Thursday, June 6

Chipotle Black Bean Zucchini Chili Stuffed Peppers

(Discussion overheard) 

Man, "What are we having for dinner tonight?''

Woman, "Not sure yet. What do you want to eat?"

Man, "Like a burgers, pizza, or should we go out to eat? " He pauses, and thinks about another possible dinner choice.  A millisecond goes by, the additional thought is disregarded, and he is smiling. By the sound of his voice and energy you can tell he thinks going out to eat is the best option. 

Woman, "Welllll", she drags out the syllables as she gains momentum in her thoughts. "We do have a lot of food in the fridge so let's have leftovers tonight." Man utters a barely audible sigh, knows his wife has a point, and the discussion is over. After all if she cooks tonight, even leftovers, maybe she'll give in to going to out eat tomorrow because she is tired. Woman isn't too excited about the leftovers either, but at least she knows it is something healthy for her family, and they aren't wasting food.  

Face it leftovers aren't exciting. Its not like heating up the grill with corn on the cob or mouthwatering grilled, juicy burgers or steaks. Nor do leftovers have that tantalizing slow cooked smell of a roast filling every place in your house. Leftovers are the food castoffs that didn't make the varsity football team of dinner. These were the benched entrees that were just okay or were just extras that got encased and pushed to the back of the fridge. 

After making my crockpot Chipotle Black Bean Zucchini Chili and transforming it into Chipotle Chili Stuffed Peppers & Cabbage Celery Slaw tonight, I changed my thoughts about leftovers. The flavor was amazing! The heat of the cheese on the chili, the creamy avocado on top, and the fresh crisp salad worked almost like a palate cleanser. So leftovers were transformed.... thankfully! More time to play in the sprinkler with my son, and eat more of those addicting frozen yogurt dots. I did say it was over 100 degrees today? It was. Another great reason for using up leftovers - less time with a hot stove/oven.  

Chipotle Black Bean Zucchini Chili 
Stuffed Peppers  
with Cabbage Celery Slaw

So make the chili and use the leftovers the next night to make this amazing dish. This meal is also perfect for potlucks, giving to friends, or sharing with friends - Stuffed Peppers travel really well.

This recipe is also from Sept 2012 issue of Real Simple Page 180

Click on the link to see the original recipe. Although I do like the additions/changes of mine a bit better. This is salad is a keeper. Eat it with burgers or whatever. I can't wait to modify it with some grilled chicken and throw in some nuts or dried cranberries - completely tasty!!

Here's the list ingredients you need:

Cooking Time 25 minutes
Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves 3 people
Serving size: 1 pepper (2 halves) + 3/4 cup of salad each per person. It is easily doubled.

1 cup of pepper jack cheese, divided
3 peppers, halved and seeds removed (I used 1 green, 1 red, and 1 orange) 
1 Tbs lime juice
1Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8-1/4th of a cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced into ribbons
1 stalk of celery
1 scallion or green onion
1/2 cup water (eyeball it)
Toppings: sliced avocado (optional) , 1/4-1/2 cup chopped cilantro (to taste - optional), greek yogurt or sour cream would also be good on this.

1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Put 1/2 cup  - 1 cup of water in a casserole dish.
3. Cut your peppers in half and take the seeds out.
4. Mix half of the cheese with the chili.
5. Put the peppers cut side up in the dish and fill them with the leftover chili
6. Put foil over the peppers and chili and bake for 20 minutes for tender crisp peppers - 25 for more softer fully cooked texture 
7. Pull the peppers out and top them with the remaining cheese and return to the oven for 5-7 minutes or until all the cheese is melted and slightly golden brown
8. While peppers are baking, in a large bowl mix the dressing together first. Put the olive oil, honey, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Whisk for about a minute until well combined.
9. Taste the dressing and add more honey for more sweetness, more oil, or seasonings if needed.
10. Chop the celery and cabbage and add them to the bowl. Toss until well coated. Set aside until peppers are finished.

Serve the peppers with chopped avocado and cilantro sprinkled over the tops, and salad on the side. Perfect make ahead meal or transformation of those pesky leftovers.... whatever you want to call it. Another meal is done and was a success. Enjoy! 

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