Friday, July 27, 2012

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

When I across this jalapeno popper chicken recipe, I immediately changed that night's dinner plans.  I'm not sure why, considering I've never had a real jalapeno popper in my life but I guess the idea of chicken + cheddar + jalapeno really appealed to me. Also, since it is baked in the oven instead of fried, it really didn't seem like as much of an indulgence.  Finally, it didn't hurt that I had just realized that my original dinner plans would need a quick trip to the store but I just so happened to have everything (or close substitutes) on hand for this recipe.  Good enough reasons for me!

This recipe has a short list of ingredients and minimal prep work.  It did take a little bit of time to stuff the chicken and then about 30 minutes to bake it.  I wish I had pounded the chicken to make them thinner (I think it would have been a little easier to stuff them and a little less time to bake) but altogether, it worked out really well!

Perhaps not surprisingly because we like all the ingredients, we really enjoyed this dish! I only had 1 jalapeno on hand which wasn't too spicy at all but it was creamy and the seasoned panko gave it a great flavor, too.  I served this with a white bean dish, biscuits and salad.

Jalapeno Popper Chicken
Taken from Elly Says Opa
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 2 tsp. canola oil or butter
  • 1.5 – 2 tsp. taco seasoning (or make your own*)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 oz. (about 1/2 cup) reduced fat cream cheese (I used 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of 2% cottage cheese instead)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced (I only had 1 jalapeno but I also added about 1/2 of a diced red bell pepper to sneak in a little more of a vegetable)
  • 4 chicken breasts (I used about a pound)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 and place an ovenproof rack onto a rimmed baking dish. Spray with cooking oil.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat, combine the panko with the canola oil. Cook, stirring often, until the panko is golden and crispy (it probably took about 5-6 minutes). Place in a shallow bowl or dish. To the panko, add the taco seasoning* and stir to combine.
  3. In another shallow bowl or dish, lightly beat an egg. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and jalapeños.
  4. Using a small utility knife, cut a pocket into the side of each chicken breast, or horizontally slice the chicken through the center, until it is almost butterflied. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper, and then divide the cream cheese mixture evenly between each chicken breast’s pocket. Use toothpicks to secure, if necessary.
  5. Dip the chicken pieces one at a time first into the egg, and then into the panko mixture, making sure to coat the chicken completely. Place the chicken on the prepared baking rack and cook for about 25-35  minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

*Note: To make your own taco seasoning mixture, combine 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, 1/8 tsp. onion powder, 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/8 tsp. oregano, 1/8 tsp. paprika, and salt and black pepper to taste.


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