Stuffed Bell Peppers

Over the past two years or so, I have seen and heard a lot about "stuffed peppers"...supposedly as an amazing dinner dish. About a year ago, my father in law mentioned something to me about a stuffed pepper he had recently tried somewhere and how it reminded him of the stuffed peppers his mother would make as a child. He said the Indian stuffed peppers were stuffed with Indian-style spices but the western-style that he recently had was also very delicious and interesting. I didn't pay much attention to it because the thought of eating a bell pepper like that didn't seem like my cup of tea but I was still somewhat curious so I texted a friend who I knew made veggie stuffed peppers often. Her opinion was that they are delicious and that I should try. After that, I honestly forgot about them...haha. 

Then one day during dinner, my husband randomly said to me: " should make stuffed peppers sometime"...I was in shock mode as my husband is usually not the type of "request" particular food items. The pleasing wife that I am (LOL) who loves to make her husband's tummy happy got right on it the following week and made some stuffed bell peppers :) Let me just tell you, this is one of our weekly go-to dinner items now. Why? Because they are so good, perfect alternative to eating tacos, & SO easy to make (and versatile). If I have my meat prepped already, then after work, I literally just prepare the pepper, stuff it, and pop it in the oven. This also works out GREAT for meal-preps! Just have your meat ready (which I'll use for a spaghetti squash bake (recipe/steps coming soon) for our lunch/dinner meal preps and then for my stuffed peppers on another night! That's basically 2-3 meals done for the week...BOOM!)

My first try was using ground beef seasoned with Italian spices and herbs and topped off with marinara sauce and pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese. Then one day as the husband and I were eating dinner (I swear, I think my new food idea light bulb goes off DURING dinner time lol)...we were eating something Mexican/Spanish related I think and we both suddenly thought: Why not make Mexican stuffed peppers?! Both of us LOVE Mexican style food but we have cut back a lot on our weekly "taco nights" to avoid eating too much of the deep fried taco shells...and honestly, the Fiesta Stuffed Peppers are a very close (and delicious) alternative! Below are the steps on how to prepared your peppers:

You will need: Large green bell peppers (am sure you can use other colors too...but sometimes the green ones are have the friendliest price tag on them lol), oven safe deep dish, taco toppings. 

Step 1: Put a pot with water to boil on the stove

Step 2: Wash and cut a bell pepper in HALF (you will be stuffing the halves). Make sure to clean out the seeds etc.

Step 3: Put your halves in the boiling water for about 10 minutes. This helps to "cook" the peppers but keeping them in the boiling water too long will cause it to become too soft.

Step 4: Take out of boiling water, let cool for a few minutes, and with a paper towel, completely dry them.

Step 5: FUN PART! You are ready to stuff! I usually stuff my shredded or chopped meat first. Then I top it off with other veggies, sauces, and cheese. For my Fiesta Peppers I like: Taco chicken (make enough so you can use it for maybe a fiesta taco spaghetti squash bake?!), black beans, corn, tomatoes, black olives, crushed up avocados/guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese and tortilla chips on top.

Step 6: Ready for the oven! I usually put them in a small clear (oven safe) deep baking dish. Put your oven on BROIL (high is my preference) for about 7 minutes then take out, sprinkle some crushed blue corn tortilla chips (optional) and pop back in the oven for another 3 minutes (total broil time should be about 10 minutes even if you decide not to take out to sprinkle the tortilla chips on top)

Enjoy this with a big spring mix salad!! I usually can only eat half of the pepper but sometimes I'll eat half and then cut half from the half (Oh my HALF! lol). Normally I'll take 2 whole peppers, cut them in half so we'll have a total of 4 stuffed peppers and my husband will eat at least 2 of the halves.

*I also like to make Italian inspired stuffed peppers: Ground beef (seasoned using your favorite spices, garlic, onions and tomatoes. Then mix in some spaghetti sauce) once that is ready, you can use the meat to stuff it into the peppers and top it off with more sauce and some fresh mozzarella cheese. Again, try to shoot two birds with one stone by making enough meat to last for another meal using spaghetti squash and enjoy "spaghetti" (made from spaghetti squash of course) on another night.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I really hope you give stuffed peppers a shot (esp. the Fiesta ones!)...I want to play around with them and try different things to stuff them with. If you get creative, please share!! :) xoxx-