So I’m jealous.
I’m jealous of myself.
Because last night as I was looking at these photos, I was extremely annoyed that this wasn’t my dinner and that a 1/4 jar of almond butter was. Know what? That’s ridiculous because I never ever cared for almond butter. Then I found this vanilla stuff and ever since, my life is basically over if there is a spoon within a two mile radius of me and the jar. I.can’t.stop.
Before I knew it, I had consumed pureed almonds for dinner. But I mean, it’s protein, so I’m good. Oh and I also had half an ear of grilled corn, so there’s that. Dinner of champions.
But I would have given my right arm (or, uh, almond butter jar) for these peppers for dinner. They are THAT good. Like forget-about-the-leftover-pizza-in-the-fridge good. Forget-about-the-pulled-pork-tacos-you-made-last-night good. Clearly, those are just an example of how much more substantial dinner was last week. No nuts on a spoon for dinner last week. Just lots of pizza and pork and peppers. And I chose the peppers. That is huuuuuge.
It’s funny too since these kind of just happened by accident… because I started to make enchiladas and then realized that I didn’t have any tortillas. Or rather, I had two tortillas. Which wouldn’t get me and a baking dish very far. But I had peppers! A million peppers. Or you know, a bunch of peppers. “A million” is Jessica-speak for a few. You should know this.
I got pretty excited because my husband loves stuffed peppers almost as much as he loves enchiladas. Maybe more. Depends on the mood, I’m sure. Enchiladas were the first meal I ever made for him back in the day (hello 7 years ago) so they are a little sentimental. Err. Well, they COULD be sentimental if he didn’t ask for them once or twice a month. Seriously. I’m being serious. But I freaking love cooking for him and this is a dish I knew he’d flip over.
Enchiladas are an all-seasons meal in our house, whereas stuffed peppers feel a bit more wintery. They are straight up comfort food and I really find myself preparing them more often in the cold months – you know, like when my face feels like it is going to freeze off. This is a nice way to bridge the seasonal gap. It’s also an awesome make-ahead or even make-and-freeze meal.
Wait. Who am I? I rarely have my act together to plan ahead. Maybe I’m on to something.
Since I can’t leave anything alone or just be happy with the original version of something, I whipped up a little avocado cream to drizzle on my pepper. It was fab. And mine all mine, since he won’t touch the green stuff. But even without the avocado, these are still super tasteful. Not that anything with golden, bubbly cheese pouring down the sides could be BAD.
Yield: serves 4
Total Time: 1 hour
4 medium sized bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2/3 cup cannellini beans
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
4 cups enchilada sauce
6 ounces monterey jack cheese, freshly grated
1 ripe avocado, sliced
3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt or sour cream
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Slice the tops off of the peppers. Cut around the stems and chop the surrounding pieces. Remove the seeds and any stem inside of the peppers. Place the peppers cut-side up in a baking dish.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add olive oil. Add in what was left from chopping over the tops of the peppers, the onions, jalapeño and garlic. Stir and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the chicken and the beans and stir to coat. Stir in the cilantro. Pour in 1/2-1 cup of the enchilada sauce and 2 ounces of the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture has come together. Evenly spoon the mixture into the peppers. [Don't worry if you have extra - save it for lunch!] Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce into the dish to surround the peppers and over top of the peppers. Add the remaining cheese on top of each pepper. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
To make the avocado cream, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until creamy and smooth. Taste and season additionally if desired.
They’re cute little things too.