A remarkable thing happened this past weekend bacon lovers, something I have been waiting for with baited breath for many months: Football returned. That’s right friends, this past Sunday was the very first Sunday of the regular NFL season, a fact that makes me ridiculously happy. Not only do I get to watch my favourite collision sport every single weekend (and occasional weekday evening), but the return of Football also means that fall is officially here. While some people take the signal that Autumn has officially arrived from the changing colours of the leaves, the beginning of the school year, or seasonal-flavoured coffees returning to coffee shop menus all over, nothing rings in the season quite like the very first time an announcer yells “first down!”

Now that this glorious season has once again upon us, I’ve also been busily rifling through my recipe books, putting together all kinds of exciting meal ideas to celebrate this time of year. Fall has always held a special place in my heart for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the food that is most often associated with the season is some of my absolute favourites. My goal lately has been putting together an excellent meal that is perfect for the Fall, and for a weekend day spend watching Football. Of course, such a meal absolutely has to contain a healthy helping of bacon with every course!

Because I am a benevolent bacon monarch, I’ve decided to share my most recent Meal of Bacon and Football Glory so that you to can have an incredible meal while you scream at your television.

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

This salad is positively delicious, with richness from the egg and cheese and a great textural crunch from the almonds, but the star is unquestionably the hot bacon dressing. The honey and mustard lends the dressing tang and sweetness that beautifully sets off the salty bacon, and the heat wilts the lettuce just slightly. The result is both fresh and comforting.

Bacon, Radicchio and Shallots

This roasted vegetable dish gets a wonderful depth of flavour from the bacon, to be sure, but what really makes is spectacular is the complex and slightly sweet flavour that emerges when everything is cooked together. This keeps really well and makes for an excellent lunch the next day too (if you even have any leftovers).

Lamb Shanks with Bacon and Mushrooms

I love these lamb shanks. The bacon sets off the slightly gamy quality of the lamb so beautifully, and the mushrooms elevate this dish into full-on ideal Fall dinner territory. This is sophisticated (and yet surprisingly easy to make) comfort food at its finest.

Bacon Pumpkin Pie

This pie is life-changing. I love even the simplest pumpkin pie right out of the can, but when you take the time to start with fresh pumpkin, mix in some cream cheese and spices for an incredible texture, and add bacon to the mix? Your idea of Autumn desserts will never be the same!