Since I moved into my first home in 2008, I've been growing some of my own vegetables each summer.

I always plant tomatoes, basil, rosemary and several kinds of peppers, using growing tips I've learned from helping my father with his garden.

Italian and Mexican dishes are staples in my house, and I find homemade sauces, salsas and more taste better when the main ingredients are picked fresh in my backyard.

Generally, I try not to plant more than I can eat or store, but this summer, I've ended up with extra jalapeño peppers.

Tired of salsa with an extra hot kick, I decided to seek out some different ways to use the peppers.

I enjoy hot salsa, but I value my taste buds. So I've never been one to eat hot peppers on their own — unlike my father who can eat a habanero like it's candy. I decided to try stuffing the jalapeños with cheese, removing the seeds to calm the kick.

These grilled jalapeños can be served as a snack or as a side dish to just about anything else you feel like throwing on the grill.

They taste best warm off the grill, but they'll also keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.

Stuffed jalapeños


Cooking spray

12 large jalapeño peppers

½ cup low-fat cream cheese, softened

6 tablespoons low-fat shredded Cheddar cheese, or Cheddar jack, divided

2 tablespoons uncooked scallions, sliced

2 tablespoons cilantro, fresh, chopped

¼ teaspoon table salt

¼ teaspoon minced garlic

¼ teaspoon paprika (plus extra for garnish)


Before heating, coat grill rack with cooking spray; preheat grill to medium-high.

Cut off a thin slice from one side of each pepper, leaving stems intact; scoop out seeds with a spoon.

In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, 3 tablespoons shredded cheese, scallions, cilantro, salt, garlic and paprika until blended.

Fill each pepper with about 2 teaspoons cheese mixture; sprinkle remaining 3 tablespoons shredded cheese evenly over peppers and sprinkle with more paprika, if desired.

Reduce heat to medium; grill, covered, until bottoms of peppers are lightly charred, peppers are tender and cheese is melted, about seven to eight minutes. Let stand about five minutes before serving.

Serves: 12

­— Adapted from

News/Design Editor M. Clare Haefner enjoys cooking for family and friends. Contact her at or (254) 501-7551.

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