Jalapeno Popper Dip
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup real bacon bits (or equivalent of chopped, fried bacon)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 (4 oz.) can sliced jalapenos (pickled), drained and chopped
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (A flaky bread crumb used in Japanese cuisine.)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and mayonnaise together.
2. Stir in cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, bacon bits and peppers.
3. Pour into a greased baking dish. Bake in a preheated 350º F oven until sides are bubbling and cheese has melted and turned golden brown on top, about 20-25 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings
Southwest Stuffed Peppers
Olive oil or cooking spray
3-4 bell peppers (green, red or yellow), halved and seeded
1/2 lb. lean ground meat (beef, turkey, etc.)
1 cup chopped onions
Salt and pepper
1 heaping tablespoon taco seasoning
2 cups cooked rice
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 (15-16 oz.) jar salsa
Shredded cheddar cheese, about 1/2 cup
1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Lightly coat the peppers with olive oil or cooking spray and roast in a baking dish about 20-25 minutes, just until cooked through. Remove the peppers from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the onions in a small amount of oil until cooked through. Add ground meat and continue cooking until meat is brown. Season to taste. Remove from heat.
3. Add taco seasoning, cooked rice, black beans, corn and salsa. Mix well.
4. Carefully spoon the mixture into each half of the bell peppers. If there is extra filling, pour it into the bottom of the baking dish as a bed for the peppers. Place peppers back into the baking dish. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the peppers are cooked all the way through.
5. Remove baking dish from the oven, sprinkle the tops of each pepper with shredded cheddar cheese and place back into the oven just until the cheese has melted.
6. Remove from the oven and top with fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or avocado slices just before serving.
Contributor’s note: I used home-grown peppers which are smaller than those available in the store. Thus, I used 6 peppers instead of the 4 suggested in the recipe.