In general I don’t like spicy food or hot peppers, but jalapeños are the exception. I find jalapeños to have a great flavor, mild heat, but not an overwhelming spiciness. My husband on the other hand, loves spicy food. The hotter the better!
I wish that I enjoyed more hot peppers because they are extremely good for you! The capsaicin in hot peppers is rich in a whole host of nutrients, including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin C. Hot peppers have even been used as a remedy for colds and coughs because of their high vitamin C content.
Want to feel good naturally? Just like exercise, hot peppers raise your levels of feel-good endorphins. Hot peppers are even a metabolism booster! The active ingredient boosts energy metabolism and suppresses body fat accumulation. Sign me up!
Capsaicin can also help with pain relief. Have you ever noticed capsaicin as a top ingredient in pain-relieving creams? They even sell a capsaicin arthritis pain relief cream at Walgreen’s. The capsaicin is a vasodilator, which enhances circulation and increases body temperature.
Hot peppers can also help aide digestion and prevent ulcers. If you are like me and prefer a milder hot pepper, remember that the smaller and more pointy the pepper, the hotter the taste.
I absolutely love jalapeño poppers, but at 447 calories and 36 grams of fat for a mere two poppers, it is a treat that I do not indulge in frequently. So, I was so psyched to see that Shape magazine (March 2010 issue) published a recipe makeover for healthy jalapeno poppers. They turned out absolutely delicious! I honestly like this version better than the typical restaurant fare. Try out the recipe and let me know what you think:
Gooey Jalapeno Poppers
- 6 jalapenos, halved, seeds and ribs removed
- ½ cup shredded 75% reduced fat Cabot chedder cheese
- ¼ cup reduced fat cream cheese
- ½ cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat panko bread crumbs (you can find the Ian brand at Harris Teeter)
- 4 large egg whites
- Salt & pepper
- Cooking Spray
- Preheat the broiler on high. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the prepared jalapenos on the sheet on the top rack. Cook for two minutes or until the jalapenos start to char.
- Preheat the oven to 450
- Mix chedder and cream cheese in a small bowl.
- Using a teaspoon, fill each pepper half with the cheese mixture, packing tightly.
- Get three shallow bowls. Put the flour in one, panko in another and egg whites (whipped until foamy) in the other.
- Dredge jalapenos in flour, then add to egg whites, then finally bread in panko.
- Lay jalapenos on baking sheet and season with salt & pepper. Cook for 20 minutes.
Nutrition for 2 poppers
144 calories, 5 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 16 carbs, 10 grams protein, 3 grams fiber
Do you like hot peppers? Do you have a favorite? Any good hot pepper recipes to share?