Bachelor Jalapeno Poppers

Making this is hazardous to your comfort. If you are no smarter than I am, then you won’t bother with proper facilities, like outside the house in a fresh breeze. Seriously, food service gloves are HIGHLY recommended for this. Also having ventilation is a good idea.

2 pounds of fresh jalapenos from the produce section. Bigger peppers are easier to stuff and generally take less effort, smaller peppers are hotter flavored in my opinion.
2 blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese. Get the regular stuff, not the low fat version.
1 bag of 4 cheese mexican blend shredded cheese.
1 envelope of zesty italian dressing mix.
2 cups of panko bread crumbs.

Set out all of your cheese to warm to room temperature. It will be MUCH easier to work with.

WARNING: During the following step, DO NOT go to any part of your face with your hands FOR ANY REASON. If you do, 15-20 minutes in the shower with the water set as cool as you can deal with it and plenty of shampoo – plenty of it – used a little at a time, washing and re-washing your face should set you right again.

CAUTION: I recommend you not perform the following step over the kitchen sink with the water running so that you can conveniently rinse the waste down the disposal regardless of what a good idea you may think it is. Water activates oleoresin capsicum, the active ingredient in mace, found naturally occurring in jalapeno peppers. Doing the following with water involved in any way causes unnecessary suffering.

Cut the stem end off your peppers and slice them in half; I recommend you cut them through the curve so that you get two half-moon shaped halves. Clean out the seeds and middle material; a teaspoon works very well for this.

When you are done with all the peppers, place them in a strainer and place the strainer in the sink. Put on safety glasses of some sort and use the sink sprayer AT LOW PRESSURE to wash the peppers.

Go take your shower now; you are in agony because you didn’t take any of my advice. I know you didn’t because I still don’t and I know better. The cheese needs more time to soften anyway.

Mix the cream cheese, 4 cheese blend, and salad dressing mix in a sufficiently large bowl; use one twice as big as it looks like you need. If you doubt my advice on this, I remind you of what happened when you didn’t take my earlier advice about preparing the peppers. OH, the back of a wooden spoon works best for mixing.

Put a cup or so of the panko bread crumbs into a bowl large enough to be able to roll a pepper half inside of it. Add more bread crumbs as needed. Have your baking sheet or tray or whatever next to your work area. Set the oven to 375 and let it pre-heat. Take the bakeware you’ve been storing in it out now rather than discover it in there while trying to load in your tray full of newly made jalapeno poppers.

Fill each jalapeno pepper with cheese mix up to the sides of the pepper, no need to overfill; a teaspoon is best for this. Roll the exposed cheese side of your popper in bread crumbs (they will not stick to the pepper side so don’t bother) and arrange them on your baking tray.

Bake for about 20 minutes; they’re done when the bread crumbs turn brown.

Save the remaining cheese mix for guests who are terrified of spicy foods; that way everyone will be happy!

Try mixing bacon bits into your cheese mix!

Bonus recipe!

Skip the peppers, make the cheese mix, roll it into a ball and coat it with bread crumbs. Serve with original recipe Wheat Thins or similar.

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