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Stuffed Bell Peppers

From Winnsboro, TX

<p>This is a &#8216;Pioneer Woman&#8217; recipe. I added a few more spices (chili powder &amp; cumin) to the rice mixture and topped the dish with a dollop of sour cream &amp; sprinkling of fresh chopped cilantro&#8230;so yummy!</p>
Source: The Pioneer Woman (Entered by Stacy Finley)
Serves: 6

6 whole bell peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 whole medium size onion
3 cloves garlic
1 whole large zucchini, diced
4 whole medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup cooked rice
2 cups grated cheese, divided

Step by Step Instructions
  1. Cut the tops off the peppers. Remove & discard the stems, then finely chop the tops; set aside. Scoop out the seeds & membrane.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, season with salt & pepper & cook until meat is thoroughly cooked through. Remove to plate.
  3. Add onions & chopped peppers to oil remaining in pan and cook until beginning to soften. Add garlic & zucchini and cook another minute or two. Add the tomatoes & season as desired. Cook until heated through, then stir in beef & rice. Taste & adjust seasoning. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. (this mixture can now be sealed & stored in refrigerator for up to 3 days if needed)
  4. When ready to make dinner, preheat oven to 350. Place the peppers cut-side up in a baking dish just large enough to hold them upright (I ended up with far too much rice mixture & turned mine into a bit of a casserole with filling packed in around the stuffed peppers). Fill the peppers with the rice mixture & top with remaining cheese. Pour a small amount of water in the bottom of the pan (don't do this if you go with the casserole method...just spritz with oil). Cover with foil & bake for 30 minutes. Uncover & bake until the peppers are soft & cheese is melted. Serve piping hot!