I LOVE SPICY FOODS! Who’s with me?? I have to be honest, it’s taken me quite some time to get my taste buds used to the heat, but now I look for spicy foods on menus and love adding a kick to anything I can. When it comes to eating out, if I see a jalapeno popper on a menu, I’m going to get it. The spicy pepper mixed with the cheese and then well it’s fried sooo what’s not to love!? With the holidays just around the corner, like literally, around the corner (umm like 4 days away!), I wanted to make something a little different for our appetizer platter, but also wanted to have something a bit lighter. Nothing like having your guests fill up on apps before your main meal and then not even making a dent in all that food you worked so hard to prepare. So I present to you the baked jalapeno popper! When I found this recipe by my favorite light cook, Gina of Skinnytaste.com, I had to try it ASAP. I actually ran out to the store and bought all the ingredients to make it that very day, and I’m SO happy I did. They are still amazingly cheesy, but leaving the peppers nearly full sized, allows you to feel satisfied after just a few without going totally crazy. It also allows for some control of the heat level with leaving or removing the seeds and membrane from the peppers. They’re still perfectly gooey and crunchy thanks to the Panko! Try them out and maybe they’ll be make it onto your Thanksgiving or other holiday party menus!
- 12 jalapeño peppers, sliced in half lengthwise
- 4.5 oz light cream cheese
- 5 medium scallions, green part only, sliced
- 2 oz shredded low fat sharp cheddar
- 1/2 cup egg beaters or egg whites, beaten
- 1/2 cup panko crumbs*
- 1/8 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp chili powder
- salt and fresh pepper
- spray oil
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Cut peppers in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membrane. (I left some of each in tact as I like things spicy. Remove completely if not)
- Combine cream cheese, cheddar and scallions in a medium bowl.
- Combine panko, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in another bowl.
- Fill peppers with cheese filling with a small spoon or spatula.
- Dip peppers in egg beaters/whites.
- Place pepper in panko mixture, using a spoon to make sure all the seasoning doesn’t fall to the bottom of the bowl.
- Spray a baking rack with oil spray. (I lined my pan with foil for easier cleanup – just in case some of the panko fell off)
- Lightly spray the peppers with a little more oil spray.
- Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until golden and cheese oozes out.