Last year in the early summer I challenged our family: go one week with meatless dinners. After that, I challenged us to go another week with meatless dinners. After that second week the boys started to whine -- they missed meat. So I brought it back into the fold, but only about 2 times per week.
This was a fairly easy task at that time of year. Produce is in abundance in the summer. It got bit more challenging during the winter months, but I loved that it called upon my creativity. I took some of our usual meals and either omitted the meat or cut the amount down by half. And I took every opportunity to add extra veggies where I could. Because over time we found that we didn't miss the meat that much and didn't mind going days without. But if our veggie intake went down, even for a day, our body could feel it and we missed the servings.
One of our favorite fun meals is nachos. In the winter when we have leftover chili from the previous night's dinner, we make nachos for lunch next day or for dinner on leftover night. But a healthier version of nachos? Can it be done? Yes it can!
My husband's cousin sent me something she pinned on pintrest. It was nachos, but the corn chips were replaced with the mini sweet peppers. The version on pintrest was vegetarian, too. The halved sweet peppers were topped with corn, black beans, and shredded cheese. But one of the things I love about nachos is how versatile they are, and I knew immediately I could alter this recipe to suit my family's tastes.
These chip-less nachos were a hit, and I will definitely be making them again. You can swap out any of the ingredients for something else your family enjoys, or omit it altogether. And if you have little hand that like to help out, this meal is a perfect reason for them to roll up their sleeves and get in the kitchen.
Sweet Pepper Nachos
- 1 bag mini sweet peppers (about 24 peppers), halved
- 1 lb. ground beef (or turkey or chicken)
- 1 envelope taco seasoning
- 1 15 oz. can refried beans
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Your favorite nacho toppings such as diced tomatoes, avocado, scallions, sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line cookie sheet with foil. Spread peppers out on sheet, cut side up.
- In a large skillet, brown beef season with taco seasoning. Stir in refried beans and mix until warmed through.
- Dollop beef and bean mixture onto peppers. Top with salsa, if desired, and shredded cheese.
- Bake until cheese melts and serve with your favorite nacho toppings.