Party Food, Food Party!

 Vegetarian Cheesy Bacon Stuffed Jalapeños

I didn't leave the apartment all weekend, except to hit a matinee show at BAM on Sunday afternoon. I let the entertainment come to me, instead. We invited a bunch of people over, and almost all of them were game for a night in Brooklyn.

I basically planned to make a bunch of appetizer foods, some fun cocktails, and asked people to bring whatever. I figured we'd just order pizza if we needed to supplement the food supply. 

The Mango Caipirinhas were a hit, and we ended up with plenty of food. Everyone kind of showed up at once, buzzing through the kitchen assembling food and slicing pepperoni and cheeses before settling at the counter to snack. In the whirlwind of hello-kisses, refrigerator ice-maker lessons and plate-finding, I actually forgot to put out a few things I had prepared!

The night's conglomerated food menu ended up looking like this:
Cantaloupe with Prosciutto
Crackers, Cheeses, Pepperoni
Pita Crackers w/ Guava paste and Cream Cheese
Spinach and Strawberry Salad
Baked Chicken Wings
Baked Stuffed Jalapeños
Home-made Pizzelle cookies 

Steamed Dumplings
Crudités and Dressing
BBQ Gardein Skewers

... not really sure how my husband made it through, since I forgot most of the vegetarian stuff...

From the above the clear winners were the chicken wings and stuffed jalapeños. Both were brand new creations, and everyone was asking how I made them.

Jalapeõs, pre-breading stage

Vegetarian Cheesy Bacon Stuffed Jalapeños
4oz Fat Free Cream Cheese
1/2 C Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
4 strips Vegetarian Bacon (Morningstar farms)
10 Jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs & seeds removed
1/2 C Panko bread crumbs

Heat oven to 450F.
1. Cook bacon strips according to package directions, until crispy. Chop or crumble into small pieces.

2. Bring cream cheese to room temperature, and mix together with jack cheese and bacon bits.

3. Using a spoon, fill each
jalapeño with cheese mixture. The filling should be about even with the cut edges.

4. Spread panko on a plate. Press each
jalapeño into the panko, cheese side down, to coat with crumbs.

5. Arrange (crumbs up) on a cooking sheet and place in 450F oven for 20-30 minutes. Remove when crumbs turn golden brown and the pepper
s start to wrinkle.

*This recipe was inspired by a post I found at Gonna Want Seconds blog. I love that these were simple to assemble, and baked instead of fried. I decided to use fat free cream cheese and vegetarian bacon, as well as add another layer of gooey spiciness with the jack cheese.

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Baked Wings
3lbs (about 28) Chicken Party Wings (Split Wings)
2T Canola oil
1T Baking Powder (please, please don't use Baking Soda by mistake!!)
1T Kosher Salt
2T Flour
1/2 tsp seasoning salt (or garlic powder)
Black Pepper

1. Rinse and pat dry the wings. Place in a a large bowl and drizzle with oil, tossing to coat.

2. In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients. Sprinkle half over the chicken and toss together by hand. Add a little flour mix at a time while tossing to coat evenly.

3. Place wings in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to use. (Mine rested for about 5 hours).

4. Preheat oven to 450F.

5. Spray foil-lined baking sheets with nonstick spray, and arrange the chicken (skin-side up, if not completely skin-covered) in a single layer.

6. Place in middle of oven and bake for 30-45 minutes depending on size of wings. Larger wings or un-split wings may take an hour - be sure to check at 25 minutes and then every 10 minutes after. Wings are done when the meat is almost falling off the bone.

7. Serve plain or with your favorite hot sauce.

*This recipe was a combination of two Serious Eats recipes: "Really Good Oven-Fried Buffalo Wings" and "Baked 'Buffalo' Hot Wings". I first tried the Baked Buffalo wings a few months ago after reading the Serious Eats article that compared different methods of wing-baking.

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