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Meatless Monday: Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Published May 6, 2013 by jenmatteson

We are certainly not vegetarians, but we enjoy eating some vegetarian meals from time to time.  And by “we”, I mean I make them and Nate eats them because that’s what I made for dinner.  But usually there are no complaints.  Not only is eating a vegetarian meal from time to time healthful, but it’s also pretty budget friendly.  Quality meat can get so expensive, especially when you have it as part of each meal.  I usually only buy meat when it’s on sale – I always stock up on the BOGO sales on chicken breasts because we eat so much of it and it’s such an easy go-to meal.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

But what’s easier than chicken breasts?  No meat meals!  Unless I’m using dried beans, there is almost no pre-planning involved because I don’t have to remember to take anything out of the freezer beforehand.  Not only that, but it usually comes together in a cinch.  Many of my blogging friends do Meatless Mondays, which as the title indicates, is a vegetarian recipe.  I thought it’d be fun to try to add more Meatless Mondays into our lives and into my blog.  Variety is crucial in a well balanced life.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

For these stuffed peppers, I didn’t follow any particular recipe, although I did Google how long and at what temp I should cook them for.  Didn’t want to waste any of this delicious quinoa salad stuffing!  Speaking of wasting…after I had stuffed the peppers, I put the remaining quinoa salad into a container to save for lunches or another dinner.  In the morning, I went to grab it out of the fridge to pack for lunch, only to discover that it was gone.  And it wasn’t like a little bit, I could have stuffed at least four more peppers.  I immediately texted Nate with a sad face asking why he didn’t leave me any leftovers.  While I was waiting for a response, I went to grab a container to pack a salad in, and lo and behold, there sits my full container of quinoa salad, in my kitchen drawer.  Just then, I received a text from Nate saying sorry, but it was just a little salad.  I had completely forgot about the leftover salad, which really was like three bites.  I felt so bad for accusing him, though when we talked about it later, he did say he probably would have just taken the entire container to work.  Even though it sat out all night, given the ingredients, I figured it would be safe to keep.  Don’t judge!  But really, that’s how good it was – I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away!

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

The peppers turned out fantastic, and while they don’t look like a lot, eating a whole one is probably too large of a serving.  For presentation purposes, I didn’t want to cut the peppers in half, but we easily could have been full on a half stuffed pepper.  I mixed a little shredded pepper jack cheese in Nate’s pepper (don’t worry, none was in the “drawer leftovers”) and added a little to the top.  Of course, mine was cheese-less, so for you non-dairy eaters, it was still a fabulous meal!  The variety of fresh veggies, paired with the slightly firm pepper was a fabulous combination.  Add in a little taco seasoning, and you’ve got yourself a flavorful, healthy and filling vegetarian meal.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

What would you like to see next on Meatless Monday?

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: Makes 4

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
3 tbsp taco seasoning
4 bell peppers (I used red, but use whatever color you wish), be sure to choose peppers that have an even bottom so they can stand on their own.
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (optional)
non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1.  Add quinoa, water and taco seasoning to medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Using a paring knife, carefully cut the top of the peppers off, discarding the stem and seeds.  Set aside pepper bottoms and reserve any flesh from the tops and chop.  In a medium frying pan, spray with a small amount of cooking oil and heat over medium heat.  Add chopped pepper, onion, jalapeno and frozen corn.  Sauté for 4-6 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften, but are still slightly crisp.  Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

3. To the vegetables, add black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese (optional) and cooked quinoa.  Fold together until well combined.  Spoon quinoa salad into peppers.  Fill so the salad is barely overflowing the pepper, and top with additional cheese (if desired).  Place peppers on foil lined baking sheet or dish (dish is nice in case they try to take a spill) and bake until pepper begins to soften and cheese begins to brown on top, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and garnish with Greek yogurt and/or additional cilantro.

Taco Pizza

Published September 2, 2012 by jenmatteson

I’m not sure I could count how many times I’ve had Mexican food in the last week, mostly tacos, but I’m certainly not complaining.  I think tacos are something I could eat every day for a month, maybe longer.  I made about 4 lbs of taco meat for one of our fantasy football draft parties, and I was happy (and kind of surprised) to see that we put down more than half.  But, of course that left me with about a pound of leftover beef.

I normally use turkey or chicken to make tacos, but seeing as though I was feeding a bunch of men, I thought beef would be best.  Plus, it was cheaper – on sale even!  Of course it still tastes delicious, but I prefer turkey or chicken as it’s a bit leaner.

I had been craving taco pizza for a few weeks, so this was my perfect chance to make it!  I threw together a whole wheat dough, minus the herbs, threw it on the grill with my taco ingredients, and viola!  After Nate took his first two bites, he said, “I could eat this until I throw up!”  I said, “Please don’t, ” to which he responded, “It’s a compliment, honey!”  And so it was, and I knew it, but it was a pretty funny way to give someone a compliment, I thought.

Anyway, the point is that this pizza was super good.  My whole wheat crust couldn’t have turned out any more perfect.  It was crisp enough to hold all the taco ingredients, and believe me, Nate’s pizza was packed full of meat and cheese, but still soft and chewy inside.  I’m so happy to have leftovers, and will continue my streak of eating “Mexican” food.  They have pizza, right?

Taco Pizza

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 8 (makes 4 small pizzas)

Ingredients:

whole wheat pizza dough/pizza dough (or use your favorite recipe or pre-made crust)
1 cup marinara
2 tbsp hot sauce
2 cups taco seasoned meat* (I used lean ground beef, but turkey or chicken would work great)
1/2 cup bell peppers, diced
2 tbsp jalapenos, diced fine
2 cups shredded cheese, Mexican blend
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, diced
salsa, sour cream, hot sauce as desired for garnish

Directions:

1. Cook crust to specified instructions.

2. Combine marinara and hot sauce.  Spread 1/4 cup marinara/hot sauce mixture on each crust.  Top each with 1/2 cup taco meat, bell peppers, jalapenos (if desired), and 1/2 cup shredded cheese.  Heat until cheese is melted and crust is browned and crisp.  Remove from grill/oven.

3. Top pizza with lettuce, onion, tomato and cilantro.  Slice and garnish with salsa, sour cream, and hot sauce as desired.

*I make my own taco seasoning using a blend of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, oregano, black pepper and salt.  You can certainly use the pre-packaged kind if you like.

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