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JACK-O-LANTERN STUFFED PEPPERS

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 leek, chopped, about 1 cup

10 ounce mushrooms, chopped small

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 pound ground beef, 85/15

½ pound ground pork

1 tablespoon Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Italian Spice Blend

2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

3 cups baby spinach, packed

2 ½ cups rice (wild, blend, or white), cooked to package directions

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

6-8 large orange bell peppers

1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup crumbled goat cheese

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat.  Cook the onions, leeks, mushrooms, and garlic for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and the mushrooms have released most of their moisture and started to lightly brown.

Add the ground beef, ground pork, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper to the pan.  Continue cooking, breaking up het meat with a wooden spoon or spatula.  When the meat is cooked through, remove from heat and fold in the spinach leaves, rice and corn.  Let this mixture cool while you prepare your peppers.

Cut the tops of of each pepper.  I like to use a zigzag pattern but you can also just cut straight across.  Cut any of the core off the bottom of the pepper top making it flat and scoop the veins and seeds out of the pepper cup.  Find the best side of the cup to cut a jack-o-lantern face in the side.  Add any bits you cut for the face into the filling pan.  Repeat this with all of the peppers.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Fold the cheddar cheese into the cooled filling mixture and then the goat cheese, careful to leave some crumbles ‘visible’ as this is a soft cheese and you want to taste it rather than having it ‘creamed into the filling mixture’.

Scoop the filling into the peppers, gently pressing down, to really fill them to the top.  Balance the tops back on top of the peppers and place them in a 9” x 13” baking dish prepared with non-stick spray.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until the peppers are soft and the filling is hot all the way through.

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