To parents, Halloween often means that candy becomes a major part of their children’s diet. The amount is often dependent upon the amount of booty collected during trick or treating. But besides candy, parents can offer up a festive treat at the dinner table, and all it takes is a little creative carving on a common vegetable… bell peppers.
Get ready folks for a kid-friendly meal, that comes with its own happy face. Jack o’ lantern stuffed bell peppers. And to really tie in to the jack o’ lantern theme, use orange bell peppers for this dish. Though you can use yellow or red peppers in a pinch.
Jack O’ Lantern Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 4 orange bell peppers
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 1/2 C. diced tomatoes or pasta sauce
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 C. Colby jack cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 C. Basmati rice, cooked
- 1/2 C. water
Preheat oven to 375F. As the oven heats, cut the top off of each bell pepper. Select a nice-looking side of the peppers and carve out a jack o’ lantern face (eyes, nose, and mouth) on each. But take care not to make the opening for the face too large. The peppers need to be able to contain ‘stuffed’ filling. Remove the seed and white membrane from the inside of the peppers as well as the base of the ‘top’ of the pepper.
Place a large skillet on the stove set to medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once the oil begins to ripple on the surface, add the ground beef. Saute until no longer pink. Add in the onion and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin, chili powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Next, add the tomatoes and cook for an additional five minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese until melted. Finally, stir in the Basmati rice.
Stuff each bell pepper and top each with bell pepper ‘lid’. (Added style points if the stem is still attached).
Pour water into a 9 x 13 pan. (Add more water if need to completely cover the bottom of the pan). Place each jack o’ lantern stuffed pepper into the pan. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the pepper is tender.
Now you are ready to enjoy these festive, Halloween-inspired jack o’ lantern stuffed bell peppers. They are sure to be a hit with your little ones.