a little heat

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stuffed jalapenosAnytime The Hubby and I have friends over one of our favorite appetizers are stuffed jalapeños…but in the past we have always taken the easy way out and bought them from our local grocery store.  They are delicious and so easy, but a few weeks ago I decided we needed to make them ourselves.  The Hubby loves the bacon wrapped version we always got and I loved the sausage version so we decided to tackle both and see how it went.

First things first you must have gloves when you make this dish.  I did not, and boy do I wish I did.  I feel like it took a good two days before my hands were finally jalapeño free. 

Okay now lets move on to the fun part.  I used reduced fat cream cheese and it worked great, but I would not use fat free cream cheese or whipped cream cheese.  For the bacon wrapped poppers I wanted the cream cheese filling to be full of flavor so I added in some garlic powder and parmesan cheese.  I love how the cheese adds the perfect bit of salty bite without it being too much.  I also used center cut bacon so that there was more bacon meat than fat, it adds so much flavor as it cooks but it also looks prettier as well.

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos
Serves 12
Stuffed jalapenos with the right amount of heat, smoke and they are WW+ friendly
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 6 Jalapeno Peppers
  2. 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  3. 1 tsp garlic powder
  4. 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  5. 6 slices bacon, sliced in half
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside
  3. In a microwave safe bowl soften the cream cheese, garlic powder & parmesan cheese for 15-30 seconds, or until you can easily stir the cream cheese, stir together until well combined, set aside
  4. Wearing gloves (trust me you will thank me), slice each pepper in half lengthwise and remove all ribs and seeds
  5. Fill each half with 1 - 1/2 tbsp. of cream cheese mixture, adding in more if necessary to use all of the cream cheese mixture
  6. Wrap each half with half of a bacon slice, placing the seam on the bottom of the pepper and place on the prepared pan
  7. Bake peppers for 30-40 minutes, or until bacon is cooked and cream cheese is beginning to brown
  8. Remove from oven and serve immediately!!
Each half pepper is 3 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 105 Calories from Fat 76 Total Fat 8.4g Saturated Fat 4.2g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 26mg Sodium 314mg Potassium 71mg Total Carbohydrates 2.0g Sugars 1.6g Protein 5.5g
  3. Vitamin A 6% - Vitamin C 5% - Calcium 4% - Iron 1%
  4. Nutrition Grade D+
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
For the sausage stuffed poppers I used regular breakfast sausage, but you could use Italian sausage or turkey sausage if you wanted.  A spicy or sweet Italian sausage would be delicious, and I will probably try that next time, but I had breakfast sausage in the refrigerator so that is what we went with.  I preferred this version as I love the texture the sausage adds to the popper, but either is delicious!

Sausage Stuffed Jalapenos
Serves 12
Stuffed jalapenos stuffed with a cheese and sausage mixture that brings a little savory and heat to each bite
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 6 Peppers, Jalapeno
  2. 1/2 lb breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
  3. 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  4. 1 tsp garlic powder
  5. 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside
  3. Cook sausage if it is not already cooked, drain and set aside
  4. In a microwave safe dish heat cream cheese, garlic powder & parmesan cheese for 10-15 seconds or until slightly softened
  5. Stir together cream cheese mixture and sausage until well combined
  6. Wearing gloves, trust me you want to do this, slice each jalapeno in half and remove all seeds and ribs
  7. Spoon 2 tbsp. of sausage mixture into each jalapeno half, adding more if necessary to use all of the mixture
  8. Place pepper halves on prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until cream cheese begins to brown
Each jalapeno half is 3 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 125 Calories from Fat 93 Total Fat 10.3g Saturated Fat 4.9g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 33mg Sodium 258mg Potassium 73mg Total Carbohydrates 1.9g Sugars 1.6g Protein 6.4g
  3. Vitamin A 7% - Vitamin C 5% - Calcium 6% - Iron 2%
  4. Nutrition Grade D-
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
These would be such a fun treat for any Halloween parties you may be having this weekend…you can always add a little spice to Halloween!!

cupcake-crop

 

 Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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nothing like a little “owl”ing around

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owl brownie bites I cannot believe Halloween is this weekend!!  The Hubby and I live in a cul-de-sac full of kids and each Halloween we all sit out together in the middle of the circle and we pass out candy and I usually make some special treats for our neighbors and their kids….and these owls are a perfect treat for sure!

I made these little cuties a few years back and everyone loved them, but then I kinda forgot about them until I was helping with a baby shower for a sweet friend and the theme was a woodland wonderland and then I remembered these little owl bites.  I thought they would be perfect as they are bite size and just so darn cute…perfect for a couples baby shower for sure! 

Now I won’t lie they do take a minute to make.  I enlisted the help of my mom and The Hubby to make the process go a little faster.  We first separated the mini Oreos, making sure to be as careful as we could, but of course there were some that just couldn’t be separated so we had to eat those.  Next came the fun part of icing the little brownie bites…they are just so cute on their own but when you make them into little owls they become precious.  After they are iced then comes the best part, putting on the eyes, and nose.

For the brownie bites you can make your own as described below or you can buy brownie bites in your local grocery stores bakery section. 

Owl Brownie Bites
Serves 48
Super fun owl brownie bites, perfect for your boo bags, fall parties, or anytime of year
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
For the brownies
  1. 1 1/2 cups flour
  2. 1 tsp baking powder
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 1 1/4 cup sugar
  8. 1 cup brown sugar
  9. 2 tbsp butter (melted)
  10. 1/4 cup oil
  11. 1 cup pumpkin
For the owls
  1. 2 cups whipped chocolate frosting (I used a store bought version)
  2. 96 mini Oreo halves (we will only use the half with the white center filling)
  3. 144 M&M candies (I used the fall colors)
To make the brownies
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Prepare 2 mini muffin pans by spraying with nonstick spray
  3. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt & cocoa powder
  4. In a medium bowl stir together vanilla, eggs, sugars, butter, oil & pumpkin until smooth
  5. Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined
  6. Evenly divide batter into prepared pans
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  8. Let cool completely then gently remove from muffin pans
To make the owls
  1. Frost the top of brownie
  2. Place 2 Oreo halves (with the white center filling facing up) on the top 1/2 of the brownie bite
  3. Add a small amount of frosting on two of the same color M&M's and place on the whites of the Oreo's - these are the eyes
  4. Now place one last M&M just below the Oreo halves to make the nose
  5. You can make these anyway you like it, and they are great to have the kids help with
Each owl is only 4 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 147 Calories from Fat 51 Total Fat 5.7g Saturated Fat 2.3g Trans Fat 0.4g Cholesterol 12mg Sodium 92mg Potassium 89mg Total Carbohydrates 24.2g Dietary Fiber 1.2g Sugars 17.6g Protein 1.6g
  3. Vitamin A 16% - Vitamin C 0% - Calcium 2% - Iron 5%
  4. Nutrition Grade D
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
Go ahead and get “owl”ing around this Fall season!

cupcake-crop

 

  Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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brisket by Honey

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brisketFirst  let me just go ahead and say this is not a smoked brisket…this is a brisket cooked in the oven.   If you have a smoker, I still think this spice combo would work great, but I am not familiar with cooking times or techniques for this way of cooking.

 OK, now onto Honey’s brisket.  Over the last several years I have learned that sometimes simpler is better and this is definitely true for this brisket.   For me it is so easy to get overwhelmed with all my spice options that I can sometimes get too many going and make things too complicated.  Well, when I finally learned Honey’s secret to her brisket I was once again reminded just how good simple can be.

When I was growing up Honey would fix brisket quite a bit.  It was a favorite among our family and friends for sure.  It was always so juicy, flavorful and tender…it was a perfect bite each and every time.  As I started cooking Honey’s brisket was always something I wanted to try but I kept putting it off because I thought it was so complicated that I would just wait until I was more “experienced”, then once I was “experienced” I just always let her do it because it is just that good why would I mess with that.  So a few weeks ago she said she was going to fox it for family dinner and I thought this was the perfect time to learn all her secrets so that I could fix it next time…boy was I surprised.

 As I got ready with my pen and paper to write down all of Honey’s secrets to her brisket I was shocked when all I got was: a good brisket, salt, pepper and seasoning salt.  I looked at her and laughed and then asked for the real list and then she laughed and said she promised that was it…simple is better sometimes she reminded me.  I have to say though as we ate dinner that night the brisket tasted better then ever before.  I could taste each ingredient, and Honey was right…simple is better sometimes!!

  

Honey's Brisket
Serves 16
A brisket that falls apart every time and is so full of flavor you just cant stop eating it...and sometimes the most simple recipes are just the best
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
7 hr
Total Time
8 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
7 hr
Total Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 6-7 lb beef brisket
  2. 1 tbsp. salt
  3. 1 tbsp. pepper
  4. 1 tbsp. All Purpose Seasoning (I used Lowrys)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300
  2. Line a large roasting pan, with high sides with several layers of foil (trust me you will thank me when it comes time to clean it up)
  3. Let brisket sit out on the counter for 10-15 minutes to let the chill begin to wear off
  4. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper and season salt
  5. Evenly spread seasoning on all sides of the brisket
  6. Wrap brisket, with the fattier side on top, in several layers of foil
  7. Place in prepared roasting pan
  8. Roast in oven for 6-7 hours (about 1 hour per pound) or until meat is falling apart and you just cant wait any longer
  9. Serve & ENJOY!!
Each serving is 7 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 317 Calories from Fat 95 Total Fat 10.6g Saturated Fat 4.0g Cholesterol 152mg Sodium 686mg Potassium 690mg Total Carbohydrates 0.3g Protein 51.6g
  3. Vitamin A 0% - Vitamin C 0% - Calcium 0% - Iron 178%
  4. Nutrition Grade B
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
Go simple and create something special!!

cupcake-crop

 

Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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