Baptist ladies like it hot! And so do we—jalapeño poppers and chicken wings!

party food

Last week, my son was in town. That’s a rare occurrence these days, so we had our own little party on his last night here—just the three of us (mom, dad and son). It was a good excuse for me to work on a few of the recipes in my Appetizer and Party Foods section of the cookbook. I chose to make Chicken Wings and Jalapeño Poppers.

When I lived in Oklahoma, I found out that the Baptist Bible Study ladies like it hot! Who knew? I went to the annual cookout and was introduced to Jalapeño Poppers. Not what I was expecting, but they were actually quite good! To tell you the truth, these jalapeños are not all that hot, which is a good thing since hot spices trigger a major coughing attack in me. Apparently, the casein in dairy breaks down the capsaicin alkaloids that produce heat, and which probably are responsible for my coughing attacks.

I made my poppers with Neufchâtel cheese (less fat than cream cheese) and a little smoked paprika. I wrapped some in turkey bacon (as opposed to the regular fatty stuff). I also filled some with Boursin (a whipped cream cheese with herbs) which is a good option if you like things hotter. Because Boursin whipped, there’s not as much cheese and therefore the peppers remained HOT!

To prepare, cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and membranes. After doing so, be sure to clean the capsaicin oils off your hands (if you didn’t wear gloves). The best way is to rub cooking oil on your hands, then wash them with soap and water. By the way, I read somewhere that surgical latex gloves don’t protest from super hot peppers, but I think they might from jalapeños which aren’t all that hot. I just use the oil and wash method myself. Another tip: wear goggles or your eyeglasses just in case they squirt in your face/eyes. I speak from experience!


Lay your pepper halves out on a baking sheet.


Fill with cheese.


Sprinkle spices on top.


You can cook them just like this or wrap in bacon. I did both. After about 15-20 minutes, they were ready to pop out of the oven and into our mouths!


You can’t have a party with just one appetizer, and since my son was around to help us eat, I decided to try chicken wings again.

A few people had suggested that I couldn’t put together a cookbook for young adults without including a recipe for chicken wings. That was a problem, since I had never made chicken wings, nor do I like them—especially the type you buy at fast food joints. My daughter’s a vegetarian, so I knew she wouldn’t agree to help (even though her husband was probably disappointed). That left it up to my son and I to work on this one. (Even my husband was hesitant to eat any—fatty foods don’t agree with him.) 

I’d been working on the recipe, so I was pleased to have another taste tester around. Greg and I (and even my husband) gave these 2 thumbs up! However, if you like fiery hot, greasy, drippy, almost-burnt wings, then you might not like these, but I hope you’ll keep an open mind and give them a try. They’re less fatty, have a light but tangy marinade, and you can easily add more hot sauce if you want to. 

The recipe works for 1 to 2 pounds of chicken wings. This last time, I bought a package of 12 pieces (6 flats and 6 drumettes) of organic chicken from the local grocery store, which weighed about 1-1/2 pounds. 

Don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe. They’re actually very easy to make. You don’t need any added barbecue sauce, but you can serve them with dipping sauces on the side, if you prefer. See Serving Suggestions below.

The trick to removing some of the greasiness is to parboil the wings first. This cooks off some of the fat and shortens the cooking time in the oven, which gives you juicier (albeit less crunchy) wings. I haven’t tried it, but I imagine you could make the recipe without parboiling. I’d suggest turning the heat down a little and cooking them longer.

The wings are pretty ugly after parboiling, I must admit! And I don’t mean jolie-laide for you francophiles out there. They are genuinely UGLY! N’est-ce pas?


While they drain on some paper towels, mix up the sauce/marinade and pour half of it in the same saucepan you used for parboiling. Set the remaining half aside for later. (Our cookbook recommends the bare essentials for a small beginning kitchen, and a 4-6 quart saucepan is the largest pan on the list, since most young adults will not have room for big pots. Hence, all my recipes fit in a 4-quart pan. I also try to write the recipes in such a way as to end up with the fewest amount of dishes to wash.)


Pat dry the chicken wings to make sure all of the water has been removed, so the sauce will stick. Add them to the saucepan and toss to coat well.


Lay out on the rimmed baking sheet that is also part of our recommended kitchen supplies. (Discard this used sauce.) Cook at 450°F for 25-30 minutes, turning over once after 10 minutes and again after another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven.


Place in a bowl with the reserved sauce. 


Toss to coat well.


Eat as-is, while hot, or serve with your favorite barbecue sauce. I served it with my Creamy 5-Spice Dressing, which I haven’t published yet (still tweaking it to perfection). I’ve got a few dips I need to work on as well—next time I have a reason for a party!


Jalapeño Poppers

Chicken Wings

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™