Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jalapeño Poppers + Avocado Ranch

This recipe is brought to you by the kindness of one of my colleagues. She lives in a different city, and I've been working on a big project with her - long distance - for a few years. Last fall I was visiting her city and she invited me over to her house for a home-cooked meal (that type of kindness is a real blessing and luckily not too rare in my cubicle-bound world).

My colleague shook up a mean ginger martini, and she and her husband prepared a cornucopia of vegetable dishes (hot and cold). All were delicious, but the shining star of the evening was her husband's beautifully grilled ribeye. Now, if you haven't noticed, I'm a food-lover. I know an excellent steak when I eat one. So I started interrogating them about how they could possibly have made something so simple - that I have enjoyed countless times - so incredibly delicious.

That's when they let me in on their secret: Muzzy's Magic Texas Jalapeño Seasoning with Cilantro. They seasoned both sides of the steaks about 30 minutes before putting them on the grill. Super simple. Major pay off.

This revelation brought so many thoughts to mind. First: Be still my adopted-Texan heart! Then: Why have I never tasted this before? And finally: Where do I get some for myself?

I so enjoyed the meal that they doubled-down on their kindness and sent me home with my very own bottle of Muzzy's Magic (we're friends for life at this point. how could we not be?). I've been using it on everything. Chicken. Pork. Beef. Everything. So when I decided to take a stab at protein-packed, bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers, I knew I had the perfect seasoning in my spice cabinet.

If you're not lucky enough to have Muzzy's Magic in your spice rack, you can make an adequate replacement with salt, pepper, and garlic. But don't kid yourself, it won't be the same. I strongly recommend (to a friend) that you order a bottle!

Jalapeño Poppers

Seriously, take my advice. Toothpicks are important!

Ingredients


12 large jalapeño peppers
1 1/2 lb chicken breast
12 strips center cut bacon
1/2 cup coconut milk
Muzzy's Magic (or Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper)
Toothpicks (recommended)

Instructions


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken in a baking dish and season liberally with Muzzy's Magic. Bake at 400 degrees until chicken is fully cooked. About 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool enough to touch.

While the chicken bakes, split the jalapeños in half lengthwise and remove the stems and seeds. Then slice each bacon strip in half. 

Shred the cooled chicken. Mix in coconut milk and re-season with Muzzy's Magic to taste. Press a small ball of chicken mixture into each jalapeño half and wrap with a  bacon strip. Secure the bacon to the jalapeño with a toothpick (recommended. I skipped this step to save time, and made a mess of everything! Haste makes waste....). 

Arrange stuffed-and-wrapped jalapeños on a backing sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until bacon is fully cooked. About 20 minutes. 

Avocado Ranch

Ingredients


1/2 cup homemade paleo mayo (and yes! you should pasteurize your egg)
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Instructions


In a small bowl, mash the avocado with lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Then fold in the mayo. Serve immediately (the avocado will begin to brown, so you don't want it to linger too long before serving).



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