It’s National Bacon Day! Actually, there has been some confusion about when National Bacon Day actually is, and after some research (Googling, really) we’ve come to the conclusion that bacon is so ridiculously awesome that you can celebrate it today, and September 2nd, and December 30th. How cool is that? But back to the task at hand: (first) National Bacon Day!

The first college football games are a few short days away. What better way to celebrate this porky food holiday than with this delicious take on the classic jalapeño popper? No need to pull out the greasy deep fryer; these spicy, salty, cheesy bites of goodness are baked in the oven.

These really couldn’t be easier. If you have a big crowd (perhaps for the games this weekend), double, triple, or quadruple the recipe. They won’t last long, I promise.

When shopping for the peppers, select ones that are only two to three inches long. Make sure they are smooth and free of blemishes. To make the poppers, slice each pepper lengthwise. Stuff each with a mixture of cream cheese, goat cheese, and shredded Colby Jack (you could use Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or even Pepper Jack, if you want a little more heat). Instead of spooning the filling in each pepper, which could get messy, try shaping the cheese mixture into a log and pressing it into each pepper. For each pepper, take a half-slice of bacon and wrap around the pepper, securing each with a toothpick. Then they bake on a parchment lined sheet until golden brown and the bacon is crisp.

Bacon is definitely in my all-time top-five favorite food list (say that five times, fast) and is in good company with dark chocolate, oysters, vanilla buttercream, and lobster rolls. Just don’t make me put them in order.

Bacon-Wrapped Goat-Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeños

Makes 12 appetizers

Ingredients
12 jalapeño peppers
6 slices of bacon
4 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces goat cheese
4 ounces shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack)

Instructions
Slice the jalapeños lengthwise.
Scrape the seeds and ribs out of each jalapeño.
In a small bowl, mix goat cheese, cream cheese, and shredded cheese until combined.
Season with salt and pepper.
Form logs of cheese with fingertips and press into each jalapeño.
Slice bacon strips in two.
Wrap a half of a slice of bacon around each pepper and secure with toothpicks.
Bake for 30 minutes or until bacon is crisp and pepper is tender. Cool for ten minutes and serve warm.

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