Easy Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers
My husband loves stuffed peppers and Tex-Mex food (he IS Mexican-American, after all) so I combined the two in this super-easy recipe. It serves two, but you can double or triple it easily enough.
1 large red bell pepper
1 package Mexican or Spanish Rice*
1/2 lb. ground turkey or beef
1/2 cup yellow or white onion
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup pecans, walnuts or pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup Colby-jack cheese, shredded
1 cup Pico-de-Gallo (recipe below or buy it at H-E-B, like I do :-)
1 Avocado, diced
Cook rice, following the directions on the box of rice OR make authentic Mexican rice, recipe below. (But then it's no longer a "quick and easy" recipe. But if your little heart desires everything from scratch, go for it!)
While the rice is simmering, slice pepper in half, removing seeds and veins. Place in a boiler and cover with an inch of water. Boil until tender, anywhere from 5-10 minutes, depending on how soft you like them. Just don't let them get so soft they won't hold their shape.
Brown the ground turkey or beef. If using lean turkey or beef, you may need to add a little oil to the skillet. Add 1/2 cup onion, salt & pepper to taste. Cook until done. If using beef, drain off the fat.
Once the rice is done, add it to the skillet with the ground turkey or beef. Stir to combine.
Toast your nuts. Just put them in a dry skillet (preferably cast-iron) and heat 1-2 minutes until you begin to smell them. Remove quickly and dump onto a plate. They will crisp up as they cool. Do not take your eyes off of them as they cook; they burn easily.
Place the peppers on your serving dish. Fill with rice/meat mixture. Top with nuts, cheese, Pico de Gallo and avocado. Serve immediately.
Easy Mexican Rice from H-E-B
*This is the rice I used. But if you don't have an
H-E-B near you, or you just want to make homemade rice, here's the recipe.
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked white rice
1/2 cup onion
1/4 tsp. ground cumin (or less, or optional-cumin is very strong and can take over a recipe very quickly. Use sparingly)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 28-oz can Ro*tel diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 can tomato sauce (maybe-see step #1)
2 cups chicken broth
Using a colander, drain tomatoes and green chilies into a large measuring cup. If juice is less than 1/2 cup, add enough tomato sauce to equal 1/2 cup. This is important. If there's too much liquid, the rice will be soggy. If there's not enough, it will be dry and hard.
Sauté the rice and onion until rice is golden. Add the garlic and cumin. Stir to incorporate, but don't let the garlic burn. When you begin to smell the garlic, add the tomatoes and tomato juice/sauce, and chicken broth. Stir thoroughly. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Rice is done when liquid has evaporated. Fluff with a fork.
PICO DE GALLO
1 large tomato, diced
1 small white onion, diced
1 large jalapeño or serrano pepper (see step #1)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon lime juice, or more to taste
1-2 Tbs Water, as needed
Salt & pepper to taste
Choose your pepper according to how spicy you like your food. If you prefer a milder salsa, use a jalapeño with the stems and seeds removed. If you prefer a medium salsa, leave the stems and seeds in. For a very spicy salsa, use a serrano pepper. For super-spicy, use 2 serranoes. Whatever you use, dice them into tiny pieces.
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the water. Taste. Add salt & pepper. If you feel it needs more liquid, add the water.