Wednesday, August 5, 2009
CREATIVE THURSDAYS: Baked Jalapeno Poppers
Do you think of a jalapeno pepper as a blank canvas? If not, you should consider it. Most often, we cut them up and add them to chili, tex-mex, or we might top our burgers with them. They are probably not a staple on the grocery list. However, jalapenos are extremely inexpensive, keep well for long periods of time, and are a terrific canvas for cheese, bacon, sausage, and breadcrumbs. For all these reasons, jalapenos are this week's featured ingredient.
Create your own filling for them, roll them in breadcrumbs and bake away. You can even freeze them and bake them later when you need to have a quick appetizer or treat!
Both my mom and neighbor have an abundance of jalapenos in their garden. I literally received bags of jalapenos. My husband and I love spicy food, but there was no way we could eat all the peppers we received in time. I thought about canning, but just wasn't feeling it. I started looking up recipes for jalapenos and found a recipe for poppers.
I made a huge batch of poppers and froze them so that we could have them whenever we want. These poppers were so delicious, you would never know they were baked and not fried! When you bite into these, they are so crunchy and the cheese just comes oozing out! The poppers bake for around 30 minutes which allows the peppers to soften just perfectly. In other words, when you bite into them, it is a clean bite. You will not find yourself biting into the popper and pulling out the whole jalapeno in one bite, leaving only a shell of breadcrumbs behind. (Does that ever happen to you?)
The recipe that I used is from the Food Network and can be found here. Basically, you remove the stems and halve the jalapenos. You then create a mixture of cheese (I used garden vegetable cream cheese and monterey jack) and stuff the jalapenos. Once all jalapenos are stuffed, you roll them in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. This recipe uses panko, but I'm sure any breadcrumb would be fine. You can bake them right away at 350F for 30 minutes or freeze them and bake later. I brushed mine with a little bit of olive oil before baking to help achieve a golden brown color. Use this recipe as a guide only. Feel free to stuff your jalopenos with any kind of cheese, wrap them in bacon, or use regular breadcrumbs.
The Pioneer Woman also has a recipe for bacon-wrapped jalapeno thingies, found here. She has said on more than one occasion that she absolutely loves these jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon.
And, if you can't stand the heat.....don't get out of the kitchen just yet!!! Try Kevin's Baked Jalapeno Popper Dip, recipe found here. This dip looks simply delicious and would be great with tortilla chips or crackers. Surely the all that ooey gooey cream cheese, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, and mayo will balance out the heat. The breadcrumb topping looks to die for!!
I also want to post my carrot flowers for a wonderful giveaway over on my friend Beth's site. Please go to The Seventh Level of Boredom and check out Beth's extremely generous giveaway. It is a Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker!! I saw what those bakers can do at a recent Pampered Chef party and they are fabulous! You can even cook with them in the microwave.
Beth is going to a baby shower coming up and will be creating a vegetable garden to take with her. She is looking for good ideas from readers about cutting veggies into flowers. Submissions can be posted on your blog or sent to Beth directly. I searched and searched and found a carrot flower that I thought was pretty cute. It is suppose to be set alongside sprigs of rosemary to look much like a flower with a pretty rosemary stem. Please don't laugh, I'm not very artsy at all.