Easy Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken

Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
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Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Their eyes, intensely focused on me, conveyed urgency and despair. Words that shot through their lips were sharp. The air was thick with tension. Was this an angry mob? No, this was my family…looking for dinner. Again. Is this a familiar scene?? Yes, well then, you are probably a Mom. But here is a make-ahead dinner to turn this nightly nightmare into a beautiful dream.  This is my Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers Skillet with Ground Chicken!

This recipe takes a stuffed pepper and deconstructs it is so it’s super easy to make.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cilantro, cheese, and corn tortillas. Finally, nutty and hearty brown rice is mixed and cooked in with all of this goodness to created one delicious dinner.  It’s smokey, savory, hearty, and utterly delicious!

Want more tips for making busy family dinners easier?  Click here for my Free Printable 5 Simple Steps to Easy Family Dinners!

BELL PEPPERS HAVE MORE VITAMIN C THAN ORANGES!

Bell peppers come in a variety of colors and add so much color and flavor to recipes!  But, aside from looking pretty and tasting good, they also have some wonderful health benefits!  They are low in calories and exceptionally rich in vitamins and antioxidants.  Bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C and are a great source for vitamins B6, K1, A, and E.  In fact, bell peppers have more vitamin C than oranges!  One medium-sized red bell pepper provides 169% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C.  They also have minerals, such as potassium and folate.

So eat bell peppers for a snack or add them to scrambled eggs, mix into salads, or try them in these recipes:

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Nothing special for this one! Just a medium pot with lid for the rice and a wide-bottom pot, such as a dutch oven. My prized possession dutch oven was perfect for this! Or any good quality enameled cast iron 5-6 quart dutch oven with lid is great.

PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR TEX MEX UNSTUFFED PEPPERS

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below)

Clean the bell peppers and discard the seeds and membranes. Rough chop into 1/2 to 1 inch chunks. Chop the cilantro.

Chopped green and red bell peppers and cilantro on a cutting board for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

The corn tortillas act as a thickener as well as bring a familiar corn flavor to this dish!  Cut them into 1 inch long, 1/4 inch thick strips. Measure out all of the seasonings (onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and salt).

Hand holding tortillas cut into strips for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Can I use any other types of peppers?

Absolutely!  Poblano or Cubanelle peppers would be fantastic peppers to include.  These are less sweet than bell peppers, but do not carry much heat, so still a nice mild option.  If you want to add heat, then jalapeno peppers would be a great addition.  Of course, you can go with other peppers that carry even more heat, but then you are getting into “spicy” territory and I know my kids would run the other direction! 

Can I use fresh onion and garlic?

Of course fresh is always a preference, however, that will add prep time for dicing and mincing.  If you have the time, great!  When you get to the cooking steps, you will add these in half way through the chicken cooking. So you start searing and browning the chicken, then stir and add the onions and garlic, finish cooking the chicken, and then continue to follow the steps from there.

COOK YOUR TEX MEX UNSTUFFED PEPPERS

For the rice, I used a medium-grain brown rice because it adds more flavor than white rice.  However, you can of course use any rice that you prefer.  You can cook it ahead and store the rice in the fridge. Just warm it up before adding it to the pot in the step below.

Everything else cooks in one large pot.  I start with the peppers and then remove them while cooking the chicken so that they don’t get too mushy.  Cook the peppers only for 3-4 minutes, just until they start to glisten. Transfer the peppers to a plate.

Chopped green and red bell peppers cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

To the same pot/pan on high heat, add the ground chicken and seasoning blend.  Mix to combine, then let sit! Let it brown on one side for 3-4 minutes. Then stir again and let cook through for another 4-5 minutes, until there is no longer any pink – stirring after a few minutes to ensure even cooking.

Hand holding small bowl of seasonings over ground chicken cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Seasoned ground chicken cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Once the chicken is cooked, mix in the peppers you set aside, the canned diced tomatoes, green chilies, and tortilla strips. Turn the heat to Medium and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mix in the rice and cook for a final 5 minutes covered.

Pouring broth into pot with ground chicken cooking, peppers, and tomatoes for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Mixing cooked rice into pot with ground chicken cooking, peppers, and tomatoes for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Turn off the heat and mix in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (the remaining will go on top) and chopped cilantro (leave a small amount for garnish).

Adding shredded cheese to pot of cooked Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Pot of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken and cheese sprinkled on top op.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Serve a heaping bowlful with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese and cilantro.

Can I freeze this?

Yes, this will freeze quite well.  Cool the cooked recipes in the fridge first, then freeze in a freezer-safe container.  It will keep for 4-6 months.  When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours before reheating.  You can also reheat it from frozen state in the oven 350 F degrees for 60 minutes or until the center is hot.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
5 from 1 vote
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Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken

Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken takes a stuffed pepper and deconstructs it is so it's super easy to make.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, and corn tortillas. Finally, nutty and hearty brown rice is mixed and cooked in with all of this goodness to created one delicious dinner.  It's smokey, savory, hearty, and utterly delicious!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chicken recipes, easy dinner, ground chicken, rice, stuffed peppers, Tex Mex
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 379 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Uncooked Brown Rice (you can use white)
  • 3 Sweet Bell Peppers (red, yellow, green, or orange)
  • 1 pound Ground Chicken (I used 99% lean)
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 1.5 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 28 ounces Diced Tomatoes
  • 4 ounces Green Chilies (1 can)
  • 5 Corn tortillas, size 6”
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Optional Toppings (not included in Calories per serving)

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Instructions

Prep Steps

  1. Clean the bell peppers and discard the seeds and membranes. Rough chop into 1/2 to 1 inch chunks. Chop the cilantro.

    Chopped green and red bell peppers and cilantro on a cutting board for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  2. Cut the tortillas into 1 inch long, 1/4 inch thick strips. Measure out all of the seasonings (onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and salt).

    Hand holding tortillas cut into strips for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Cooking Steps

  1. Cook the rice. Rinse the rice under water in a strainer until the water runs clear. Add to 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt and bring up to a boil. Turn the water down to a low simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Once the rice is done, turn off the heat, but leave the pot covered and undisturbed until you are ready to use. (NOTE: you can also do this step ahead and store the rice in the fridge. Just warm it up before adding it to the pot in the step below).)

  2. Preheat a large pot/pan on High heat. To the hot pan, add the olive oil and chopped peppers. Stir to coat in oil and then let cook for 3-4 minutes, just until they start to glisten. Transfer the peppers to a plate.

    Chopped green and red bell peppers cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  3. To the same pot/pan on high heat, add another teaspoon of olive oil, the ground chicken, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Mix to combine, then let sit! Let it brown on one side for 3-4 minutes. Then stir again and let cook through for another 4-5 minutes, until there is no longer any pink – stirring after a few minutes to ensure even cooking.

    Seasoned ground chicken cooking in pot for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, mix in the peppers you set aside, the canned diced tomatoes, green chilies, and tortilla strips. Turn the heat to Medium and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mix in the rice and cook for a final 5 minutes covered.

    Pouring broth into pot with ground chicken cooking, peppers, and tomatoes for Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  5. Turn off the heat and mix in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (the remaining will go on top) and chopped cilantro (leave a small amount for garnish).

    Adding shredded cheese to pot of cooked Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.
  6. Serve a heaping bowlful with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese and cilantro. Enjoy!

    Bowl of Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken with a dollop of sour cream and a tortilla chip dipped in.  Juicy Sweet Bell Peppers are chopped up and cooked with the Tex Mex style ground chicken, tomatoes, Mexican seasonings, cheese, rice and corn tortillas.

Chipotle Meatballs in Mexican Corn Cream Sauce

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Chipotle Meatballs with corn sauce over rice on white place with peppers on side. Plate on marble counter with peppers on plate in back and pan with meatballs in back.

Chipotle Meatballs with Mexican Corn Cream Sauce are unexpected and delicious!  The meatballs are made with lean ground beef, black beans, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, ground tortilla chips, and scallion.  They are then baked, which makes cooking super easy and healthier than frying.  The creamy sauce is inspired by Mexican Street Corn. The slight sweetness from the corn, the smokiness from the Mexican spices, the subtle heat from the Chipotle adobo sauce, and the cool and tangy sour cream make this creamy sauce the perfect complement to the Chipotle Meatballs!

Chipotle Meatballs with Mexican Corn Cream Sauce are delicious! The meatballs are made with Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, black beans, and scallion and are baked to perfection. The creamy sauce is inspired by Mexican Street Corn with sweet corn, smokey Mexican spices, cool and tangy sour cream.

Mexican Flavors + Meatballs = 😍

We love Mexican food in our house!  If they could, my daughters would have Taco Tuesday everyday.  So when I was thinking of a new way to reinvent meatballs, I was inspired by my and my girls’ love for Tacos and Mexican food!

The meatballs are a wonderful combination of black beans and lean grass-fed ground beef.  The black beans are blended so that they are partly creamy, but still have bits of bean for texture.  The creaminess from the beans added to the ground beef makes these meatballs so MOIST, tender, and so flavorful.  The Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce give the meatballs that Mexican flare!

Then there is the Mexican Corn Sauce!  I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier in my life…a fusion of Cream Corn + Mexican Street Corn + sour cream sauce….HEAVEN!!!

Mexican Corn Cream Sauce in Pan on stove

PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR ‘KIT’:  Chipotle Meatballs with Mexican Corn Cream Sauce

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming.  Here is my recommendation for making dinner easier: make your own kits!  On Sunday, prep all of the ingredients and components for 3 meals and store them in the fridge on meal-specific pans or bowls.  Then on the night you cook, everything is ready to go!  You will need 1 gallon bags and sandwich-size bags.

This recipe uses Gluten-Free Tortilla Chips instead of breadcrumbs as the binder for the meatballs.  Add a handful of tortilla chips to a food processor and blend until fully ground and you get 3/4 cup. Remove from the processor and set aside.

To the same food processor (no need to clean), add the drained beans and sliced scallions.  Put 1 tablespoon of the scallion greens in a baggie for the sauce and the rest go into the food processor for the meatballs.  Rough chop 2 Chipotle Peppers and add to the food processor with 1 tsp of the sauce.

Also to the food processor add 1 tbsp water, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground pepper, 1 tsp ground cumin. Pulse the food processor until the mixture is completely combined and you can see that the chipotle peppers have been fully blended into the beans. You should see mostly creamy beans, but still some bean bits left for texture.

To a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef, the bean mixture, 1 egg, and 1/2 cup of the tortilla crumbs. Mix with hands or a large fork to completely combine.  Add more tortillas crumbs as needed until the mixture easily forms into balls.  Cover bowl and store in fridge until ready to make meatballs and bake them. You could also bake these in advance and reheat them later.

Roast the corn by placing it under the oven broiler for 5 minutes on each side. Watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t completely burn. When it is done, cut off the kernels and store in a storage bag. Mince 1 clove garlic and add to the same bag with the corn.

Place the Meatball mixture, the corn, and the cooked rice all on a pan in the fridge for cooking later.

 

LET’S COOK:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll the meatballs into 1.25 inch diameter balls and place on large baking sheet that you have lightly coated with Olive Oil.  Add the whole mini sweet peppers in and around the meatballs (note, this is optional).  Bake in oven on center rack for 30 minutes

While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce.  Add 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil to a preheated pan and then add the roasted corn kernels, minced garlic, and 1 tbls scallion greens.  Stir and saute for 3 minutes and then add 1 tsp of the sauce from the Chipotle peppers in Adobo Sauce.  You can add more if you want it spicier.  Stir in the chicken broth, cumin, chili powder.  Bring the sauce up to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, then turn down heat to keep warm.

When the meatballs are done, remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes.  At this point, to the sauce whisk in the sour cream, add the cilantro.

Last, add the meatballs to the sauce.  Make sure to add any brown bits from the pan to the sauce too!

Chipotle Meatballs with Mexican Corn Cream Sauce are delicious! The meatballs are made with lean ground beef, black beans, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, ground tortilla chips, and scallion and then baked to perfection. The creamy sauce is inspired by Mexican Street Corn with sweet corn, smoky Mexican spices, cool and tangy sour cream. Yum!

Pour the meatballs and sauce over the rice, garnish with cilantro and add the sweet peppers.  Enjoy!!

5 from 2 votes
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Chipotle Meatballs in Cream Corn Sauce

Chipotle Meatballs with Mexican Corn Cream Sauce are delicious! The meatballs are made with lean ground beef, black beans, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, ground tortilla chips, and scallion and then baked to perfection. The creamy sauce is inspired by Mexican Street Corn with sweet corn, smoky Mexican spices, cool and tangy sour cream. Yum!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cook Night Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Chipotle Meatballs

  • 16 oz Lean Ground Beef, Grass Fed, Raised without antibiotics
  • 15.5 oz Black Beans
  • 4 Scallions
  • 2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce get smallest can/jar available
  • 1 Tbls water
  • 1 Egg, large
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 cup Ground Tortilla Chips

Mexican Corn Cream Sauce

  • 1 Ear of Corn
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1.5 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Sauce from Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 tbls Scallion greens from the 4 scallions in the Meatballs
  • 1 tbls Cilantro, chopped

Other

  • 1 cup Rice, uncooked
  • 12 Mini Sweet Peppers this is optional, but adds great flavor

Instructions

Prep-Ahead to make Kit

  1. Add a handful of tortilla chips to a food processor and blend until fully ground and you get 3/4 cup.  Remove from the processor and set aside to be added to the meat later.  You should only need 1/2 cup for the meatballs, but you will want extra just in case your meat mixture is too wet.

  2. Drain and rinse the black beans and put into the same food processor.

  3. Slice the 4 scallions.  You will need to save 1 heaping tablespoon of the greens in a baggie for the sauce, the rest will go into the food processor for the meatballs.

  4. Rough chop 2 Chipotle Peppers and add to the food processor with 1 tsp of the sauce.  Save the rest in a storage container as you will need the sauce for adding to the Cream Sauce later.

  5. Also to the food processor add 1 tbls water, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground pepper, 1 tsp ground cumin.  Pulse the food processor until the mixture is completely combined and you can see that the chipotle peppers have been fully blended into the beans.  You should see mostly creamy beans, but still some bean bits left for texture.

  6. To a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef, the bean mixture, 1 egg, and 1/2 cup of the tortilla crumbs.  Mix with hands or a large fork to completely combine.  If the mixture seems too wet, sprinkle in a little more tortilla crumbs.  Cover bowl to seal and store in fridge until ready to make meatballs and bake them.  Note: You could bake these off in advance and reheat them later.

  7. Roast the corn by placing it under the oven broiler for 5 minutes on each side.  Watch carefully to make sure it doesn't completely burn.  When it is done, cut off the kernels and store in a storage bag.  Mince 1 clove garlic and add to the same bag with the corn.

  8. Place the Meatball mixture, the corn, and the cooked rice all on a pan in the fridge for cooking later.

Cook!

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Make rice according to package instructions.  

  3. Roll the meatballs into 1.25 inch diameter balls and place on large baking sheet that you have lightly coated with Olive Oil.  Add the whole mini sweet peppers in and around the meatballs (note, this is optional).  Bake in oven on center rack for 30 minutes.

  4. While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce.  Add 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil to a preheated pan and then add the roasted corn kernels, minced garlic, and 1 tbls scallion greens.  Stir and saute for 3 minutes and then add 1 tsp of the sauce from the Chipotle peppers in Adobo Sauce.  You can add more if you want it spicier.  Stir in the chicken broth, cumin, chili powder.  Bring the sauce up to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, then turn down heat to keep warm.

  5. When the meatballs are done, remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes.  At this point, to the sauce whisk in the sour cream, add the cilantro.

  6. Last, add the meatballs to the sauce. Make sure to add any brown bits from the pan to the sauce too!

  7. Plate: Pour the meatballs and sauce over the rice, garnish with cilantro and add the sweet peppers.  Enjoy!!