Taco Stuffed Jack-O-Lantern Bell Peppers

There are three ways to get your kids to eat healthy things.

  1. They just do it.  If this is the case, you are likely a fictional character from a children’s book. If it is your only child, you may brag about it to all your mom friends as their indignant kids proclaim, “I don’t like it.”  I know, you just fed it to them as a baby and now they are amaze-balls with their veggies.  My first born was, too.  And then I had Miles.  So, let’s move on.
  2. Sneak that stuff in.  Chop it, blend it, grind it, pulverize it, and then hide it like a politician hiding a sex tape. Go covert.  Then, politely smile as you say, “No, honey.  That is not a zucchini in your sauce.  Of course you don’t like zucchini. Mommy knows.” Lie.  Do it.
  3. Make it cute.  Turn ordinary grub into a bear, a puppy or whatever adorable doe-eyed creature they like.  We have no shame in our house. My husband cuts cucumbers into fish shapes, and I make dinner into a Halloween something spooky throughout the month.    Let the majestic presentation fool their little brains into enjoyment.

This recipe uses tactics No. 2. and No. 3.  The filling is my veggie-packed taco recipe (tactic No. 2).  The pepper itself is wistfully turned into a spooky Jack-O-Lantern (tactic No.3).  I can’t do this crap every night, certainly, but I do find making food fun is beneficial in getting your kids to eat more variety, and making you feel like a kick-ass Martha Stewart kinda mom…if even for only a moment in time.

This looks like a lot of ingredients, but don’t let it scare you.  It is actually quite easy.  I make a big batch of the taco seasoning and store it in a jar to use later.

Taco Stuffed Jack-O-Lantern Bell Peppers Recipe




3 carrots

1 onion

2 zucchini

2 cloves garlic

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

6 bell peppers

1 tbsp. olive oil



2 lbs. meat of your choice

(I have made these with ground turkey, bison, ground beef and a combination)

Taco Seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
(I quadruple this recipe and save in a glass jar)
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Chop all the raw vegetables (except the bell peppers–set those aside).  I use a food processor to shred them, which really saves on time.
Add olive oil to large skillet and saute veggies, minus the canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, until they are tender–approximately ten minutes.  In another skillet brown meat of your choice.  As those ingredients are cooking, mix together your taco seasoning.  Add your meat to the veggie skillet and add canned tomatoes and seasoning to taste.  Let simmer for 10 minutes so that flavors can meld.
Cut the tops off your peppers.  Cut obnoxious Jack-O-Lantern faces out.
Pour 1/2 the can tomato sauce and 1/2 cup water at the bottom a large glass baking dish.
Arrange pepper and stuff.  Cover with foil.
Bake 40 minutes.
Remove foil and sprinkle with cheese (if desired).  Bake an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.