Mexican Sweet Mini Pepper Poppers (Say that three times fast?)…Toy boat, toy boat, toy boat…
We are excited to celebrate the Super Bowl this weekend because
1. Finally my NINERS have made it back to the bowl!!!
And, 2. some friends of ours have asked us to come down to their beautiful home in Sacramento and spend the weekend (pictures to follow.)
So, we’ve been experimenting with some of these lovely sweet mini-peppers as appetizers. They are super sweet and make a great platform for stuffing.
I was going thru last year’s pictures looking for some pics that I might have taken during last year’s Super Bowl, but I couldn’t find any. I’m sure I must have taken some, but they are probably hidden away in a virtual file drawer somewhere.
At any rate, I did find a few pics that we took the week after the Superbowl when we were up at Tahoe for the day. We stopped at a great little restaurant right on the lake called Riva Grill. I love this restaurant and the food is quite good. The view is one of the best on the lake and if it’s warm enough you can eat outside right on the dock. Y!C! had fish and chips and I had fish tacos. We both had a beer and then we took a little walk out on the pier to see the Tahoe Queen and some other large touring boat. It was a nice day. These pics made me happy, so I thought I would include them in this post.
Y!C! and I went there again a couple of weekends ago for dinner and had a great meal. (P.S., Yes!Chef! is a goofball. Just sayin’.)
As an aside, I had a friend that told me he loved to read my blog posts and look at the photos of the food. And then he said, “I also like the random photos that you post that have nothing to do with the food or anything else.” Hmmm. I had to think about that, but he may be right. In my mind the non-food pictures that I post have a connection to what I’m writing, but to anyone else…probably not. I probably won’t change, but I thought it was interesting that he mentioned it.
So, Yes!Chef! and I are looking forward to our weekend away with our longtime friends in Sacramento. Y!C! was busy making up a menu last night, so I have no idea what he’s got up his sleeve. It should be good, though. And, I may just have to make some of these spicy little poppers for the weekend.
Wash the peppers, cut them in half and clean out the seeds. Then put them on a baking sheet or two, cut side up. (Aren’t they pretty? And so festive!)
Then dip them in the crushed tortilla chip mixture and put back on the baking sheet. I almost always use parchment on the baking sheet because I think it’s prettier, and more practically, it’s easier to clean the baking sheet.
Pop them in the oven and bake them for about 20 minutes. I put them under the broiler for another 3-5 minutes just to make them a little more brown.
The filling was all nice and bubbly and cheesy. The topping was crunchy. I think my tortilla chips should have been crunched up a little more so they weren’t quite as large as in the picture. It won’t taste any different, but I think they might be prettier. (Pretty is always important for the photog.)
Cooking the peppers really brought out the sweetness. So the entire bite was sweet, salty, spicy and crunchy…everything you should expect. It also had a little acid from the lime.
I’m pretty happy with this recipe and it’s easy enough for anyone to make. You can even get the roasted chicken at the grocery, if you don’t want to roast your own chicken. I find that sometimes the grocery chicken is a little dry, so I like to roast it myself. But, you could save yourself some time. I think this recipe would also be good with crab meat or shrimp meat. You can also just heat up the stuffing as a hot dip. In that case, I would probably use the shrimp or crab meat instead of the chicken. Then you can serve it with the uncooked hollowed-out mini peppers and other crudites. Yes!Chef! suggests mincing up a jalapeno (remove the seeds) to put in the filling if you like a little more spice.
See how versatile this recipe is?
As I was setting up this shot, I remembered my salt & pepper shaker collection that I inherited from my grandmother and that I have been adding to as the years have gone by. Why didn’t I think of this before? I think I’ll try to use more of them in my pictures because they are so charming.
I hope you try these because they are quite good and they are pretty. (Satisfies both Y!C! and me, the photographer.)
Here’s the recipe:
1 2lb. bag sweet mini-peppers (red, yellow and orange)
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
1 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. (+/-) Ground Chipotle Chile Powder (depending on how spicy you want it.)
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lime
3-5 drops Sriracha sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbps. chopped fresh Cilantro
2 cups shredded and chopped roasted chicken (we used whole legs)
1 7 oz. can Chopped Green Chiles
3 tomatillos, chopped
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. Ground Chipotle Chile powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Wash, halve and clean mini-peppers. Place on parchment lined baking sheets, hollow side up.
2. Mix cream cheese, Pepper Jack Cheese, cumin, chili powder, Chipotle chile powder and chopped garlic in mixer until thoroughly blended. Blend in lime juice, Sriracha sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add shredded chicken, drained chopped green chiles and chopped tomatillos. Blend by hand until thoroughly mixed
4. Fill mini peppers with chicken/cheese mixture.
5. Blend crushed tortilla chips with a little chili powder and ground Chipotle Chile Powder.
6. Dip stuffed mini peppers into crushed tortilla chip mixture and place back onto baking sheet.
7. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes – until hot and bubbly.
Yes!Chef! also suggested that I remove the stems of the mini peppers. I ignored this piece of advice because 1. the stems are like a little handle that you can hold as you put them in your mouth, 2. they look better with the stem. So, the stems stayed on. (Sometimes you just have to ignore advice from men when it comes to beauty. Form before function, I say.)