Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray-coat the bottom of an 8- x 8- x 2-inch baking dish.
Divide meat mixture among prepared peppers and arrange in baking dish.
In a bowl, combine mashed poatoes, milk, minced parsley, parmesan cheese and paprika. Heat mixture in microwave for about 3 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
Spoon warm potato mixture over stuffed peppers. Bake for about 25 minutes, until potatoes are golden. Makes 6 servings. If you have to cut the peppers in half lentghwise, bake for less time, until peppers are relatively tender when tested with a fork.
I like the way some time in an oven melds various flavors into a tasty whole. However, for those in more of a hurry, we proffer this Moroccan-style main dish, which takes a vegetarian approach. The microwave oven comes into play as you pre-cook the peppers. Your regular oven gets the night off.
We use all red bell peppers for a more mellow result.
Serve with a salad featuring greens, red onions, orange segments, toasted pinenuts and a balsamic vinaigrette. Add some crispy pita toasts if you like.
6 large red bell peppers
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons each ground cumin and ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups canned chickpeas (garbanzos), drained
2 cups vegetable broth (or use chicken broth)
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese (with garlic and herbs), divided
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
About 6 teaspoons (spicy) mango chutney
Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and membranes. Arrange in 2 microwaveable pie plates, cover with heavy plastic wrap and microwave each batch on high for about 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain peppers. Return to pie/serving plates.
In a large, deep skillet (or saucepan), over medium, heat oil. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add cumin, turmeric and cinnamon and sauté 30 seconds. Mash chickpeas slightly, then stir into skillet along with broth. Bring to a boil. Stir in couscous, then remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the feta and 2 tablespoons of the mint. Divide remaining feta and mint among peppers. Add about a half-teaspoon chutney to each.
Just before serving, cover each plate with waxed paper and reheat in the microwave at 70 percent power for about 2 minutes. Makes 6 servings of 2 pepper halves each.
Bell peppers aren't the only kids on the block. If you grew some spicier varieties this summer, here's a chance to see how well they play at dinner. If not, we're happy to report that your local supermarket probably has some.
Poblano peppers are among the milder of the zesty capsicums that are used in spicier climes. They're light green, medium-sized, relatively thick-skinned and tend to be wide across the tops, so that they're quite stuffable. An alternative name is pasillo chile. An alternative pepper to use is the cubanelle.
Remember how to roast peppers? If not, here's a refresher.
With these chicken-stuffed treats, you'll want to pull out all the (usual) stops: refried beans, Spanish-style rice, a salad with some fruit in it, some warm flour or corn tortillas.
You can vary this recipe by warming some storebought enchilada sauce and drizzling it over the stuffed peppers before (or after) baking.
12 medium poblano chilies (about 1 3/4 pounds)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chicken broth (or water)
3 plum tomatoes, finely diced
3 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (about 1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
For the poblanos, use a gas flame, your broiler, or the outdoor grill. Roast chilies, in batches, turning frequently with tongs until skins are blistered but not blackened. Try not to overcook, as peppers will become too soft and "collapse." Transfer roasted peppers immediately to a plastic bag, and close bag to allow steam to loosen skins.
For the filling, in a large, non-stick skillet, over medium-low, heat olive oil. Stir in onion and garlic and sauté until onion begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in chicken, salt and pepper. Cool completely, then stir in cheese.
To stuff and bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Rub skins off chilies. Cut a slit lengthwise into each pepper, leaving stems attached. If you wish, use a rounded spoon to gently scrape out seeds and membranes from inside peppers.
Stuff chilies through the slits. Place in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the middle of the oven until cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Makes 6 servings of 2 peppers each.