It’s fall, my absolute favorite season. Autumn in Oregon is truly a feast of the senses. The crisp days require sweaters, turtlenecks, jeans and boots as the sun shows itself less, playing hide and seek between the orange and yellow leaves. The leafy paths come alive with autumn colors as the bounty of the fall harvest looms on the sidelines. It’s pretty magical here in the Pacific Northwest and I wish all of you could experience it with me.
The change in weather definitely transforms what we eat, with comfort food topping the list. Slow cooked meals, braises and casseroles are popular at my house during this time of year. It’s so easy to put together a delicious dinner when it’s cold out. Why is that? I secretly blame it on the cheese; I add it to everything when it’s chilly out. Haven’t you all heard that cheese and cold are the perfect pairing? I think we can all identify with the melty, cheese-delicious factor when it comes to eating comfort food.
Anyway, the fall season also means it’s “game day” every weekend until the Super Bowl hits. And game day means snacks. Lots of them. This can easily result in a lot of over-the-top, fattening food. And while we love stuffed jalapenos, they can be highly caloric. I have decided to cut back the calories by using ground turkey as a healthier alternative to the usual ground beef or sausage. It’s the perfect solution and will keep us all fitting in our jeans this fall.
The jalapenos are a cinch to prepare. Slice them in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and ribs. I highly recommend wearing gloves during this process to protect your hands from the capsaicin oils found in hot peppers. The oils can be extremely unpleasant when they come in contact with your skin over a period of time.
Along with other lower fat ingredients, I used Foster Farms 100% Organic Ground Turkey, which is not only low in saturated fat (93% lean), but is also antibiotic-free and raised free-range on organic land. That’s something we can all feel good about.
The best part, there is no loss in flavor by using ground turkey as a lower-in-calorie alternative. These stuffed jalapenos disappeared just as quickly as other versions I have made. Those other versions can be three times as fattening. Yikes! I think I’ll stick with these, since they are just as delicious and satisfying.
I mixed the cheddar cheese into the turkey mixture and also placed a mound on top of the jalapeno. This helps ensure the blistery, melted cheese look, which looks so appetizing. A very important attribute, since we tend to eat with our eyes first.
Can you imagine a better snack during a football game? I sure can’t. You might even consider a double batch since these probably won’t make it to half time.
Because these stuffed jalapenos are a healthier version of a classic, you don’t have to feel guilty having more than one. This also means you can probably indulge a little when it comes to dessert.
I have to admit I am completely smitten with this adaptation. In fact, last time I served them, these disappeared before the first quarter of the football game. Plan accordingly friends.
I hope you enjoy this healthier version of a game day favorite.
Healthier Spicy Ground Turkey Stuffed Jalapenos
- 16 jalapenos sliced lengthwise, seeds and ribs removed
- 2 (8 oz) packages 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 12 oz lower fat, finely shredded Mexican cheese, divided
- 1 Tablespoon chile powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 lb Foster Farms 100% Organic Ground Turkey
- Prepare jalapenos while wearing gloves and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, add cream cheese, mayo, half of the Mexican cheese, chili powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, cayenne, salt, oregano and black pepper. Use a hand mixer to fully combine the ingredients.
- In a large nonstick skillet, cook turkey over medium heat until fully done and broken into crumbles. Stir into cream cheese mixture until fully combined.
- Fill each jalapeno slice with a scoop of cream cheese-sausage mixture, mounding each one slightly. Top stuffed jalapenos with remaining cheddar cheese.
- Arrange stuffed jalapenos on a large, rimmed baking tray that has been covered in aluminum foil (for easy clean-up).
- Bake for 25 minutes in the top third of the oven or until cheese is browned nicely on top. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
Make sure to check out the Foster Farms #TurkeyTuesday Pinterest board for more turkey recipe inspiration and how you can substitute Foster Farms 100% Organic Ground Turkey into your family’s meals.
Disclosure: I am sharing this post in conjunction with my partnership with Foster Farms. Thank you for continuing to support brands I work with, which allows me to create unique content and recipes for you to enjoy. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.