Wednesday, December 11, 2013

mexican stuffed peppers

Hi everyone!

After a nice little break that included a trip to Mexico, Thanksgiving, and the start of holiday party season, I'm back and ready to bake my life away for Christmas.
Get me in the kitchen with a rolling pin, stat!

Mexico was amazing {as I suspected it would be}, and now I'm convinced I want to do a tropical vacation every winter.

There's nothing like having a margarita by the pool in 90 degree weather in the middle of November.
One of my particularly favorite days was spent getting a couples massage with Joe in the morning and then napping by the pool all day.
I couldn't ask for a better way to recharge before the holidays than that, hands down.
Check out more pictures from our trip here if you're interested!

Since we've been back, it feels like we've been going nonstop.
Both of us are dying to have a weekend to just stay home, watch movies, and not change out of pajamas for two days straight.
Do you ever feel like that?

Even though we've had a ton of things to do, I came back from vacation on a mission.
A mission to eat healthy, and at home, as much as possible.
And so far, I've got to say, I've done pretty well.
I've meal planned like a crazy person, made lunches for both of us everyday, and kept the dining out exclusively for weekends.
My body is slowly, but surely, feeling better!

I've made stuffed peppers many times.
However, I've never made the same version twice.
I've just never quite found a recipe that I was in love with.
Last week, in all my meal planning glory, I decided to give it another shot.
And I'm so glad I did!
These turned out great.
The filling was substantial, a bit spicy, and seasoned with all of my favorite spices.
At one point, Joe was eating the leftover filling {there will be a tad bit leftover} straight out of the pan with a spoon.

That's how you know it's good.

adapted via Skinnytaste
Things you'll need:

1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 onion, diced
2-3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper {optional}
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
3 large red bell peppers, cut in half the long way
1 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 - 1/3 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Saute onion, garlic, and cilantro in olive oil on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add ground turkey, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and a dash of salt and pepper.
Cook until meat is browned and cooked thoroughly.

Add tomato sauce and chicken broth.
Simmer on low for 4-5 minutes.
Stir in cooked rice.

While meat is simmering, slice peppers in half the long way, deseed, and rinse them out.
Lightly grease a baking dish with cooking spray, and place peppers face up like so.

Spoon meat mixture into each pepper.
Don't be afraid to really pile it in!
Splash a bit of chicken broth in the bottom of the pan, cover with foil, and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Sprinkle cheese on the cooked peppers, and serve immediately!

The great thing about these is that they are totally customizable.
If you don't like spice, leave out the cayenne.
If you're like me and are obsessed with cumin, add an extra dash.
Don't like pepper jack cheese?  Cheddar will work just fine!

Another option, if you're not into bell peppers, is to make the filling and use it for burritos.
That was actually a suggestion from Joe.
That's how into the filling he was.
{He did eat two of these though, pepper and all!  I was a proud girlfriend.}

I've finally found a stuffed pepper recipe that I can stick with!

PS - Happy birthday to my sweet friend, Ashley!  Hope your day was as great as you are! :)

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