12jalapeno peppers— small/medium-sized, split in half length-wise with seeds and membranes removed
6ounceslight cream cheese
1/2cupfreshly grated pepper jack cheese
2small green onions— finely sliced
Nonstick cooking spray
If necessary, cook the bacon according to these easy steps. Once cool, dice the bacon into small pieces.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, grated cheese, three-quarters of the bacon, green onion, garlic powder, and salt. Spoon the filling into each jalapeño cavity. Arrange the peppers on prepared baking sheet, filling-side up.
Sprinkle a small amount of panko on top of each jalapeno, then lightly coat the top of the jalapenos with nonstick spray. Bake until the jalapenos are tender and the breadcrumbs are golden, about 15 to 18 minutes. If the panko isn't browned to your liking when the peppers are soft, switch the oven to broil and broil for 1 minute or so watching VERY CAREFULLY to make sure the breadcrumbs do not burn (don't walk away!). Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining bacon. Serve hot.
The Bacon Jalapeno Poppers can be prepared through Step 3 up to 1 day in advance. Sprinkle with panko and bake just before serving.