Wednesday, November 16, 2011

You can do them both ways...

Hey!  Get your mind out of the gutter.  I'm talking about food here!  More specifically, I'm talking about stuffed peppers.  They're a pretty easy dish to make, but I always forget that I have them in my rotation.  A few weeks ago, I bought some ground turkey and was feeling a little ho-hum about what I would make.  I think the inspiration came to me as I was flipping through a cookbook; I couldn't stand the thought of making yet another meat sauce for spaghetti, and my thoughts turned to the Mexican flavors I love.  So I thought some stuffed peppers would be a perfect way to combine boring ground turkey and delicious Mexican spices!

I've seen a couple of different stuffed pepper recipes; some can take quite a while, particularly if you stuff the peppers with raw meat and bake them in the oven.  But I have a quick recipe, too, where you cook the meat filling in a skillet and then add the stuffing to the pepper.  I like the baked version because it allows the pepper to sweeten a little bit and the flavors seem to come together a bit better.  But, after work, do you really want to wait over an hour for dinner to be ready?  Yeah, I didn't think so.  So, here you go... Stuffed Peppers Two Ways

  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 4 bell peppers
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup salsa, or 1/2 cup diced tomatoes and 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
Instructions:  The Long Way
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.  Spray a pie plate or other baking dish with cooking spray.  Cut the top off of the peppers (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch) and remove seeds. Cut a sliver off of the bottom of each pepper so that it can stand in the baking dish.*
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, rice, salsa (or tomatoes and chili powder).  Divide the mixture evenly among all peppers.
  3. Bake the peppers for 45 minutes to 1 hour, using a meat thermometer to test doneness (should be 165 degrees).  Sprinkle about 1/4 cup shredded cheese over the top of each pepper and then place under the broiler until the cheese melts. 
Instructions:  The Short Way
  1. Heat a skillet sprayed with cooking spray.  When hot, add the ground turkey and saute, breaking up the meat, until cooked through.  Add the salsa (or tomatoes and chili powder) and rice, stir to combine, and simmer until heated through.
  2. While the turkey is cooking, prepare the peppers as you would in step 1 of the Long Way, and place in a microwave-safe baking dish.  Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and microwave for 3 minutes, or until the peppers are tender - not mushy soft, just enough that you could cut through easily with a fork or regular knife.
  3. When the peppers are cooked, drain off any excess water and fill the peppers with the turkey mixture.  Top with cheese and cook under the broiler until the cheese melts.
  4. See?  Isn't that faster?
*One note about the pepper prep, is you can cut them in half lenghtwise or leave them whole.  Up to you...