Bacon-Wrapped, Queso-Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers for Playoffs and Super Bowl

If you have read entries from this blog before, you might know that I absolutely LOVE Mexican food. If I were asked what my last meal would be, it would be some variation of a fried corn tortilla beef taco with guacamole and a majorly spicy red hot sauce. …I think I might have even written this before…and will probably mention it again…and again…

Luckily I’m not having my last meal but when the temptation for Mexican fare hits, I can race down to the nearest Roberto’s or Alberto’s or any of the other small drive-through Mexican eateries here in Southern California and stuff my face along with the local surfers.

Or I fix it DIY style.

This is one of those DIY American/Mexican-style recipes–the kind that calls to me after drinking some wine on a Saturday night or when I’m planning on making some appetizers for a big game day (football in our house).

It’s a mixture of a cheesy, gooey queso cheese dip stuffed inside a BIG, fresh, spicy jalapeno. Then, best of all, wrapped in BACON! Yes.

On your mark, get set…here’s what you do to make these babies.

Ingredients:

-Six big, fresh whole jalapenos cut in half lengthwise with most of the seeds and membranes removed with a spoon (leave more for spiciness)
-4 oz. of Velveeta cheese or other American cheese
-2 tbsp. of regular or lite sour cream
-1/4 c. of chunky red, green or your favorite salsa
-Two chopped green onions, white and green parts included
-Six slices of bacon, any cut, cut in half across

Directions: 

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Take your beautiful jalapenos and cut them in half lengthwise, keeping the stem in tact for decoration. Take a spoon and run it through the seeds and membrane to remove most (if you like it semi spicy) or only some (if you like it muy caliente!) of the insides.

Then, put your cheese, sour cream, salsa and green onions in a medium-sized bowl, cover with a paper towel and microwave until the cheese starts to bubble a little. Mix, recover and microwave until smooth but not over cooked, too hard or brown. Sauce should be fairly thick and not runny since you want it to stick to the inside of the jalapenos and not ooze out when you bake them. Add more American cheese and heat if you need a thicker consistency.

Next, take your spoon and fill the jalapenos with the queso mixture. Once they’re all filled, wrap one half bacon slices around each jalapeno and make sure the seams are on the underside of the pepper. Lay each stuffed pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes to cook the bacon. Once the bacon is looking done, turn on the broiler and raise peppers to a higher rack and broil to get that extra crispness on top.

There you go! These guys are game changers.

 

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My Mother-In-Law’s English Sausage Rolls for Dinner

I don’t think I had ever had a sausage roll before I met my husband. But when he and I started dating, a tin of about a dozen or so would arrive in the mail before each Christmas and more than half a dozen would quickly disappear because of a new (and now continued) obsession I had with these little masterpieces.

I have since had my mother-in-law scribe her original recipe for me and for my husband, who loves them, and for our children to have for the future. She and my father-in-law are originally from England, where they grew up eating these treats. I keep the recipe protected in a plastic sheet because traditions like these ought to be preserved. In fact, I adore these savory pastries and my mother-in-law so much that I included the recipe in a class cookbook at my son’s preschool to pass it on to other families that might enjoy them over the years as either appetizers, snacks or for a main course at dinnertime. But mostly, the recipe carries on and preserves a very special family tradition on my husband’s side of the family.

I even made them in a mini version for my son’s annual “Art Night” event and they were gobbled up by kids and adults alike.

And nothing could be simpler to make. The ingredients include:

-1 package of folded puff pastry dough
-1 pound of any type of sausage you like, casings removed or bought in bulk
-One beaten egg or melted butter

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Start by removing the puff pastry from the container and unrolling it lightly onto a floured surface. With a pizza cutter begin to cut 3 inch strips down the length of the dough. Pull about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the raw, loose sausage and roll into a small log shape to about 2 inches in length. Place the sausage log starting at the bottom of one of the strips of pastry and roll the dough around it. Cut with the pizza cutter where the pieces of dough meet, press ends together and place seam-side down onto greased baking sheet. Don’t worry about sealing the ends. Do this until you have used all of the sausage and dough.

Next, brush the top of the sausage rolls with either beaten egg or melted butter and place them into the oven for about 18 minutes or until they are golden brown and you see some fat being rendered. There you have it! We usually like to serve them with the hot, English dry mustard that you mix with water. So yummy and comforting. They make great after school snacks for kids, too!