Entertaining Must-Have: Shrimp Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers with Bacon

What’s a keto-friendly, gluten-free appetizer that everyone will love? These Shrimp Stuffed Peppers with Bacon. If you’re having people over for dinner, look no further for an appetizer that is sure to impress your guests.

Full disclosure here — this is actually a Mr. Bayou recipe. He’s usually the one in charge of the grill, and he perfected this dish. You can buy these already prepared at many grocery stores, but they’re pricey. This recipe is a much more affordable option, albeit somewhat labor intensive.

Maybe it’s my Louisiana roots, but I can’t get enough of spicy food. Not everyone in the Bayou home agrees, however, so feel free to substitute jalapeños with a milder pepper, such as banana peppers or poblanos.

I found this useful graphic on the Taste of Home website, here. They also went into detail about each type of pepper, if you’re looking for more information.

Information About Jalapeños

Jalapeños range in heat a lot, from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units. The Scoville Heat Index is used to measure the chemical capsaicin—more capsaicin means a hotter pepper (source). While jalapeños are certainly spicy, they don’t come close to other peppers like the ones on the top of the chart above. Interestingly, most of the heat in a jalapeño is found in the membrane, so by removing it, your peppers will be much milder. Even so, the spiciness varies greatly from pepper to pepper. Finally, consider this your warning: peppers at the end of the growing season tend to be the spiciest, so taste with caution if you’re sensitive to a little extra heat.

Preparing the Peppers

No matter what peppers you decide to use, you’ll need to prep them first. If you have an abundance of peppers on hand like we did, you can prepare a large batch of slice peppers in advance and freeze them to use later. I recommend wearing gloves when handling them to prevent transferring the spice to other things. The simplest method is to rinse the peppers, cut off the stem, cut in half, and use your finger to scoop the membranes and seeds.

Recipe Instructions

Once your peppers are ready to go, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Preheat the oven to 425 if you’re planning to bake them, or you can heat the grill to medium heat (about 375).

Cut the pepper jack cheese into slices about 1/8”x1/8”x2”, or about the size of a French fry. For larger peppers, you may need a little more cheese.

We used a variety of peppers for this batch, thanks to my in-laws garden.

Set the cheese inside the peppers. We used pepper jack, but cheddar or Colby jack would also taste great. Next, add peeled, deveined 30-40 count shrimp. For smaller peppers, cut the shrimp to fit.

Cut the shrimp if needed to fit in the peppers.

Finally, wrap each pepper with thin-sliced bacon. For smaller peppers cut the bacon in half, making sure there is enough bacon to wrap around it fully.

Ready to cook! You can stop here if you’re preparing them in advance.

Either grill them on medium until the bacon is crispy, or bake them at 425 for about 17 mins. I like to set them on a few paper towels to absorb some of the extra bacon grease.

If you have teen boys running around, I suggest hiding these until the guests arrive, or else your delicious appetizer might disappear!

This recipe can easily be prepared a day in advance until you’re ready to cook them. I served these with Parmesan Chicken Wings (recipe coming soon!), roasted asparagus spears (coming soon), and sweet potatoes for a delicious meal.

Below is a printable PDF version of this recipe:

Let me know if you try making this! I’d love to know how it turns out.

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Spinach & Artichoke Dip – An Entertaining Must-Have

Spinach and Artichoke Dip is versatile and goes well with vegetables, crackers, or tortilla chips. I wouldn’t call this healthy, but it is keto-friendly if you skip the chips.

This rich dip is a favorite in my family for it’s creamy texture and rich flavors. Even if you don’t like spinach, you will love this cheesy dip.

It also freezes well. I will usually divide the recipe once it cools, and freeze half of it. To make it last longer in the freezer, line the storage container with plastic wrap, and wrap the dip in plastic before freezing.

To begin, microwave two boxes of frozen spinach according to the directions on the package. Allow it to cool, and squeeze out the excess liquid. The best way to do this is to wrap the spinach in several layers of paper towels, and strain the liquid over the sink. The picture isn’t pretty, but hopefully you get the idea.

Next, drain the liquid from the marinated artichoke hearts, and give them a quick chop. If you see any hard parts, throw those away. You can use the artichoke hearts in water, but I like the extra flavor they get when marinating.

In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil on medium head. Once the onions are clear, add chopped artichokes, and allow them to heat up.

Next, add the cream cheese blocks and stir to melt.

Finally, stir in the sour cream and cooked spinach, allowing to warm and melt together. Turn off the heat, and stir in the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

Here’s the recipe, as well as the printable PDF.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you try it! Comment below or tag me on social media (Instagram or Facebook).

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Healthy Cinco de Mayo Recipes: Guacamole, Easy Shrimp Fajitas and Fresh, Simple No-Sugar Margaritas

Plan an easy Cinco de Mayo meal that fits into your healthy diet. Full of fresh flavors and clean ingredients, these recipes will not disappoint. Each of these is easy to adapt to Whole 30, keto, or low-carb lifestyles.

Click on the links below to download the printable PDF recipes, or read on for step-by-step instructions.

Fresh Guacamole

For starters, whip up this Fresh Guacamole to munch on while you cook. I use three medium avocados in this recipe. No matter how many avocados I use, we never seem to have leftover guacamole. It’s always gone!

This recipe hinges on good avocados. You can tell if an avocado is ripe when the stem piece at the end comes off easily. They should also be a little soft when you squeeze them. You can ripen avocados in a paper bag, or store them near bananas. The bananas release a gas that helps them ripen. Once they are ripe, move the avocados to the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. This will help them last much longer.

To begin the recipe, cut the avocados in half, and remove the seed. Then, slice the avocados in grid (shown above), and use a spoon to scoop the pieces into a bowl.

Mash the avocados with a potato masher. Add juice from 1/2 a lime, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix those ingredients together.

Cut a handful (6-8) cherry tomatoes into quarters. Place them inside two folded paper towels, and gently soak up the excess juice and seeds. Add these to the mixing bowl.

Next, remove the cilantro leaves from the stalks, and chop the leaves. You should have about 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves.

Mix the ingredients and serve with tortilla chips or veggies to dip.

I usually eat this dip with celery sticks or colorful bell peppers cut into slices. Of course the rest of my crew likes it with chips.

Easy Shrimp Fajitas

Up next for our Cinco feast, we are making Easy Shrimp Fajitas. These are completely from scratch, and easy to adapt to Whole 30, Keto, and low-carb.

This recipe is so simple because the fajitas are made completely in the oven on one sheet pan, making cleanup a breeze.

To begin, preheat the oven to 375, and slice a red onion and two bell peppers into strips. I prefer to use red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, but green would also work. This picture below shows how I slice an onion. I’m not sure if it’s the “right” way, but it works for me. If you leave the roots on the onion until the end, it stays together better and doesn’t smell as strongly.

Once your onions and peppers are ready, line a sheet pan with foil. Drizzle olive oil over the foil to keep your veggies from sticking. Spread out the peppers and onions on the pan, and place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the fajita mix in a small bowl. The recipe calls for sugar and cornstarch. This part is not technically keto or Whole 30, but it’s a very small amount in the total recipe. If you’re being super careful, you could omit these.

I keep all of the spices for this recipe on hand. They are in almost all of my Mexican recipes.

After 10 minutes, take the peppers and onions out of the oven. Make sure the shrimp are thawed and ready. If you need to, use a few paper towels and pat them dry. Spread the shrimp over the veggies and sprinkle with the seasoning. Top with two more tablespoons of olive oil and toss to mix. Spread it back out onto the pan, and cook for 12-14 minutes. You can tell the shrimp are done when they are firm and no longer pink.

While the shrimp cook, prepare the fajita toppings. I like to serve shrimp fajitas with flour tortillas, shredded cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, and shredded lettuce. Usually, I will eat this as a salad (shown below) or over cauliflower rice.

My go-to way to eat this meal is as a salad. I just pile the ingredients on high.

Add some black beans or corn as a side to finish off the meal if you’d like. It’s also great with steamed vegetables.

Fresh, Simple No-Sugar Margaritas

These aren’t exactly Keto or Whole 30, but they are pretty close. If you’re looking for a sugary, sweet frozen margarita, this isn’t the recipe for you. Note: This recipe is for one cocktail.

I use fresh citrus juice, natural sweeteners, and tequila for a refreshing cocktail that is full of vitamin C.

To make these, a cocktail shaker and some type of citrus juicer are really needed.

To begin, roll the citrus fruits onto the counter under your palm to soften them and make them easier to juice. Slice each fruit in half, and reserve a lime slice to garnish. Next, use a juicer to squeeze the fruit juices into a bowl or large measuring cup. Add three teaspoons of monkfruit sweetener (more if you prefer a sweeter drink) and two ounces of tequila. Fill the shaker almost completely with ice, and add the drink mixture. Cover and shake the cocktails for about a minute. This is actually the secret to the best cocktails — it gets them really cold and mixes the flavors.

I use monkfruit sweetener in this recipe because it’s all natural, zero calories, and doesn’t have an unusual aftertaste. If you’d rather use real sugar, a mixture of simple syrup is also fine.

I typically buy Hornitos Plata Tequila, but you can use whatever you prefer. This recipe makes one large margarita. Garnish with a lime slice, fun straw, and a drink umbrella topper to make it more festive.

I hope you have an amazing Cinco de Mayo, and let me know if you try these recipes! I’d love to hear your feedback.

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