Super Bowl Sunday ya’ll! Who was pumped and ready to go?! I mean, I was, or at least as much as a non-super sports enthusiast could be, BUT I was more pumped for the Super Bowl Sunday feast! Yes, I am that blasphemous individual who goes to these parties for the food over the football (unless there’s a team I really resonate with, then I care just a little bit more about the football over the food). In my defense, Hong Kong was not big on televising many American sports, so I grew up on HK’s Annual Rugby Sevens weekend, aaannnddd that’s about it. But I am not totally lost to the world of sports. Since moving back to the States, and spending as much time as I have with Frankie and his sports loving family, I have found that: hockey is exciting and brings out the rowdy girl in me (GO BLACKHAWKS!); I still don’t like basketball (but can enjoy the sport when I’m actually at the game); baseball is best with beer (GO CUBS GO! WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS 2016!); and football (college or professional) is a touch and go thing with me…if I start committed at the beginning of the season, then I can get into it, but as of late, that hasn’t happened, so I only watch with mild interest while I mutli-task.
But regardless, there was a party ahead of me on Sunday morning and I was going to bring my favorite crowd pleasure: Bacon Wrapped Amazing (BWA, or in technical food terms, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers). These gluten-free beauties (no frying required!) are my take on the BWA’s at Southport Lanes & Billiards, and never have I ever seen one left uneaten by the end of the night. (Quick Recommendation: For any Chicagoan looking for a good bowling night with an actual human setting the pins and rolling your ball back with a napkin note stuffed in one of the finger holes, this is a great place to go with a group of 4 or more! Oh, and they have a kickass pool hall too, which is a plus. But get the bacon wrapped jalapeños. They’re the bomb.)
Okay, pay attention, because this is the MOST important part of this whole thing. Gloves. I have fairly soft, sensitive skin, and by sensitive, I mean that for the chimicurri sauce I made last weekend, my hands were burning from roasting and manipulating just ONE jalapeño, so please do invest in a box of gloves from your grocery store or pharmacy and save your hand from HOURS of burning (or three heavy washings under hot water, which won’t be pleasant, and dosing your skin in olive oil)…and I will say, as I’ve gotten older, the burning comes on soon, lasts longer, and has gotten progressively more painful, so GLOVES! And when you’re removing the seeds and ribs, using a spoon with a thin edge is easier than using a small paring knife (in my opinion)!
Now, for those on a budget (like me), and for those who just can’t always find a reliable source of cheese curds, I like to go with Laughing Cow’s Creamy White Cheddar spread. You can use any spread cheese, like cream cheese (which isn’t Frankie’s fave, so we just don’t use it), or flavor that you think would go well, but I highly recommend staying away from cubed cheese as they just won’t hold up to the baking/broiling and may find yourself cleaning globs of blackened cheese off the bottom of your oven (unless you’re using curds, then those should be fine, but I would make sure to still wrap your bacon tightly to prevent the cheese from escaping).
Tip: Soak a sturdy brand of toothpick to prevent burning and keep these bacon wrapped amazings secure throughout the cooking process. Even under a broiler for five minutes, they should hold up to the heat and make it easy for guests to just pick a piece, dip, and eat! Additional Tip: If you’re feeling a little on the lazy side, as I do too sometimes, use Hidden Valley’s Southwest Chipotle dressing for the dip, but any chipotle dressing will work! Otherwise you can make your own using any chipotle mayo recipe (but I like their dressing, so I usually just go for that). I guarantee this will be an INSTANT crowd pleaser and I hope many of you will enjoy it enough to make it a go-to appetizer for any future party!
Happy eating and hoping everyone had a good Sunday!
Cooking Maggie Out!
The Real Cooking Maggie’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapeños
Makes 16 Jalapeños, adjust portions to fit crowd
- 8 fresh jalapeños
- 1 container (8 wedges) Laughing Cow White Cheddar Cheese
- 12 slices of bacon (not thick cut)
- Chipotle Ranch Dressing
- Kitchen Gloves
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Put on gloves.
- Slice the jalapeños lengthwise, then de-seed and clean the membranes from the inside using a small paring
- knife or thin edge spoon! Also leave the stems for one half! They’re like little food hats!Using a butter knife (or your gloved finger) and fill each jalapeño half with cheese (I have found that using half of a wedge per jalapeño half is just enough, but you can always get an extra container of cheese wedges just in case). The cheese should be roughly level with the edges of the jalapeño.
- Put toothpicks in 1/4 cup of water. Start to wrap a slice of bacon around each jalapeno half (from top to bottom) and secure bacon end in place with toothpick. Arrange the jalapeños on an aluminum foil covered cookie pan (with lipped edges to prevent bacon grease from dripping into your oven), place in oven for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through. When bacon is just about done, pop them under a broiler for about 5-6 minutes, turning halfway through, for extra crispness (keep in longer for preferred crispiness).
- Serve with Chipotle Ranch Dressing or homemade Chipotle Mayo.