Yippee! It’s green chile season again in Colorado! I am so excited even though I have missed the first few weeks because of my travel schedule. It’s all good though because now I can immerse myself in the delectable, seasonal goodness! I am so happy!
A couple of weekends ago, I worked a chili fest at Nick’s Garden Center in Aurora. My job was to talk shop and teach people about chilies! Well, I must say that I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I don’t know but 2500 people at a chili fest is pretty freaking crazy! I think I talked to 1000 patrons! All I can say is that it was so much fun as I was totally in my element! To be honest, it was a last minute gig and I wish I was more prepared but everything happens for a reason and it turned out better than expected! The number one thing people asked for was recipes. God knows there are a bunch on my blog but honestly, you can never have too many green chili recipes, especially here in the West where green chili is king!
I came up with Green Chili Stuffed Peppers because I quite honestly just got home from a 72-hour eating and drinking fest in Cincinnati and needed something healthy to eat for the week! Green Chili Stuffed Peppers encompass all 6 food groups! Yep, 6! Meat, vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy and the all-important green chile group. A meal plan in Colorado isn’t complete without the 6th group!
I had to do a grocery store run this morning and bell peppers were like 88 cents a pound and I knew that I had ground meat in the freezer which I need to use up so I can make room for chilies! So Green Chili Stuffed Peppers came to be at 8 AM this morning! Turns out, it’s everything that I wanted. Tastes amazing, easy to prepare and hits the “healthy” eating quotient! Check, check, check! Lucky me! I hope you try this. It will be spicy or mild depending on the chilies that you choose, so do what you like! It will be great anyway you make it!
So my last minute Cincinnati trip… This is a funny story. When I got back from my big trip a few weeks back, I was talking to my BFF from high school and she mentioned that she won free tickets to a Bengals game on September 14. I remembered that I had an unused ticket on Southwest from a trip last year that was due to expire this past weekend! ( BTW, I love Southwest Airlines because their policies are the best in the industry) So free plane ticket, free NFL game and free time to go back to my hometown that I haven’t really been to in the past 25 years. It was perfect timing and totally meant to be! I got to see tons of old friends from high school, I walked by the house that I grew up in and got to explore my hometown! Wow! So freaking cool.
I had the greatest friends in the world growing up in Cincy but I have to say that I left Cincinnati was because it was so hum drum, the weather sucked and my allergies were in overdrive. I also knew that there were better places out there. I made stops in New Hampshire and Nantucket before I landed in Colorado 27 years ago. This was my first “real” trip there since the early 1990’s. Wow! I’m so mad at myself for not going back sooner! Cincinnati has changed in every sense of the word. Period. It’s an awesome city.
Back in the day, the only thing that Cincinnati had going for it was the Big Red Machine, Skyline Chili, Graters Ice cream, Zips Cafe a few great parks, the riverfront, the WEBN fireworks (still the best in the world) and maybe few other things (remember I was a teenager when I left). Now 30 years later, Cincinnati has cleaned up its act. It’s amazing! Wow. It’s clean, it’s vibrant, it has culture, it’s pretty, its still a midwest small city and the downtown area is more fun than most cities! I had no idea and what’s funny, everything is so close to wherever you are coming from! Honestly, Denver is a full on a driving town and why I don’t go downtown too often. No matter what suburb in Cincinnati that you live, people hang out downtown. I think that’s great especially when a city has so much to offer! All I can say is that I am impressed by everything Cincinnati. See below for the plethora of pictures that I took!
I’d be remiss to not talk about Findlay Market because this is a food blog and all! I was in foodie heaven here. I asked my Mom last night why we never went there growing up and she said, “Come on Heather”, “It was scary town and wasn’t safe”. Well, thanks to all the efforts of whoever is in charge, it’s an unbelievable place. In fact, the Over The Rind (OTR) section of Cincy was my biggest surprise. My Dad worked for Kroger and his office was at the beginning of “scaryville” and when we went down to see him, we would have escorts to his building. It’s 75% different now but they are working on it! OTR is filled with great restaurants, fun bars, shops and pretty much everything that you would expect from a thriving and growing city. Findlay Market was in the heart of all this and I never went there as a kid and so happy that I got to go now. It’s reminiscent of any amazing market in Europe! Actually, with Cincinnati’s German heritage, it looks like Europe! I could spend a whole day enjoying all the stalls selling cheese, bread, meats, sweets, the food stands and of course the beer garden. Just cool!
So now I’m home and feeling overwhelmed. I told my friends while my home, which I love is in Colorado, my heart and soul belongs to Cincinnati. Thanks for the awesome time. I now know that my “weekend” trips will be to ‘Nati! You should consider it too! Great place!
Just as an added note I buy my chilies exclusively from my friend Dave, “The Chili Guy” at Wilmore Nursery located at Broadway and County Line Road. He has the best hand roasted chiles for $25 a bushel and a fun time to boot. Best in Denver! Saturday and Sundays only through October!
Enjoy the recipe and my take on Cincinnati!
- Olive oil
- 1 pound ground meat (I used chicken but beef or pork would work great)
- 1 cup finely diced onions
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup roasted green chilies
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup rice (white or brown)
- ½ cup crumbled queso fresco
- 4-6 large bell peppers (any color that you like)
- Cook rice according to package directions and set aside.
- Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and heat over medium. Add the ground meat, onions, garlic, salt pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Cook until the onions are translucent and the meat is no longer pink. 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in the green chili and tomatoes. Cook for another 2 minutes or so. Remove from heat and combine the cilantro and cheese.
- Remove the tops from the peppers and remove the centers.
- Scoop in the green chili, meat mixture into the peppers.
- Place peppers in a baking dish large enough to accommodate the stuffed peppers and bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until the peppers are softened.
A great view of my hometown! The panorama from The Incline Public House in Price Hill! Wow! Cincinnati is so photogenic!