This past week, I decided to try Bountiful Baskets for the first time. Have you heard of it? Have you participated? Bountiful Baskets if basically a group of people in all sorts of cities who have a produce co-op of sorts. No employees, no contracts, just an affordable basket full of goodies. You pay a small amount of money ($15 for me) and later that week, you pick up your basket. I’m all about farmer’s markets and shopping locally, but I thought I’d see what all the fuss is about. I do like Paleo on a budget as well. I was actually quite pleased. In your basket, you receive a plethora of fruits and vegetables (There area also add-ons that you can get like breads or cases of specific vegetables). My basket included leaf lettuce, 2 large heads of celery, a pineapple, handfuls of apples and pears, 2 butternut squash, a few Anaheim peppers, kale, a sack of potatoes, and some tomatoes. I think that’s it. All in all, a tasty assortment of healthy goodness weighing around 30 pounds I’d say, all for $15.
I’m pretty confident with figuring out how to cook with most of the fruits and vegetables that were in my basket. One item, however, stumped me. Anaheim peppers. I’m not sure if I had ever had them before. I certainly had never cooked with them. Were they mild? Were they spicy? I consulted with friends and the ol’ Google machine for answers. First thing, I asked my friend Brandy, of The Grateful Chef, about the peppers themselves. She said that they were a fairly mild pepper. Perfect. Next, I searched for recipes that included the pepper. I found a handful of pretty tasty looking recipes. This particular one caught my eye. Ha, mainly because I had all of the ingredients.
Stuffed Anaheim Peppers
10 Anaheim peppers
1 lb ground beef
About 1 cup of tomato-based salsa
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream, guacamole, and cilantro, to garnish
1. Slice each pepper in half, and remove the ribs and seeds. Place the peppers cut-side up in two baking dishes.
2. Saute the ground beef until cooked through. Add a splash of water and season generously with chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, and salt.
3. Fill each pepper with a scoop of the ground beef mixture, and then top each with a scoop of salsa.
4. Cover the dishes with foil, and bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.
5. Remove the foil from the dishes. Sprinkle the peppers with the cheddar cheese and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
6. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, and cilantro.
Ok, a few things. First of all, this is the original recipe. As usual, I did change it slightly. Here are my changes as well as a couple tips.
1. I only had 5 peppers, so I went with 5 vs 10.
2. I used 2# of ground beef. I like to have extras to put in my eggs in the morning.
3. I withheld the cheese and added nutritional yeast instead. Nutritional yeast has a cheesy kind of flavor. Lately, I’ve opted to add this to most of my food for that extra flavor. I’m just starting to get into nutritional yeast. It is full of protein as well as a handful of B vitamins. It’s sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
4. Homemade or locally made salsa is best, but for simplicity sake, I used store-bought. If this is the route that you choose to go, remember to check your labels. Sugar and corn starch are notorious for sneaking their way into salsa.
5. TIP: If you’re not very keen on spice, make sure you remove all of the ribs and seeds in the pepper. I accidentally left a seed which resulted a bite with some kick.
6. TIP: You may have noticed that there are not any measurements to go along with the spices. If you don’t have a lot of experience cooking with these flavors, try adding 1 tsp at a time. Start there, taste test then add more spice to your liking. With my 2# of ground beef, I probably added about 1Tbsp of each…give or take. I’m not very good at the measurement guessing game.
These peppers really are quite mild. Great flavor without all of the heat (unless, of course, you leave a seed in there). Also, I really enjoyed the combination of flavors used to go into seasoning the meat. I wouldn’t have thought to add coriander and oregano. Spot on. The nutritional yeast truly does add a hint of cheesy goodness. Definitely a healthier option than your average cheddar. Really, all in all, it’s a fun spin on the traditional stuffed pepper. They’re also a little easier to eat. To finish it off, add a little guacamole and a sprinkle of cilantro. You’re set. These guys also reheat quite well. I heated up a couple to go with my eggs this morning. Tasty breakfast.
I highly recommend this recipe. Grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free. Nutritious and delicious. A perfect way to get a tasty combination of veggies and protein into your diet.
Original Recipe HERE.