Beef Travels Well: Mini Beef and Quinoa Taco Peppers with Cilantro Crema

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Man riding horse in field
May MomsEveryday KS
May first is when our cattle are typically moved our to summer grass where they can have some good grazing time so those calves can GROW.  I always enjoy having the cows and calves around the home place where we can watch them during the winter months, but it’s also nice to check them each week by horseback, making sure everybody is doing well out there.  It’s also so great to have water in the ponds this year – woot! woot!  No more drought for now and we’re thankful. I love how lean and flavorful our home-grown beef is! 

Yep, May is Beef Month so how do you feel about a tasty little taco creation to celebrate? These are quick to make and they transport well, either by hand from the kitchen as the guys run out the door, or by carrier (me!) in a container to the pasture where the guys are working.  I love a good ground beef recipe as we’ve typically got a freezer full that we need to use up after butchering.  
Bell Peppers - large and small

The recipe call for mini bell peppers, but I often throw in a couple larger bell peps, too, if I have some in the ole vegetable drawer that need used up.

1 lb. mini bell peppers, all colors, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix (1 oz.)
3/4 cup water
1 cup cooked quinoa
8 oz. can roasted garlic tomato sauce (I use Hunt’s)
1 cup shredded Colby Jack
Cilantro Crema Sauce
1/2 sour cream
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
zest of 1 lime
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Drop prepared mini bell pepper halves into a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes to par-boil; remove from water and invert onto paper towels to drain; set aside.
Cast Iron Skillet - browned beef with paper towels to drain fats away

Love using my cast iron skillet! And, no, you for sure did NOT see it being used on a ceramic cooktop – ha ha. I may come to regret this one day, but everything tastes so much BETTER when it’s cooked in a cast iron skillet! FYI – the paper towels are how I drain my fats after browning the beef.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook ground beef until browned and a safe temperature of 160 degrees F.; drain fats.
Cooked Quinoa, Bagged for the Freezer

I like to make my quinoa up in big batches in my Pressure Cooker. Once it’s cooled, I bag it in 1-2 cup portions and toss it in the freezer to grab later.

Stir in taco seasoning, water, quinoa, and tomato sauce; simmer over low heat until hot throughout.
Par-Boiled Peppers

Peppers ready to be filled with the beef quinoa mixture – love all the colors!

Place par-boiled mini bell pepper halves onto a greased baking sheet, cut side up.  Divide prepared beef mixture between peppers, mounding filling up in each pepper.  Bake, uncovered, in preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly throughout. Sprinkle with cheese during the last two minutes of baking time. Remove from oven and keep warm.

Meanwhile, create crema by placing all ingredients into bowl of food processor; pulse to combine, then process until crema is smooth; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve peppers topped with a dollop of crema.
Now You’re Cookin’,
Chef Alli
Amanda Lanum, MomsEveryday Kansas

**This recipe was featured as part of Chef Alli’s Farm Fresh Kitchen on MomsEveryday Kansas and WIBW 13 News, May 2015.
Special thanks to the farmers and ranchers of the Kansas Farm Food Connection for making this segment possible. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. It may also contain “affiliate links”. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

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