Want to make an easy appetizer? These stuffed jalapeños are so fast and easy you will want to make them all summer. If you have a pepper roaster that holds the jalapeños standing up, you can use that and make these on the grill. If not, you can slice the jalapeños sideways, and make them on a baking sheet in the oven. The pepper halves will be a lot less spicy. Less jalapeño. But who wants that?
Make sure to wear food handling gloves when working with jalapeños. Whenever we work with peppers, my mom likes to tell a story about how her mother-in-law warned her of this, but being a newly-wed, she decided not to listen. End result – “I had to sleep with my hands in bowls of milk all night!” Dramatic enough that I have never tried this myself. Use the gloves.
12 fresh jalapeños
1 8 ounce package Neufchatel (reduced fat) cream cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked crisp
Stand-up grill tray method:
Soften cream cheese to room temperature. Mix softened cream cheese with crumbled bacon in a small bowl using a potato masher to blend well.
Rinse jalapeños and cut off stem portion. Using a small serrated knife, cut around seed and inner core, being careful not to cut into outside of jalapeño. Remove and discard core and seeds.
Fill jalapeños with cream cheese mixture and put into jalapeño grill tray. Grill over medium-high, indirect heat until peppers brown and cheese bubbles, about 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush lightly with olive oil. Soften cream cheese to room temperature. Mix softened cream cheese with crumbled bacon in a small bowl using a potato masher to blend well.
Rinse jalapeños and cut in half lengthwise. (You can leave the stem or not.) Carefully remove core and seeds using a small knife. Fill halves with cream cheese mixture and arrange on baking sheet, leaving space between peppers. Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until peppers and cheese brown.
As always, let this be your starting point. I looked on the internet and saw tons of cheese variations – Monterey Jack, Queso Fresco, Cheddar, Chèvre, and even Blue. (Also saw peanut butter and jelly… Not so sure, but that could be interesting!) You can stir other things into the cheese mixture like cilantro, chives, garlic, etc. I gave this a test run, but honestly, just the bacon and cream cheese was awesome. Use any leftover cream cheese mixture to spread on crackers or veggies.
If you happen to have a jar of pepper jelly on hand, you could break it out and serve that in a small dish alongside for an added kick of heat and sweet.