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Southwestern Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

These beautiful mini-Sweet Peppers were smiling at me as I strolled through the produce isle.  How could I resist their vibrant ‘happy’ colors?  When it’s January, and the tornado sirens are echoing in the distance and torrential rains are beating on the window, a little ray of sunshine for dinner seemed just right.  So we kicked up our recipe with a little spice and created Southwest Stuffed mini-Sweet Peppers {with Quinoa & Spicy Turkey Sausage}.

Southwest Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

For a nice change, I chose to put a Southwest twist on classic stuffed peppers.  I incorporated leaner ground turkey and Italian turkey sausage with this year’s super-food Quinoa in place of rice.  Stuffed Peppers are another wonderful dish that allows for creativity and a chance to use up some existing fridge/pantry ingredients.

Southwest Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

So while I’m posting this as a “recipe” the key to great stuffed peppers is the stuff.  Combine a variety of veggies, ground meat (or not), beans are wonderful, whole grains are fabulous, lots of punchy spice flavors, a fresh herb or two, saute, fill, and bake.  These Southwest Stuffed mini-Sweet Peppers {with Quinoa & Spicy Turkey Sausage} also make a wonderful appetizer.  I picked them up and ate them like I would a jalapeno popper.  I sure did.

Southwest Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

Before stuffing the pepper, give them a little dip in a pool of salted boiling water …4-5 minutes will soften them just enough without turning them into mush.  Drain them on paper towels and then fill them full of goodness.  We sprinkled a little grated cheese on top and baked them for 30 minutes until they looked like this.  The recipe below is enough to stuff a 2 lb. bag of peppers which will yield a BIG batch of Southwest Stuffed mini-Sweet Peppers {with Quinoa & Spicy Turkey Sausage}.  We enjoyed them for dinner last night, lunch today, and was still able to {Share the Love} at the office.Southwest Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

Southwest Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

Southwest Stuffed mini-Sweet Peppers {with Quinoa & Italian Turkey Sausage}
 
Prep time
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Recipe type: Entree, Appetizer
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 (2 lb.) bag baby sweet peppers
  • 2 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey or ground beef
  • 2 Jennie-O Hot Italian sausages, optional
  • 1 cup uncooked Quinoa (or rice or couscous), about 2½ cups cooked
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 scallions, thin sliced
  • 1½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground oregano
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • ½ tsp. dried coriander
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, or more according to taste
  • 1 tsp. salt, adjust according to taste
  • 1 (3 oz.) can diced mild green chilies
  • 1½ cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, shredded (such as Monteray Jack, Pepper Jack, or Cheddar), plus ½ cup for topping
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For mini-Peppers, slice one side off and remove seeds. Blanch in large pot of salted boiling water for 4-5 minutes until just slightly softened. Remove from water and drain on paper towels.
  3. Add quinoa, onion, and carrot to 2 cups boiling water. Stir and reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 15 – 20 minutes, stirring at 5 minute intervals until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Add additional liquid ¼ cup at a time if necessary.
  4. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and brown meat. Add garlic, scallions, and seasoning and cook for an additional minute. Stir in chilies, corn and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil, stirring to incorporate. Remove mixture from heat and stir in cooked quinoa, 1 cup shredded cheese, and fresh cilantro. Adjust seasoning. Then fill peppers with mixture and arrange in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake for about 30 minutes.
  5. Serve with sour cream and fresh cilantro leaves.

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