Buried in Jalapenos? Try this Jalapeno Popper Spread

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This year was the first year that we really worked at growing a garden.  We’ve grown tomatoes and lettuce in pots before, but this year, we actually grew a bunch of stuff at home and took on a plot at our community garden.  My go-to garden guru, my Grandpa, passed away last fall, so we were on our own in terms of planning what to grow where, and we ended up… a little crowded…

But, despite our obvious ignorance of things like plant spread and spatial relationships, our garden thrived to bionic proportions, both at home and in the garden plot.  At various points over the summer, we were moments away from dropping off zucchini and tomatoes on the doorsteps of strangers, “ding-dong-ditch” style.  Fortunately, friends passed along recipes as they helped us put our bounty to good use, and we managed to find plenty of ways to prepare the bushels of tomatoes, melon, cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash than we harvested.  But what do you do with a bunch of extra jalapeno peppers?  Call us sissies, but we don’t exactly eat them raw as a side item.  And we’re still picking several of them a day… in hindsight, maybe 3 jalapeno plants was a bit too many to plant.

Although I do generally use one or two jalapeno a week in our various dinner meals, a dozen or more a week is about four times more than I can generally find use for.  Unless, of course, I’m making Texas style stuffed jalapenos, which we love.  Sadly, the size of the peppers we’ve grown is not large enough to easily make stuffed jalapenos, and just as I was about to give up and try to convince another neighbor to take some (I think they hide when they see us coming with produce in hand at this point), I came across this recipe. It called for canned jalapeno, but some of the reviews mentioned using fresh, so I of course pinned it, and not long after, I received feedback from a friend that it was a solid recipe.  So, I gave it a whirl.

First things first, though.  I had to alter a few things, given some of the reviews and comments, and taking into consideration the quantity of ingredients that I had on hand.  I figured, it’s basically cream cheese and mayonnaise.  It’d be practically impossible to screw that up, right?

Simple enough ingredients: mayo, bread crumbs (optional), parmesan cheese, cream cheese, diced green chiles and jalapenos (fresh or canned);

I obviously wanted to use fresh jalapenos, since that was the point of making this dip anyway to begin with, so I swapped a half dozen of those instead of using 2 ounces of canned. I chopped and deseeded the peppers, and then included the seeds from one pepper to spice up the dip a bit.

Chop the peppers up nice and fine, leaving more or less seeds, depending on how spicy you want the dip to be.

After I chopped up the jalapenos, I combined the mayo and softened cream cheese (I used whipped cream cheese, just because it’s what I usually buy) in my food processor, and blended it them together until they were really smooth. Don’t make fun of my food processor.  It’s really just an attachment that came with my blender, and it’s smaller than I would like, but nonetheless, it does a passable job making salsa and baby food and everything else that I use it for, so it earns my respect.

Then I added the green chiles and jalapenos into the food processor with the mayo/cream cheese blend. I only had a 7 ounce can of diced green chiles, so I went ahead and used the whole can.

Blend well.

After it looked well blended, I poured it into a baking dish, and added some parmesan cheese.

The original recipe just said to top it with parmesan, but I wanted to be sure it baked in, so I gave it a few good stirs.

Then,  on the advice of some of the reviewers on the original recipe, I topped the whole thing off with bread crumbs. I didn’t measure, I just sprinkled them on top.

These are Italian seasoned bread crumbs, because that's what I buy, but regular would work just fine.

The original recipe said that you could microwave this if you were pinched for time, but I decided to follow the baked variation, which was for 30 minutes at 375F, since I think that sometimes, good things really do come to those who wait.  And anyway, if I were going to microwave it, I probably wouldn’t bother with the bread crumbs, since they wouldn’t brown up anyway.

Hot and bubbly from the oven.

I served this as a side item with Ritz crackers and pretzel crisps that I got at the Pepperidge Farm outlet.  (Do you have one of those near you?  If you do, and you’ve never been there, hit them up ASAP.  My kids could live on Goldfish crackers if I let them, and they are a great motivating tool for His Majesty.  He’ll do anything for a “KRA-KA”.)  The main dish was portabella quesadillas, which my family usually gobbles up.  However, I think that my husband really ate his quesadilla that evening merely as an excuse to eat more jalapeno dip.  He covered his quesadilla with so much dip that you couldn’t even see the tortilla.  My oldest son ate his with a spoon. So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say they liked it.  Even His Majesty ate a fair share of it on his pretzel crisps.  Four thumbs up from me and my guys.

So, how did your garden grow this year?  Did you get buried in any large harvests, and if so, did you find any interesting ways to use up your extra produce?  Have you made this dip, and was it also a big hit at your house?

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