Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Peppers

Hi all! I'm back from a long break. Life has been busy! This time of year, I often think of my Midwestern roots. Even though I live in the Southwest now, I grew up in Michigan. Experiencing the change of season in the Midwest is simply beautiful. I miss it. Thankfully, I get to relive it vicariously through social media and my friends who still live there. There is an unspoken sisterhood with the Michigan mamas I keep in contact with, a connection that only comes from sharing the same point of origin. I think it's amazing so many of my Michigan girls share my creative flair.

Today you are in for an extra special treat. Every time my friend Kelly Kowalczyk posts a photograph of one of her fabulous meals, I find myself salivating. Seriously, when can the computer wizards of this universe come up with a scratch-n-sniff screen! This girl clearly has skills and you're about to get a taste of her amazing talent. Kelly has so kindly agreed to guest blog for me. Today we are kicking off a mini-series of Kelly's favorite recipes. This first one, Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Peppers, is already on my grocery list! Please take the time to read her amazing bio below. She's a peach :-)

Without further adieu, here's Kelly :-)

Bacon wrapped stuffed peppers
You know how the saying goes… anything is better with bacon. We are pretty big fans of bacon in our household. My daughter is a self-proclaimed “meatatarian”.

Here is an easy, low carb recipe that is sure to please. This recipe pairs well with beer and a football game.
6-7 Anaheim peppers, tops removed, cut in half, seeded
1 lb ground pork sausage or chorizo
1 pkg cream cheese (8 oz)
Sliced bacon (1 slice per half pepper) uncooked

  1. Rinse, and cut the tops off the peppers. Slice them lengthwise to create 2 halves. Then hollow out the inside of each half, removing the seeds and any extra connective membrane that gets in the way.
  2. In a fry pan, brown the sausage breaking it into fine pieces as it cooks. You can add some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper at this point to spice it up if you would like.
  3. Turn heat down to low. You can drain the sausage at this point and return it to the pan. If the sausage is lean it may not need to be drained. Then melt the cream cheese combining it with the sausage. Once combined thoroughly, turn off heat and let the mixture cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pre-heat your grill to medium high heat.
  5. Fill each half pepper with the sausage/cream cheese mixture.
  6. Take a slice of bacon, and wrap it around each filled pepper half making sure there is a little overlap of the edges as you go, using a little bit of tension to stretch the raw bacon.
  7. Turn grill heat back to medium heat, and place wrapped pepper halves onto the grill diagonally. Take care to avoid flare ups.
  8. Once bacon is cooked, remove peppers from grill. Approximate grill time is 15 – 20 minutes.

Yields 12-14 servings.

Variations on this recipe:

a. BBQ: Add a little more flavor by brushing a little BBQ sauce on top of the peppers while the peppers are grilling.

b. Jalapenos: You can use jalapenos in this recipe rather than Anaheim peppers. You will need 16-20 jalapeno peppers, and about ½ slice of bacon per pepper half. If you do this, you may want to use a toothpick to secure the bacon before grilling.

c. Cheese: If you don’t want the meat, you can include cheddar cheese shreds instead. You would need about 12 oz of shredded cheese.

d. Loaded: You can combine bacon bits, shredded cheese and scallions in your cream cheese filling for a loaded stuffed pepper.

There are lots more creative things you can do. Have fun making your own variation.

Hope you love it!

My name is Kelly Kowalczyk. I’m a wife, mother, and career woman.

Just like most busy moms, I have to confront the daily demands of having a school age child and a full time job. I grew up through my own childhood with two sets of grandparents and one awesome set of parents who made almost everything from scratch. I was blessed to have role models who loved to cook and were pretty good at it.

I adopted a passion for cooking when I was in college, but back then it was ramen noodles, canned soup, and whatever you could spread on white bread to make it taste good enough to choke down. Since then, I have found joy and the opportunity to be much more creative using raw ingredients and cooking from scratch (with a little cheating I must admit, you know, that busy mom thing).

Philosophically, I believe that everything in moderation is good. I don’t get carried away trying to make a science project out our weekly meal plans. I just try to make sure there is a balance to obtain a diversity of nutritional input from the food we eat.

For me, it’s all about flavor. I’m willing to put a lot of time and effort into cooking because I want to enjoy the experience it offers. Flavor is an adventure that can carry you away to another place while you are planted in your own home. It is also a social experience. We enjoy entertaining friends and family. There is nothing like the memories created when you have friends gather, and enjoy some tantalizing treats together.

My hope is that you will enjoy the recipes, and take them one step further to add your own creative flair.

Thank you so much, Kelly!

~The Lemonista