Stuffed Bell Peppers with Garlic-Lime Green Beans
There are many nights where I simply do not feel inspired to cook dinner. You would think, as a registered dietitian, that cooking would be my jam but I’m here to tell you – that while I LOVE eating – I don’t always love the prep work that goes into it putting the food on my plate. From time to time, however, I do have bursts of motivation and seek dishes that don’t require hours in the kitchen or lengthy ingredients lists. Sometimes, I find that cooking can also be therapeutic. The chopping, dicing, stirring, the smells, the chemistry. It can almost be relaxing and provides an outlet for creativity.
Last Saturday, I made a farmer’s market date with a friend and was inspired by the abundance and beauty of bell peppers at nearly every stand! I ended up buying several with the idea that I would make stuffed peppers. Stuffed peppers are a quick and easy recipe where you can cook extras of the “filling” to have for other dishes later in the week. I’m all about prepping ahead to save time later!
This recipe was adapted from our household “kitchen Bible”: The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook. My husband purchased this for me as a gift a few years ago and it has become a staple resource in our house. There are so many great tips and EVERYTHING we have made has always turned out gourmet-restaurant-quality-good. I started with their suggestion of blanching the peppers first to soften them up a bit and then cooking the rice in the water that the peppers had boiled in. What a genius idea! This infuses the rice with the flavor (and the nutrients) that were leached from the peppers.
While I was at the farmer’s market, I also picked up some green beans. I decided to take a stab at some kind of Latin-infused-green-beans. No recipe, just intuition and imagination! I figured that lime + garlic + red pepper flake would do the trick. Instead of using the minced garlic in the jar that we normally use, I decided to slice up some fresh garlic that had been sitting on the counter for far too long. Luckily, the garlic still had some life left! Yay for no food waste!
After I got all the core ingredients together for the filling, I added in some extra spices that the Cook’s Illustrated recipe didn’t call for but that I knew were core staples in Latin American cuisine: chili pepper, cumin, oregano and cilantro. I also utilized peppers that were a slight variation than the bell peppers you see in the grocery store. They turned out more like bell pepper “boats,” as you can see in the pictures.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did creating it! How do you stay inspired in the kitchen? What are your favorite quick and easy recipes? Comment and share below!
Stuffed Bell Peppers & Garlic-Lime Green Beans
- 4 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (1/2 inch trimmed off tops, stemmed, and seeded)
- 1/2 cup long-grain white or brown rice
- 1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion (chopped fine)
- 12 oz 85 percent lean ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained, with 1/4 cup juice reserved
- 1-1/4 cups cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1/4 cup ketchup
Garlic-Lime Green Beans
- 1 lb green beans
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 small lime, juiced (about 1-2 tbsp)
In a large sauce pan, bring 4-quarts of water to a boil. Add bell peppers and cook until peppers just begin to soften, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove bell peppers and place on a plate lined with a kitchen towel or paper towels.
Return water to a boil and add rice, cooking until tender, about 13 minutes. Drain the rice in a colander, and empty into a large bowl and set aside.
Adjust oven rack to the middle position, and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Over medium high heat, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef, breaking into small pieces, and cook until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
Stir in garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Transfer beef, onion, and garlic mixture to large bowl with rice. Stir in tomatoes, 1 cup shredded cheese, cilantro, chili pepper, cumin, salt and pepper to taste.
Combine ketchup and reserved tomato juice in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a small, 9-inch square baking dish lined with aluminum foil for easier clean up, place peppers cut side up.
Divide filling evenly among peppers (about ½ to 2/3 cup per pepper). Add 1-2 tbsp of tomato and ketchup mixture over each filled pepper and sprinkle each with 1-2 tbsp of cheese. Bake until cheese is browned and filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes.
Garlic-Lime Green Beans
While peppers are baking, heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet. Add green beans, garlic, lime juice, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring on occasion, until green beans are softened and garlic is browned, about 10-15 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated Cookbook, "Classic Stuffed Bell Peppers" recipe.