Stop your ovens. It’s officially time for the summer cooking series.

We kick off the season with Jalapeno poppers!

Photo by Tim Evanson, via Flickr.

This week, the temperatures at our house reached the high 90s. That means there will be no more baking, roasting, or braising for the foreseeable future. The hottest times of the year leave us with four options for cooking: the stove top, the grill, the slow cooker, and the electric pressure cooker.

If we had a smoker, I’d add that too. We go to other peoples houses for smoked foods. I might head over to my bro’s house for a lesson in smoke to share.

But tonight, I’m making stuffed jalapenos. To avoid baking these in the oven, I’ll use the toaster oven,. You could also put these on the grill using a grill pan or sheet.

I love the aroma and flavor of jalapenos, even if I don’t always like the spice of them. I often use pickled jalapenos instead of fresh, because they are a bit more mild. Baking them also soothes the spicy beast, especially if you remove the pith and ribs.

Super Simple Stuffed Jalapenos for the Toaster Oven

3 jalapenos (green ones will be more mild than those with red or orange coloring.)
1/2 package of bacon
1/2 package of cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (or more if desired)

SAFETY FIRST: Really and truly– wear gloves and protect your eyes while you work with hot peppers. Jalapeno juice can spray while you remove the insides. And the spice offers lasting pain if it gets into an open hangnail, for example. Wash your hands and knife before using it again.

Slice the jalapenos lengthwise. Remove the seeds, pith, and ribs using a spoon. Arrange them on a lined baking sheet that fits in your toaster and set aside. Cook the bacon over medium low heat until crispy. Chop it into small bits and put it into a bowl with the cream cheese, sour cream and garlic powder. NOTE: I’ve tried this with more intense flavorings, but I feel as though the bacon, the cream cheese, and the jalapeno flavor can really shine when they are left alone.

Fill the peppers with your bacon/cream cheese ambrosia, and top with cheddar. Be generous with the filling and with the topping.

Pop those bad boys into the toaster for 15-20 minutes at 350F. You want the cheese on top to get a super melty and bubbly and you want tender peppers.

ANOTHER SAFETY TIP: Toaster ovens can be temperamental, so don’t walk away. Depending on your oven, you might need an additional 5 minutes, or you might need to pull them out if they start to get charred on top.

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