Saturday, June 4, 2011

Better Than Fried Jalapeno Poppers


I am a sucker for jalapeno poppers.  LOVE THEM!  A few years ago I came across a recipe that had baked jalapenos topped with bacon and tried them.  They were ok but I thought that the filling needed more flavor.  I experimented with ranch flavoring and came up with the perfect blend.  Since this is the beginning of barbecue season, you could also make these up and cook them on a grill, but suggest cooking on a disposable foil cookie sheet.  If you want to use regular bacon, dice up bacon into small pieces and cook until crispy and drain.  I find that it is easier to use the bacon crumbles and the bacon is less fatty.  Make sure you use gloves when handling the raw peppers.  I included a link for the Uncle Dan's Ranch Dressing, I think it is a product that is available only in the Northwest region of the United States.  Hidden Valley dry ranch dressing seasoning is a national brand and can be used, but the outcome will not be the same.  Uncle Dan's does not have the buttermilk in it so the seasoning is stronger than Hidden Valley.  These are easy to make and not a lot of ingredients - I hope you give them a try.

Better Than Fried Jalapeno Poppers

12-18 medium sized Jalapeno Peppers
1 8 oz. Cream Cheese - softened
1 tsp. Uncle Dan's Original Ranch Salad dressing - dry
1 pkg. Cooked Bacon Crumbles (or make your own bacon bits) - not imitation!

Bake in a preheated 420 degree oven for 15-20 minutes (until the pepper is softened).
Jalapeno peppers, Cream Cheese, Uncle Dan's Dry Ranch
Dressing package, and precooked bacon bits.

Snap off stem (unless you want the stem on for
presentation)  I admit it does look better stem on.

Cut pepper in half lengthwise.

With a small paring knife, make an incision into
the top white membrane being careful not to cut
through the pepper.  If the membrane is
also down the sides, score this also
just like the picture.


Remove the seeds and membrane with
a teaspoon being careful not to tear through
the cap top.

Your pepper should look like this.

In a large mixing bowl, add cream cheese
and dry ranch dressing seasoning.  Mix
well with hand mixer making sure to also
scrape down the sides.

Fill the pepper with the cheese mixture using a
table knife and level off with the sides
of the pepper. 

This is how many the peppers the cheese
mixture filled.  I use a foil lined cookie sheet
to place the peppers on for easy cleanup.

In a shallow bowl, place a small amount of bacon
crumbles (it is better to be on the short side than
to much because you are going to get cream
cheese on the bits).  Take a pepper and place it onto
the bacon with moderate pressure.  Turn the pepper
over to make sure it is evenly coated and rearrange
the bits is needed.  It should only be a single layer
of bits on the top,  if there is to much, simply brush
off excess.

This is what they look like before going into the oven.

Bake in oven 420 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the pepper
is softened and the cream cheese just starts to turn brown. 
Allow to cool a little bit before serving because
the cheese could burn the roof of your mouth.


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