Tonight is our weekly Concert in the Park Picnic and I’m making dinner for everyone. Next week is the last one for the summer and we are all sad about it. We have so much fun at these concerts. Each week, my friend Gwen & I would share in the making of the meals for all of us (there’s usually 4 of us – Gwen, her husband Pat and our good friend Danny, whom I call my brother from another mother!).
This week, back by popular demand (everyone liked it so much a few weeks ago), my famous spicy mac-n-cheese casserole. To that I’m also making some Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers. The theme for tonight’s dinner is “Spice is Nice”.
These are really simple to make. I found a bag of about 8 very large jalapeno peppers in my local 99 Cent Only store (yes, I paid a buck for them!). Some people like to wear rubber gloves when handling them so as not to get any hot juice on their hands & fingers. Trust me, if you rub your eyes with jalapeno on your hands, you’ll wish you wore the gloves. Since I didn’t have any on hand, I had to brave it.
This is not your typical single portion meal recipe. As I said, I’m cooking for the 4 of us, so this will yield 3 halves per person. Since they are so huge, I figured this would be quite enough.
- 6 large jalapenos
- 8 oz cream cheese
- Bacon, 12 slices
- Sun-dried tomato halves, about 4-6 depending on size. You want to end up with about 1/4 cup chopped
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Small bowl if cream cheese did not come in a container
- Paring knife, or a steak knife will do too
- shallow baking pan or tin foil
- Set the cream cheese out about 30 minutes before you get started to let it get to room temperature or cook it in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds to soften it up. You don’t want it runny like syrup, just softened so that you can mix it around and work with it easily.
- Add garlic powder to cream cheese.
- Dice up the sun-dried tomatoes and add to cream cheese. Stir ingredients well.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut jalapenos lengthwise in half.
- With the paring knife, cut out the rib that holds the seeds inside the pepper. Use a teaspoon to scrape out the inside of the pepper to get out all of the rib and seeds. Note: If you like it very hot, then you can keep some of the rib intact as the rib & seeds are what make the jalapeno hot.
- Rinse the teaspoon and use the spoon to fill each of the jalapeno halves with the cream cheese mixture. Do not fill beyond the top of the pepper as it may bubble over when cooking.
- Wrap each jalapeno pepper with a slice of bacon. Start the wrap on the top so that you can end on the top.
- Place each pepper on a baking sheet, or you can put a piece of foil on the rack in your oven and place the peppers directly on the rack in the middle of the oven, not the top.
- Bake approximately 10 minutes or until bacon is cooked and crispy. Be sure to check after 10 minutes to make sure peppers are not burning. If they are, then lower oven to 375 degrees.
- I used Turkey bacon. In retrospect this was not a good idea. Although delicious, it is very hard to work with turkey bacon as it is not as flexible as regular port bacon.
- My bacon was frozen when I started out. If yours is too, let it thaw. Then put the slices between some paper towels & pat them dry. You will not be able to work with wet bacon as it will not stick to the pepper & itself properly.
- If you’re having a hard time getting your bacon to wrap around properly, use toothpicks to hold it together.
- As you can see in the pictures, I used my Big Boss to cook these and it took about 10-12 minutes on my lower rack lined with foil. Turkey bacon is much thicker and although already cooked, it takes longer for it to crisp up. You can also make these in a toaster oven although I do not own one and therefore am not able to give you cooking times.
- You can add other fillings into your cream cheese mixture if you like such as scallions or some herbs instead of the sun-dried tomatoes like rosemary, oregano, or thyme. Play around with it and make a few different samples to see which you like best.
- These peppers are great served with a sweet dipping sauce such as raspberry sauce!
Ciao for now!
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