If there is a new recipe created in my house, it’s typically the result of my work, or my youngest gal was watching another episode of Dr. Oz and felt compelled to re-create a recipe shown on an episode.
I think I may have the only 12-year-old on earth who records the Dr. Oz Show. And when I hear a recording begin (she records every episode), I’m generally intrigued and almost half listening as I’m working.
During a recent episode, a cookbook author and health advocate showcased her decadent looking stuffed peppers recipe. My ears were immediately drawn to the animated voice of the Kitchen Diva and then I heard all sorts of wonderful words… spinach, ground chicken, bell peppers, sour cream, cheese, and the list goes on!
I left my work filled desk and made my way into the family room to catch a glimpse of those beautiful peppers stuffed with mouth-watering fresh ingredients. Now, I’m totally in love with my good friend Daniella’s Italian stuffed peppers… absolutely divine! But these unique stuffed peppers looked so fun and fresh and beautifully delicious, I knew I had to make the Bennett Crew some Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers. And of course, my little gal completely agreed.
After experimenting with these brightly colored peppers, as in typical Karista fashion, I had to change a few things here and there. Mostly because I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand and needed to make substitutions. The result was a fiesta of spicy and full flavored stuffed peppers.
It was a good day on the Dr. Oz show and it was a great night around the dinner table in the Bennett house…Muy Bueno!!!
Keep dinner simple, fresh and delicious… Enjoy the flavor of life!
Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers
Recipe adapted from the Kitchen Diva’s Stuffed Bell Peppers. For more information about the fantastic Kitchen Diva check out her website at http://www.medearis.com/kd_show.htm
4-6 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange or green)
1 lb ground chicken, turkey or beef (or a mixture of all three) (for vegetarian substitute with beans)
1 cup diced white onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 package Simply Organic Southwest Taco Seasoning
½ cup warm water
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup salsa
½ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled (a firm and slightly salty Mexican cheese)
2 cups cooked brown rice (I like short grain brown rice)
1 – 1 ½ cups pepper jack cheese
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
Sliced avocados and sour cream (or plain yogurt) for garnish
Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Cut the top off each pepper and scrape out the seeds and ribs, if any.
Place the peppers on a parchment lined baking sheet or in a large baking dish and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. The peppers will be soft, but firm enough to be filled.
While the peppers are roasting, heat a large skillet on medium high heat and add a little high heat oil to the skillet. I like Spectrum brand high heat Safflower or Sunflower oil. The high heat peanut oil is also a tasty alternative as is coconut oil.
When the oil is hot, add the diced onions and cook until translucent. Next, add the minced garlic and cook for a minute or two.
Then add the ground meat and cook through, breaking up the ground meat. Mix together the water and taco seasoning and then add it to the ground meat and onion mixture. Stir to combine. Then stir in the salsa and let it simmer for a few minutes. If the skillet is too hot, turn the heat down to medium.
Add the fresh baby spinach leaves to the skillet and continue to gently toss the spinach in the ground meat mixture until the spinach leaves have wilted slightly.
Mix in the Cotija cheese and brown rice. It will look like one giant skillet of goulash but it will be a delicious filling for the peppers.
Taste the mixture for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste if needed. Cotija is a salty cheese so be sure to taste before adding extra salt.
Fill each pepper with the stuffing and then place the baking dish in the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the peppers are soft or crisp tender, however you like your peppers.
Remove the peppers and sprinkle with pepper jack cheese and chopped cilantro.
Serve with avocado slices and sour cream or plain yogurt. Enjoy!
Options: Make these vegetarian and substitute beans for the ground meat.