Spicing up Snack Time

Labor Day has come and gone, and fall is just around the corner. The cooler days and less humid evenings inspire us to plan evening activities with friends and family. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the colorful fall season. I personally look forward to the baseball playoff games and college football.

You’ve invited a few friends over to watch the game and of course there must be food! Some snacks I like to prepare are stuffed jalapeños or chicken wings. These snacks can be spicy, but I’ll leave the level of heat entirely up to you. Besides, a little bit of spice might be just the thing on a cool fall evening!

Making snacks pop

If you planted some peppers this year you probably have a good supply still growing in the garden. What better way to use us the excess jalapeños than making grilled stuffed jalapeño peppers! Bacon, cream and cheddar cheese, green onions and tomatoes are just making my mouth water. This recipe is prepared on the grill so it’s great for outdoor gatherings during the glorious fall weather.

Today’s second recipe is a lighter version of classic chicken wings. Steaming the wings to cook them allows you to prepare the dish without deep frying. The flavor all comes from the garlic, chives, red pepper sauce and ground red pepper. The recipe called for serving the wings with blue cheese but you can cut down on the calories by using light ranch dressing instead.

So, run down to the Farmers Market or local grocery, pick up some peppers and chicken wings, and get prepared to watch the game. I hope your team wins! Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well.

Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

Recipe Courtesy of Julianna Grimes

Makes 28 half pepper servings

  • 2 center cut bacon slices
  • 4oz cream cheese, softened (about ½ cup)
  • 4oz fat free cream cheese, softened (about ½ cup)
  • 1oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup mince green onions
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 14 jalapeño peppers, cleaned, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 TBSP chopped seeded tomato

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Crumble the bacon and mix with the cheeses, green onions, lime juice, salt, and garlic in a bowl, stirring well to combine. Divide the cheese mixture evenly to fill the pepper halves.

Place peppers, cheese side up, on a grill rack or grill grate coated with cooking spray. Cover and grill peppers 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms of peppers are charred and cheese mixture is lightly browned. Place peppers on a serving platter and garnish with cilantro and tomato.

NOTE: Feel free to use 8oz of regular cream cheese if you aren’t worried about the fat content.

Garlic Buffalo Drumettes

Courtesy of Robin Bashinsky

Serves 4 (serving size 5 drumettes)

  • 20 chicken drumettes, skinned
  • ¼ cup canola oil (may not require this much with non-stick skillet)
  • 3 TBSP minced garlic
  • 2 TBSP minced fresh chives
  • 3 TBSP hot pepper sauce (such as Franks)
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1.5oz blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/3 cup)

Using a vegetable steamer, steam the chicken for 10 minutes over boiling water. Remove from steamer and allow to cool. Pat dry.

Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add chicken to pan and sauté about 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add garlic and chives to pan and sauté an additional 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat; transfer chicken mixture to a large bowl using a slotted spoon.

Combine the pepper sauce and ground pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle mixture over chicken and toss to coat. Serve with a side of blue cheese or light ranch dressing and celery sticks.

NOTE: use more or less ground pepper to control the heat level.  You can also use Siracha for the coating but I would suggest cutting it down a bit with water or honey for a sweet and hot wing. 

Click Here to download a printable PDF of the recipes for this week!