Mexican Style Stuffed Peppers

We always raise sweet peppers – they have few pests, and also grow in pots.  They mostly need plenty of sun, plenty of water and “tomato” type fertilizer every 2 or 3 weeks.  They are easy to freeze as well as to use in many dishes. 
One of our favorites is stuffed peppers – we use our big California Wonders.  I usually make all of the filling for this recipe; if I don’t want to make 6 servings, I make as many as I want and freeze the remaining filling flat in quart freezer bags.  Each serving is about ¾ cup of filling.  Blanching the peppers makes them perfect after baking.
Mexican Style Stuffed Peppers 
  6           medium  Green Peppers
     1/2    Pound  Ground Beef
     1/3    cup  Onions -- chopped
     1/3    cup  Celery -- chopped
  1           cup  Rice -- cooked to equal 3 cups
  1           Cup  Canned Salsa, Tomatoes or Rotel -- divided
  1           tablespoon  Green Chilies -- chopped
  2           teaspoons  Chili Powder
     1/4     teaspoon  Salt
  4           Ounces  Mexican Blend  Cheese -- shredded
Cut tops off peppers and discard; remove seeds.  In a large kettle, cook peppers in boiling water for 3-5 minutes; drain, rinse in cold water; set aside.
In a nonstick skillet or the same kettle you blanched the peppers in, cook the beef, onion and celery until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Stir in the rice, 1 cup tomato mixture of your choice, chilies and chili powder and salt.  Spoon into peppers, about ¾ cup each.
Place in a 13 x 9 x 2" baking dish coated with nonstick baking spray.  Add 1/4 cup water to dish.  Cover and bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until heated through.
Uncover; sprinkle with cheese and top with remaining salsa.  Bake 2-3 minutes longer until cheese is melted.  Top with a sprinkle of cilantro, if desired.
Serves 6
"Everyday Light Meals"
Per Serving: 276 Calories; 11g Fat (34.5% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 35g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 32mg Cholesterol; 188mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat.

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