I love appetizers. They’re such fun, cute little bite-sized morsels that not only warrant second helpings, but also leave room in your stomach to try a wider variety of foods in one sitting. I would be perfectly happy existing solely on appetizers and desserts–naturally, two of the food categories that are often the most unhealthy for you. :)
Making annual appearances at Superbowl parties and New Year’s Eve events, jalapeno poppers are a pretty established staple in the appetizer world, and I’ve never had a bad version. It’s hard to go wrong with a snack consisting of cheese, bacon, and a spicy kick to finish things off!
Since that formula tends to do a number on any nutritional goals, however, I like to lighten things up just a tad. I still keep the basic formula and flavors, but I nix any sort of breading, and I opt for fat-free cream cheese instead of the creamy goodness that is the full-fat variety.
When making cheesecake, I bring out the good stuff, no question. Appetizers? Not as crucial. This is one area I feel a healthier substitution is perfectly acceptable and doesn’t change the end result very significantly.
On occasion, I also use turkey bacon instead of the real stuff. I actually love Butterball’s most recent turkey bacon product–trust me, things have come a long way since the very earliest, inedible “bacon” products that hit the market! (and I’m a girl who loves her perfect protein)–but I calculated the nutritional information below using real bacon because it’s more readily available and the stats aren’t too scary with just six slices.
Real bacon does taste better, of course! Turkey bacon is a great substitution, though, when you’re really trying to do everything possible to lighten up a favorite app.
The first time I made these, I baked a pan intended to serve six. My 21-year-old brother and I finished off the whole pan by ourselves in less than 15 minutes.
He’s 6’5″ and in college. This is not atypical for him.
For the two of us put together, though? Not so typical.
Needless to say, I don’t think the extra calories were missed too much. I was hoping for leftovers, but no such luck!
Then again, are there ever leftovers in a kitchen with open access to college guys?
Regardless, we enjoyed these, and I didn’t miss the bread or the richer cream cheese. If you’re in search of a less-indulgent New Year’s Eve appetizer or an easy game day snack, look no further! I’ve already made these a few times since, and they definitely received a stamp of approval in my house.
I hope you all have a fun-filled New Year’s Eve and a blessed 2014!
- 8 oz. fat-free cream cheese
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 12 jalapenos, cleaned and sliced down the center
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a bowl, mix cream cheese with cheese, crumbled bacon, and spices. Stuff peppers with cheese mixture, either stuffing whole peppers or slicing each in half to make 24 halves.
- Place jalapenos in baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. For milder peppers, bake longer.
These can be pretty spicy, so if you prefer your jalapeno poppers to be milder, you'll want to bake them longer.
Total Fat: 6.2 g
Cholesterol: 23.5 mg
Sodium: 347.9 mg
Potassium: 55.6 mg
Total Carbs: 2.8 g
Dietary Fiber: .4 g
Sugars: 1.2 g
Protein: 8.2 g