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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