Monday, January 30, 2017

Jalapeno Poppers

Are you starting to think about a Super Bowl menu?  I'm going to try this dip Kristen posted on her blog today and these incredibly delicious and easy jalapeno poppers.

First of all, this can all be made ahead of time and then assembled at the time of baking.  And if you're going to have a big group, bake them up all at once.  But with just the two of us, it all still keeps wonderfully.  I've had the cheese stuffing in my fridge for at least a month, so every once in a while when I need a little side dish for dinner (or just a snack), I'll just bake two or three at a time.

Mel's recipe calls for using regular cream cheese, but I've made it with reduced-fat cream cheese resulting in equally good poppers.  I also ended up adding much more smoked paprika (about 1/2 tsp instead of 1/8), but then I absolutely love the stuff.  And her recipe is gluten-free using GF panko, I used regular panko.

JALAPENO POPPERS (makes 30 poppers)

15 jalapeno peppers
8 oz regular or reduced-fat cream cheese, room temp
6 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp chili powder (or ore, to taste)
1/8 tsp smoked paprika (or more, to taste)
1/8 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Cut each jalapeno in half lengthwise.  Remove seeds and white ribs (use disposable plastic gloves if you're going to be making the entire batch).

For the filling, mash together the cream cheese and cheddar until combined.  Fill each pepper half evenly with the filling mixture, mounding it inside the empty shell of the jalapeno rather the pressing the filling flat (so it doesn't leak out while baking).

For the bread crumb topping, in a shallow dish mix together the bread crumbs and seasonings (this will also keep in a tightly sealed plastic container).

Grab each popper by the bottom and roll the top (the part with the filling) in the breadcrumbs so the mixture clings to the cream cheese filling.  Take care not to smush down the filling; try to keep it nice and mounded while getting a healthy dose of bread crumbs stuck to it.

Return the peppers to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining peppers.  Sprinkle any remaining bread crumbs over the peppers for additional crunchiness.  It's ok if there's a little bread crumb mixture leftover - you don't need to use it all.

Bake the peppers for 18-20 minutes under the peppers are tender and the bread crumbs are golden.

Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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