|I couldn't help taking a bit out of this one!|
Because they are just a little bit larger than a jalapeno, I thought it would be fun to make a more mild version of a jalapeno popper. Of course, jalapeno poppers are traditionally fried. While I did break out of my no-frying lifestyle to make the fritters last week, I'm going back to my preferred baking for this week. No need to make a cheese stuffed pepper any less healthy! Plus, one oil splattered Sunday is enough for one month!
These poppers turned out wonderful! The filling was delicious and cheese and the sweet peppers were tender but not mushy. The panko crust was crispy and wonderful. Did I miss the spicy flavor of jalapeno? A little bit. I think that I might add some siracha to the cheese mixture next time or put a little bit on top when they come out of the oven. That said, these were still extremely tasty and are an awesome substitution for those who aren't into the spiciness as much as I am.
Sweet Baby Bell Pepper Poppers
about 1 dozen mini bell peppers halved and seeded
6 oz cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used about half and half mozzarella and sharp cheddar)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 cup panko crumbs
3-4 Tbsp flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, shredded cheese, and spices.
In a low dish, whisk the eggs slightly until combined. Put the flour and panko crumbs in two separate dishes.
Fill each bell pepper halve with about 1 Tbsp of the cheese mixture. Dredge lightly in the flour, then dip in the egg wash, and then firmly press into the panko crumbs. Place on a slightly greased baking sheet.
Bake the poppers for about 30 minutes. Mine weren't quite golden brown at that point, so I turned on the broiler in my oven to high and let them sit on the 2nd highest setting for 1 minute to crisp up a bit more.
Serve while hot! These are much better when they are still hot, though they are ok at room temperature.
I served them on top of some arugula spinach mix (mostly for colors in the pictures) and found that the peppery arugula matched particularly well with them.