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Baked Jalapeño Poppers – The perfect game day appetizer made easier and a little lighter!So…our hometown team, the New England Patriots, won’t be at the Super Bowl this year. We’re disappointed for sure, but props have to go to the Denver Broncos who played a great game this past weekend! And we’ll still be watching the big game in a few weeks! After all, it’s a great reason to get together with friends, watch some fun television commercials, and eat some great food like these Baked Jalapeño Poppers! These baked jalapeño poppers are based on an old recipe that my husband Jack used to make – but to make the recipe easier, less messy, and a little healthier – they are baked instead of fried! We’ve filled fresh jalapeños halves with a delicious and creamy mixture of cream cheese and shredded jalapeño jack cheese that is flavored with cilantro, garlic and onion powders, as well as a pinch of smoked paprika! Then they are topped with panko bread crumbs that have been mixed with garlic and melted butter and baked until golden brown on top and warm and melted on the inside! As written, these baked jalapeño poppers have a bit of a kick to them, thanks to the Jalapeño jack cheese we’ve used in the recipe. If you’d like to cut back on the heat – simply swap in cheddar cheese for the jalapeño jack for a less intense bite.
- 6 large jalapenos
- 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- Pinch of smoked paprika, optional
- 1 cup finely grated jalapeno jack cheese
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon garlic that has been pressed through a garlic press, or finely minced
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- Cut just the tip of the stem end off the jalapeno leaving the top of the pepper intact. The end needs to stay on to hold the filling. Then cut in half from top to bottom. With a melon baller or spoon, cut just below the stem end to release the seed pack then scoop out from the opposite end pulling the melon baller or spoon towards the stem end. The seeds will pop right out leaving both ends intact (like a mini canoe).
- In a medium bowl, mix softened cream cheese, cilantro, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, optional smoked paprika and shredded cheese. Divide filling between the 12 jalapeno halves filling or over filling to use all of creamed cheese mixture. Set aside in small to medium baking pan.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat and cook garlic one minute. Remove from heat and add panko and stir.
- Dip each filled jalapeno one at a time, filling side down, into crumbs and place back into pan filling up. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Place under broiler for a few minutes if you wish to brown them further as more oven time will make them sag.
- Serve immediately with cold beer and a football game playing in the background.
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