Mexican-Style Stuffed Peppers
Chef’s Note: You can whip up a small amount of chili sauce for this recipe (like I did), use thawed leftover chili (this batch variation freezes quite nicely), or even substitute a can or two of Hormel in its place. My version is vegetarian, but obviously you can use ground beef or shredded chicken in the chili or even in the rice mixture if you like.
-4 bell peppers that can stand on their own, more or less
-1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
-2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp chili powder
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-1-1/2 to 2 cups leftover cooked rice
-2 cups shredded Mexican cheese, divided
Begin by preheating oven to 400 degrees. Remove stems/caps from and hollow out the insides of 4 bell peppers (green, red, whatever) but try to leave shells intact all the way to the top opening, forming a sort of tall bowl.
Meanwhile, mix 1 can of black beans (drained) with 2 regular cans diced tomatoes (undrained) over medium burner heat in a large pot. Stir in 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
When mixture is thoroughly warmed, incorporate 1-1/2 to 2 cups leftover cooked rice into the bean mixture. Stir well until heated through.
The excess liquid from the tomatoes will prevent the rice from drying. Cover warm mixture and remove from burner heat.
Stand the hollowed peppers upright in a square casserole dish so that each pepper helps to hold the others up. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese in the bottom of each pepper.
Spoon enough rice/bean mixture over the bottom cheese layer until almost level with top openings of peppers. Smush about 1/4 cup additional shredded cheese over rice mixture, or as much as will fit without spilling over.
Use a small spouted pitcher or cup to pour about 1/2″ water into bottom of casserole dish.
Place uncovered dish in preheated oven; cook 20-25 minutes or until cheese is entirely melted and peppers have begun to soften slightly. A fork inserted into the outer skin of one of the peppers should indicate doneness.