Autumn / Friends / Recipes / Spicy Love

Recipe: Southwestern stuffed bell peppers

Greetings from gorgeous Central America! Hope all is well back home in the Yooessofeigh. In an attempt to avoid Pig & Quill slackery during this little jaunt, I recently put a call out for guest post contributions from my network of fellow eaters, and wouldn’t you know a couple of pretty ladies actually took me up on it! Do they rock, or what?

Today’s guest post comes to you from the lovely Jessica. (Check pic below. See? Lovely.) Jessica and I were classmates in high school, and these days (confirmed by a bit of Facebook stalking), we seem to be virtual kindred spirits in the kitchen. I loved her adaptation of stuffed peppers as soon as I skimmed the recipe. Fresh corn and Greek yogurt? Yes please. Without further ado…

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Jessica_Profile_webHi guys! I’m a full-time high school teacher who spends most of my free time gardening, reading and trying out new recipes (I know, I sound like an 80-year-old). I don’t consider myself a foodie (because I’m not at all a food snob), but I am definitely a food enthusiast. I grew up in a household that valued good, healthy home-cooking. Dinnertime was about coming together and eating as a family. It was from this emphasis on bringing people together through food that I developed my interest in cooking. I love trying new recipes, eating new things and I constantly strive to eat healthier, fresher and less chemically-processed food (although I am not above the occasional Taco Bell run). This is my first time guest blogging, and I’m thrilled to be doing so for “The Pig and Quill.”

Southwestern Stuffed Bell Peppers
By Jessica Salomon (adapted from SimplyLoveFood.com)

Firstly, I must say that I did NOT like bell peppers as a child. Even now, I’m not a fan of the green ones. The red and yellow ones have grown on me over the years, especially in a recipe such as this, where the pepper flavor simply serves to enhance the dish, instead of taking over it.

I originally found this recipe on Pinterest. The original recipe can be found here. While the instructions for this recipe are pretty lengthy, it’s actually really easy to put together. I’m sure the original recipe is good, but I’ve made a few changes that I think make it tastier and healthier.

Note: I prefer to use individual spices, as opposed to a pre-mixed seasoning packet. However, feel free to use taco seasoning, if that is easier and/or more to your taste. I also eyeball how much spice I add to my dishes, so these are just rough estimates.

Ingredients:
Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • Olive oil
  • 4-6 bell peppers, cut in half and seeded
  • ½ lb ground turkey *I use the 93% lean, not the 99% lean
  • 1 cup of chopped red onions
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 ears of fresh corn, with kernels removed
  • 1 container of fresh salsaSouthwest Stuffed Bell Peppers Plated
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, diced and seeded *You can substitute a can of diced jalapenos or a can of mild chilies, if you like the flavor but not the heat
  • shredded 2% Mexican cheese

Toppings:

  • fresh cilantro
  • plain Greek yogurt *I use this in lieu of sour cream
  • sliced avocado

Instructions

Before doing anything else, cook your quinoa. If you’re unfamiliar with quinoa, this is generally the way I cook mine. Make sure you salt your water; otherwise it will come out very bland.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400F. Drizzle the peppers with olive oil and rub it all over them (make sure they’re good and covered, otherwise they will burn). Put them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until they’re cooked and slightly browned (about 20 minutes). While peppers are in the oven, heat up some olive oil in a sauté pan. Cook your onions on medium heat until they just start to turn translucent, and then add your ground turkey and your jalapeno (if using). When the turkey is almost cooked through, add your chili powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika and cumin (or, your taco seasoning). Mix thoroughly and remove from heat when your turkey is finished cooking. Add your quinoa, black beans and corn and mix and then add the entire container of salsa. Note: If you are using a can of jalapenos or chilies, add them now. Mix thoroughly.

When you pull the peppers out of the oven, they will be crazy hot. I’m talking surface-of-the-sun hot. Give them at least 5 minutes to cool down (during this time, they’ll become a little bit wrinkly – that’s totally okay). Once peppers have cooled down, place them into an oiled glass baking dish. Personally, I like to stuff my peppers to bursting. Once the peppers have been stuffed to your satisfaction, put them back into the oven and let everything heat through. Everything is basically cooked at this point; it’s just a matter of letting it all heat up, mesh flavors, etc. Leave them in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Then, pull them out and lightly cover the tops of them with cheese (okay… sometimes I heavily cover them with cheese, depending on what kind of a day it’s been). Allow the cheese to melt (you can use the broiler if you want it a little more bubbly and brown).

Top your peppers with yogurt (or sour cream), sliced avocado and cilantro.

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