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Amanda De Jager Friedman: Game Day Greens

Super Bowl food should, in this humble cook’s opinion, bear at least one of three characteristics:

It’s wrapped in bacon.

It’s covered in cheese, sour cream, or creamy dressing.It’s heaped on a tortilla chip.

While there are always exceptions to the rule, there’s little room for compromise in my kitchen when it comes to cuisine de Super Bowl. It’s just the way things are. Your guests, too, will be thrilled if you stick to these basics. Let’s be honest, no one goes to a Super Bowl bash expecting to nosh on girly greens ... unless, of course, those greens happen to be jalapenos!

The following recipe is super easy, somewhat familiar and it never fails to wow the crowds. It also has two of the ever important “Super Bowl Food Characteristics.” Not to be outdone by the abundance of hilarious commercials, these little suckers will be the talk of the party!

12 jalapenos, firm and good-sized

8 ounces cream cheese

8 ounces cheddar cheese

12 slices of bacon, cut in half crosswise

Barbecue sauce

Toothpicks

How to put them together: (can be assembled and stored in the fridge a day in advance)

Slice the stems off the top of the jalapenos. Cut them in half lengthwise. Using a small metal spoon or gloved hands, scrape the seeds and white stuff out of the insides. Or, if you're a party animal who likes things really spicy, leave them in.

Cut the block of cream cheese into 24 matchstick-shaped pieces. Repeat with the block of cheddar cheese.

First, put a chunk of the cream cheese in each half of jalapeno, followed by the chunk of cheddar.

Wrap each double cheese-stuffed jalapeno half inside a piece of the bacon. Skewer with a toothpick to hold bacon in place. Place the skewered jalapenos on a greased sheet pan. Smear a little bit (about 1/2 tablespoon) of your favorite barbecue sauce on each piece.

Bake in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes, or until bacon is crisp.

Top with a little more barbecue sauce and serve warm on a small platter.

Take a bow!

(makes 24 pieces)

Editor's Note: Amanda De Jager Friedman suggests that readers add a little spice to their Super Bowl bash by serving Bacon Wrapped Firecrackers. De Jager Friedman is the co-owner of Piano Cafe in the Plaza at El Portal. She grew up in a Dutch-American family on a dairy near Chowchilla and earned a bachelor of arts degree in culinary management from the Arts Institute of Colorado. De Jager Friedman will write an occasional article for the Merced Sun-Star.

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