Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pepper Poppers

Pepper poppers are one of the cheapest and easiest appetizers you can make. They are also incredibly popular and go well whether you are serving a taco bar or having a party for a sporting event. They don't take long to make and can even be assembled in advance and tossed into the oven a little before guests show up. My garden is producing loads of peppers this year, and this is a great way to use up a bunch. The farm stands also have them pretty affordably as well. When peak pepper season is on, I like to core whole peppers and freeze them.

Jalapenos are my go-to, but I also use small hungarian hot wax, large padrons or shishitos, sweet banana, mini bells and lunchbox or other small sweet peppers. Depending on the size of the pepper, ease of removing the seeds and desired presentation, I'll either core them out and shake out as many of the seeds as possible or cut in half longways and scoop out the guts. Reminder: Don't forget to wear gloves if handling hot peppers.

I don't use a recipe, I just guesstimate based on what I have that needs used up. I will use sour cream, cream cheese or cottage cheese, as I have it. Sometimes if I have a little bit of a creamy dip I'll use that as all or part of the creamy addition. I'll also use up little bits of salsa or hot sauce. Sometimes I'll mince onion in. If the filling needs some oomf, I'll use either a packaged seasoning blend or just add some black pepper, salt, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Blend all well, then put into a piping bag or sandwich bag and cut the tip. Squeeze the blend into the pepper. If you are using frozen peppers, you don't need to even thaw them. Just fill when frozen and bake a little longer than you otherwise would.

I place them all in a baking dish, overlapping some. Sometimes I cover them all with enchilada sauce or cheese. Sometimes I leave them plain. I bake at around 350 until the peppers are soft, around 30-40 minutes. I often use the toaster oven to keep from heating up the kitchen.

These are always popular and disappear fast. If I do have any leftovers, they are great for my work lunches and I think are even better chilled.

What are your favorite frugal and easy appetizers or sides?

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