once you pop...

I’m the first to admit I’m football challenged, but every year I look forward to Super Bowl because I know I’ll be sucked into a feast of delicious, greasy finger foods. This year, I couldn’t get the idea of jalapeño poppers out of my mind. I know this addictive bar staple has been done a million times before, so in order to maximize your tasting options, I tried making poppers with different types of chiles — from mellow poblanos to Anaheim to sweet mini bell peppers. And since I’m NOT a huge fan of deep-frying at home, I decided to bake them instead.

What a shocker! They were all delicious, and even though I love spicy jalapeños, my favorite was the sweet bell pepper, which tasted like fresh, little pizza bites. I guess anything stuffed with three types of cheese is a winner.

Pepper Poppers

  • 12 peppers (I used 4 jalapeños, 2 poblanos, 2 Anaheims and 4 mini bell peppers)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack, grated
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut a lengthwise slit from the stem of each chile to the bottom and then make a crosswise slit at the stem end (to form a T). Devein and seed chiles using the tip of knife. Stir together cheeses, salt and pepper. (The mixture will taste really salty at this point, but it mellows out once it’s stuffed in the chiles and baked). Stuff each chile with cheese mixture. Roll chiles in flour, dip in egg, then coat with breadcrumbs. Transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of chiles. Bake for about 35 minutes until crust is golden.