Posts Tagged ‘easy’

Chicken “Fried” Steak & Gravy

June 14th, 2010

Chicken Fried Steak

Week 4, day 1 of My Eating Well Challenge. As a rainy, overcast week, I decided this weeks’ recipes would come from EatingWell’s Comfort Foods Made Healthy.

I’ve eaten chicken fried steak twice. The first time as kind of a lark when I found it on a menu in New York City, having never seen the dish before. The second time was in Texas when a friend’s mother made it for dinner. It was delicious both times, but it did not become one of my favorites, probably because it is phenomenally heavy. One cannot deny that it qualifies as great comfort food. Could it be made with less fat and still taste as good?

I’m pleased to say that I liked the crust of the EatingWell version better than the others. Rather than just seasoned flour, this recipe uses cornmeal, which adds crunch as well as great flavor. The texture is really outstanding. But I had a terrible time with the gravy. The creaminess of the half-and-half didn’t really come through, and I found the beef stock a little overwhelming; I’d be inclined to use chicken stock if I ever make this again. Lastly, even though I whisked it in, the cornstarch became lumpy and I found there was just too much of the slurry (easily resolved by straining the sauce). That being said, cornstarch is my nemesis. I find sauces made with cornstarch to be a little too gluey. If you’ve got nothing against cornstarch, this gravy will be right up your alley (just use a couple of teaspoons rather than a full tablespoon). My family went back for seconds..

Chicken-Fried Steak & Gravy
From EatingWell’s Comfort Foods Made Healthy
View the recipe and nutritional information at

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch, divided
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pound cube steak, cut into 4 portions
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup half-and-half

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Place all-purpose flour on a large plate. Place egg whites in a shallow dish. Whisk cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch and paprika in another shallow dish. Season both sides of steak with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Dredge the steak in the flour, shaking off excess; dip in the egg whites, then dredge in the cornmeal mixture.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add 2 pieces of the steak; cook until browned on both sides, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes total. Transfer the steak to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 2 pieces of steak. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, add broth to the pan and boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 cup, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk water and the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in half-and-half; season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Serve the steak topped with the gravy.

EatingWell’s Pepperoni Pizza

June 7th, 2010

EatingWell's Pepperoni Pizza

Week 3, day 2 of My Eating Well Challenge.

When people ask, “If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one food, what would it be?” I often think my answer would be pizza. Between the dough, the sauce, and the toppings, the variations are practically endless. I am also not prejudiced in favor of any one particular style. Although I am particularly fond of the thin-crust style I grew up with in Brooklyn, I can appreciate deep-dish, stuffed, and most variations of toppings.

This recipe has intrigued me since I first read it. According to EatingWell, adding pumpkin puree to the sauce increases fiber and beta carotene, but what about the taste? It turns out it’s quite good. One wouldn’t notice unless they were looking for an odd ingredient, they’d just think it’s a relatively sweet sauce. When I questioned my family, they guessed sweet potato. I believe adding a bit of salt to the sauce would balance the flavor.

The recipe also features a favorite secret ingredient of mine: Turkey pepperoni. I am generally disappointed by “replacement” foods, but turkey pepperoni is an exception. When cooked, its flavor is nearly identical to the pork and beef version, but has significantly less fat.

This pizza is certainly no replacement for my beloved Fascati or Grimaldi, but it’s a very good, satisfying pizza that can be prepared quickly. I’m sure little kids would love this recipe (and they can help make it, too).

EatingWell’s Pepperoni Pizza
From The EatingWell Healthy Heart Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information at

1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough, (see Shopping Tip), thawed if frozen
1 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni (1/2 cup)

1. Place oven rack in the lowest position; preheat to 450°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to the size of the baking sheet. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake until puffed and lightly crisped on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Whisk pumpkin puree, tomato sauce and garlic powder in a small bowl until combined.

4. Spread sauce evenly over the baked crust. Top with mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni. Bake until the crust is crispy on the edges and the cheeses have melted, about 12 minutes.

Warm Chicken Sausage & Potato Salad

June 2nd, 2010

Warm Chicken Sausage & Potato Salad

Week 3, day 1 of My Eating Well Challenge. A head cold, a long weekend, and a bout of spring cleaning slowed me down, but I did manage to prepare a few recipes from The EatingWell Healthy Heart Cookbook. Fortunately, most EatingWell recipes can be made in a very short time with very little effort.

Through my teens, the only potato salad I encountered regularly was gloppy with mayonnaise and chopped egg. Not being a fan of either ingredient, I shunned potato salad for years. So one may imagine my delight when I had my first taste of German style potato salad. Warm potatoes and bacon in a dressing of vinegar, mustard, and bacon fat. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

This is a wonderful variation with the familiar spicy and tart dressing. The greens add a nice mouthfeel and slight bitterness. We felt this salad could even be prepared without the sausage as a side dish.

Warm Chicken Sausage & Potato Salad
From The EatingWell Healthy Heart Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information at

1 pound small potatoes, cut in half
1 5-ounce bag arugula (about 4 cups, gently packed)
12 ounces precooked chicken sausage, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon whole-grain or Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Place potatoes in a steamer basket and steam, covered, until just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add arugula; cover with foil to keep warm.

2. Cook sausage in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until browned and heated through, about 5 minutes. Add to the potato-arugula mixture.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in vinegar, maple syrup and mustard, scraping up any browned bits. Gradually whisk in oil. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until the arugula is wilted. Season with pepper.

Turkey Mini Meatloaves

May 25th, 2010

Turkey Mini Meatloaf

Week 2, day 4 of My Eating Well Challenge.

In 1990, there was a film about an advertising executive whose “truthful” campaigns are accidentally published. One of those was for Volvo: “They’re boxy, but they’re good.” This is exactly the thought I had when I tasted the meatloaf, due to its compact, rectangular shape. I have made this recipe using muffin tins, but I found the small loaf shape is more attractive for serving and makes for more evenly cut slices for sandwiches.

You will be absolutely stunned at how quickly the recipe comes together. Turkey meatloaf tends to be dry, but this recipe is particularly moist thanks to the vegetables and couscous, and just a touch spicy from the mustard and Worcestershire.  Ignoring the color, one does not miss the beef at all.  I replaced the optional barbecue sauce with Heinz chili sauce, as I prefer the tomato flavor with meatloaf. They reheat perfectly, making a satisfying lunch the next day.

Turkey Mini Meatloaves
From EatingWell’s Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information on

1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
1 medium zucchini, shredded
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup uncooked whole-wheat couscous
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup barbecue sauce, (optional – I used Heinz chili sauce)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously spray a nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. Gently mix turkey, zucchini, onion, bell pepper, couscous, egg, Worcestershire, mustard, pepper and salt in a large bowl, preferably with your hands, without overworking. Equally divide the mixture among the muffin cups. Spread barbecue sauce on top of each loaf, if using.

3. Bake until the meatloaves are cooked through or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 165 degrees F, about 25 minutes. Let the loaves stand in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.

Five-Spice Chicken & Orange Salad

May 25th, 2010

Five-Spice Chicken & Orange Salad

Week 2, day 3 of My Eating Well Challenge.  I am behind on blogging, but not on cooking!

What a delicious and refreshing salad! The sweet and savory five-spice seasoning is nicely paired with oranges and a tart mustard and cider vinegar dressing. I was a little concerned the combination might taste like Christmas, but the Asian-inspired flavors are quite subtle. Crisp peppers and onions brighten the dish. I disagree with some user comments on that recommend doubling the rub recipe; I feel that would overpower the other flavors. The recipe as-is is well balanced.

Five-Spice Chicken & Orange Salad
From The EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information on

6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon five-spice powder, (see Note)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
3 oranges
12 cups mixed Asian or salad greens
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup slivered red onion
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine 1 teaspoon oil, five-spice powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture into both sides of the chicken breasts.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn them over and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 165°F), 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board; let rest for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, peel and segment two of the oranges (see Tip), collecting segments and any juice in a large bowl. (Discard membranes, pith and skin.) Add the greens, bell pepper and onion to the bowl. Zest and juice the remaining orange. Place the zest and juice in a small bowl; whisk in vinegar, mustard, the remaining 4 teaspoons oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the salad; toss to combine. Slice the chicken and serve on the salad.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Creamy Chive Sauce

May 22nd, 2010

Chicken with Creamy Chive Sauce

Week 2, day 2 of My Eating Well Challenge.

Sauces can make a plain dinner something special, and this one is no exception. This dish is reminiscent of French bistro fare. The pungent mustard is tempered by the sour cream and stock. I was surprised that the shallot and chive did not give the sauce too much onion flavor, and in fact we would have liked a bit more. Next time I would try this with slivered green onion. Roasted fingerling potatoes were the perfect medium to sop up the luscious sauce.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Creamy Chive Sauce

From the EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional information at

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 pound), trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped chives, (about 1 bunch)

1. Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch. Season both sides of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place 1/4 cup flour in a shallow glass baking dish and dredge the chicken in it. Discard the excess flour.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm.

3. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour; stir to coat. Add wine, broth and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil, stirring often.

4. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until heated through and no longer pink in the center, about 6 minutes. Stir in sour cream and mustard until smooth; turn the chicken to coat with the sauce. Stir in chives and serve immediately.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Kale & Rice

May 15th, 2010

Stuffed Roasted Red Pepper

Week 1, Day 3 of My Eating Well Challenge. I like to eat vegetarian a few days a week, but vegetarian main dish entrees can become boring without some inspiration. While this is not the most creative entree, it has some very nice flavor reminiscent of many Italian style dishes I’ve had, and the greens make the stuffing substantial and flavorful. I substituted mustard greens, as they were in better condition than the kale at my market. Although light on their own, the peppers make a filling dish when served with a side salad. One thing to note, keep a watch on the peppers when roasting them. I let them go a little too long and my pepper bowls nearly became pepper plates.

Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Kale & Rice
From The Essential Eating Well Cookbook
View the recipe and nutrition information at

You can vary the filling by substituting robust mustard greens or collards, or milder greens, such as spinach, escarole or Swiss chard.

3 medium red bell peppers
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste


8 ounces kale, (6 cups lightly packed), trimmed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup cooked short-grain brown rice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. To prepare peppers: Preheat oven to 400°F. Halve peppers lengthwise through the stems, leaving them attached. Remove the seeds. Lightly brush the peppers outside and inside with oil; sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper. Place, cut-side down, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake until peppers are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly. Turn cut-side up.

2. To prepare filling: Bring 2 cups salted water to a boil in a large wide pan. Stir in kale, cover and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water; squeeze dry. Finely chop.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and chopped bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until onion is golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the kale. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Stir in rice, Parmesan, 2 tablespoons pine nuts and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the filling among the pepper halves. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons pine nuts.

4. Add 2 tablespoons water to the baking dish. Cover the peppers with foil and bake until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5 minutes more. Serve hot.

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin With Sweet and Tangy Watermelon Salad

May 11th, 2010

Pork Tenderloin with Watermelon Salad

Week 1, Day 1 of My Eating Well Challenge. This meal was absolutely fantastic. The pork was super-juicy and the flavor of the rub did not overpower that of the pork. The only thing it needed was more salt. But it is the watermelon salad that is going to become a household recipe. If you invite me to a barbecue this summer, it’s what I’ll be bringing. It is bright and interesting, savory, sweet and refreshing.

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
From The Essential EatingWell Cookbook
View the recipe and nutr
itional info. at
Makes 6 servings.

The bright fresh taste of a watermelon and cucumber salad makes a sensational counterpoint to the fiery spice crust on this succulent pork tenderloin. It’s important to brown the meat before roasting, since this cut cooks too quickly for the surface to brown and caramelize in the oven. Grill enthusiasts may omit the stove-top browning (Step 3) and grill the tenderloins over medium heat, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes.

2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed
4 cups Sweet & Tangy Watermelon Salad (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2. Mix sugar, coriander, cumin, salt, chile sauce and 1 teaspoon oil in a small bowl to form a smooth paste. Rub the paste over the pork.

3. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork; cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet.

4. Roast the pork until just cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes (an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should register 155°F). Let stand, loosely covered with foil, for 5 minutes. (Note, my tenderloin was thin – it only took about 15 minutes in the oven, so watch carefully. -taetopia)

5. Meanwhile, make Sweet & Tangy Watermelon Salad. Carve the pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve with the watermelon salad.

Sweet & Tangy Watermelon Salad
From The Essential EatingWell Cookbook
View the recipe and nutritional info. at
Makes about 4 cups.

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar (I cut this to 2 teaspoons. -taetopia)
2 cups diced seeded watermelon
2 cups diced cucumber
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, toasted

Stir together vinegar and sugar in a medium bowl until the sugar almost dissolves. Add watermelon, cucumber and cilantro; toss gently to combine. Just before serving, sprinkle with peanuts.

My Eating Well Challenge

May 10th, 2010

The EatingWell Cookbooks

EatingWell Magazine and have been my go-to resources to find easy, nutritious recipes for several years. I particularly like their recipes because the ingredients are real food; no sugar-substitutes or ingredient-laden packaged items. Plus, I know from experience that their recipes work.

I own every one of their cookbooks, except the diabetes book, but for some reason I don’t cook from them. EatingWell offers almost all the recipes from their cookbooks and magazines on their website; an absolutely incredible library at one’s fingertips. I will sometimes browse the site, shop on the way home, and cook in the evening. But between traffic and lines at the market, my family sometimes doesn’t eat until well after 8PM, and by that time I’m completely exhausted.

I thought I’d try something I haven’t done in a while: Plan a week’s worth of meals. It is clear that the unhealthiest way to eat is on-the-fly. By dinnertime, one is scrounging for ingredients or relying on take-out. So on Sunday, while drinking my morning coffee, I dusted off The Essential EatingWell Cookbook, the first one of their publications I owned, and picked out four recipes to make for the week. I found that leafing through the book presented me with more options at once, as opposed to waiting for each page to load on my computer. I liked it. Besides, I love leafing through cookbooks. What a nice thing to do on a Sunday morning!

I made a shopping list, went to the supermarket, and am now the proud owner of the ingredients for four dinners for my family (with leftovers for lunches, I hope).

If this goes well, I’ll move on to another book next week and another the week after, until I finish cooking from each EatingWell book I own. Of course, this adventure will be interspersed with other recipes, book and restaurant reviews, and items of note, as usual. Stay tuned!

Update: July 14, 2010 – Lessons from Cooking at Home and My Eating Well Challenge

The recipes (*=favorite recipes):

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Sweet and Tangy Watermelon Salad*

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Roasted Peppers Stuffed with Kale and Rice

Vegetarian Reubens with Russian Dressing*

Apple, Sauerkraut, Cheddar & Ham Quesadillas*

Cheese Tortellini with Spinach & Asparagus

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Creamy Chive Sauce

Five Spice Chicken & Orange Salad*

Turkey Mini Meatloaves*

Warm Chicken Sausage & Potato Salad*

EatingWell’s Pepperoni Pizza

Ham & Swiss Rosti*

Chicken “Fried” Steak & Gravy

Beef & Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

EatingWell’s Baked Macaroni & Cheese*

BBQ Jalapeño Poppers

April 11th, 2010

BBQ Jalapeno Poppers

I have been reading The Pioneer Woman Cooks for quite some time. Written by Ree Drummond, the blog features recipes intertwined with entertaining and soulful stories of life on a working ranch, caring for her kids and husband, holidays with family, and the seemingly endless number of people she knows. But it’s the photos that captivate, making the blog feel like you’re reading a photo-journal created by your best friend.

Published in October of 2009, The Pioneer Woman’s cookbook follows the blog’s visually striking theme. This is the perfect book for someone who may not feel entirely comfortable in the kitchen, with tons of gorgeous instructional photographs and a laid-back, take-it-easy style of cooking. It’s also a great book for people who love meat, meat, cream, butter, and meat, which I do.

These BBQ Jalapeño Poppers are not only delicious, but they are wickedly fun to make; probably because you know you’re about to serve your guests something irresistible. They’ve got cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, and BBQ sauce. They’re about as evil as a finger food can get.

If you are judicious about removing the peppers’ veins and seeds, you’ll have no spiciness, leaving just the flavor of the jalapeño. Next time, I’d likely leave some of the veins in as I missed the heat. Ree mentions a variation to add pineapple before wrapping the poppers in bacon, which I desperately wanted to try but ran out of time. I’m a little glad about that. Glazing the bacon with BBQ sauce makes these taste like pig candy, so no extra sweetness is needed here. Lastly, do what the recipe says and use a thin cut of bacon (or pound out a thick cut). I used Niman Ranch which is cut thicker than your typical supermarket brand, and I think the bacon could be a little crisper than what I achieved.

These made a great finger-food snack for our Sunday poker game, and fulfilled a promise I made to make a jalapeño-poppers-with-bacon recipe over the weekend for my friend Kip. So, with thanks to Karol who sent me the book for my birthday, these are for you, Kip.

BBQ Jalapeño Poppers
by Ree Drummond
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl
©2009 WM Morrow

There are many different versions of these delightful pop-in-your-mouth jalapeños. My sister-in-law Missy makes a more basic version, stuffing jalapeño halves with plain cream cheese, wrapping them with bacon, and baking them slowly for half an hour or so. When she’s feeling particularly mischievous, Missy cooks them on the grill. Either way, they’re a real treat. Here’s my spin on the old classic.

Important: Wear gloves when working with fresh jalapeños or you’ll curse the ground on which I walk because you’ll wake up in the middle of the night with throbbing fingertips. And that’s nothing compared to what happens if you accidentally scratch your eye – or worse, something else.

– 18 fresh jalapeños
– One 8-ounce package cream cheese
– 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
– 1 green onion, sliced
– 18 slices thin bacon, cut into halves
– Bottled barbecue sauce
– Toothpicks
– Rubber gloves (or plastic bags) for working with jalapeños

1. Preheat oven to 275°F.

2. Begin by cutting jalapeños in half lengthwise (see warning in headnote). Try to keep the stems intact. They look prettier that way.

3. With a spoon, scrape out the seeds and light-colored membranes. Remember, the heat comes from the seeds and the membranes, so if you can handle the sizzle, leave some of them intact.

4. Now, in a bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and chopped green onion. Mix the ingredients together gently. And don’t feel you have to use an electric mixer. I do because I’m lazy and don’t like to exert myself, ever. (Too much scrubbing clothes in the washboard, I suppose.)

5. Next, stuff each hollowed jalapeño half with the cheese mixture.

6. Wrap bacon slices around each half, covering as much of the surface as you can. Be careful not to stretch the bacon too tightly around the jalapeño, as the bacon will contract as ti cooks.

7. Brush the surface of the bacon with your favorite barbecue sauce. Chutney or apricot jelly works well, too!

8. Secure the jalapeños with toothpicks and pop them in the oven for 1 hour, or until the bacon is sizzling.

9. Serve hot or at room temperature, and watch them disappear within seconds. I’ve seriously caught guests stuffing these into their purses. Sometimes I have to call law enforcement.

Helpful Hints: Make three times more than you think you’ll need. (You’ll just have to trust me.)

Poppers can be assembled up to a day ahead of time and kept in the fridge before cooking. Or, they can be fully cooked and frozen in plastic bags until you need them. Just thaw and warm up in the oven before serving.

Unless you’re prepared to become instantly addicted, do not place two of these on your hamburger. I mean it. Don’t. There’ll be no turning back after that. (I’m dying to try this. -taetopia)


– For a simpler version, omit the cheddar and green onion from the cream cheese.

– Cut sliced peaches or pineapple into small bits and press them into the cream cheese before wrapping the jalapeños in bacon.

– Use pepper jack cheese instead of the cheddar cheese.