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Simply Cooking with Sierra: Jack-o’-lantern stuffed peppers

“This is Halloween, this is Halloween, pumpkins scream in the dead of night.” You know the song. It’s a classic from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” and when this time of year rolls around, that song goes through my head like a broken record. 

Fall is filled with lovely smells, flavors and food. I especially love making themed recipes that go with whatever holiday it is, so ‘tis the season for Halloween. We are going to be making jack-o’-lantern stuffed peppers — um, yum.   

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Ingredients (Makes four peppers):

Two red bell peppers: $1.50 each  

Two orange bell peppers: $1.50 each  

Lean ground turkey: $4.99 

Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Jasmine rice: $2.19 

Shredded Mexican-style blend cheese: $2.89 (optional)  

One cup black beans: $1.00  

One teaspoon cumin: $1.00

One teaspoon garlic salt: $1.00  

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One teaspoon chili powder: $1.00  

Half a teaspoon ground black pepper: $1.00  

One cup of 28 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes in tomato juice: $1.39  

Pace mild picante sauce: $2.99 

Before you start any cooking, set your oven to 350 degrees, and allow it to preheat. I always forget this part and then, come time to use the oven, it’s cold. So first step, turn the oven on. Then bring a large pot of water to boil.

While you are waiting for that, slice the top of the peppers in zigzag form to create that pumpkin carving aesthetic. Hollow the inside of them out with a spoon. To go with the theme of Halloween, take a paring knife, or whatever kind of little knife you have, and cut out a jack-o’-lantern face. Once that’s finished, the water should be boiling, so go ahead and pop in the peppers with the tops on.

Let that boil for five minutes or until the peppers are tender. While the peppers are boiling, you will want to warm up your minute rice and open the can of black beans, rinse and drain. Set your mixings aside for the time being. Grab a pan and cook your ground turkey. Keep an eye on those peppers.

Once the turkey browns some, add in your spices and keep mixing. Once that is finished cooking through, add all those ingredients, including the beans and tomatoes, together in a big bowl and mix. At this point in time, the peppers should be done cooking. Take the peppers out of the boiling water and set aside to cool off.  

Once they’re cool enough, fill each pepper to the top with your mixture. If you want the maximum Halloween aesthetic, add the tops back to your peppers. Place the peppers in an oven-safe tin or glassware and allow it to cook in the oven for about 30 minutes. At 25 minutes, if you want, top off the peppers with cheese and allow that to melt completely with a bit of crispiness to form. If you do not want cheese, add your desired salsa after the 30 minutes is up and enjoy.  

Sierra Grimm can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSURam5.

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