Wheatless Wednesday — Taco Stuffed Peppers

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Were there ever meals your parents made that caused you to cringe?  Liver and fish were never options in our house, so I’m thankful to say that those foods never made me fear dinner.  But when I was younger I was not a big fan of beef roast or peas, and my dad would often pair those together.  I’ll never forget the one time (I was maybe 5 or 6 years old) I made the mistake of grumbling out loud about the upcoming meal and was sent to my room with a piece of bread and a small glass of water that wasn’t exactly cold.  True story.

I got the point.

I’m a firm believer that our taste buds mature as we grow older.  I know this because about once a year I start craving stuffed peppers.  I didn’t really like stuffed peppers until a few years ago.  And I now love beef roast.  And peas.  So when my kids are grumbling about the food I put on the table (because that does happen–with beef roast and peas, naturally), I know that someday they will come around.  Until that day comes, I will continue to cook my best and pray that they will somehow like it or at least bite their tongues over the complaints sliding around on them.  

And it never hurts to play to their taste buds a bit…

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Taco Stuffed Peppers

  • 3/4 cup long grain rice
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can (16 oz) refried beans
  • 2 cups chunky salsa, divided
  • 1 package (1 oz)  or 3 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 3/4 cup chopped olives (optional)
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 medium-sized bell peppers (any color)
  1. Move oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and halve each pepper, carefully removing stems, seeds, and ribs.  Set aside.
  2. Add rice to 1-1/2 cups water in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat; add bouillon cube, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, brown ground beef in large skillet (12-inch) over medium-high heat until no longer pink (honestly, I like to cook it a little past this, getting a little bit of a good sear on the meat for extra flavor). Add onion and cook till crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add refried beans, 1 cup salsa, and taco seasoning and stir to combine.  Stir in rice, corn, olives, and 1 cup cheddar cheese.  Remove from heat.
  5. Spread remaining salsa in 9 by 13 baking dish.  Carefully spoon meat and rice mixture into each pepper half and place in baking dish.  Sprinkle remaining cup of cheese over peppers.  
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  If desired, remove foil and bake additional 10-15 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown (otherwise just leave covered and bake additional time till peppers are crisp-tender and mixture is heated through).  
  7. Top with crushed tortilla chips and serve with sour cream, if desired.

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