Stuffed Peppers with bacon and cream cheese

This time of year our CSA boxes are overrun with sweet and hot peppers.  Last year I decided I wanted to turn them into some stuffed peppers.  I scoured recipes in my books and online, and finally decided just to wing it with whatever I had in the kitchen.  The result is now a favorite in our house.  I use this on any of the larger peppers we get.  Honestly, I’m not sure what all the peppers are.  Generally bigger peppers are mild, smaller ones are hot, but I’ve been surprised a few times and bitten into some unexpected spice.  A good rule of thumb is that if you get peppers and are unsure of the heat, wear gloves when you handle them.  Otherwise you may cook up a batch of delicious stuffed peppers to be eaten later at a picnic, wash your hands thoroughly, and learn of their true intensity when you take your contact lenses later that day.  Hypothetically.  That’s certainly never happened to me in real life…er…

Back to the peppers!  When a filling involves bacon and cream cheese, there’s a pretty good chance anything else can be tossed in there without disrupting the balance of deliciousness, so feel free to replace ingredients, add new ones or leave out the chicken as you have ingredients available.  The recipe below is somewhat “squishy” because it is a recipe I dreamed up and change every time its made.

About 6 large peppers, bell work great, but use whatever you’ve got that is likely to be sweeter

1 c rice

About 2 tsp garlic powder

5-6 strips bacon

About a cup of cooked chicken or turkey, medium dice

4 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces

Salt and pepper

About a cup of mozzarella

Cut the peppers in half and remove the stems, seeds, and veins.  Place the peppers cut side up in a 9×13 baking dish.  Bake at 350 until somewhat tender, or until the rest of the filling is ready.  Around 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package directions – I use my rice cooker then just throw all the other ingredients into the cooker once the rice is done.  While the rice is cooking, cook the bacon until crispy using your preferred method of bacon cookery (I like microwave because I’m lazy).  Crumble the bacon into small pieces.  When the rice is cooked, add the garlic powder, bacon, cooked chicken, cream cheese, salt and pepper.  Mix until blended together.  Spoon into the cooked peppers.  Top with a sprinkle of mozzarella.  Bake the peppers for an additional 15 minutes or so if the peppers are still crispy and need more time OR just broil for 2-4 minutes just to melt the cheese.  If the rice gets too dry, add more cream cheese or a little chicken stock.

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