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Beef and Rice Stuffed Peppers good use of leftovers

by Kelly Brant | August 11, 2023 at 1:40 a.m.
Beef and Rice Stuffed Peppers (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

This is one of those recipes I like to make whenever I have leftover rice and taco meat. Sometimes when the craving strikes I make everything fresh.

The measurements are estimates and will vary depending on the size of your peppers and whether you're using leftover rice and meat. Really, everything about this recipe is pretty versatile and open for alteration. I like to use poblano peppers, but often I'll make too much filling for the poblanos I have so I'll use the remaining filling in whatever peppers I have on hand -- big bells, mini sweets or even fat jalapeños.

Ground turkey or chicken works well in place of the beef.

Beef and Rice Stuffed Peppers

- 1/2 cup uncooked rice OR about 1 cup leftover cooked rice

- Salt

- 1/2 pound uncooked ground beef or turkey OR 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked seasoned ground beef such as leftover taco meat

- 1/4 cup red or green salsa

- 1 (15-ounce) can beans such as kidney, black, pinto or chili beans, drained

- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided use

- Cumin, to taste

- Ground coriander, to taste

- Garlic powder, to taste

- Ancho chile powder, to taste

- Peppers for stuffing, such as 4 to 8 large poblano or red bell peppers (see note)

- Desired toppings: Salsa, avocado, cilantro, sour cream

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet or 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper.

If cooking the rice and beef: In a small to medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine the rice, 3/4 cup water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low; cook for 20 minutes. Do not peek. Do not remove lid during cooking.

Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a skillet (if using uncooked beef). Drain.

If using leftover rice and beef, begin here.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, rice, salsa, beans, three-quarters of the cheddar and spices.

Cut off the top of each pepper, discarding the stem, core and thick membranes.

Using a spoon (or your fingers if that doesn't bother you) stuff each pepper with the meat and rice mixture, making sure there are no air pockets.

Arrange peppers on the parchment-lined pan. Bake 20 minutes or until peppers are quite tender. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and return peppers to the oven until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

Serve topped with additional salsa, cilantro, sliced avocado or other desired garnishes.

Makes about 4 servings.

Note: I used 5 medium poblanos and 1 pound mini seedless sweet peppers this time. If using bell peppers, you'll likely have just enough filling for four peppers.

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