Roasted cheese-stuffed peppers is a happy, healthy way to stuff protein and a vegetable into kids who’d rather eat sugar. The recipe comes from the cookbook From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce. Here’s the recipe:
- bell peppers
- low-fat cheese
“Using tongs or long-handled fork, hold whole pepper over open flame, turning occasionally, until skin blisters all around. Cool and peel off skin. Open pepper from top carefully; remove seeds and core. Fill with low-fat cheese, and pop in low oven until cheese melts and conforms to shape of pepper. Chill overnight. Slice pepper; serve with other vegetables or use in a sandwich. Makes any number of servings.”
Roasting the peppers over a campfire or on a grill makes a fun party activity, but it’s easier to roast them on a flat pan in the oven under the broiler. Set the broiler heat to high. Turn the peppers when the skin turns brown to black – after about 10 minutes. Continue to turn until the whole pepper is brown. Let the peppers cool. It’s hard to remove the skin on a warm pepper. In fact, some people claim the skin comes off easiest if you freeze the peppers first.
I could only get one of the four peppers to keep its cylindrical shape when I removed the skin, stem, and seeds. But whether the pepper is shaped like a bowl or a plate makes no difference in taste.
I filled the peppers with my kids’ favorite cheese: a combo of cheddar and Monterey jack. My kids also like brick cheese because of its mild flavor. The adult version of this recipe calls for a much spicier pepper, say a poblano, serrano, or jalapeno, and perhaps a cheese with more of a punch, say a pepper jack, blue cheese, or asiago.
It is helpful, although not critical, to let the cooked roasted cheese-stuffed peppers cool in the ‘fridge overnight. They slice up easily after being chilled.
Cooking a healthy snack was not my sole reason for preparing the roasted cheese-stuffed peppers. I was looking for a recipe that started with the letters S–T–U. Sounds crazy I know, but my preschooler goes to kindergarten in two weeks. Since January we have been trying to get him ready by playing an alphabet game in which once a week we choose a letter and I bake something that starts with that letter. Meanwhile, preschooler, Dave, and 2nd-grader, Lauren, collect toys that start with the letter, and Lauren shows Dave how to write it. In May we started falling behind so we began doubling up on the letter of the week, e.g. I baked King Lingonberry coffee cake for K and L; and a few weeks later a N–O-se-shaped spice cake. Next we got V out of the way with a chocolate Volcano cake. So yesterday we made STUffed peppers. I also made a sausage stuffing to accompany our chicken dinner. Lauren suggests that next week we make cakes in the shape of a yak playing the xylophone and a zebra eating watermelon. This will take some serious thought.
But I beg you not to misjudge my mommy nature. Yes, it appears noble to ready my preschooler for kindergarten and bake my children healthy snacks. But let me complete the tale. While I was roasting peppers, my children were pressing cookie cutters into left-over pie crust dough. Yes, the shapes were S, T, U, snowman, star, tree, three, and seven. But then we brushed the Crisco-laden dough with butter, sprinkled the shapes with cinnamon sugar, and baked them at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. They were very yummy, but hardly a healthy snack. .
If you’re searching for high-protein, low-carb snacks, here are some deliciously satisfying possibilites:
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