Jalapeno poppers have got to me one of my guilty pleasures, right up there with crab rangoon. What can be better than cheese oozing out of a spicy shell? While the fried, freezer options can taste heavy and fattening, this recipe I discovered last week sounded both delicious, and relatively easy.

Be warned: these turned out pretty hot. Our theory is that grilling doesn’t remove the chili fire like a fried popper will, so a less heat-intense option is to split them in half—reduce the chili heat-to-cheese ratio.

Anaheim Chili Popper, oven baked

Grilled Jalapeno Poppers

  • 1/2 white onion, thinly diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 8 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
  • 4 oz. Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 T. lime juice
  • 1 t. cumin
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 15 jalapeno peppers (or milder peppers like green Anaheim Chilies, if you can’t stand the heat)
  1. Saute the white onions in olive oil on a medium-low heat until they start to sweat, around 10 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Let sit to cool.
  2. If you have contacts on, make sure you wear gloves. Chop off the top of the jalapeno, and slice the peppers length-wise almost all the way down—leaving the end together. Remove the veins and seeds with a small spoon. Line up on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  3.  Mix together your cheeses, lime juice, cumin, and spices, and then add the onion/garlic mixture to it. Stuff the cheese mixture into the poppers.
  4. Fire up the grill, leaving the poppers on the foil and on the top rack that is away from the heat. Close the grill and let cook until the cheese starts to ooze out. At this point, feel free to add your burgers/hotdogs/other items to the grill. Let the poppers continue to cook until the jalapeno skin has charred up and become soft. (We left ours on for another 10 minutes).
  5. For indoor baking: Heat the oven to 350 degrees, place the chilies in for 15 minutes, or until cheese is oozing out. Then, place the oven on a high broil and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until the skin starts to burst.

If the heat from jalepeno poppers isn’t your thing, I would recommend the following Stuffed Chicken recipe that I created from scratch on Day 2, made with the leftover cheese mixture. We served a jalapeno popper with the chicken, but the mild Anaheim was so great mixed with the chicken, I’m going to adjust the recipe below and have you add the pepper to the actual chicken recipe.

I forgot to saute the breast on the stove, and so the meat turned out white

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breast

  • 1 chicken breast, butterflied
  • Cheese Mixture from Above
  • 1 Mild Anaheim Pepper
  • Salt/Pepper/Cumin to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Butterfly the chicken breast (leave attached).  Season the inside with salt, pepper, and cumin.
  3. Slice the top of the pepper, and half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and veins. Slice the chili into flat, thin squares.
  4. Stuff your butterflied chicken by layering chili squares first, then a spoonful of cheese, then another layer of chili squares. Fold the top of the chicken breast over the mixture, and secure with toothpicks or string. Season outside with spices.
  5. Heat up a cast iron (or oven safe) skillet with oil, and saute the breasts 1-2 minutes per side to brown the skin. Transfer pan to oven and cook for 15 minutes, or until chicken is done and cheese is oozing out.