Healthy Jalapeno Popper Chicken Recipe (a fan favorite)
Ever heard the saying, “The best of both worlds”? It essentially means to combine two of your favorite, or most enjoyable things, that may or may not be in the same category, together. So, for me, the best of both worlds would be a jalapeno popper chicken recipe. Add some bacon, and you’ve got yourself a triple threat.
Now why would you want to do something so crazy, you may ask. Why not?
Jalapeno poppers are essentially a jalapeno pepper, hollowed out, then filled with a cream cheese mixture. Often times, folks add cheddar or Monterey jack cheese to this mixture, along with some garlic. Invented by Anchor Food Products of Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1992, these have become a staple at tailgating parties for almost 30 years.
If you are intimidated by biting into an entire pepper, you can slice them in half. The kicker is how hot do you like them? I generally like to make them to satisfy all tastebuds, so I remove the ribs and seeds, but you are welcome to leave the pepper intact if you want more heat.
Myth Buster: A pepper’s spicy heat actually is found in the pepper’s pith and ribs rather than from the seeds. The seeds, however, may get coated with some capsaicin from their contact with the rib, but they don’t bring the heat.
Jalapeno poppers are not necessarily the most nutritious food you could consume, but they aren’t the worst either. They fit well into any diet or meal plan, especially when they are baked, not fried, and left uncoated (i.e., without breadcrumbs). One jalapeno popper is just 50 calories with 2.9 grams of fat, 4.8 grams of carbs, and 1.4 grams of protein.
Now onto the second part of the jalapeno popper chicken recipe… the chicken breast.
You can never go wrong with chicken. A 3.5-ounce chicken breast (1 serving) provides ~165 calories, 31 grams of protein, and 3.6 grams of fat, so around 80% of the calories in chicken breast are from protein. This quality protein is an excellent source of amino acids, which our bodies use to build muscle and maintain bone density. This can be particularly vital as we age. In other words, consuming quality proteins like chicken can help you build stronger muscles and promote healthier bones, decreasing the risk of injuries and diseases.
To combine the two, simply make a slit into one end of your chicken breast and insert the jalapeno popper. Voila. You could, of course, flatten (or pound) the chicken to become flatter and wrap the flattened breast around the popper; it is really a personal preference.
But wait… there’s more! (Disclaimer: I did not coin this phrase, but I have used it on more than one occasion and feel as though it is very fitting here.)
You can’t just combine these two foods without a sauce or, better yet, the aforementioned bacon. I mean, bacon really does make everything better. And despite some turning their noses up at bacon, it is actually not terrible when consumed in moderation.
Check out my jalapeno popper chicken recipe below and let me know what you think. What would you add, if anything?
- 4 jalapeno peppers large
- 4 oz cream cheese divided into 4 pieces
- 4 chicken breasts skinless and boneless
- ½ cup cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
- 8 slices of bacon
- Cut the top off each jalapeno pepper, and carefully scrape out the ribs and seeds.
- Combine cream cheese and cheese of choice together until creamy.
- Stuff each jalapeno pepper with cheese mixture.
- Place 1 stuffed jalapeno into each chicken breast.
- Wrap the bacon tightly over each chicken roll.
- Repeat with the remaining bacon and chicken rolls.
- Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven or place on a preheated grill.
- Cover and cook until the bacon is beginning to brown and the cheese is beginning to melt and ooze from the sides (15 to 20 minutes).