Thursday, February 2, 2012

Super Stuffed Bell Peppers

I'm a self-proclaimed penny pincher (although anyone who really knows me would proclaim me that as well). Now please please don't confuse penny pincher with extreme couponer. I don't order 30 Sunday papers or spend hours clipping coupons and such (although I would consider it if a store around here automatically doubled coupons...). But I don't like paying full price for anything.

Anything you ask? Yes, anything.

Even produce, but I noticed that if, let's say, avocados were on "sale", it's because they were too ripe or really small. Apples were a great deal, but I'd learn later (as in the sad moment I bit into it) it was because they were mushy. That's when the planets aligned and angels sang...Bountiful Baskets came to my area. (AAAAAHHHH <--- that's angels singing).

I love Bountiful Baskets! In a nutshell, they are a co-op where, every Saturday morning, I go pick up a basket full of fruits and vegetables that I ordered earlier in the week. It's fun because I never know what it going to be in my basket, so it's really made me branch out and try new things, and I usually revolve the next week's menu off what I got in my basket. Oh, and did I mention that it costs me at least half of what I would pay in the grocery stores? At least half, usually more. What a deal, and my family is way healthier because of it too!

Click here to learn more about Bountiful Baskets.

Anyway, I got my basket on Saturday morning and it was amazing. And the crown jewels of my basket were these huge, beautiful red peppers. I couldn't just chop them into tiny pieces for an omelet, or strip them for a veggie platter. No, these babies were getting stuffed! And not just stuffed but super stuffed with all sorts of wonderful ingredients worthy of their awesomeness.

Okay, all that sounds weird. But hopefully this recipe finds you with some large bell peppers just hanging out, waiting to be stuffed and eaten. Also, this recipe is super versatile! Make it meatless! Add some fresh herbs! Try stuffing it with different veggies! You can really change up this recipe and make it your own. Have fun trying new ways to stuff your peppers!
Mix together the hamburger, onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Add corn, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and spices. Stir in cilantro and rice and salt to taste. It is NOW that you want to taste your hamburger mix and adjust it how you want it to taste!
Cut your peppers across the top. You may need to slice a small amount off the bottom to make sure the peppers can stand on their own, but don't cut through the bottom of the pepper!
With a spoon, scrape out all the "white stuff" and seeds. (You can at this point boil the peppers in a big stock pot for about three or four minutes to soften them a little. I actually like the peppers to still have a little crunch to them, but it's up to you!)
Add 1/4 of the the meat mixture to each pepper. Top with shredded cheese.
Bake and then garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

Super Stuffed Bell Peppers
by Girls in Aprons

4 large and well shaped red, yellow, or orange bell peppers

1 lb. hamburger
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, and then finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup frozen corn
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup green salsa
2 cups rice
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped plus more for garnishing
salt to taste
Shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350

Brown hamburger, onion, jalapeno, and garlic together. Drain off any fat. Add corn, black beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and salsa. Stir in spices, rice, and cilantro. Taste and add salt if needed.

Cut off the top of your peppers, taking out the membranes and seeds. (Optional: If you want your peppers to be softer after they bake, boil them in a large pot of water for 3 or 4 minutes after you take out the seeds and membranes and let them drain - I like mine with some crunch still). Set your peppers in a baking dish and stuff each with a quarter of the meat mixture. Top with shredded cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

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