Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers

The cornbread stuffing in these peppers is really very good for you and delicious
The cornbread stuffing in these peppers is really very good for you and delicious

These Tex Mex Stuffed peppers are a little fussier than I usually post here but as I’ve already discussed, stuffed peppers in general are so delicious and so good for you that I thought I’d make an exception. Plus the cornbread stuffing is extra good for you how. So, how could I resist? It helps if you think of the the prep in two stages. First, prepare the cornbread as directed, then the meat stuffing and prep the peppers to be stuffed. If you want to make things really easy, I’d advise buying cornbread muffin mix to speed this dish along but you’ll lose some of the nutritional value.

So, before you start, this is a dish that really benefits from Veteran Move # 2: Prepare everything in advance. Don’t be shy, get out your stainless bowls and mini ramekins and cut, measure and mix everything out in advance. Then, it really is as simple as following the steps.

Now, a few words about the nutritional value of corn bread. The recipe to make it hasn’t changed much down the centuries. Whole grain cornmeal is milled down from dried corn and combines with eggs, milk, maybe some sugar and is baked in a flat pan as a cake or even in more portable pancake shapes.

The main ingredient, corn meal is a whole grain rich in a variety of important nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, folic acid, folates and Vitamins A, B6 and B12. Corn meal also contains all the essential amino acids which control growth, cellular processes and organ function. And, it’s rich in antioxidants like beta carotene which aids in preventing cancers, stroke and heart disease.

Corn meal is also an excellent source of dietary fibre which not only helps regulate bowel movements but also absorbs cholesterol and lowers blood sugar. It’s also quite filling but, because it essentially passes through the digestive system whole, it fills you up without adding calories.

The catch is that commercial corn bread or muffin mixes are more heavily processed and likely contain elevated levels of sodium, added sugars or animal fats and other preservatives. Making it yourself is only a little extra work but so much more healthy…it’s worth the extra effort.

Ground beef, onion, garlic, enchilada sauce, corn, cornbread mix and shredded cheese combine to make this as delicious as it is nutritious.
INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground beef
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 (10-oz) can red enchilada sauce
1 corn bread recipe* (or 1 or 2 boxes corn muffin mix)
1 c. frozen corn
1 c. sour cream, plus more for serving
4 tbsp. melted butter 
2 large eggs
8 bell peppers, tops and cores removed, colours up to you!
1 c. shredded Cheddar
1 c. shredded Monterey jack
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Sour cream, for serving
As a first step prepare the cornbread mix and set aside
Prepare cornbread mix:
In a medium bowl, combine cornbread recipe* (or prepared muffin mix), corn, sour cream, butter, and eggs and whisk until evenly combined and set aside as you prep everything else!
*Easy Homemade Sweet Cornbread Mix
3/4 c all purpose flour
1 1/4 c yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 c sugar
Combine all dry ingredients then treat as if its a packaged corn muffin mix
Preheat the oven, saute onions and garlic
Preheat oven to 400°.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, season with salt pepper, and cook until soft, 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
Add the ground beef to the onions and garlic
Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Drain fat. 
Add the tomato paste and thoroughly stir it in
Return skillet to heat and add tomato paste…
Stir in the spices next
…cumin, and chili powder.
Cook until tomato paste has darkened in color and spices are fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the Enchilada sauce
And enchilada sauce and bring to a simmer.
Cook until mixture has thickened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes.
Start with a layer of beef mixture
Place peppers cut side up in a 9″-x-13″ baking dish.
Divide beef mixture evenly between peppers,
Top with a layer of cheese
… followed by a layer of cheese…
Then another layer of beef
… then another layer of beef mixture…
Top with a layer of cornbread mixture not quite filling each pepper.
… a layer of cornbread mix,
Top with another layer of cheese, cover with foil the pop it in the oven
…and top with a a last layer of cheese:Monterey Jack?
Cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes,
Uncover the peppers and finish in the oven for a little longer to brown the cheese
…then remove foil and bake 25 to 27 minutes more, until peppers are tender and cornbread is baked through and cheese has browned slightly
Garnish with sour cream and green onions, salsa or additional cheese and serve.
Garnish with sour cream and green onions, salsa or additional cheese and serve with your sides of choice.

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