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rethinking

Recipe: jalapeno popper dip

I’ve been absent a while. It was originally unintentional, but then it became very intentional. There was a lot going on in the past month. Instead of stressing over everything that needed to get done, I reassessed my priorities and let the blog sink to the bottom of that pile. My plan was to resume posting as soon as I could. Then the thought of using that time to focus on health and well… my life, sounded like a better plan. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Here are highlights from the past month:


dim sum with my folks who were back in town for a few weeks

they came prepared for colorado’s arctic welcome

baking gluten-free sourdough for my neighbor (from this amazing book)

enjoying the return of autumn sunsets



Waiting for snow is hard on those of us who love skiing and riding. We waited for three long and dry weeks for the snow train to return. Big dump snow days are always welcome here, but we have learned that ANY snow is good as we wind down toward the shortest days of the year. As you probably know, we are huge proponents of outdoor exercise in the cold months. It’s good for you and it vastly improves your outlook on life.

catching laps above the fog bank

lovely hoar frost from the lift

getting our crazy girls out for a hike in the snow



Thanksgiving in the US is a day away and I really couldn’t bring myself to make a Thanksgiving-appropriate recipe to shoot and blog. While I am all for the giving of thanks, it is the traditional food of Thanksgiving that I have come to roundly reject – a bland carbfest that upon deeper reflection, ranks rather low on my deliciousness scale. I can separate the food from the memories. I still cherish the memories.

If there is one thing I do love about Thanksgiving food, it is The Grazing before dinner. My parents always had some mishmash of tasty Chinese and American appetizers and snacks laid out on the coffee table in front of the television, or on the kitchen table (while Mom prepared the dining table for dinner) for larger gatherings. This was where young children and introverts could look occupied and avoid unwanted engagement with boring adults. If you’re still looking for a last minute grazing idea or want to add another dip to your party quiver, here’s an easy jalapeño popper dip.


jalapeños (fresh and pickled), cheddar cheese, cream cheese, jack cheese, mayonnaise, panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, bacon

chopped, crumbled, diced



It’s easy to make this gluten-free if you omit the panko crumbs. Make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon. I usually beat the cream cheese until it is smooth to avoid lumps of cream cheese in the dip and for more uniformity. Then everything but the panko and Parmesan get mixed in. I used an 8-inch round baking dish, but any baking dish with a minimum 4-cup capacity should work. If you desire more of the crunchy top, you can use a dish with a slightly larger surface area.

combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, jalapeños, cheddar and jack cheeses, and bacon

mix the panko and parmesan together

spread the dip mixture into a baking dish

top with the panko mixture



Baked until the top is golden and bubbling, this dip is creamy, cheesy, gooey, tangy, salty, and packs just enough heat to keep things interesting. I think it is best served with tortilla chips, but crackers or slices of bread work, too. Whatever you are eating for Thanksgiving, I hope your day is filled with love and gratitude.

serve with tortilla chips

melty goodness


Jalapeño Popper Dip
[print recipe]
slightly modified from Closet Cooking

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 (2 oz.) cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 (2 oz.) cup jack cheese, shredded
2 fresh jalapeños (cored and seeded), diced
4 oz. pickled jalapeños, drained and diced
1/4 cup panko crumbs (or bread crumbs)
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, bacon, cheddar and jack cheeses, fresh and pickled jalapeños together. Spread the mixture into a 4-cup baking dish (I used an 8-inch round). Stir the panko and Parmesan together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the panko mixture over the dip. Bake 40 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling. Serve hot with tortilla chips. Serves 4-6.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

artichoke dip chanterelle mushroom dip hot cheesy green chile dip hot chorizo sweet onion dip

8 nibbles at “rethinking”

  1. Kristin says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too! This looks yummy, and New Year’s Eve is when we have a grazing meal, so maybe it will make an appearance. I hope you are enjoying the snow CO got this week!

  2. angelitacarmelita says:

    I love the Holidays now for different reasons. I’m a grazer by nature and find Thanksgiving to be the least exciting menu. I’d rather prepare, or have family and friends bring small dishes to share and spend the time together. As I get older, and my mother does, I just want to spend the time snacking on meaningful food and sharing stories, and time together. I hope your holiday is filled with snow!

  3. Marissa Drake says:

    Long time follower … you are so much more than a blog writer / recipe provider/ sunset photog. You are Jen, who we have bonded to. With all the love and light in the world. May your holiday bring peace and room to relax a bit.

  4. Pey-Lih says:

    Your parents cease to age – they look great! I think your priority to focus on health and wellness is the best gift you can give yourself and everyone around you. We are not getting stressed over bland carbfest either, so I am thankful for a calm and peaceful week of cycling. We are going to eat vegetable buns and dan dan noodles instead on our table. Enjoy your snow when it comes down; we are finally getting our share of rain here.

  5. Jill Hyde says:

    It’s always good to take the time for self care…and there’s no need to feel regret. Hope you are nourished with that time…and are well. Enjoy this dump of snow we just got! If we got 14″ I can only imagine what you got up the mountain! I’m thankful to know you. Thankful for all of my tribe. We are gathering for Thanksgiving with a group of friends (12) and Tom is smoking the turkeys and I’m bringing Brussels Salad. I’m not into the carb load either. xoxo, jill

  6. Kris says:

    Ooh this sounds absolutely divine! I adore your green chili dip recipe (we just made it again last night!) so I cannot wait to try this one, too! Thanksgiving blessings to you and yours!

  7. Mary Karen Euler says:

    It was just last night that I realized we faithful readers had not heard from you in many a moon, Jen, and I began to worry! Am cheered to hear & see that you’re listening to your inner wisdom and acting accordingly. We are grateful for any sharings when the spirit moves, but let them be a labor of love as we don’t want to burden you. Blessings to you and your family this Holiday Season!

  8. Kim griffin says:

    Hi Jen ,You have been such a lovely touch stone for me. I was out of the country on my sale boat for a long while and you were my voice from home reminding me of Nederland and Boulder and so many things I love about food and the Rockies. I think i found your writing about 10 ish years ago. You taught me to make breakfast sausage so I could cook biscuits and gravy on the boat while in the Mediterranean. Thank you , dear Woman, and have a peaceful and lovely winter.i am very fond of you. Just had to say that. One introvert to another.

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