Welcome to Direct Your Dining! This cooking series will introduce you to energy efficient recipes full of tips to keep your meals delicious without using every appliance in the kitchen. Preparing recipes with energy efficiency in mind at least once a week will make cooking a little easier, and may even help reduce your monthly electricity bill. Check in every week for a new recipe full of flavor and creativity that will surely impress your friends and family.
Try a new twist on classic bacon jalapeno poppers this Memorial Day or at any other shindig! This week’s low energy use recipe features crawfish and bacon stuffed peppers inspired by that old pub food standby, but we’ve lowered the energy usage and increased the flavors.
All of my family and friends devour these peppers when I present them at parties. I enhance the experience by mixing crawfish tails into cream cheese and sour cream, while adding fresh parsley, green onions, bacon, a special seasoning mix, green hot sauce. I prefer jalapeno-based hot sauces, as they are often a bit milder than cayenne pepper sauces.
I cut the cooking time in half by using real bacon pieces in the mix instead of wrapping the peppers in raw bacon. You can find all natural, 100% real bacon pieces in your favorite store, usually on the aisle with salad ingredients.
I also like to soak my cut peppers in very hot water for 10 minutes while preparing the filling. This softens them faster, which reduces the cooking time and makes the peppers milder.
When topping your peppers with shredded cheese, a great trick with uneven peppers that try to topple over on the baking sheet is to put extra shredded cheese up against them on the side they topple towards. This extra cheese provides a barrier that keeps the filling inside the pepper, and nobody has ever complained about extra melted cheese!
If you cannot find the 12-ounce bags of crawfish tails in your local grocery’s seafood freezer section, substitute in chopped boiled shrimp, crab meat, and 1 large Andouille sausage link – or skip it all together.
Let’s get spicy!
Crawfish and Bacon Stuffed Peppers
- 12 oz. Crawfish tails, defrosted
- 16 oz. Cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz. Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. Sour cream
- 2/3 c. Bacon pieces
- 1/3 c. Green onion slices
- ¼ c. Fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp. Green hot sauce
- ½ tbsp. Minced garlic
- ½ tsp. Celery salt
- ½ tsp. Paprika
- ½ tsp. Onion powder
- 1 lb. Peppers (jalapenos or mini colored bell peppers)
1) Wash the peppers in hot water, cut them in half, remove the ribs and seeds, and soak the pepper halves in very hot water (hottest temperature sink will do) for 10 minutes.
2) Measure out and combine the celery salt, paprika, and onion powder into a small bowl.
3) Place the defrosted crawfish tails into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour the above seasoning mixture over them and stir until they are coated.
3) Add the softened cream cheese, sour cream, bacon, green onions, parsley, garlic, and hot sauce to a large mixing bowl. Fold everything together.
4) Add the seasoned crawfish tails to the cream cheese mixture and combine.
5a) If you use jalapenos, spoon 2 tablespoons of filling into each pepper half and place on a lined baking sheet. Top each stuffed pepper with a sprinkle of shredded Monterrey jack cheese.
5b) If you use smaller colored peppers, place a layer on the bottom of a round baking pan, top them with the filling, and sprinkle the cheese on top. This method should create enough filling to make two round pans of stuffed peppers.
6) Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes for either preparation. Broil on high for 1-2 minutes at the end to brown the cheese.
I baked the peppers in the oven for the images above, but you could also only use the jalapeno peppers, skip the Monterrey jack cheese, wrap them once stuffed with a piece of uncooked bacon, and prepare them on the grill!
Enjoy this peppery treat at any outdoor party you attend!
Check back in every week for more Direct Your Dining recipes to help reduce your energy use in the kitchen while getting creative with delicious dishes!
Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan