Easy Bacon Peppers

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I was reading an article on Atlanta restaurants and one review talked about these amazing appetizers at _______ which were made with chilies, cheese, and bacon. (For the life of me I can't fill in the blank!!) What I DO know is my mouth started drooling immediately! Fortunately, I was heading out to the grocery store AND my Just Married Small Group was coming over, so I decided to use them as guinea pigs.

The resulting recipe was amazing and since it's only THREE ingredients, I just had to share it with you.

Here's what you need:

  • Serrano Chilies (most grocery stores sell them, they are 2-3 inches in length and slightly larger than the width of your finger)
  • Oaxaca cheese (if available, otherwise substitute with queso fresco or mozzarella), grated
  • Bacon

You'll notice I haven't included any quantities on the list above.  This is because you can and should buy according to how many people you're planning to serve.  I bought a couple dozen of the chilies for my first trip around the block. That took about a third of the cheese wheel and a little over half of the bacon.

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Using a small paring knife, begin by cutting  the chili down the center WITHOUT cutting all of the way through.  This is important in the assembly of the final product!  In this version, I cut the stems off the chilies so there wouldn't be a stem for my guests to carry around.  However, they would probably look great with the stem still attached.The cut chili will reveal a pretty line of seeds.  The seeds, and the oil they produce, is where all of the heat lives in the pepper.  If you have kitchen gloves put them on now. (Alas, I do not!) The oils from the chilies will get on your hands and if you touch your lips or eyes at any further point in the evening (even after washing your hands), you WILL feel some heat.  Still, these chili peppers aren't ridiculously hot, but the seeds will get ya!

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I used a grapefruit spoon to scrape out the peppers.Then I give the peppers a quick rinse in the sink to make sure there aren't stragglers hanging about!Next, fill the peppers with some of the grated cheese. Next, wrap the pepper in half a slice of bacon.  Yes.  It's getting good now!!!Secure the bacon on the peppers with toothpicks.Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the bacon is cooked through.  If the baking too slow, feel free to crank the temperature up to 400 degrees for the last 10 minutes or so.

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Remove from the cookie sheet and discard toothpicks before serving.Utter deliciousness!

Enjoy

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