Jalapeno Poppers

 

 

The holidays can be hectic. So many people to see, so many presents to wrap, so many places to go.

But once the holidays are over, there comes that wonderful time when it’s too cold to go out and, besides, why go out when the game’s on?

When it’s football Sunday, you need something cheesy, warm and a little spicy to munch on while your team charges to the end zone.

Jalapeno poppers are a bar food favorite. The breaded and fried crust, the spicy pepper, the cool and creamy cream cheese. It’s the layers and the different notes that make poppers so craveable. Plus, they accompany a beer nicely.

Frying is messy. And it’s not the healthiest preparation. So, we’re going to simplify and healthify these poppers by baking them.

For this dish you will need:

  • Jalapenos, halved and seeded
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese at room temp.
  • A cup of mexican cheese

Start by preheating the oven to 350 and covering a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

Half and seed your jalapenos. 

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In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and the cheese.

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Take your mixture

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And, with a tablespoon, fill each jalapeno half

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Until they are all filled and lined up on your cookie sheet.

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Bake for about 20 minutes.

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And there you have a somewhat healthier version of your favorite bar snack for your game day.

Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese

Today starts the one year countdown to the wedding.

I’m not that anxious to get married. I’m more one of those people that likes to mark things. Birthdays, first kiss, anniversary. These are causes for, as my friend Emily says, overcelebration.

So as we’re hitting the one year til we’re married mark, I’m thinking about where we started.

We actually met in October (part of the reason for the wedding being in October), and at the time neither of us were interested in dating.

I thought he was cute. He thought I was cute. We had some things in common. So we’d meet for drinks. Or we’d get Chipotle and hang out.

One of the first more real dates we went on involved beer and spinach artichoke dip. At that point, he shoulda known I was a keeper. No fancy dinners and wine for me. Nope. No thanks. I’ll take bar food at an Irish pub over cloth napkins and china any day.

So, thinking about that night had me thinking about a special dinner. Nothing fancy, but something that was reminiscent of that night in the bar over two years ago.

And so, spinach artichoke mac and cheese was born.

You will need:

  • Spinach
  • artichoke hearts (canned or jarred or frozen)
  • garlic
  • pasta
  • milk
  • fontina

In a large frying pan, sautee spinach. You can use olive oil. Or, if you are using artichokes packed in oil like I am, you can use the oil the artichokes are in for some extra flavor. Also, boil water and cook pasta (I’m using bow ties but you can use whatever shape you like) according to package directions.

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When the spinach is wilted down, add in the artichoke hearts and two cloves of garlic, minced.

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When the spinach is wilted and the artichokes are warmed, empty the mixture into a buttered baking dish.

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At this time, the pasta should be done. Drain the pasta.

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In the same frying pan you sauteed the spinach and artichokes in, pour in one cup of milk and some cubed fontina cheese.

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Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts.

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Dump the pasta into the cheese mixture and stir.

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Next, add the pasta cheese mix to the spinach and artichokes in the baking dish and stir.

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If you want to, add a sprinkle of parmesan over the top. You can add breadcrumbs too if you like. I just did cheese.

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Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

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Pour some beers and gaze at each other across the table, remembering the butterflies he gave you that night and the butterflies he still gives you tonight.