Shaun and I are big fans of jalapeno poppers from the freezer section of the grocery store. Well, of course I figure I can make anything myself that could be purchased at the grocery store.
Exceptions: pretty much any French or Asian cuisine.
I saw a recipe online a while back, and I don’t remember where it was, but generally it was cream cheese, mixed with cheddar cheese, and baked onto an open-faced jalapeno pepper.
Not too difficult.
Shaun and I purchased several large jalapeno peppers at the store. I already had cheddar cheese and cream cheese (I used low-fat ‘neufatchel’ cheese, which is the same thing, just fewer calories) on hand.
The poppers at the store are fully breaded and really don’t contain that much jalapeno. Well, I don’t need fully-breaded. To keep the breading essence, however, I used my Chef Robert's breading mix that I use all the time to coat fish and chicken: you don’t need to fry it, it makes a delish crust just by baking with it! If you can’t find this breading mix, make up your own with a mixture of fine breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and a little flour.
Here’s what to do:
Halve six large (or eight small) jalapeno peppers and scrape out the inside membranes and seeds. If you like things a little spicier, keep a few seeds and membranes in there – when the peppers are cooked they really don’t have a lot of bite left, as in the girls ate the poppers with no complaint. (Of course, we’ve never held back on seasonings and spiciness for them so their palate isn’t bland.)
Mix together 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese with a ½ block of room temperature cream cheese. I used a fork to smash it together.
Shake in 1-2 teaspoons of garlic salt and mix well.
Place the halved jalapenos face-up on a greased cookie sheet (or a greased piece of tinfoil on a cookie sheet for no clean-up).
With a spoon, place a good dollop of cheese mixture onto each jalapeno half.
Sprinkle the cheese-topped jalapenos well with the breading mixture and put the pan into a preheated 350º oven.
I baked them at 5-minute increments (since I was experimenting) until the cheese was melted and the breaded tops were slightly brown. It ended up being 25 minutes.
The nice thing about this recipe is that the breading on top gives the poppers a crust and the cheddar cheese holds things together so the cream cheese doesn’t melt out of the pepper and onto the pan. They were delicious – none leftover (and that’s the true test of if a recipe passes muster in my house).
Also, this recipe is pretty easy to continue to experiment with. You could use any kind of cheese and seasonings you want. I told Shaun it would be interesting to try this out and wrap the poppers in crescent dough before baking – but the timing on that I’d have to experiment with. You could chop up the jalapenos and mix the cheddar cheese with a stick of butter instead of cream cheese and spread the mix and peppers into the middle of a loaf of French bread and bake till all melted (wrapped in tinfoil) – I’ll have to try that and get back to you.
Have a nice Monday!