jalapeño popper chicken

popper chicken 1We absolutely LOVED this dinner.  Seriously loved it.  Easily one of my favorite things we’ve made recently.  Daren is a huge fan of jalapeño poppers, so I knew he would enjoy it.  I’ve had it in my “to make” list for like 6 months – no idea why it took me so long to give it a try. Now that we have, I can’t wait to make it again!

popper chicken 2This is one recipe where I think it is totally worth it to buy panko instead of regular breadcrumbs.  Panko doesn’t tend to soak up liquid and grease the way that regular breadcrumbs do, so it keeps the chicken much crispier.  Toasting it on the stove first also gives it an extra crunch.  I would also gradually add jalapeño into the cheese mixture, tasting as you go, to make sure it has the right amount of spice for you.  We actually used pickled jalapeños instead of fresh, because Daren prefers the taste.  Either one should work fine.

**By the way, my LASIK surgery went perfectly! I am SO happy with the results.  I’ve had very minimal discomfort (the fluorescent light at work today was a bit of a struggle) and my eyesight is already fantastic.  At my follow-up appointment today my right eye was at 20/20 and my left eye was at 20/30, and they should continue to improve! The whole experience was a little bizarre but so worth it.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who is considering it!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. taco seasoning (or mixture described below)*
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 oz. cream cheese (reduced fat is fine), softened
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 – 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 2 chicken breasts

*To make your own taco seasoning, 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, and 1/8 tsp. paprika.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Spray an oven-safe wire rack with cooking spray.  Place inside a rimmed baking sheet.

In a small skillet over medium heat, stir together the panko and canola oil.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the panko has turned golden brown.  Remove from heat and stir in the taco seasoning, as well as some salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the panko mixture into a shallow bowl or dish.  Break the egg into a second shallow bowl and beat lightly.

In another small bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, shredded cheddar and jalapeños.  Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket into the side of each chicken breast.  Divide the cheese mixture between the two chicken breasts and stuff into the pockets.  Use toothpicks to secure the pockets if necessary.

Dip the chicken pieces one at a time first into the egg, then into the panko mixture.  Make sure to coat the chicken completely.  Place the chicken breasts onto the prepared baking rack and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Yield: 2 servings

Source: Elly Says Opa

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