At this time last year, I was planning and planting my garden. What a difference a year makes! But as the old saying goes, the last one to put in tomato plants always gets the first tomato! Well, that’s what they say anyways! 😉 Now we just have a little extra time to plan better than we did last year.
Since we have a small backyard that is dappled with sun, I tried a small garden in rum barrels on the deck and had great success growing tomatoes and lots of peppers! The peppers especially grew like crazy! We were still getting peppers after it had snowed! I highly recommend that you give cubanelles a try! *Cubanelles are a mild, sweet pepper from Cuba. They are not hot, and are actually a bit sweet. They start off green, then turn bright red when fully ripened. They can be eaten when large and still green, though. My green one that I used got so big and heavy that it broke the branch and fell onto the deck, so I had to use it. It was wonderful, too!
These were my plants from last summer at the beginning of the season. They grew to be ENORMOUS!
(*Part of my garden in 2015!)
These are so easy to make, and so much more flavorful and healthy than using tortillas or taco shells. You just slice them in half, clean them out, fill them with my homemade taco filling, bake, top with cheese and bake a bit more, then top with anything and everything you can think of! So much fun to make and eat! I’ll definitely be making these babies for my mom and dad when they come out to visit in August! By then, I’ll have peppers and tomatoes growing out my ears! I do hope you grow some peppers this year, too, even if you have a small space. They practically grow themselves and are so much better than store-bought that there isn’t even any comparison!
*A few updated photos, as we make these every year when the peppers ripen!
All stuffed with homemade taco meat and topped with cheese!
Baked and smelling heavenly!!!!!
Topped with a few of our favorite things, including homegrown tomatoes!
I didn’t retake a plate shot….we inhaled our supper!! 😀 😉
- HOMEMADE TACO FILLING:
- 1 lb. lean ground beef, *can sub ½ or a combo of: ground chorizo and/or mild or hot italian sausage*, please see note at bottom (I have used all different combinations with great results!) Our personal favorite was ½ ground beef and ½ Hot Italian Ground Sausage*!
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1½ Tbl. chopped fresh or pickled jalapeños, if using jarred the rings chop easily
- 1 tsp. seasoning salt
- ½ tsp. cayenne powder
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- ¼ tsp. oregano
- 1 Tbl. cornstarch
- 1 Tbl. flour
- 1 Tbl. dried minced onion
- ⅛ - ¼ tsp. sugar, to taste
- 1 Tbl. ketchup
- 1 tsp. Superior Touch Beef Bouillon Base dissolved in ½ cup very hot water
- ½ cup beer
- 4 large cubanelle peppers depending on size, red or green; halved lengthwise right through stems, deseeded and membranes removed
- TOPPINGS of CHOICE:
- 1½ - 2 cups shredded Mexican Blend cheese, I like Sargento's blend
- shredded lettuce
- chopped tomato
- sour cream
- guacamole or chopped avocado
- sliced or chopped ripe olives
- sliced green onions
- salsa and/or hot sauce
- pickled jalapeño rings
- In large frying pan, saute hamburger (and sausage), shallots and jalapeños until done. Drain grease if necessary.
- Mix up all dry seasoning ingredients in small bowl and sprinkle evenly over cooked beef (and sausage). Stir in well. Add bouillon, water, beer and ketchup*. (*Can sub tomato paste if you have a dab.) Stir well to mix. Bring to a boil, turn down to low and simmer until very thick stirring occaisionally. About 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350. Slice peppers in half lengthwise, through the stems and all, and clean out seeds and membranes. Overstuff each with taco meat. Place into 13x9 baking dish. *For crisp-tender peppers, cover with foil and bake. *For softer peppers, evenly pour in ¼ cup water into bottom of dish, cover with foil and bake.
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with cheese, return to oven and bake until cheese is melted. Another 3-5 minutes.
- Arrange on platter and top to your heart's content! Goes great with grilled Mexican Street corn, refried beans 'n chips, and/or Spanish rice!
- Makes 8-12 halves. Recommending 2-3 halves per person depending on size of peppers.