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5 Creative Ways to Use Banana Peppers

Banana Pepper Poppers

You've probably had -- or at least seen -- jalapeno poppers at a local restaurant. A very popular appetizer, poppers are peppers split open, filled with cream cheese and deep fried. If you like poppers but don't like the spiciness of jalapenos, why not try some banana pepper poppers? You can get the yummy taste without the heat, and you can make them at home.

Wash the banana peppers and pat dry. Cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Fill each half with cream cheese. Here comes the good part. Wrap a small (about a third of a slice) piece of bacon around each pepper and stick a toothpick through to hold. Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees until the bacon is crispy. Warning: These are addictive!

For variations on the theme, mix in shredded cheeses like parmesan, Gouda or Monterey Jack. Forgo the bacon altogether if you don't eat meat or don't like bacon. Or, top the cream cheese mixture with bread crumbs. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika -- whatever floats your boat.

For more about peppers and cooking, check out the links on the next page.