Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Recipe to Reality: Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

This will satisfy your Tex-Mex craving!
   We've been living together for about 2 years now, I have cooked dinner for at least three nights a week since that time, and I still make it a point to glance at my husband's face after his first bite of a meal I've made. Am I fishing for compliments? ABSOLUTELY! I completely thrive on positive reinforcement (must be the teacher in me...)

   After my husband took a bite of this meal, he didn't say anything. I asked him what he thought and he said, "I think there's too much pepper. The ratio of pepper to filling is off." Dumbfounded, I responded with, "They are stuffed peppers!"

   Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed this meal, but veggies are my favorite food group. The roasted bell pepper that served as a tasty vessel for my delicious meaty filling was one of the best parts of my meal!

   The recipe I used as a guide came from Simply Love Food. The only detail that I changed was I opted to substitute bulgur wheat for the white rice suggested in the recipe. My mother-in-law actually introduced me to bulgur wheat, and for those of you not familiar with it, it's a quick cooking form of whole wheat. For some more information on bulgur wheat, check out this article from Sunnyland Mills. Ultimately, it's healthier than white rice, and while my husband would never voluntarily eat bulgur wheat, within this recipe it really acts as more of a binder and you can hardly taste it. Normally, it has a nutty taste, and has a bite similar to brown rice. It pairs great with dried cranberries and fresh herbs (which is how my mother-in-law makes it). 

   I would probably rate this meal at a medium difficulty due to the number of steps required. By the end, I had three things going on at once.

Halved & Seeded

   First I had to cut the peppers in half and seed them. I tried to clean out the ribs as much as possible since I needed all that room to stuff my filling into.

Halfway Roasted
   I rubbed a bit of olive oil over the peppers and roasted them at 400 degrees in a 9 x 13 Pyrex baking dish for about 20 minutes. While they were roasting, I made the bulgur wheat following directions I found here at Livestrong.
Bulgur after all water is absorbed
   So now picture peppers in a 400 degree oven, bulgur wheat working on the stovetop, and a third burner working on medium for my filling...and no A/C in the kitchen. Good thing I just got a cute, short, haircut!

   In a skillet I cooked down a large yellow onion for about 2 minutes until translucent, then added the ground turkey. Once the turkey was browned, I threw in a packet of taco seasoning with 3/4 cup of water and let the mixture cook down. Then I added about 3/4 of a cup of frozen corn, and the can of drained and rinsed black beans and let all the flavors mingle.

Filling Minus Salsa & Bulgur
Finally, I added the jar of mango-peach salsa (YUM!) and all the cooked bulgur wheat for my finished stuffing! 

   By this time, the peppers were ready to come out. I was a bit pressed for time, so I didn't wait for the peppers to cool so that I could handle them. Instead, I just stuffed them using a wooden spoon inside the pan I roasted them in. I put them back into the oven for 15 minutes, pulled them out to add a little Mexican seasoned shredded cheese on top and stuck them back in for 5 minutes to let the cheese melt.

Sauna Time!

When I finally pulled them out, I added a pinch of chopped cilantro on top and we're ready to eat!

 I found the filling to be extremely tasty! The grounded turkey was hearty while still being lean, the corn gave some sweet notes, the cilantro a bit of freshness, and the pepper itself was extremely tender. I was happy with the bulgur because although I love it on its own, I cleverly placed some whole grain into my hubby's diet tonight!

I should warn you that we had 2 peppers left over, and a TON of filling... which is why I'm planning on making Southwestern Bulgur Quesadillas next week! ^_~

Hope you enjoy this!!

Stay Savory,


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