Cheesy Jalapeño Popper Chicken

There’s a big game, yes that one, in a few weeks, and I know a lot of you are probably looking for party foods and appetizers. Next week I’ll be sharing a few new game day ideas with you, so stay tuned. Even if you hate football, how can you pass up an excuse to get together with friends and enjoy lots of good food?! From wings to dips and fried foods to desserts, I fully believe Super Bowl Sunday is one of the best food days of the year :)

If jalapeño poppers are among your favorite appetizers, you’ll really love this recipe. It’s a dinner idea inspired by that little bundle of deliciousness, and it’s the perfect thing to help you break out of a chicken rut. Chicken is definitely the protein we eat most, and I’m always looking for ways to switch it up. Here, chicken breasts are pounded thin, then rolled around a mixture of cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, jalapeños and scallions. The chicken is coated with panko breadcrumbs that have already been toasted so they really get extra crispy in the oven.

Cheesy Jalapeño Popper Chicken

I actually made this recipe for the first time back in October and it’s had a spot in our dinner rotation ever since. The chicken stays juicy and the melty cheesy mixture inside gives it a ton of flavor. I don’t find it super spicy so if you like a lot of heat you might want to think about keeping the ribs and/or seeds from the jalapeños.

One last note: I have to thank Rachel of Rachel Cooks for featuring me on her blog today as part of her “A Day in the Life” series. If you want to learn a little more about me, you can head over and check out my interview :)

Cheesy Jalapeño Popper Chicken
adapted from Skinny Taste and Elly Says Opa

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 large egg
1 slice bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
2 jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed, minced
2 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped scallions

Place the chicken on a cutting board. Working with one breast at a time, place your hand on top and use a sharp knife to cut the breast in half horizontally, to make two thinner chicken cutlets. (Don’t worry if they’re not perfectly even, mine never are!) Place each cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet or skillet to pound to 1/4-inch thickness.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray.

Add the panko and oil to a skillet, and stirring frequently, toast the breadcrumbs until they are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a wide, shallow dish. Crack the egg into a second wide, shallow dish and use a fork to break it up.

In a medium bowl, stir together the crumbled bacon, jalapeños, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and scallions.

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly among the four chicken cutlets, spreading the mixture to within about 1/4-inch of the edge. Roll each chicken cutlet up, and secure the ends with toothpicks to prevent the cheese from spilling out as they cook.

Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip it first in the egg to coat all sides, then transfer to the panko and coat it completely. Transfer to the prepared rack. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.