Last night I got ambitious and decided to try a new dish from my Jan/Feb Cooking Light, modified from this recipe a bit.  The flavors sounded so good, I just couldn’t resist.  I have been craving some Mexican food for a while now – it was time to recipe-test.

I still had a few items on the ingredients lists I needed to get, so I went to the grocery store during lunch.  In the 30 minutes I was shopping, I completely relaxed.  It was a much needed break.

Cheese and Chicken-Stuffed Poblanos
Serves 4
1  red bell pepper 
4 large  poblano peppers 
1  tablespoons  olive oil
1  pound  cooked, shredded chicken
1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
5  garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
1/4  teaspoon  ground red pepper
1/2  cup  half-and-half
3/4  cup  fat-free milk, divided
3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded Sargento “Mexican” cheese
2  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice

[I actually cooked the the chicken in the crockpot during the day with about 1/2 cup of water and a few random spices (chili powder, cumin, dried cilantro leaves).]

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place bell pepper halves, skin sides up, and whole poblanos on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened, turning poblanos to blacken all sides. Place peppers in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel. Finely chop bell peppers. Cut tops crosswise from poblanos; remove seeds.

DSC03051 DSC03058

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Sprinkle with flour and ground red pepper; cook 1 minute. Slowly add half-and-half, stirring with a whisk. Stir in 1/2 cup milk; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; let stand 2 minutes. Add cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring until smooth. Place 1/3 cup cheese mixture in a large bowl; reserve remaining cheese mixture. Add bell pepper, shrimp mixture, cilantro, and juice to 1/3 cup cheese mixture in bowl; toss to coat. Stir 1/4 cup fat-free milk into reserved cheese mixture. Spoon 3 tablespoons cheese sauce onto each of 4 plates. Spoon 6 tablespoons shrimp mixture into each poblano. Place 2 stuffed poblanos and two tops on each plate.

DSC03059 Served with a side of black beans.

Holy time-consuming! Could they have made step three any longer?  I guess I just didn’t realize how involved a process it would be.  My peppers were difficult to peel…maybe I should have let them cool longer?

The cheese-sauce process was a little intense, too.  I definitely prepared like a was taking a pop-quiz before I began.

In the end, the poblanos were tasty, but I would recommend making these on a lazy afternoon when you have someone to help guide you through the process. 

In other news…I called the boyfriend after my workout with plans of just meeting him and his parents to dine-out at Orlando’s.  How the convo went:

me – “So should I just meet y’all somewhere?”
Nick – “Well I kind of need you to come home…I’m in quite the predicament.”
me – [thinking] oh gosh did Milo hurt herself “What’s wrong?”
Nick – “I’m locked in your room.”

Hilarity. Nick was trying to fix the doorknob and locked himself in.  As in, the outside door knob fell off while the door was shut and he couldn’t get the door to budge.  Needless to say, I got a good laugh.  Nick, not so much.

Have you ever embarked on a new recipe that took longer than it should have? Would you rather have easy-fix dinners than spend two hours in the kitchen each night?

A longer night in the kitchen is alright with me as long as the output is wonderful, but I like to keep these nights pretty few and far between.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the poblanos, but the entire experience wasn’t a loss – We still got a spicy dinner out of it.