Baked Chorizo Chiles Rellenos

It’s the New Year and it’s time to try and reign in all the indulgent eating we did during the holidays. So now my focus is on making healthy meals that are still fun and delicious (otherwise I’d go crazy). I was craving some cheesy Mexican food so I found a way to satisfy my craving without too much fat and calories. You can do this without meat and add more beans and veggies but I love any excuse to use chorizo. I’m careful about where I buy meats like chorizo but Whole Foods makes one thats delicious and I feel better about the ingredients in there. And instead of breading and frying these peppers as is customary, we will bake them. Still delicious, still cheesy, just a little healthier for you.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 poblano peppers, washed, top cut off and seeds removed
  • 2 links chorizo
  • 1/2 cup or so of black beans
  • Ancho chili powder
  • 1 small red onion
  • chopped scallions
  • Fresh cilantro and oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 bag of Mexican cheese blend (would also be good with manchego cheese or reduced fat cream cheese if you really want that creamy texture)
  • Olive oil for sautéing

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Instructions:

Pre heat the oven to 375.

Cut the chorizo out of the casing and put in a hot saute pan with olive oil and onions.

imageLet the meat brown a bit and using a spoon gently break apart the meat. Add salt, pepper, chili powder and incorporate well. When it’s cooked through and the onions are softened add your fresh chopped herbs and shut the heat off.

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Pour into a bowl and add the cheese. Mix well.

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Using a small spoon, stuff each pepper and place on a cookie sheet. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until it’s bubbly and the peppers are cooked. I put my broiler on the end to give the pepper a nice char.

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Dig in! This is great leftover and you can bring it to work for lunch the next day.

Grilled Jalapeño Poppers

Finding delicious new appetizers to bring to a summer BBQ is always a fun challenge for me. It’s a risk trying something new, especially when bringing it to a large group of people but if you just have confidence in your ingredients it will turn out great! I’ve seen a lot of Jalapeno Popper recipes on Pinterest lately but they are typically stuffed with some mixture of cream cheese and jack cheese and wrapped with bacon and sometimes fried. Not exactly healthy and not that exciting (to me) in terms of ingredients. I love jalapenos so I started thinking how I could put my twist on this recipe. I substituted using all that cheese with avocado and I bought an all natural chorizo made by Whole Foods meat department. I used fresh herbs, quality cheese and cooked them on the grill; great flavor with out all the fat.

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Ingredients:

-2 Fresh Chorizo sausage links from Whole Foods (you could substitute with other kinds of ground beef or pork but make sure you season it well with things like chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper cumin, etc.)

-2 garlic cloves

-12 to 15 jalapeno peppers (Make sure you pick out larger and fatter jalapenos so you can fit a lot of stuffing in them)

-1/2 of a ripe avocado

-1-2 tbsp whipped cream cheese with chives (of course you can use any kind but I had this in my fridge)

-Manchego cheese, freshly grated

-Fresh chopped cilantro

-Fresh chopped chives

-Juice from half of one lime

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Instructions:

-Cut your jalapenos in half and take out the seeds and membranes. If you have some jalapenos on the skinny side, cut off 1/3 of it so you have a big enough pepper to stuff.

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-Cut the casings off the chorizo and place in a medium hot pan with fresh chopped garlic.

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-Combine the cream cheese, avocado, fresh herbs and lime juice in a bowl. Add salt & pepper. When the chorizo cools, add it to the bowl and mix well.

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-Using a spoon, stuff each pepper and top with a sprinkle of manchego cheese. Press down the cheese into the stuffing so it sticks to the mixture and doesn’t fall off. I stuffed them in advance and covered with tinfoil for a few hours until they were ready for the grill.

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-Get the grill nice and hot and put the flames on a medium level. Place the jalapenos directly on the grill and cook until the cheese melts. It’s a good idea to warn your guests that sometimes jalapenos are mild and sometimes they are spicy–it’s hard to know which one you will get.

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-Pop one in your mouth! Enjoy!

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Mexican Pillows

Two cultures collide when I use Mexican flavors and wrap them up inside a Chinese wonton.  It just works! I created this recipe for a Super Bowl appetizer and they were a lot of fun to make.  The nice thing about them is you can substitute with any meat, cheese and/or vegetables you like!

Ingredients:

  • Wonton wrappers
  • Chorizo
  • Red Onion
  • Garlic
  • Jalapenos
  • Tomatillo pepper
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • Cream cheese (about 1/4 of a cup)
  • Asiago cheese
  • Lime (juice and zest)
  • Ancho chili powder
  • 1 slice bacon
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  • Saute onion, garlic, jalapenos, and tomatillo peppers for a few minutes. Add s&p.
  • Take chorizo out of the casing and add to pan.

  • Let ingredients cook for a few moments, add ancho chili powder, salt, pepper, the juice and zest from 1/2 lime.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for a few moments in the food processor. In the mean time cook a slice of bacon on the pan.  Soak up any excess grease.  Add chorizo mixture, bacon and  fresh cilantro in the food processor and blend together.

  • Remove from blender and put in a bowl. Add both cheeses and mix well.  Keep in mind you can use any cheese you  like.
  • Take out a wonton wrapper and place 1 spoon full in the center.  Dip your finger in water and wet the edges.  Then fold it in half.

  • For some texture, you can use a fork around the edges of the pillow.
  • After you have finished assembling your pillows, spray well with olive oil on a baking sheet.  Bake in the oven until brown (about 15-20 minutes).  Of course you can fry them in some oil but I always prefer the healthier option. They still come out hot and crispy!

If you would like a dip for these Mexican Pillows try mixing avocado with sour cream and add some spices! It provides a cool relief to the hot and spicy pillows.  Enjoy!