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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Stuff Your Own…Stuffed Pepper!

I had an urgent craving for stuffed peppers this past weekend and thought they would be nice for Sunday family dinner. I have never made them before but they seemed simple enough and I thought they have such potential to be delicious. Keeping things on the healthy side, I used a short brown rice instead of white rice. I debated what kind of stuffed peppers to make…I thought about the endless options, depending on the flavors you use. The peppers can be adapted to a Spanish version (ancho chili powder, manchego cheese stuffed in a poblano pepper) or Greek (with feta, olives and ground lamb or chicken) etc. Think about your favorite ingredients. Stuff your own!

Ingredients:

  • 8 Bell Peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups Short brown rice
  • Fresh Basil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2lb Ground Beef, 1/2lb Ground Veal, 1/2lb Ground Pork
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Cheese (a mixture of fresh grated parmesan, shredded mozzarella and provolone any Italian cheeses will do)

Directions:

  • Cook the brown rice according to directions. I recommend adding chicken broth for an extra boost of flavor.
  • Saute onions and garlic and add salt, pepper and fresh chopped basil. After they get translucent, add the beef. Make sure you mash-up the meat (you can use a potato masher) to ground it up well.
  • Add some chopped tomatoes, a splash of tomato sauce, salt & pepper to the saute pan. Mix all together well and let sit off the heat to let the flavors meld while the rice cooks. You can add some more fresh chopped basil (or even parsley) at this point.
  • Pour the contents into a big bowl with the rice and add some parmesan cheese. Mix together and stuff your peppers.
  • Top each pepper with a spoonful of sauce and cheese. Put extra sauce in the bottom of the pan with a few more basil leaves. Bake in the oven at 350 until the sauce bubbles and the cheese is melted. Take the tinfoil off for the last ten minutes or so to let the cheese brown.
Eat and pair with a nice class of Italian red wine. Enjoy!

FYI- These are even better the next day! My dad took a leftover pepper, cut it in half and topped it with a poached egg. Mmm mmm delicious!!