m a r g i n a l i a

notes from a creative writing PhD candidate

PhDelicious: baked jalepeño peppers

As you may know, I’m a runner, but I’m also a cheese enthusiast.  (Perhaps I need to run long distances because I eat so much cheese?  Hmm.)  I also love to cook and also snack, and prefer to graze throughout the day rather than sit down and eat three big meals (especially if I have a long run planned for later in the day).  These jalepeño peppers are super easy and fast and are absolutely delicious.  If you’re trying to avoid carbs these are an ideal snack, and they’re a great appetizer to bring to parties or cookouts.  Since the peppers are “de-heated” (i.e. the ribs and seeds are removed) they’re not too spicy and everyone can enjoy.  If you’re vegetarian, simply omit the crumbled bacon in the mixture.

prep time: ten minutes     cook time:  ten to twelve minutes

15 medium-sized jalepeño peppers, halved, with the seeds removed

8 oz. plain cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

*optional: 1/2 cup green onion, diced

*optional: crumbled bacon bits

photo 1


large bowl

large spoon or spatula

cookie sheet

aluminum foil

pair of disposable gloves

teaspoon or grapefruit spoon

photo 2


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.  In a large bowl mix together the softened cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and bacon crumbles.  Set aside.  Put on your pair of disposable gloves to ensure that you don’t touch any of the jalepeño’s capsaicin-riddled insides.  (You MUST wear gloves when cutting and cleaning out the peppers; if you get this chemical onto your hands they will burn and sting, and heaven forbid you touch your eye or nose–ouch.  No amount of hand washing will undo this damage for hours.)  Cut the tops off the jalepeños and then slice each pepper in half.  With a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon clean out the white insides and all seeds so that only a green half remains.

photo 3

photo 1-1

photo 2-1

Once all the peppers are cleaned out, throw your gloves away.  Stuff each half with the cream cheese mixture.  Place the peppers face-up on a foil-lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 425 degrees for ten to twelve minutes, until the peppers are hot and the cheeses have melted together.

photo 3-1

photo 5

did you know…?

Jalepeños are a rich source of vitamin C and A.  This small pepper is known to have antibacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties, in addition to a variety of valuable antioxidants such as beta carotene.  Capsaicin isn’t found in any other plant aside from hot peppers and helps increase metabolism.  It’s also one of the potent, eye-burning ingredients found in mace.  Do you remember in Orange is the New Black when Piper makes the DIY muscle rub for Red’s back by chewing up and spitting out bits of jalepeño?  She was extracting the capsaicin from the peppers, which she later combined with body lotion to help warm up the sore parts of Red’s aching backside.  (I wouldn’t try that at home.)
Question: What do you call a nosy pepper?
Answer: Jalepeño business!  (Did you just un-follow me after that joke?  I don’t blame you.)


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