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Friday, April 11, 2014

Pretty Peppers

 What is is about things in miniature that tug at our heartstrings?  Whether it be babies, puppies or mini sweet peppers, they all evoke a reaction of "Oh aren't they just adorable?" I love these little peppers that are now so readily available in most grocery stores.  They are extremely versatile, tasty, and oh so cute to look at.

Today's recipe stems from one of those days where Chef Nancy and I get to play our own personal version of "Chopped"in the kitchen. There are ingredients on hand and we need to make an appetizer.  This stuffed pepper recipe was a huge hit at last night's poetry reading at Cancer Wellness.  This is a quick and easy recipe that can be prepped ahead of time, then popped under the broiler for a few minutes just before serving.  Your guests will certainly be cooing over this oh so cute and satisfying creation.

Cheesy Stuffed Peppers:
1 bag Mini Sweet Peppers (about 20 peppers)
2 8oz blocks of Neufchatel Cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup Light Olive Oil Mayonnaise
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 Red Jalapeño Peppers, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
2 Scallions, finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, grated (use your microplane)
2 Tsp Ground Cumin
2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste

Make sure ingredients are thoroughly combined
Step One:
Cut peppers in half lengthwise, removing any seeds.  Place peppers cut side up on a foil lined baking sheet.

Step Two:
Combine both cheeses and mayonnaise in bowl until well incorporated.  (A potato masher works great for this part).  Next, add the jalapeños, garlic, scallions, cumin and paprika.  Stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

The easiest way to stuff these beauties is with your impeccably clean or gloved hands

Step Three:
Fill each pepper half with just enough cheese to fill the cavity. Try not to overfill, or you will have a big oozy mess when they come out of the broiler.  You may have some filling leftover, which is not a bad thing.  This cheesy goodness is delicious cold, spread on a cracker.

Beautifully browned and oh so adorable!

Step Four:
Place peppers under the broiler, on the top rack of  your oven.  Watch them carefully as they will brown very quickly, 1-3 minutes at most.  Remove from broiler and place on a serving tray, and wait for the oh's and ah's from your guests!

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