Lunchbox Sweet Pepper Poppers

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 mini sweet peppers
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 ounces goat cheese at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about one clove)
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced green onion (use both green and white parts) or chives
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use more for a spicier popper)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoon melted butter
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Slice each pepper in half lengthwise then use a spoon or your fingers to scoop out any seeds and membrane to make space for your filling.

Cut the bacon crosswise into ¼-inch-thick strips (also called lardons) then add the bacon to a pan over medium heat and cook until golden. Remove the bacon from the pan onto a paper towel.

Add onions to the pan used to cook the bacon; additional fat should not be necessary since fat rendered while cooking the bacon will be left in the pan. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove the garlic and onions, set aside.

Combine both cheeses. Add the bacon, onions, garlic, sliced green onions, the zest and juice of a lemon, red pepper flakes, dry oregano and salt. Stir to combine.

In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs and parsley with the melted butter.

Spoon the cheese mixture into each pepper half, place filling side down into the buttery breadcrumbs then place filling side up onto a baking sheet.

Bake the sweet pepper poppers for about 20 minutes or until the peppers have softened and the breadcrumbs are crusty and golden brown.

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