Energy-boosting stuffed peppers: As seen on Dr. Oz

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Winter can be a very lazy time of year. It’s cold outside and motivation to do anything is lacking. Or is it?

If you’ve been feeling “extra lazy” lately, consider your health. Are you giving your body all of the nutrients that it needs to function properly or eating foods that will give you enough energy to get through your day? If someone looked in your fridge right now, would you be happy about them seeing what you’re eating?

It’s very important to maintain your health while you’re studying and to make sure that your body isn’t low on vitals such as iron, fiber, protein and vitamins. According to The Kitchen Diva, creator of this recipe, these stuffed peppers are high in vitamins A and C, “which fight stress and exhaustion, respectively.”

These peppers are delicious, colourful and will give you an energy boost. This is one of my favourite recipes and I hope you try it. I have also found a way to cut the cost down, as peppers can be quite expensive. The original recipe calls for eight peppers, where you remove the top and stuff the entire pepper. I buy four or five peppers (depending on their size), cut them from stem to bottom and stuff them nice and high with the filling. I find that one half is plenty for me, so this recipe provides me with eight or 10 meals, which is fantastic as there is some prep work involved (trust me, it’s worth it!)

The Kitchen Diva’s Energy-Boosting Stuffed Bell Peppers

8 (or 4!) red, yellow, or orange bell peppers or a mixture of all

2 tbsp canola or olive oil, divided

1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 pound lean ground turkey, cooked
2 cups chunky salsa, mild or hot

2 cups fresh baby spinach, rinsed and chopped or 1 (10 oz) package chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove moisture

1 cup cooked quinoa (optional)

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese

2 large avocados, peeled and pit removed, sliced (optional)

1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt or Tzatziki sauce

“Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, slicing from the stem to the bottoms, leaving the stems intact. Remove the white pithy ribs near stem and down length of inside. Remove the ribs and seeds and discard. Place the peppers in a shallow 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Drizzle the peppers with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cover the dish with foil, and bake the peppers 15 to 20 minutes, until they start to soften.

“Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, chili powder, and cumin; cook until the vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the salsa and the spinach, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cooked brown rice and quinoa (optional).

“Carefully fill the pepper halves with the turkey mixture. Cover the dish with foil, and bake until the filling is hot and the peppers are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove foil, and sprinkle the cheese over the top of the peppers. Return to oven; bake, uncovered, until cheese has melted, about 7 to 10 minutes. Top the peppers with a heaping tablespoon of the yogurt.  Place slices of the avocado on top of each pepper.  Sprinkle with the basil.  Serve immediately.” –Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva!

For best results, I just have the tzatziki on hand and use as much or as little as I like while I’m eating mine. Once refrigerated, a minute in the microwave is plenty and they taste even better left over than when they’re fresh out of the oven.