Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Two Steppin' Tastebuds- Bacon Wrapped Honey Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Jalapeno poppers are one of my all time favorite treats! I believe I kept Sonic in business during my second pregnancy on vanilla Dr. Peppers and Jalapeno Poppers. I love them. They are the perfect bite of cheesy and spicy and I will take any excuse I can to dunk something in Ranch! Bring it on!!! The other day I was trying to figure out what I could do to spice up some chicken a bit. I started dreaming about new recipes for chicken, then I got jalapeno poppers on the brain and it was all over with. Why not combine the two?! Genius! I pondered on fillings and toppings and what I cam up with is a perfect combo of sweet and heat. I am in love. You get a smokiness from the bacon, some heat from the jalapeno, some creaminess from the cheesy filling and a sweet aftertaste from the jalapeno honey drizzle. YUMMY! This would be a great main dish to cook up on valentine's day when you are wanting to really set your taste buds on fire! You can tone down how much jalapeno you like pretty easily, this versions is about a medium on the heat scale.

Bacon Wrapped Honey Jalapeno Popper Chicken

4 slices thick cut bacon
4 Boneless chicken breasts
Lay each chicken breast between two layers of plastic wrap. Pound the heck out of that chicken until you have one nice, large, flat even piece to work with. Repeat until all chicken is pounded (this is a great stress reliever!)
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper and a wee bit of chili powder. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the following for your filling:
6 oz softened cream cheese
4 oz freshly shredded sharp cheddar or monterey Jack cheese (I use monterey for the picture but I think I would prefer cheddar)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
12-16 pickled jalapeno slices (depending on how hot you like it) finely chopped
Smash all of this together with a fork until thoroughly blended.

Take one chicken breast at a time and place a 4th of the cream mixture in the center. Roll up the edges, then sides like a burrito, to completely wrap up the cheese filling. You don't want any of that yumminess to ooze out if at all possible. Once rolled up, take 1 piece of bacon and wrap it around the chicken tightly. Place on a greased cookie sheet or baking pan and repeat until all chicken is rolled, wrapped and ready to go.
I added one more tiny sprinkle of salt and chili powder...I can't help myself sometimes!
Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Brush a layer or the following Honey Jalapeno sauce over the chicken then turn your oven to broil and let them sit under the broiler for around 3-5 minutes to let the bacon crisp up.
My bacon is not as crispy as I would have liked but I was dying to dig in. Hold on to your britches and let yours stay in the oven closer to 5 minutes. See those yummy Jalapeno slices?!?
Honey Jalapeno Sauce
In a small saucepan on medium/low heat combine the following while the chicken is baking:
1 cup honey
16-20 pickled jalapeno slices
1/2 Tbsp pickled jalapeno juice
Allow this to simmer and sort of fry up the jalapeno slices. Once the chicken is out, ladle some honey over each chicken and top with a few slices of jalapenos.

It is hard to see it but there inside is that creamy filling! If I had used the cheddar then it would show up better.
Enjoy Y'all!

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