I don't know why, but the other day I had a hankerin' for a stuffed pepper! I don't think I've had one in about 20 years, but I really wanted one! I didn't have my mom's recipe handy, but I did have a Tupperware of leftover Spanish Rice hanging out in the fridge, so I did what we all do when we find ourselves in this type of sitch: I logged onto Pinterest and scoured my foodie board, finding this Rachael Ray recipe. I tweaked it ever so slightly based on what I had in the 'fridge and pantry, and this is what we ended up with! My husband loved these, and what's even better is that these freeze wonderfully! And I don't know about you, but freezer-friendly leftovers are so handy during these weeks of holiday prep!
6 medium size bell peppers, any color
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds all-white-meat ground chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 packet taco seasoning, optional
3/4 cup dry sherry
2 cans tomato sauce (15 ounces each), divided
1/2 cup flat leaf cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2-3 cups cooked leftover rice
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
Cut off the top quarter of each bell pepper (the stem end). Cut a very thin sliver off the bottom of each bell pepper, just enough to even them off so that they sit standing up without wobbling. Make sure the bottom stays intact so that you have a solid cup that won't leak.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add two tablespoons olive oil. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until brown, about 5-8 minutes, breaking it up into small bits with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add the onion, garlic, jalapenos, and paprika. Add taco seasoning, if using, and stir to combine. Continue to cook until the onions start to get tender, about 3-4 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the sherry, stirring to get any brown bits off the bottom of the skillet. Add 1 1/2 cans of tomato sauce and cook about five minutes more. Turn off the heat and add the cilantro, almonds and cooked rice to the pot. Stir to combine.
Pour the remaining 1/2 can of tomato sauce into an ovensafe baking dish to create a bed for the peppers to sit on. Fill each pepper up halfway with the chicken and rice filling mixture.
Top with a little shredded cheese. Fill with more chicken and rice mixture, then add a little more cheese on tip of that. Set in the baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes.