Okay, honestly, who doesn’t like cream cheese.  It’s a love-hate relationship because I know how bad it is for you, but oh it tastes so good!  So here are a couple of my favorite apps (…to eat in moderation, kind of 😉 )

Jalapeno Poppers – approx. 6 servings

  • 12 jalapenos
  • 1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened (I always use 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheese, any kind (sharp cheddar, mozz, smoky cheeses are especially good)
  • 2 oz feta cheese
  • 1 tsp grated fresh onion
  • fresh herbs optional (cilantro, parsley, chives)
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Cleaning the peppers:  I like to make boats.  You leave the stem on and cut a thin slice off the long ways of the pepper.  Then use a spoon to scrape out all the seeds and innards.  You can save the sliced-off pieces and add to the filling or use for something else, like eggs or hash the next morning 🙂  Rinse peppers and set aside.
    3. In a bowl mix softened cream cheese, your choice of shredded cheese, feta, onion, and herbs if you choose to use them.
    4. Stuff peppers with cheese mixture.  You can pile it up in those babies too.
    5. Bake for 15-20 minutes and then I like to broil for a few extra minutes just to brown the cheese a bit.
    Cheesy, spicy, sinful. It's a game when choosing your pepper whether you get a mild one or one that burns your face off! lol I always have milk on hand when I make these!
    Cheesy, spicy, sinful. It’s a game when choosing your pepper whether you get a mild one or one that burns your face off! lol I always have milk on hand when I make these!

    A variation of this recipe that my husband just loves is with bacon.  Basically the same concept, but then wrap a half slice of bacon around the peppers (don’t fill quite as full with cheese) and secure with a toothpick.  We find instead of baking these that broiling works better in making the bacon crispy.  Keep an eye on them; they’ll take 10-15 minutes.  We use a small roasting rack in a baking pan, which holds the peppers upright and the bacon grease drips to the bottom.

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    Pizza Dip –  about 22 servings

    Even the black olive haters like my hubby rave about this dip!

    • 2 8-oz pkgs cream cheese
    • 1 15-oz can pizza sauce
    • 1 8-oz pkg mini pepperonis
    • 1 3.8-oz pkg chopped black olives
    •  2 c. (8oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
    • pretzel sticks, tortilla scoops, garlic toast, etc. to serve with
    1. First off, I make this recipe in one of those super small crockpots that’s perfect for warm appetizers.
    2. Place cream cheese in crockpot followed by pizza sauce, pepperoni, olives, and cheese.  No need to try and stir.
    3. Cover and cook on low for 1-2 hours until cheese is melted.  Now you can stir.
    4. Serve with chips or whatever you like!
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    Pickle Wrap Dip – about 12 servings
    This dip gets brought to Thanksgiving or Christmas every year and is a huge hit! 
    • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 16 oz sour cream
    • medium jar baby dill pickles, chopped
    • 4-5 oz dried beef, chopped

    Combine cream cheese and sour cream.  Add pickles and dried beef.  Serve with crackers!  So simple and so yummy! 🙂

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