Earlier this week, I found myself with a lone green pepper, some leftover chicken breast, and a craving for green enchilada sauce.
There was only one solution. I brainstormed a few ideas based on enchiladas I have known, looked at a couple of stuffed pepper recipes to make sure I understood the technique, then got down to the thrilling business of culinary invention.
The results, if I may say, were excellent. The brown rice and the chicken give the filling a satisfying weight and texture, while the cream cheese adds a wee bit of tang and the enchilada sauce brings the whole thing together.
As an added bonus, the peppers are gluten free and a great way to use leftovers rice and chicken. You can easily increase the amount to accommodate any number of diners, and I'm sure tofu or TVP would work well in place of the chicken if you fancy a vegetarian option.
1 green pepper with the top, seeds, and white bits removed
1/4 cup cooked Trader Joe's brown rice medley (or plain brown rice, if you don't have the other on hand)
1/4 cup cooked, shredded chicken breast
1/2 tablespoon cream cheese, in small chunks
1 green onion (or half a large one)
4 tablespoons green enchilada sauce
Preheat your oven to 350ºF or 175ºC. Prepare a baking sheet (or a piece of tinfoil, if you want an easier clean-up).
Fill a large pot with enough water to completely cover the pepper, then bring it to a boil. Pop the pepper in, reduce the heat to medium, and let it simmer for five minutes. Remove it from the water and pat it dry with a paper towel.
In a small bowl, mix the rice, chicken, and green onion. Dab the small chunks of cream cheese into the mixture and give it another stir, then add three tablespoons of the enchilada sauce.
Pack your filling into the pepper, then slowly pour another tablespoon of enchilada sauce over the top. It'll probably drip down the sides a bit, but that's fine.
Bake the pepper for about 30 minutes. Stick it on a plate, pour another tablespoon of enchilada sauce over the top if you are so inclined, and eat that sucker up.
And hey, if peppers aren't your thing, you can still enjoy the filling. Just increase the proportions a bit (I went with 1/3 cup each of rice and chicken, plus about 3/4 of a tablespoon of cream cheese and 4 tablespoons of sauce from the get-go), put the mixture in an oven-safe dish like an onion soup bowl, and bake it at 350/175 for thirty minutes. Voila! Single-serve, GF enchilada casserole.