Friday, July 10, 2015

Cheese and Herb-Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers Appetizer


We have many wonderful restaurants in the Milwaukee area, and have several that specialize in the current 'Small Plates' trend.  Hate it or love it?  Lots of people must love it because you can't get a table at the most popular of these restaurants unless you make a reservation at least two weeks in advance. I think it is fun to sample several different things during the meal.  


One of these restaurants used to serve a goat-cheese stuffed mini bell pepper dish on its menu, and, while I am not a fan of goat cheese in general, they were delicious. However, I do like feta cheese, since it is made with at least 70% sheep's milk. Who knows why our taste buds prefer some things and not others?


I tried to re-create the recipe at home using a couple of different cheeses and some freshly cut herbs from my garden containers.  If you have a big yard, a window sill, or tiny 5th-story porch, I highly recommend growing a couple of containers of herbs. They make everything taste better!


Begin by cutting the peppers in half lengthwise, trying to cut the stem in half also as the stem makes a nice 'handle' with which to eat them.  Scrape out the seeds and any white membrane, then wash and dry them on paper toweling.  If your pepper halves are 'wobbly', simply slice a thin, flat strip off the bottom, lengthwise.  

I used half feta and half cream cheese (Philadelphia style soft, mild cheese).  A little salt and pepper, a small clove of garlic, a dash of Tabasco and 1-2 teaspoons of chopped oregano, thyme, tarragon and basil, and blended it all together until smooth with a fork and then filled the mini pepper halves.


After they were baked, I drizzled them with a tiny bit of Tuscan-flavored olive oil and then sprinkled chopped fresh parsley over the top. A quick, easy and delicious appetizer for summer entertaining!  My husband and I loved them!  These would also be great with Boursin or any soft cheese that you enjoy. 

Cheese and Herb-Stuffed Mini Peppers Appetizer

Printable Recipe

Serves 4 as an appetizer - Makes approximately 16 pieces

8 Mini bell peppers of various colors
1/2 cup feta cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup Philadelphia-style cream cheese, room temperature
1 small clove garlic, minced
Dash of Tabasco hot sauce (or you may use a pinch of red pepper flakes)
1-2 teaspoons of chopped, fresh basil,
1-2 teaspoons of chopped, fresh oregano
1-2 teaspoons of chopped, fresh tarragon
1-2 teaspoons of chopped, fresh thyme
Pinch of salt and a good pinch of freshly ground pepper, to taste

Tuscan-flavored or plain olive oil and freshly chopped parsley for garnish - optional.

Preheat oven to 350F

Place each pepper lengthwise on a cutting board and with a sharp, serrated knife, cut in half from the bottom of the pepper up to the stem, trying to cut through the stem evenly, if possible. Remove seeds and any white membrane, wash and place on paper toweling to dry. If the pepper doesn't lie flat, cut a very thin flat strip off the bottom, lengthwise.

Combine the cheese, garlic, Tabasco, herbs and salt and pepper in a bowl. You may soften the cheese in a microwave for about 20 seconds if it isn't soft enough to mix. Blend everything until thoroughly combined.

Fill pepper halves with cheese mixture (don't overstuff) and place on a baking sheet, cheese side up, and bake for 10 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender. Remove from oven and change oven to broiler. When ready, broil peppers for about 1 minute, watching carefully, until just golden on top.

Sprinkle with olive oil, if desired and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley for garnish.

59 comments:

  1. Susan these are absolutely beautiful appetizers!!
    Love them:)
    xo

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    1. I think the colorful sweet peppers are beautiful too, Gloria! Thank you!

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    2. I love your basil!
      I miss basil in winter I dont find in this time (winter)
      Hugs!

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  2. These sound wonderful and look beautiful.

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  3. I always love stuffed peppers and those look right up my alley with cheese fresh herb filling.
    Your basil plant looks so healthy...mine always turn to yellow very quickly..:-((

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    1. So far, so good with the basil :) Thank you, Angie - they are delicious!

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  4. I purchased these pretty peppers once to use as a centerpiece when I made a barbecued beef dinner. Later, I chopped them up in salads. What a delicious idea to stuff and bake them!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. That's a wonderful idea to use them as a centerpiece, Bonnie! Thank you :)

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  5. I have always loved that plate:) How cute are these?And how healthy is your basil:)

    I like small plates ideas..
    My girls often order the tapas as a meal at one of the local restos..
    I have yet to try..
    have a great day Nana!

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    1. An oldie but goodie ;) I think they are so cute and so tasty too. So far, everything is doing so well in the garden...although slowly with the cool weather. I hope it continues. John would actually prefer to get a regular-sized meal :)

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  6. This looks delicious!! I have never stuffed anything (yet!!) but it looks so tasty, I need to try it out!!

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  7. Those little babies look really good Susan - I've never met a stuffed pepper I didn't like.

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  8. Hi Susan, your herb plants look wonderful, you have such a green thumb. I'm one of those people that love to try small bites of foods in order to try more foods. These mini bell peppers look spectacular........having guests next week, will be serving as an appetizer. Take care!

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  9. I like the small plates concept.
    Have never had stuffed peppers like that, but they look and sound good. Always had them stuffed the usual way of the rice and meat mixture.
    Enjoy the weekend.

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    1. The mini ones are so cute too :) Thank you, Glenda!

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  10. These look delicious and might become my new favorite snack! I'd love to try them filled with guacamole too, yum!

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  11. Oh, these are to die for Susan, I don't have a garden but my windowsill is filled with pots of herbs, have a nice Sunday, a warm hug !

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    1. Thank you, Chiara. Have a lovely week, My Dear!

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  12. I think I would love these with Bousin. Not much of a goat cheese or feta fan. The idea is spot on. You have taken the prettiest pictures too.

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    1. After I made these, I thought about how good Bousin would taste in these. Thank you, Penny!

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  13. Funny, I am not mad for either feta or goat cheese usually but some times have them in things that are delicious. I just don't seek them out. This looks lovely with the colors of the peppers and yes, Boursin would be delish -- everything is better with fresh herbs. Perfect for summer snacks and parties!!

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    1. I do find it so I interesting how our taste buds like or dislike certain foods! A book could be written on the topic! Thank you, Deana!

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  14. I'm in the 'I've hardly ever met a cheese I didn't like' camp and I like small plates as well so this looks perfect to me. I haven't seen these mini peppers in the market for a while, though, I'll have to look for them. And I must say that you have an impressive hand in the garden as well - that basil looks great.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Thank you, Amalia! I love almost every kind of cheese so I am amazed that I don't like goat cheese. Bring on the Stilton and I'm happy ;).

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  15. I love being able to try lots of different things, so the small plates style definitely appeals to me! It's fun to make them at home as well...these cheesy stuffed peppers sound so tasty!

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  16. You're reminding me that I made something similar to this for a Thanksgiving dinner a few years back, but it's definitely time to revisit it - and incorporate your ideas too. Beautiful dish.

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  17. I love all of the small plate options (or tapas) since most restaurants serve far to large portions today. Every time I pass these mini-peppers in the market, I think of making some kind of appetizer . . . and now I know which recipe I must try!

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    1. I agree! We need to un-Supersize ourselves when it comes to serving portions! Thank you, Roz!

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  18. I don't like goat's cheese either. I like your alternative. Pretty and yummy... What more can you ask for?

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  19. I love small plates and could make a meal out of these colorful beauties! These really are a perfect appetizer. Yummy!

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    1. Aren't they so colorful and pretty? Thank you, Tricia!

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  20. Fabulous photos and I love the presentation. This would make a great appetizer for some friends that are coming over for cocktails.

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    1. Thanks so much for your visit and comment, Judee!

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  21. This is a great appetizer Susan! We stuff a lot here in Greece and this is a fabulous idea!

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  22. Hi Susan, this appetizer looks delicious! I'm trying to eat more pepper at home and this looks perfect!

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  23. Love it! I enjoy small plates because it bring so much variety to a meal. Your stuffed mini peppers look delicious.

    Hope you re enjoying your summer.

    Velva

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    1. We are having a great summer, Velva. A little coolish but I don't mind that at all :) I hope you are also! Thanks so much!

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  24. We prefer those small plate restaurants...I first discovered one in Miami years ago. Small, medium and large plate choices. The neat thing is a group can order a bunch of small plates and everyone can taste. I don't eat nearly as much for dinner as I did when I was younger, so the small plate choices are for me. (Going to a local one tonight!)
    Your stuffed peppers look great, pretty to look at and delicious to eat! Nice combo of cheeses. I do like goat cheese, so would try to make it with that, I think.

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    1. I feel exactly the same, Barbara! My husband is still kind of a hold out on the small plates idea because he doesn't like to share (only child syndrome - LOL).

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  25. Such beautiful and delicious snack! I have never tried goat cheese before, but I do love feta too! Lovely homegrown herbs!

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    1. Thank you, Joyce! My herbs are very happy right now :)

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  26. They sound and look wonderful! We are members of a Cheese CSA and have some wonderful local cheese we can use for this beautiful appetizer. Plenty of herbs in my garden too :-)

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    1. Thank you, Debbie! Isn't it the best time of year?

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  27. I adore those little peppers. I do something similar but I grill them and they taste great, too! I must admit to hating small plate restaurants. I even wrote a post about it. Don't even get me started! In any case, I hope you had fun! I'd much rather eat these peppers!

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  28. Grilling would also work well for these. Some are so small that I'm afraid they would drop through the grates :) My husband feels the same way about small plates!

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  29. Beautiful cheese stuffed pepper and I love your liberal use of fresh herbs, one of my favorite Summer time treats in the garden!

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  30. Your herbs look beautiful, Susan! I love mini peppers-- this looks like a wonderful appetizer fro summer.

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  31. What a lovely appetizer. Those little peppers are perfect with a cheesy filling and they make such a pretty presentation.

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  32. What a beautiful start to a meal! Like you, I am not a fan of goat cheese. I find the ultra strong flavor very off-putting. I think you and I must be 'supertasters.'

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  33. Waving Hello Susan. Looks like you're having a great Summer. I love small bite eating and really like this recipe. The reason is, I never know what to do with those adorable little peppers I see at the market. Pinning this one.

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