Here is a simple and delicious appetizer that is great for an afternoon or evening party. I made them the first time because I was being pressured to use up all the jalapeño peppers that I had bought (They were on sale!), but I have made them often again, sometimes at the request of my wife.
Occasionally a friend will comment that they are a bit hot, usually as they are reaching for a second or third popper. And for those who cannot tolerate the heat from peppers, I suggest that they try the stuffed mushrooms.
Jalapeño peppers (2 to 2 1/2 inches long ones are best)
Cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese
Preheat the oven to 375º.
Cut the strips of bacon into thirds or halves. (I use halves of thick cut bacon, which doesn’t stretch as much as ordinary bacon, though I have also used thirds of regular commercial bacon.) Put a roasting rack on a baking pan.
Put on your rubber gloves. Wash and cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise. With a spoon or knife, remove the seeds and white membrane. Fill each half with softened cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese. Wrap each jalapeño half with bacon, Secure the bacon with a toothpick to finish the popper and place it on the rack.
Bake the poppers about 22 to 27 minutes until the bacon starts to brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
NOTES: The amount of cheese you need depends on the size of the peppers. An eight ounce package of cheese will be plenty for 24 poppers. Neufchatel cheese seems to work just as well as cream cheese. The major difference is that Neufchatel has fewer calories and is a little less creamy in the poppers, but people seem to like them equally well. Wear rubber gloves while working with hot peppers unless you know that you can take the heat.