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Basketball season is a big deal in my house, rife with its own bit of ritual and tradition. While I myself am largely a Sports-Agnostic, I am nonetheless surrounded by wholehearted devotees. Nevertheless, I enjoy the enthusiasm, and have learned to bend the season to my own purposes, using the games from time to time as a reason to gather the family in one place in order to develop a few hardy, sports-friendly dishes to add to my Spring menu, as well as to turn out a few tried and true crowd-pleasers.
One such favorite are my Jalapeno Poppers, which have become a predictable sight in my home when the family gathers for a game. Spicy, hardy, and just small enough to still be finger food and served in piles, they are the quintessential sports-party item. Served alongside my home-style oven baked onion rings, the party-duo are devoured between plays, or sometimes after the game with drinks, debate, and replays. Either way, there are never any leftovers.
While the jalapenos may appear ‘fried,’ oven baking them as opposed to basket-frying them allows the poppers to retain their original pepper ‘crunch,’ while their cream cheese filling softens rather than oozes, as may happen with standard frying.
Typical onion rings can be a soggy or even a ‘mushy’ affair, but oven baking helps to foolproof the process, allowing the onions to retain a portion of their natural firmness, while at the same time crisping rather than dousing their crusted exterior.
Crisped to a fine shade of gold that would make any short order chef beam with pride, and served with a blue cheese dip as well as stock-condiments, means these rings and poppers have all the trappings of game-day comfort food.
However, during a recent Target run, I discovered a pair of items that caused me to rethink the golden crusts of my beloved party-duo. Cheez-It Crunch’d and Cheez-It Grooves, both of which I purchased in Original Cheddar flavor. Regardless, before I made any final, rash decisions, I had to get them home and taste them.
After setting up to begin preparing my rings and poppers, I tried the new Cheez-It products, and just as I thought, they were sure to make for an excellent twist on my two tried and true favorites. With just the right amount of crunch and natural cheese flavor, they would add an extra layer of ‘game day’ to my game day food.
Grinding up the Cheez-It Grooves, I used them in place of my more traditional coating for the poppers, while the Crunch’d provided an excellent cheddar crisp for the rings. Combined with my signature blue cheese dip, my A-Game was primed and ready to go for our next game themed family get together.
That’s a little insight into one of the ways we spend our game days. What are some of your game themed recipes? Do you do anything special for the sports season? We’d love to hear from you.
In case you’re interested, Cheez-Its are on sale for 3/$8 at Target. You can use Target’s Cartwheel app to save an additional 35% off of this sale price when you buy three varieties of Cheez-Its.
Cheez-It Crusted Jalapeño Poppers:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5-6 minutes
2 ½ cups Cheez-It Grooves
1½ cups flour
2 eggs plus ¼ cup milk
10 – 12 jalapeño peppers
Canola oil for drizzling
For the Stuffing:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 large clove garlic
½ cup Italian parsley
2 tbs. lemon juice
Place the jalapeños on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with canola oil. Bake the peppers for 5 – 6 minutes; remove from oven and let cool.
In the meantime, place the Cheez-It Grooves in the food process and process into crumbs and set aside.
Next, combine all of the ingredients for the stuffing and place in the food processor and process until creamy.
When the peppers are cool; carefully make a slit lengthwise and gently remove the vein and seeds, leaving the top stem in tack.
With a small spoon, fill the peppers with the stuffing.
Prepare three shallow bowls; one with the flour, one with the egg and milk wash and one with the Cheez-It crumbs.
Roll the stuffed pepper in the flour, then dip in the egg-wash and finally coat in the Cheeze-It crumbs. (You may repeat this process twice if you like a nice thick coating).
Place peppers on prepared baking sheet and drizzle with Canola oil.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly golden.
Cheez-It Crunch’d Onion Rings & Blue Cheese Dip
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Ingredients for Onion Rings:
1 large onion – sliced into rings
1½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs – beaten
½ cup milk
3 cups Cheez-It Crunch’d
Canola oil for drizzling
Bowl of cold water
Ingredients for Blue Cheese Dip:
8 oz. of cream cheese
4 oz. of blue cheese
1 clove of garlic
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup of Italian parsley
Preheat Oven 400 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place onion rings in bowl with cold water and let stand for 5 minutes.
Place Cheez-It Crunch’d in the food processor and process into crumbs.
Set up three shallow bowls; one with the flour plus the baking powder, one with the eggs and milk and one with the Cheez-It Crunch’d crumbs.
Let the excess water drip off of the onion ring before dredging in the flour; then the egg-wash and finally in the Cheez-It Crunch’d crumbs. (You may repeat this process for a thicker crust).
Place the onion rings on parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with Canola oil. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly golden.
For the Blue Cheese Dip:
Combine all of the ingredients for the dip in a food processor and process until a creamy consistency is achieved.
This dip is a good compliment for the Cheez-It Jalepeno Poppers and the Cheez-It Crunch’d Onion Rings.
Most Valuable Cheese Contest: Between now and April 2015. Users can vote on their favorite flavors/varieties from six popular Cheez-It flavors and play games for a chance to win $10,000.
Enjoy with Love,
Comedy Plus says
What great ideas for cocktail parties. I love Cheez-It anything.
Have a fabulous day Catherine. Big hugs. ♥♥♥
[email protected]'s Recipes says
Those Jalepeno poppers and onions look fantastic!
We may not be sports enthusiasts in this house but, I am personally a huge fan of Jalapeño Poppers and Onion rings! What a wonderful idea to coat those babies in Cheez-Its! I’m thinking the house must have smelled amazing! If I made these at home, Marion would have to “fight” me to get even one!!!
Thanks so much for sharing, Catherine…
Oh my goodness, Catherine. I forgot to tell you how adorable you look in those photos. What a smile!!!
Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes says
This is too funny! I am doing the same campaign and just made cheez-it crusted jalapeno popper DIP! Great minds think alike 🙂
Holly @Spend With Pennies says
Two of my favorite appetizer kicked up a notch!! Yummy, thank you!
Michelle @ The Complete Savorist says
I love that you call yourself ‘sports agnostic.’ Your poppers look great, but it’s those onion rings that I want to devour.
Dottie Sauchelli-Balin says
How wonderful these goodies look. I am not a sports fan, except for the horse races, The Derby and the triple crown. I like you would be in the kitchen coming up with some delightful finger foods for my whole family are sports fanatics. Can’t believe that these Jalapeño Poppers and Onion Rings are baked not fried. They look like they were. I adore Onion Rings and as I am not a fan of Jalapeños these look like I may have to try them. Cream cheese filling and the cheese crackers on the outside coating them. That is tempting for sure. I love when you show a photo of yourself at the store holding the products, you are adorable! Thank you for sharing these two delicious goodies. These I am putting on my “to make” list. The family would love them. Have a wonderful day..enjoy! Hope whoever they were rooting for won!
Arman @ thebigmansworld says
You continue to amaze me with your store bought and kitchen hybrids! I’d like these the next time I’m veged out on the couch 😉
what a lovely smile Catherine ! These sound interesting, going to pin them ! Have a good day my dear, a warm hug, xoxo
Des @ Life's Ambrosia says
Oh my gosh! I love this idea. I am a huge fan of cheez-its, jalapen poppers AND onion rings. I know I would love these. Yum!
Not sure I’ve seen cheez its here but love the idea to use a flavoured snack crumbled up into a “bread” coating.
These sound and look amazing. We love cheese-its and I think you created a great recipe here! Such a fan of rings and poppers. I want to eat at your house!
OMG My mouth is watering!
Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) says
I cannot resist the Grooves! i almost wish I didn’t know about them, I cannot stop myself from eating the whole box! But then, you went and made them even better. Oh man, I’m really in trouble now.
Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry says
My gosh, would you mind if I borrowed your idea?
So happy to see that these are baked! They look yummy and crispy!
Big Daddy Dave says
Catherine, Love poppers and this is a great change from the normal coatings… We don’t think that the Cheez-It Grooves have as much flavor as the original Cheez-Its so I’d have to try those as an alternative for the coating. We haven’t tried the Crunch’d version yet, but we’ll be looking for a box the next time we go to the store. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave
[email protected] says
You are so creative Catherine. Both sound fantastic!!!
Great coating idea. The ranch grooves are my new snacking obsession.
Renee's Kitchen Adventures says
What a great idea Cahterine! I LOVE cheez-it grooves!! A guilty pleasure for me! Love what you’ve transformed them into!
Nicole Neverman says
Wow yum!! The Cheez It range sounds really delicious and I love what you’ve done here. Both the jalapeno poppers and the onion rings look and sound wonderful!
we love onion rings ! these look dleicious!!! xo
these look absolutely fantastic….here from Favorite Things
Cindy @ Hun... What's for Dinner? says
I bet the Cheez Its make your poppers and onion rings taste awesome. Great idea!
All that's Jas says
Drooling…..Thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things!
I love your label “Sports Agnostic.” 🙂 When it comes to being a sports spectator, I really care more about the food and friends than the outcome of the games! (Should I admit that?) I love your use of Cheez-Its- the poppers and onions look yummy! 🙂
Miz Helen says
Yeah Cheeze It’s one of my all time favorite snacks. I love what you did with the new product, looks great. Your post is awesome and thanks so much for sharing it with Full Plate Thursday!
Mummy Whiskers says
I am actually drooling here, these look so good, especially the onion rings! #recipeoftheweek
[email protected] Baking in Pyjamas says
Oh my gosh, all this food has my mouth watering. I love jalapeno’s but never had them stuffed before, they sound great. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!!
We love jalapeno poppers. I like that these are baked and have the added flavor of the cheez it coating. Thank you for sharing with See Ya in the Gumbo. My son chose your jalapeno poppers to feature tonight!