Friday, 17 January 2014

Jalapeño Popper Chicken

This year, I'm trying to plan ahead for meals. Not only is it cheaper in the long run (I only do 1 grocery shop for 2 weeks of food) it also helps me to stick to my healthy eating plan and keeps me on track. Also, I can plan in fun meals that I wouldn't normally be able to make on the fly (i.e. who buys Jalapeños on a weekly basis? Not I.)

A couple weeks ago I saw Add a Pinch post this on their Facebook page and I knew I had to try it (PS check out Add a Pinch, she's fab!). Hubby and I LOVE Jalapeño Poppers and what's better then making them into a meal? I KNOW, I know, they aren't exactly "healthy" but this dish is baked, not fried and I used low-fat mayo and cream cheese, so it isn't as bad as you may think.

The result? I've found my new, most favourite meal. It's so yummy, creamy and flavourful plus it makes a TON of servings (leftovers, whut whut). It's a great family meal because the flavour of the Jalapeños is there, but the heat is not unless you add hot sauce. This is going to be a regular meal for us, for sure!
Jalapeño Popper Chicken
adapted from Add a Pinch

6 chicken breasts 
Jalapeño Popper Topping:
6 pieces of bacon, sliced
2 jalapeños, diced, deseeded
1/4 cup diced onion
1 brick of light cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Optional: 1/2 cup Franks Hot Sauce - or your favourite hot sauce
For the Topping:
1/2 cup crushed Saltine crackers
1/2 cup shredded cheese
4 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large casserol dish, place the 6 chicken breasts along the bottom and bake for about 45 mins (or until clear juices leak out when you poke them with a fork).

While the chicken is baking, prepare the first topping. Add chopped bacon, jalapeños and onion to a frying pan (with a little bit of oil) and cook until bacon is crispy and onion and jalapeños are cooked (about 5-8mins). Add to a medium mixing bowl (or stand mixer bowl) and add the cream cheese, mayo, 1 cup of shredded cheddar and, if you are using, add the hot sauce. Mix with a wooden spoon or in a stand mixer until completely combined.

When the chicken is done, remove from oven and spread the cream cheese topping evenly over the chicken breasts. Reduce heat to 350. 

For the final, crispy topping, combine your crushed crackers, 1/2 cup shredded cheese and butter and mix with your hands until crackers are evenly coated with butter and cheese. Spread this on top of your cream cheese topping evenly. Pop the dish back into the oven for another 12-15 mins or until the top is a nice, golden brown.

Serve it up with a nice Balsamic Salad, or even veggies and dip!

Any leftovers can be stored in a Tupperware container for up to 2 days and reheated for another meal!


- Lisa
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