Jalapeño Bacon Deviled Eggs

I am so excited to share these deviled eggs with y’all! Right before New Year’s Eve, I got a hankerin’ for deviled eggs, pretty much out of nowhere. I’m okay with the regular deviled eggs we’ve all seen at potlucks and parties, but my taste buds really wanted more. Somehow I got the idea to put jalapeños in the mix. Then I thought to myself, “I bet bacon would be delicious with eggs and jalapeños!” A quick Google search showed some recipes with jalapeños, but not too many with bacon. I can fix that! My friends, pull up a chair to my table and bring your deviled egg appetite as I share this most delicious recipe with you. They are freakishly tasty so get to making them soon; I promise you’ll be glad you did!

Jalapeño Bacon Deviled Eggs (inspired by this Southern blogger)

Ingredients
6 hard-boiled eggs
2.5 tablespoons good-quality mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1.5 tablespoon diced pickled jalapeños
4 slices cooked bacon – crumbled (6 if you want to garnish with bacon as well)
pinch of salt
Cilantro – for garnish

Steps
1. Cut your eggs in half lengthwise, and scoop out the yolks into a bowl. Place whites onto a plate.
2. In your bowl with the yolks, add the mayonnaise, mustard, cumin, diced jalapeños, and crumbled bacon.

3. Using a fork, mash and mix until everything is well incorporated. I did have to switch to a spoon at the very end to get a smoother consistency.
4. Taste and see if it needs a little salt, more cumin, or more heat. If it needs more heat, you could use some juice from the pickled jalapeños. Adjust seasonings as needed.
5. Using a spoon, carefully scoop a large dollop of the mixture back into the egg whites. You’ll have plenty to make a nice mounded top as you’ve just increased the volume of the yolks quite a bit.
6. Garnish with a piece of crumbled bacon if you want additional bacon. (And who doesn’t?)

mmm...bacon

7. If you want to garnish with cilantro, give it a rough chop and sprinkle on top. You could alternatively combine it into the yolk mixture as well.

I’ve made these twice now, and with the exception of folks who don’t like cumin or deviled eggs in general, everyone has been in LOVE with them. They’ve gone like the proverbial hotcakes. I seriously wish I had a reason to make deviled eggs all the time so I could eat them all the time. Maybe that wouldn’t be a healthy or balanced choice, but my taste buds don’t care. If you have friends who are finicky about spice or cumin, you could certainly adjust those amounts. I did that when I made them recently for my friend who doesn’t like spicy foods. I went with just a tablespoon of jalapeños, but even he said he would have been okay with more. So far, every time I’ve made them, I’ve been with my friends who are anti-cilantro so I have yet to mix in the cilantro, but I am keeping my eye out for the opportunity to do so. To date, it’s just been a garnish on top which is still delicious.

More jalapeños, please!?

Here is how I boil my eggs, in case you are on the prowl for the best way to boil eggs. I used to try out a variety of different methods, but finally settled on this method that I now use faithfully. Here goes. It’s quite simple.
1. Put your eggs in a pan, cover them with cold water, put a lid on the pan, and put on the stove.
2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. I use 6 or 7 out of a 10 dial.
3. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove from heat, and let sit in the hot water for 10 minutes.
4. At the end of 10 minutes, drain off the hot water, and rinse with cold water. I let them sit in cold water, even adding ice to help cool them down and prevent carry-over cooking.


If you wanted your yolks less done, you could and should cook them for less time. Here is a site with a guide on cooking times. However, I have not yet done this. I will soon though, as I plan to make Scotch eggs which call for boiling the eggs, wrapping them in sausage, and then either baking or frying them. Are you drooling yet? Maybe the sausage wrapping keeps them from overcooking in the second round of cooking, but I think I’ll probably medium-boil the eggs in case they cook a little more in the oven. And if they don’t, there is nothing wrong with a slightly runny yolk in my book. I’ll keep y’all posted on how those gems turn out.

Peeling hard-boiled eggs can be tricky. Over the years of trial and error, of experimenting with crazy things like vinegar in the water, blowing in the egg shell (oh, yes I did!), and other craziness, here is what I have determined. Older eggs peel better. If you buy eggs at the store, boil them up them up in the next few days, and go to peel them, you may want to commit eggicide. The egg will stick to the shell as you peel, causing bits and pieces of the egg to break off, leaving you with an egg that is pockmarked like the face of an unfortunate, acne-scarred teen. If you wait a week or so, the story will turn out differently. Start at the large end of the egg because there will likely be a pocket of air, with potentially a little bit of liquid. This will help you get a good start on the peeling. Peel carefully, but nearly every time the shell will just come right off in one or two large pieces. You may feel the heavens open up and egg-peeling angels sing. I understand this feeling. 🙂 My current exception to this rule seems to be eggs from the farmer’s market.

Recently, I was persuaded to purchase my eggs from one of our local farmer’s markets. To be honest, it took a little bit of talking myself into it because eggs at my grocery cost me about $1.27. These eggs cost me $4. You are a smart cookie and can do the math your ownself to see the difference in cost. However, research had told me that this was a good price for farm eggs in the Austin market and that cage-free eggs from Kansas at HEB (my local grocery store) would run me about $4.25. My father had heart failure upon learning that I paid $4 for my eggs. He is a fortunate enough soul to have a farmer hook-up and only pays $2 a dozen. I won’t tell you where he lives so you can’t picket his home. May we all be so lucky one day. Anyway. I committed the cardinal egg-boiling sin of buying my farm eggs the day prior to making my deviled eggs. I just wasn’t thinking, to be honest. When I realized my mistake, there was nothing to be done, but proceed. When I started peeling, I was so astonished!! These did not peel like store eggs at all! My first egg peeled like it was touched by the peeler gods or something. A few of the eggs did have the bits and pieces problem, but not at all like newly-bought store-bought eggs do. It was simply amazing. I’m not certain yet why there is this difference, but if you know, tell me! Thanks!

The two that gave me trouble.

If you are experimenting with boiling your eggs, or as some websites like to call it – hard-cooking, if you get egg yolks that have a silver or green ring around the yolk, that is typically an indicator you’ve overcooked them. My sister-in-law told me once that the texture of the yolk also was an indicator. If it’s tough or rubbery, then it might be overcooked. However, I’ve also heard that to be an indicator of age, so I’m less sure on what that means. Also, if you boil up a bunch of eggs, but then forget which eggs in the fridge are boiled and which are raw, just give them a spin on the counter. A cooked egg will spin faster and more immediately than a raw egg. Here is a video that will show you. Watch out for the hammer at the end!

I hope you have an opportunity to make these deviled eggs soon. You and your friends will VERY happy! The last time I made them, my boyfriend informed me that we were going to have to start doubling the recipe. That’s a lot of eggs, y’all, but it’s worth it. Happy eating!

Nutritional Information – 1 deviled egg half, including bacon garnish      
Calories: 77
Fat: 6.5 g
Protein: 4.3 g
Potassium: 51.4 mg
Vitamin A: 2.9%

Jalapeño Bacon Bites

Greetings and Happy New Year, my dear blog readers! I hope you all had a lovely and tasty holiday season! I know I did! Here’s to a new year with more delicious recipes and sharing the foodie love all around.

If I could, if I could convince myself it was acceptable, I would eat these all the time, y’all. I love them. Because I love them so much, I’m excited to share them with you as well. Because I also love you all, I will admit up front, these should not be eaten willy-nilly. I did go through a phase when I made them nearly weekly. That time in my life is past, but these do come out on nearly every special occasion. Birthday? They’re on the menu. Celebrating a promotion/getting a job? On the menu. Having friends over for a holiday appetizer party? Definitely on the menu. Fourth of July meal at my dad’s? Absolutely on the menu. In fact, that’s where I first had them. He has this gizmo where the peppers rest upright in the grill, which changes the whole approach. As I don’t really grill (yet), I had to modify my strategy. Plus my sister and I both agree that limp, half- cooked bacon is not good eats and can ruin the whole thing. Thus, it is important to me to have crispy bacon around the whole pepper. I think I have achieved a near perfect jalapeño bacon bite, which I believe you will enjoy. It is more of a method than a recipe, so feel free to adjust as you see necessary. If you feel the need to make a test batch before you debut this for company and you end up scarfing the whole lot of them, I won’t judge you. Just make sure you have company coming for the next go-round.

Deliciousness on a Plate

Jalapeño Bacon Bites

Ingredients
Jalapeño Peppers – Each pepper makes about 4 bites. I usually use about 1 or 1.5 peppers per person. Estimation is fine.
Cream Cheese – I used 4 ounces for 14 peppers
1 tbsp Adobo Seasoning – more would not be a bad thing
1 package center cut bacon

Steps
1. Set your cream cheese out to soften. I usually set mine out 15 or so minutes before I begin the pepper prep. I know it’s already soft, it’s just easier to stir in the spices when it’s super soft.
2. Don your trusty rubber gloves, and for each pepper, cut the tops off, and slice in half, lengthwise. Seed and cut out the ribs, according to your preferred heat preference. The more seeds and ribs of the pepper you leave in, the hotter the bite is likely to be. Cut the pepper “boat” in half again so you have 4 quarters per pepper.* Continue until all peppers are prepped.


3. In a bowl, mix your cream cheese and Adobo seasoning.
4. Using a butter knife (and leaving your gloves on), fill each pepper piece with a dollop of the cream cheese. It doesn’t have to be tidy. You want to make sure the dollop at least comes even with the edge of the pepper. Repeat for all your pepper pieces. Leave the gloves on because your fingers will get right messy holding those wee pepper pieces.

5. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
6. Using some kitchen shears, cut your bacon into thirds or quarters, depending on the size of your peppers. Test cut one piece before you cut too many slices. I cut two slices of bacon at a time.
7. Wrap a piece of bacon around your cheese-filled pepper piece. The great thing about bacon is that it stretches. This will work to your advantage. Wrap the bacon piece so that it covers the open ends. I wrap all mine and then secure each one with a toothpick.


8. Line a jelly-roll pan (a cookie sheet with sides) with foil (for easy clean-up), and place a cookie cooling rack on it. Your wrapped bites will go on the rack. They don’t need a super lot of space between each one, but they shouldn’t be touching.


9. Bake until the bacon is your desired crispiness. This could take 20 – 30 minutes. My personal desired crispness takes about 22 – 25 minutes.
10. Do NOT eat these straight out of the oven. They are boiling-lava hot and will scald your tongue. Let them cool before you enjoy.

If you are anxious about your toothpicks being in the oven on such a high temperature, you can set them to soak in some water before you start the whole process. Just know that when you put them in the oven and things begin to cook, there will be a lot of sizzle and snap as the oil and water fight it out in the oven. No harm will come to anything or anyone (as long as you keep your hands out of it). It’s just what those two do when they come into contact like that. Alternatively you can leave the toothpicks dry and just check on them. They may char, but it’s highly unlikely they’ll combust in your oven. At least mine didn’t!

*An additional alternative method is to save the quartering of your peppers until after you’ve filled them with the cream cheese mixture. I’ve done it both ways and think maaaaybe it saves some time to fill the larger halves of the pepper before slicing into quarters, but I can’t be certain as I’ve not actually set a timer. I suppose it just comes down to personal preference. It’s your kitchen, and you are the boss of it, so you do what makes you happiest!

Garden Peppers vs HEB Peppers

Any bacon that is leftover you can wrap and freeze for a later date. I had a few strips leftover so I just tightly wrapped them in plastic wrap and popped in them in a zip-top freezer bag. It’s important to wrap tightly to protect from freezer burn. Bacon is another one of those meats that defrosts super quickly when it is only 2 or 3 slices thick per personal package. These smaller packages are perfect for the single cook who won’t be defeated by packaging meant for a family of 4 – 6. I’ve taken to separating a larger package of bacon into the smaller units much like I do chicken or ground beef.  Alternatively you can buy bacon by the slice at the deli counter, which also eliminates waste and allows you to buy precisely as much as you need. However, I think it might be more expensive and sometimes…sometimes it’s early on a Saturday or even mid-day on a Sunday, and you want bacon but have none, and the thought of a trip to the grocery store is murderous. In that moment, my friends, you’ll be thankful for your single-serve packages of bacon in your freezer. I know I am.

I hope you enjoy the jalapeño pepper bites! Make some just for yourself so that you can get them just right and then share the tasty tidbits with your friends at your next shindig. They will be most grateful! 🙂 Happy eating!

Just a Few Ingredients!

Just as an FYI – I tend not to keep track of party food nutritional information. But if you really want to find out, you could take the information for your ingredients and enter them into the calorie calculator up on the left hand side, tell it how many bites you made, and it will tell you the calories per bite. Please don’t tell me. I’m happy living in ignorance. Thanks! 🙂

 

Kickin’ Sausage Cheese Balls

Many of you may have seen these little gems before, as they are a popular party food item. I certainly know better than to try to claim originality with the base of this recipe. Yet, I also wanted to make it worth your time to give my post a read, so I really thought about the reviews I’ve read on Ms. Crocker’s website as well as my own opinions on improvements and amendments. You’ll see the changes reflected in the recipe below. My goal was to give them a bit more kick and maybe make them a wee bit healthier. I served these at an appetizer party I had recently, and they got lots of compliments; I was quite pleased!


Kickin’ Sausage Cheese Balls (adapted from here)

Ingredients
3 cups Bisquick HeartSmart®
4 cups cheese: I used 2 cups sharp cheddar and 2 cups Jalapeño Jack, pre-grated for convenience.
1 lb light pork sausage
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
2 medium Anaheim peppers
up to 1 tsp garlic powder
up to 2 tsp fresh minced rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary (optional)

Steps
1. Pull the sausage out of the fridge to come to room temperature. Your hands will thank you for this later. Measure your milk, and let it also come to room temperature while you are working on the other steps.
2. Finely mince the peppers and rosemary (if using).

3. Combine your Bisquick®, cheeses, garlic, pepper, and rosemary (if using) in a large, roomy bowl.

4. While not mandatory, I recommend donning the gloves I suggested you invest in, previously. It will make life easier in just a few moments. I’ve done this without gloves, and I don’t really recommend it.
5. Slice open the package of sausage and scrape it into the bowl.
6. Add the milk.
7. Using your best kitchen tools, aka your hands, get in there and begin mixing it all up. You will work it all together, kneading it, squishing it, and making sure it’s all mixed together. Remember how I said your hands will thank you later? Well, now it’s later. Hopefully your sausage has warmed up a bit because working with ridiculously cold sausage makes your hands hurt!
8. Once it’s all come together in one large lump, use a tablespoon to scoop out each piece. Repeat until all the mixture has been shaped into balls.

9. For freezing, place close together on a cookie sheet (I can fit 48) lined with parchment paper. Place cookie sheet in freezer until they are frozen. They’ll keep for quite a while in a zip-top bag. Happily they defrost fairly quickly.

10. To bake, pre-heat to the ubiquitous 350 degrees. Use either a parchment paper-lined pan or a greased, foil-lined pan. If you have a pizza stone, you can cook them directly on the stone. Defrosted, they’ll take 15 – 17 minutes. When I’ve cooked mine frozen, they’ve taken 25 – 30 minutes.

If you have the time, I recommend making and baking a few balls (I like 4) before you commit to freezing or baking all the rest. This lets you have an idea of the flavor and if you want to make any adjustments. Honestly, sometimes I do this and sometimes I don’t. When I used the peppers, I did because pepper heat varies so much from one to the next. However, if I’m using just the rosemary and not the peppers, I don’t taste test as often because I’m more certain of the flavors. Time for true life confession: Below in the ingredients picture, you’ll see the rosemary, and it’s listed above in the ingredients list. However, I didn’t actually put it in these because this is the first time I’ve added the peppers and I was uncertain about pepper plus rosemary flavor. As these were for a party the next day and not just me, I didn’t want to make a fatal error. I promise before too long, I will make some with both rosemary and peppers and report back.

When I was assessing the heat level, I was not knocked on my heels by the heat, which I actually enjoyed. It was noticeable, but still subtle. By the time I’d eaten my four taste testers, the heat had accumulated just a bit so my nose had a bit of sniffle, but not a full-on run. Again, as I was preparing for a group of people with varying heat tolerances, I felt that was a good balance. Now, if I was making these for some of my family members, I probably would have added another Anaheim and maybe even a jalapeño. I am certain that a few more peppers would have turned out just fine for those who tolerate spice well.  If I used 4 cups cheddar instead of the two cheeses, I would have definitely tossed in a few jalapeños. Now that I’ve broken the heat barrier, I feel like it’s a whole new world. I will probably experiment with fresh garlic, onion, and various kinds of peppers. If you beat me to the experimentation, please do tell.

These are good for a party as they are still tasty even when they are not right-out-of-the-oven warm, and they are good for the single gal (or guy!) because they do keep so well in the freezer. Plus the batch makes a ton! This last go-round, I made 58 of them. I reserved some for breakfast the next few weeks and STILL had plenty for the appetizer party. How great is that?!?! If I forget to take them out of the freezer the night before, I’ll pull them out while the oven is pre-heating and I’m in the shower. By the time I’m ready to put them in, they are partially defrosted and are usually done in about 20 minutes because I like mine fairly browned.

I hope you enjoy the addition of some heat and a bit of a nod to your health with the light sausage and the Bisquick HeartSmart®. I am firmly convinced that neither one adversely affects the flavor or texture of the final product. Happy eating!

Nutritional Information – 1 ball
Calories: 74
Fat: 4 g
Carbs: 4.5 g
Protein: 4.6 g
Calcium: 7.2%

If you are a diligent reader who clicked through to Ms. Crocker’s website and examined her nutritional information against mine, you may also be startled to see her sausage cheese balls check in at 40 calories each. A closer examination reveals she suggests making 1 inch balls. I surely did go measure mine, and they are 1.5 inches. If you make yours with a smaller measuring spoon, you might be able to get 102 out of the recipe, as she says it makes. If this is the case, then the nutritional information will change. While the nutritional information technically isn’t “healthier” than that of Ms. Crocker’s, I still believe using the healthier mix and sausage is a good thing for my body.