my Sous Chef’s jalapeño poppers…

…a recipe from a lonely kitchen.

Just a quick and easy recipe post today, because I miss my Sous Chef. That is a mother’s prerogative which I invoke a few times a semester and this was just one of those weeks. I’m making these in his honor tonight, which will help, but I suspect I’ll be inventing a trip North soon to hug my sweet boy in person.

For months Sous Chef was my loyal pandemic cooking buddy, but when he returned to campus I lost more than a kitchen helper. He has always been my partner in crime, whether a late night milkshake craving, a spontaneous road trip, a new photography challenge or simply holding my hand when I got my ears pierced again. I think he might love to cook and create almost as much as I do, although he approaches it with the precision of an engineer and the appetite of a hungry bear. Me? It’s more art than science or volume, but together we covered all the bases. We were a good team.

note the gloves – fool him once…

Before heading back to school last fall, Sous Chef wanted to be armed with a go-to, signature recipe, so he worked on customizing these baked jalapeño poppers. We sampled another delicious practice round over fall break before their public debut at a dormitory Friendsgiving celebration. These bad boys can be made with or without bacon and are delicious baked – no need to fry.

Jalapeño Poppers


  • 12 fresh jalapeño peppers
  • 1 block cream cheese (8oz), softened
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 scallions, green parts only, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (or to taste)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbs butter, melted


Preheat oven to 400°

Slice peppers in half lengthwise, discard seeds and carve out the thready membranes with a spoon. Gloves are highly recommended – you’ll thank me later.

Combine cream cheese, garlic, bacon, onions, paprika, salt & pepper and cheddar until smooth and well-incorporated.

In another bowl, mix the panko and melted butter.

Stuff each pepper half with a heaping tablespoon or two of the cheese mixture and line everybody up on a sheet pan. Sous Chef found it easier to dip and gently roll the cheese part of the filled pepper into the panko rather than sprinkle it on top, but either way you want to get a good buttery crust going.

Bake about 20 minutes and cool 5, if you can wait that long.

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