Stuffed Baby Peppers…

I don’t often think about a certain type of food as being cute, but I have to admit the thought crossed my mind when I first laid eyes on baby peppers. The next thought was how can I use these in a recipe and appetizer jumped out at me.

These little darlings make the perfect grab and go appetizer and I’ve found people tend to like the simplicity of that the most. The peppers are also very tender and sweet and a perfect compliment to a wide variety of cheese concoctions.

For this particular recipe I used a combination of a spreadable garlic and herb cheese, Boursin brand, and added some green onion and dill to boost the flavor of the cheese. It couldn’t have been easier. And when I served it at a gathering, the entire plate of peppers disappeared!

So let’s talk stuffed baby peppers…

Lesson Learned 1 – Sometimes the simplest things are the best: I used to think that recipes had to be complicated and flashy to merit writing about. And I’ve been proven wrong over and over again. The best example I can give is my cream cheese, spinach, bacon and scallion pinwheels. After I made them I hesitated to post the recipe because I thought it was so rudimentary and people would laugh at it. Boy was I wrong. To this day that recipe is one of the most popular recipes on my blog – and I would never have dreamed it to be when I wrote it.

This recipe, in my mind, falls in the same genre. It basically takes a pre-made spreadable cheese embellished with a couple of simple ingredients and some baby peppers and voila, a simple but great appetizer! This kind of appetizer is perfect for when you have to throw something together quickly. It’s super tasty, looks divine, and disappears in a snap. What could be better? So, bottom line, don’t shy away from what’s incredibly easy. In the end, it may be one of the most popular things you’ll make.

Lesson Learned 2 – Working with baby peppers: First let me suggest that you get a bag of multi-colored baby peppers. The array of colors on a plate makes for an easy but effective presentation. Second, baby peppers are incredibly easy to work with. They don’t have a lot of seeds or the strips of white pith inside so they are easy to cut and prepare. Just take your knife and cut the pepper in half from top to bottom, remove the few seeds you may find and if you have a little pith just take your knife and scrape it away. In no time flat you have a tasty bite size little boat to hold your cheese concoction.

Probably the biggest challenge with this recipe is stuffing the peppers – but you really don’t have to worry about being overly neat with the cheese stuffing. I used a melon baller, the smaller side, and just scooped some of the cheese into a pepper and spread it over the top. You wind up garnishing the peppers with some paprika and the remaining minced green onions and that gives them a decorative flair.

And that’s it. Now I chose to “beef up” the spreadable cheese I used, but you don’t even need to do that if you don’t have the time or ingredients. If you get a flavorful spreadable cheese, that can be sufficient. Just make sure you use a spreadable cheese, otherwise stuffing the peppers will definitely become a chore. Enjoy these tasty little morsels. You’ll have fun making them and you’ll have fun eating them!

Stuffed Baby Peppers...

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

1 5 oz. package of Boursin garlic and fine herb spreadable cheese

12 multi colored baby peppers, halved

1 Tbs. sour cream

2 green onions, chopped fine and divided

2 tsp. fresh dill, chopped fine

paprika, for garnish, optional

Fresh dill spears for garnish, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the peppers in half from top to bottom. Remove any seeds and white pith.

In a small bowl combine the spreadable cheese, sour cream, about 2/3 of the chopped green onions, and all the chopped dill.

Using a small spoon or the smaller side of a melon baller, scoop some cheese inside a pepper and smooth it out to cover the entire upper surface of the pepper. Repeat until all peppers have been stuffed.

Sprinkle the tops of the peppers lightly with the remaining green onions and paprika. Plate (you can garnish the plate with fresh dill spears, optional) and serve.

 

 

 

Spud Pockets…

A friend of mine, who is a professional chef, once said that when it comes to great recipes the simpler the better. Ain’t that the truth.  Over the course of the past six weeks my husband and I have been in the midst of a sell/buy process, selling our home of 15 years and downsizing to a condo. With downsizing comes a myriad of emotions but in the end it is quite cathartic as well as hugely stressful.

Spud Pocket IngredientsDuring this time I’ve not had the opportunity to uphold my goal of one new recipe a week, but I am back in the swing and will definitely try to post regularly, although I still cannot guarantee once a week. I do promise to get back to my routine, I just can’t determine when as of yet.

So, getting back to simpler is better, as you can imagine during a process like this you resort to very basic and quick meals. Often meals consisted of “eating out” but that gets to be a bit much after a while as well. So my challenge was to try to figure out how to make something fast but not just the same old thing. So I did a little experimentation with this recipe and my husband loved it. So let’s talk spud pockets…

Lesson Learned 1 – Simple is always the best: This recipe couldn’t be any simpler – potatoes, green onion, heavy cream, butter, fresh chopped parsley – that’s it! You could add some smoked paprika for additional color and flavor, but I haven’t unpacked my herbs and spices yet so I had to forgo the paprika. You would not believe how tender and flavorful the potatoes turn out.

spud pocketsLesson Learned 2 – Use whatever kind of potatoes you have on hand: When I went to the grocery store the red potatoes looked fantastic. So instead of using a russet potato I used red potatoes. I liked the fact that the skin added some nice color to the dish as well.

Lesson Learned 3 – Keep the potatoes in the oven longer if you want crispy bottoms: I made these potatoes two days in the row. The first day I kept the potatoes in the oven for 50 minutes, the second day for 65. Keeping them in for 65 minutes gave them a nice crispy bottom. Make sure you spray your foil with cooking spray to help get them out of the foil pocket. Even with the spray you may have to scrape a few out, but that nice crunch on the bottom of the potato is well worth it.

spud pocketsLesson Learned 4 – Use two sheets of foil so the pocket is reinforced: – I took two sheets of foil and placed one sheet on top of the other. Then I put the potato mixture in the center, crimped the two longer ends together and rolled the smaller sides upward. There was no leaking in the oven this way. And the smells that came out of the oven were divine!

Lesson Learned 5 – This is a very economical recipe: One large red potato is more than enough for two people. I happened to have some heavy cream in the refrigerator so I used that. You could use milk or half and half, but the heavy cream really gives more depth of flavor.  One bundle of green onions made four pockets and you only need a small dollop of butter on top of each. I had a small bundle of fresh parsley and I used only about a quarter of it for four servings. A little goes a long way.

I’m telling you this recipe could not be any easier. You just chop the potatoes into half inch cubes, dice the green onions (use the green parts too) and parsley. Combine them all together, put the potatoes on a piece of reinforced foil (I used two sheets of foil), add a dollop of butter, a splash of heavy cream, some salt and pepper and that’s it! If you want a quick recipe that is sure to please, this is the one for you. You can also serve these rustic style right in the foil. Either way this is an easy go-to recipe. Enjoy!

Spud Pockets

SPUD POCKETS...

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

2 large potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 bundle of green onions, chopped

4 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

8 Tbs. heavy cream, 1-2 per pocket

2 Tbs. butter, 1/2 Tbs. per pocket

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Light sprinkle of smokey paprika per pocket, optional

Olive oil cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl combine the cubed potatoes, onions and parsley. Evenly distribute the mixture onto reinforced aluminum foil (two sheets, one on top of the other, per pocket- make sure to spray the foil with cooking spray first). Pull the sides up on the foil. Splash heavy cream over the potatoes. Put a pat of butter over each bundle. Close the foil by taking the large ends together and turning them over on each other to crimp them. Then pull up each smaller side and crimp the foil upward and toward the center of the bundle.

Bake for 45-65 minutes (you will get nice crispy bottoms if you cook them for 65 minutes). Remove the potatoes from the foil packet and serve immediately.

spud pockets

Serving suggestion: Filet of beef with steamed vegetables and spud pockets.

Serving suggestion: Filet of beef with steamed vegetables and spud pockets.