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Kitchen Scoop: Clean out fridge and make easy stuffed peppers

By Alicia Ross
Universal Uclick

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The beginning of the new year is a terrific time to clean out your refrigerator and make dinner. The past six weeks have most likely been about celebrating, so you’ve probably got food odds and ends galore in your refrigerator.

Today’s dish is more of an idea than a recipe, but for simplicity’s sake, I’ll write it as an official recipe. Take a look at the following list to see just how flexible this “recipe” can really be:

For each serving, you need: a large bell pepper of any color or variety; cooked white, brown or wild rice, quinoa, steamed flax or bulgur; any combination of thinly sliced or chopped vegetables such as mushrooms, scallions or yellow onions, peppers, carrots, kale, spinach or tomatoes. Basically any veggie you have in the refrigerator bin is probably a favorite anyway, so throw it in.

You’ll also need any shredded, chopped or crumbled cheese of your choice ­­— or even a mixture. Again, the possibilities are endless. You can choose Parmesan, cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack, goat cheese, blue cheese, etc.

The flavors are spectacular, intense and different every time. The pepper is crisp-tender, the thinly sliced veggies are just right, and your cheese and starch choice hold it all together.

While every combination will have a different nutrition analysis, today’s recipe is based on the exact ingredients listed below. Most other combinations are very similar, staying at about the 200-calorie mark. Enjoy!

CONFETTI-BAKED PEPPERS

1 large red bell pepper

3 tbsp. cooked white rice

½ cup fresh tomato, diced

¼ cup carrot, thinly sliced

2 tbsp. thinly sliced celery

2 tbsp. thinly sliced scallions

2 tbsp. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 tbsp. shredded Swiss cheese

Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut off the top of the pepper. Remove stem and seeds and inner membranes, discard. Place pepper in an ovenproof ceramic dish. In a small bowl, combine rice, vegetables and cheese. Taste mixture and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Stuff mixture into pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Makes 1 serving (can be doubled, tripled, etc.).

Each serving has about 200 calories, 7 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 20 milligrams cholesterol, 9 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams dietary fiber, 113 milligrams sodium.

Alicia Ross is the co-author of three cookbooks. Contact her c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, email tellus@kitchenscoop.com, or visit http://kitchenscoop.com.


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