Yesterday it snowed enough to cover everything in a couple of inches of white. The sun is out today, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. I’m going to pretend that it’s not bitterly cold out. (I’m also going to pretend that it hasn’t been a year since I last posted.)
I’m a big fan of price-reduced items. Whether end caps at Target or tags-still-attached thrift store items, I’m a sucker for a good deal. It can be especially useful at the grocery store when feeding five growing children.
I also love sandwiches oozing with sauteed veggies, meat, and cheese. But have you seen young children try to eat such things? Sometimes it’s easier to put things in an edible bowl.
So, when our local store happened to mark down mushrooms and peppers on the day I was shopping, I took advantage of the situation to create something new. Colorful, flavorful, and easy to pull together, this meal may leave you with a taste of summer in the midst of a cold snap. Fork and knife optional.
Three peppers for 99 cents!
Everything looks lovely smothered in cheese.
Cooked through. The key is to just heat the peppers through. One of the things most people dislike about stuffed peppers are the mushy peppers. By cutting them in half, you can easily stuff them and allow them to retain some crispness–and flavor.
Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
- 3-4 bell peppers, any color
- 1 lb. ground beef (90% lean preferred)
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- crushed potato chips (optional)
- Wash and cut peppers in half, removing seeds, stems, and ribs. Place on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or in a 9×13″ baking dish. Set aside.
- Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In large skillet, brown ground beef over medium to medium-high heat until no longer pink. Place in large bowl. Add rice.
- Heat vegetable oil in now-empty skillet until shimmering. Add onion and mushrooms; cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.
- Carefully add milk, cornstarch mixture, salt, pepper, basil, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir constantly until mixture thickens. Add 1 cup of each cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese.
- Pour mixture over meat and rice; mix until thoroughly combined. Spoon mixture into peppers. Divide remaining cheese over peppers (you may very well want to add more).
- Bake until heated through and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Top with potato chips, if desired. Serve.
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…
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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Top with crushed tortilla chips and serve with sour cream, if desired.