Baked chicken jalapeño poppers

Reduced-fat version of a popular restaurant appetizer

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Jalapeño poppers are a popular party snack, but ugh... the calories! This baked version cuts the fat and adds a lean chicken and lower-fat cheese in place of traditional fatty cheese.

Believe it or not, these poppers couldn't be easier. The seasoned panko breadcrumbs let you keep the crunch without frying, and while they're not exactly a low-fat food, they're significantly lower in calories and fat than the ones you get in restaurants.

Baked chicken jalapeño poppers recipe

Yields 20 – 24

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast (about 4 ounces), boiled until cooked through and shredded (season as desired)
  • 1 (8 ounce) block Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 2 ounces white Mexican cheese blend (ours had asadero, queso quesadilla and cotija)
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 egg whites, beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon Spanish paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 10 – 12 fresh jalapeños, halved and seeded (wear gloves!)
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken breast, Neufchatel, green chilies, Mexican cheese, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt and the pepper and set aside.
  3. In a separate shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs, paprika, garlic, chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
  4. Fill the jalapeño halves with the chicken mixture.
  5. Dip the filled jalapeños in the egg whites, covering the top of the chicken mixture, too. Then dip the coated jalapeño into the breadcrumb mixture, coating all sides and the chicken mixture (use a spoon).
  6. Spray the peppers with a bit of cooking spray and place them on a greased baking pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with additional paprika if desired.

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Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix the Fish. You can follow her on Twitter @HireHeather.

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