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Recipe: Fiesta-Style Stuffed Bell Peppers

Some weeknights, I am just beat and even a 30-minute recipe sounds like too much to take on. This used to mean take-out would be my go-to option on those weary evenings. But then I realized that taking the take-out route was happening more nights than I intended, and it wasn't doing my wallet or waistline any favors.

That's when I decided to come up with some super simple recipes that would literally take 5-10 minutes to make and use ingredients tht I typically keep on-hand so that even on nights when I am completely zapped of energy, I can whip up a healthy dinner that takes me less time to make than going to get take out. These fiesta-style, lentil-and-salsa stuffed bell peppers are one of those recipes.

I don't cook with my microwave very often, but in a pinch it can do the trick and offer an easy short-cut. In this recipe using the microwave to bake the stuffed bell peppers cuts cooking time down by 75%! And with just 4 ingredients, it is easy to see why this recipe comes together in a flash. But you might wonder with all this simplicity, does this dinner really satisfy? I can assure you that it does! The easy-yet-delicious combintaion of canned lentils and salsa provides a perfect filling for my peppers and is a great source of filling fiber and protein. Top it off with some melted cheese and you've got a dish that is pretty irrestible. Enjoy both halves of the stuffed pepper for less than 300 calories!

Fiesta-Style Stuffed Peppers:

Ingredients:

2 large bell peppers (color of your choice)

1 cup canned lentils, rinsed and drained*

1 cup chunky salsa (heat level of your choice)

1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice

Directions:

Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove the insides and seeds. Microwave the halves on high for 2 minutes to soften. Set aside. Combine lentils and salsa. Then fill each bell pepper half with 1/4 of the mixture. Microwave stuffed halves another 2 minutes or until warmed through. Sprinkle each stuffed half with an equal amount of the shredded cheese and microwave another 30 seconds or so until the cheese melts. Makes 2 servings.

*Note: I like using lentils because I think their texture is perfect for the filling of these stuffed peppers, but you can use any type of canned bean that you like. If you do want to use lentils but can't find canned lentils in your grocery store, you can buy reduced-sodium lentil soup and drain the liquid so that you are left with just the lentils and use those instead.

Nutrition facts per serving: 260 calories, 6g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 840mg sodium, 33g carbs, 11g fiber, 17g protein, 100% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A, 330% DV vitamin C, 35% DV calcium, 10% DV iron.

 

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