By the Ethical Chef

In a time when it seems like everyone has a dietary restriction of some sort, like gluten-free, vegan, or paleo, it’s sad to be confronted with the reality that what you put into your body actually matters. But there needs to be a bit of leeway in our diet in order to enjoy this cruel thing we call life.

So if you want to make the most out of your cheat days, we have a few dishes in mind. Some say don’t fix what’s not broken. These typical dishes work pretty well as they are, of course, but there’s always room for improvement. And in this case, improvement means adding a topping that we should all probably stay away from but can’t: bacon.

While we love all bacon, we strive to cook with ethical options that always keep good American middle class jobs in mind. Enjoy!

Bacon Gouda Macaroni and Cheese

A true staple of our childhoods, nothing screams comfort food like mac and cheese. Truth is, mac and cheese isn’t that hard to make from scratch and it tastes a thousand times better. But what if that’s not enough? For the perfect mac and cheese, just add bacon. Step up your game with an adult version: bacon gouda mac and cheese. The combination of the creaminess from the sharp cheddar and tangy smoked gouda with the saltiness of the bacon balances out each other perfectly. This dish will make you feel deliciously warm inside.

Bacon Guacamole

People are doing all kinds of crazy things to avocados. Think avocado toast and avocado burgers. And while avocado toast and avocado burgers may work for some people, avocados are perfect on their own and take very little to take to the next level. Take guacamole for example. How can the perfect combination of lime, cilantro, and black pepper flavors be enhanced? With bacon, of course. When mixing the avocados and the rest of the ingredients, just throw in some bacon bits for a yummy bacon guacamole. You don’t have to be an expert in the kitchen to pull this one off, but the flavor will truly give you some cred.

Bacon Mashed Potatoes

We’re all about packing tons of flavor in the simplest ways possible. And like previous dishes, all you need to do with bacon mashed potatoes is sprinkle the bacon on top of the mashed potatoes and mix. The combination of the sweetness from the garlic puree and that crunch from the bacon gives the dish something extra. The recipe is also budget friendly since you only need russet potatoes and other basic ingredients that should already be in your kitchen cabinet.

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs

Classics are usually best left alone. But when a timeless recipe can be enhanced just a bit, why not try? And since we can do no wrong with bacon (mostly), adding it to an already salty recipe to give it an even meatier taste makes sense. All it takes to make spaghetti and bacon meatballs is adding the uncooked bacon in with the ground beef and eggs and everything else into the food processor to make the perfect meatball.

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

If you’re going to indulge, make it worthwhile! Once you try bacon wrapped hot dogs, you’ll never go back to having them without it. Just wrap the bacon around the hot dog and grill it, then put it on the bun and add your favorite toppings. The saltiness of the hot dog plus the bacon may seem like an overload, but the bun plus the toppings balance will it out, especially if you’re doing fresh ones like tomatoes and onions.

Chicken Artichoke Bacon Pasta

If you want to bring out the big guns and get fancy, you’re going to need a bit more than just throwing things together. This improved version of chicken artichoke bacon pasta will make you into a pro. This recipe requires more steps, like cooking the chicken breast, bacon, and pasta separately, only to mix it all together with the artichokes and spinach at the end.

Dulce de Leche Bacon Milkshake

No meal is complete without dessert, and no dessert is complete without some sweetness. And if you’re into the salty-sweetness combination, a dulce de leche bacon milkshake is perfect for you. In a time where people put entire pie slices into a milkshake, adding bacon is positively tame. After cooking the bacon pieces, add them into the blender with the vanilla ice cream, milk, and dulce de leche. The result will be a creamy taste of bliss. 

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