4th of July in our hometown, Seward, NE, is a HUGE deal! Our little community of about 6,000 residents becomes a small city of 40,000 – 50,000, each year, when we celebrate Independence Day. We have the proud designation of Nebraska’s 4th of July City and when we throw a party…well, let’s just say, you know you’ve been celebrating! 🙂 Activities and fun begin early in the morning, with the anvil firing, and continue long after dark, culminating in a spectacular fireworks show. The courthouse square is the center of most of the day’s events and nobody wants to miss any of them. Games, shows, craft fair/farmer’s market, parade, shopping, a three-block food court, contests, car show, an air show, and so much more, pack the agendas of every Seward resident. Traffic on the two state highways that cut through our town, literally comes to a stand-still with all the pedestrian traffic; and you know what…it’s okay. It’s the 4th of July! And it’s about family and friends, fun and festivities…oh… and food. It’s about lots and lots of food!
Even with all the activity downtown, it’s fair to assume that many of us will have company or be hosting guests in our home, at some point throughout the twenty-four hours that is the 4th of July. The food for this special day celebrates all the best tastes of summer and will likely involve fresh garden produce, grilling, more salads than you can count and trays and trays of finger food. Oh and homemade ice cream. That’s sort of a rule. 🙂
For me, having the best for my guests, and still having time to enjoy all the day has to offer, means I want recipes that will WOW! their tastebuds, but be quick and simple to prepare. My delicious BLT Poppers recipe delivers on each of those requirements. You’re going to love it! I developed this recipe for Kraft as a member of their Kraft Tastemakers team and I hope you enjoy it as much as my family. Pop one of these scrumptious little appetizers into your mouth and close your eyes. You will literally taste one of summer’s flavor icons — a delicious BLT sandwich with fresh tomatoes and lettuce from the garden.
To create the appetizer crusts, all you have to do is mix Kraft Cheddar Jack and Bacon Fresh Take packets with melted butter. Press them into mini muffin tins and bake. Talk about simple. David loves how these crusts mimic the texture of toasted bread on a BLT; and I have to tell you, the flavor is absolutely spectacular!
As soon as the crusts are out of the oven and cooling, pop a baking sheet with four strips of Oscar Mayer bacon, into the oven. Pre-cutting the bacon into the bite-sized pieces I needed for the appetizers saved so much time!
This is a good time to mince up the romaine lettuce and grape tomatoes, too. Then all that’s left is quickly assembling your fabulous BLT Popper appetizers.
Pipe the filling into the cooled crusts with a pastry bag or a zip-top bag that has the corner snipped off. Center one bacon piece in the middle of each popper and then garnish with the minced lettuce and tomatoes.
I think this recipe is a smart idea for packing maximum flavor in a single bite and I can’t wait to include them in our 4th of July appetizer line-up for our favorite guests! They’re beautiful to look at and delicious to eat! What are your favorite finger foods to serve on the 4th of July? How do you keep things quick and easy in the kitchen over the holidays? I’m excited to hear what you’ll be cooking!
Get the complete recipe and instructions for BLT Poppers in the recipe section at Kraft or print it from, below.
- 2 packages FRESH TAKE Cheddar Jack & Bacon Recipe Cheese Breadcrumb Mix
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 4 oz. PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
- 2 Tbsp. KRAFT Bacon Flavored Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
- 4 strips OSCAR MAYER Thick Cut Bacon
- 1 large romaine lettuce leaf, minced
- 12 grape tomatoes, cut into eighths
- COMBINE the bread crumb and cheese packets, from both Fresh Takes packages, in a medium mixing bowl.
- ADD the melted butter and stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined and moist. You should be able to scoop up about 1 ½ to 2 Tablespoons of the mixture in your hand and mold it into a ball.
- DIVIDE the mixture into 24 balls of relatively the same size.
- PRESS each ball into the lightly greased cups of a mini muffin tin, pressing the crust mixture across the bottom and up the sides of the cups.
- BAKE the popper crusts at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
- REMOVE from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. During baking, the crusts will have settled and formed flat muffins. While they are still warm, use the back of a spoon or other round utensil to press the crusts back up the sides of the muffin tin cups. Then when they have cooled, in about 15 minutes, they will hold their shape.
- CUT four strips of OSCAR MAYER Thick Cut Bacon into 8 pieces, each. Place the bacon pieces onto a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes. Watch closely after 10 minutes, as every oven is different, and while you want the bacon crisp, you don’t want to burn it.
- REMOVE the bacon from the oven and drain pieces on paper towels. Set bacon pieces aside.
- ARRANGE cooled crusts on a platter or tray. Set crusts aside.
- SLICE grape tomatoes in half, then fourths and then eighths.
- MINCE the romaine lettuce.
- MIX the cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth and creamy. Put the cream cheese mixture into a piping bag or make one by filling the corner of a zip-top bag and snipping off the corner of the bag with scissors.
- PIPE the cream cheese mixture into the cooled crusts, adding slightly less than 2 teaspoons of filling to each popper shell.
- STAND one bacon piece, on end, in the center of each filled shell.
- ARRANGE minced lettuce and tomato pieces around the bacon.