"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuna Melt Stuffed Bell Peppers: Refuel from a 9 Mile Hike Over 6 Ridges

 Sunday morning I woke up at 7:00 am, met a group of adventurous city folk and drove 1 hour to go on a 9 mile hike over 6 ridges. Returning to my apartment at 7ish, I had a good friend coming for a last minute dinner. I needed to make something easy, healthy, filling and nice because it was Easter on Sunday and so far my friend had just had pizza all day. With aching legs and still slightly dizzy head I was craving a tuna melt but didn't want to put shoes on again or walk anywhere to get the bread! So I decided to take the tuna melt concept and make it fly with pasta - oh yeah, and stuff bell peppers with it! If it's not obvious, I had bell peppers sitting in my fridge and wanted to use them. While I felt like I had just been beat to a pulp after the hike, I'm happy I pulled this meal together because it ended up tasting great! First, here is a picture of the lake we went to towards the end of the hike: (note, picture does not do it justice)

Tuna Melt Stuffed Bell Peppers
(Makes three bell peppers with enough pasta salad left over for lunch and dinner the next day)

3 bell peppers
4 servings whole wheat shell pasta
1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/3 cup corn kernels
2 cans canned tuna
1/3 cup grated cheddar
1/3 cup grated soy mozzarella
1/4 avocado, chopped
1/4 cup juice from jar of marinated artichoke hearts

1. Bring two pots of water to a boil. Slice the tops off of the bell peppers and place them in one of the pots of boiling water for about 3 minutes. Then let drain upside down over a rack. In the other pot of water, cook the pasta.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. When pasta is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a bowl and mix in chopped tomatoes, chopped celery, corn, and tuna. Drizzle the juice from the marinated artichoke jar and mix gently until all the ingredients are incorporated.
4. Stuff the bell peppers with a spoonful of the pasta salad, then a layer of chopped avocado, then one more spoonful of the pasta salad and then a generous layer of the cheese. Place stuffed bell peppers on a glass baking dish and bake for about 6-7 minutes, until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

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