Movie Night Snacks

We like our food spicy. Not that we always take that route. After all, there's an Itty who would not approve. Beyond that, something that's only spicy leaves me a little flat. I like the complexity of blending a wide variety of flavors and textures when I get a chance to play in the kitchen. And that's just what I did over the weekend when we had an opportunity to curl up on the couch together and watch a movie. I wanted a fun snack and I knew I could make it spicy, since Itty wasn't home. I was feeling like jalapeno poppers would be just about right, but I had a pile of sweet mini peppers instead of a stash of jalapenos. Would they work? In short, yes!

I was particularly pleased with using the skillet to bake these beauties. I'd used the skillet to sear some boneless pork chops for dinner not long before, so there was a combination of chili oil, polish sausage seasoning, and the browned bits from some fantastic chops in the bottom of the skillet (if you're wondering, yes it's a fantastic combination for chops). It was more than enough to keep the peppers from baking to the bottom of the pan and it added an extra flavor element to the finished product.

I would make them again this way in a heartbeat. They weren't nearly as spicy as your typical jalapeno poppers, but the combination of sweet peppers, creamy cheeses, and spicy seasoning and hot pepper flakes made the snack very memorable. What's more, by giving them a few minutes to cool after they came out of the oven, they weren't even a particularly messy movie snack food. I'll definitely make them again and hope you give them a try, too.

Sweet Pepper Poppers

  • 12-14 miniature sweet peppers
  • 1/2 c. lowfat cottage cheese
  • 2/3 c. shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 tsp. spicy Cajun seasoning or other spicy seasoning blend

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice each of the peppers in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds and inner membrane, but allow the stem to remain intact. The pepper halves should look like little boats.

In a small bowl, combine the cottage cheese, pepper jack cheese, and Cajun seasoning or other blend. Mix thoroughly to form a filling.

Carefully spoon the filling into the pepper halves, making sure to not overstuff the peppers. Arrange them in an oven-proof skillet that's been coated with oil, butter, bacon fat, or some other kind of fat to keep the pepper from sticking. I simply reused a pan I'd just used to sear pork chops. It added a lovely additional flavor element to the mix.

Bake the peppers for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and slightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before enjoying.

  • Yields: about 24 appetizers
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes