It can be really easy to get stuck in a dinner rut, can't it? We stock our pantries and refrigerators with the same items, gravitate to the same recipes, and plan our meals around the same foods.
Over the next several months, I'd like to show you how Grocery Outlet can help you get out of a rut and get inspired to create beautiful meals that won't break the bank. Unlike other stores, you never truly know what you're going to find at Grocery Outlet! I like to think of it a bit like treasure hunting. So what better place to visit to find creative ingredients that will get your imagination going?
Yesterday, I visited my South Tacoma store and found this beautiful bag of pasilla peppers for just $1.49. They sold them individually for $0.50, but the bag of four was a better bargain (works out to $0.37 each).
Now I'd never cooked with these before, but the price was right and I was completely intrigued. How could I use this ingredient to make a delicious meal? I was determined to find out.
After a little hunting on the internet, I learned that I could stuff them - much as you would green bell peppers. I loved the idea of a Mexican-inspired stuffed pepper recipe!
Here's what you'll need to recreate my stuffed Pasilla Pepper recipe (serves 4):
- 4 Pasilla Peppers, cleaned and whole
- 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can of Ro-Tel tomatoes, undrained (fire-roasted would work well, too!)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 cup onion
- 1-2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tbsp cumin
- salt, to taste
- freshly chopped cilantro, to taste (I used about 1/4 cup)
- 1 1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (or Monterey Jack)
- freshly chopped tomatoes, sour cream, etc. to serve (optional)
The first step is to broil your peppers. This took about 10 minutes and I flipped them every 2-3 minutes. They will start to char up, and this is OK!
When done, allow to sit and cool for a few minutes until you can handle them without burning yourself. While waiting, you can prepare your filling.
Start by sautéing the onion in a little olive oil. Once the onions turn translucent, add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
At this point, I added the can of tomatoes, the can of black beans, cumin, and salt. I let the mixture simmer for a couple more minutes.
Next, I added the cup of frozen corn and cooked for another couple minutes, until everything was warm. Finally, I added the chopped cilantro. I like a lot of cilantro flavor, so I went with about 1/4 cup, but of course, any of these seasonings could be done to taste.
By this point, your peppers should be cool enough to handle. Very carefully, make a small triangular slit just below the stem. Then, remove the stem and the seeds. Take care with the seeds and make sure to wash your hands immediately after! You do not want to forget and then rub your eyes after working with them (speaking from experience here!).
You can also remove the charred parts quite easily at this point.
Continue the process for all four peppers. This took me several minutes to complete.
Now it's time to stuff these babies. Just prior to stuffing, I added 1/2 cup of the cheese into the mix. I don't know about you, but I like cheese mixed through, not just on top. Make sure to stuff the entire pepper. A regular tablespoon did the trick for me!
Finally, top with more cheese and bake in a 350° oven for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
Serve and enjoy immediately!
I have to say, I loved this recipe. I had a second helping and it got two thumbs up from my husband. It was a nice spin on the traditional green peppers and would definitely spice up your meal plan this week.
While I was preparing it, it occurred to me you could easily create variations to suit your diet, tastes, and/or what you have on hand. Here are a few other ideas I came up with for the stuffing ingredients:
- Quinoa or other whole grain(s)
- Ground meat (I would think chorizo would be excellent!)
- Dairy-free by omitting the cheese or using a vegan "cheese"
- Mexican-style cheese, such as Cojita (see what your Grocery Outlet has in stock!)
- Different vegetables - squashes, bell peppers, tomatillos
Creating a beautiful, healthful meal such as this does not have to break the bank when you shop at Grocery Outlet! By shopping at Grocery Outlet and using items already in my pantry, I ended up spending a total of $6.26 for the entire dish, or just $1.56 per serving!
I hope I've inspired you to check out your local Grocery Outlet and see what new and interesting ingredient you can find to help get you creating in the kitchen this week!
Have you ever cooked with pasilla peppers? What have you found at Grocery Outlet recently that surprised you?
With thanks to Tasty Kitchen, City Mama, and SparkRecipes for today's recipe inspiration.
Angela Russell blogs at The Coupon Project, a site that encourages families to live well for less. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her firefighter husband and two small kids. In her spare time, she likes to read, garden, and has recently taken up canning.