serve!

As I said, I just sort of played around with what I had on hand, but the possibilities for this are endless.  You could use black beans instead of the bacon, add in corn for colour/flavour, etc.  I don’t think you could go wrong with these.