When I began my weight-loss journey, I knew I had to change my diet to be more conscious of what I put in my body and how I chose to consume nutrients. I’ve tried and failed multiple times at losing weight and keeping it off. The truth is, you really do have to change your lifestyle and become picky about how you replenish and nurture your body. For me, this meant minimizing my sugar, carb, oil and processed food intake. I focused on filling up with lean proteins, fresh fruits and veggies.

However, I quickly realized this healthy lifestyle change was hurting my bank account, and my taste buds were less than satisfied, so I created this recipe that combines clean eating with lots of flavor. Now, 70 pounds lighter, this is still one of my favorite dishes to make. These low-calorie, low-carb, protein-packed spicy chicken-stuffed peppers really take clean eating up a notch.

Ingredients:
• 4 to 6 large bell peppers, any color
• 3 to 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
• 6 to 8 garlic cloves, finely minced
• 1 fresh jalapeño, minced
• 2 ½ cups tomatoes, diced
• 1 large yellow onion, diced
• 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
• 1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
• 1 ¾ cups salsa
• Shredded cheese (optional)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
• 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• ½ teaspoon ground cumin

Directions:
Boil chicken breasts for 15 minutes, or until cooked. Shred cooked chicken breasts using two forks.

In a large pot, sauté onion, garlic and jalapeño for 10 minutes on medium heat. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salsa and chicken. Mix well, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Once the ingredients begin to thicken, add the salt, chili powder, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano and cumin. You can add more cayenne pepper, chili powder or crushed red pepper to turn up the heat. If you’re looking for more of a “sweet heat,” try adding a few drops of liquid stevia to the chicken mixture. Adjust to taste. Simmer on low for approximately 10 minutes, covered.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Using a sharp knife, cut the tops of the peppers off, and pull out all the inside ribs and seeds. Run under cold water to wash and remove remaining seeds inside. Stuff the peppers with the chicken mixture, and top them with salsa so they don’t dry out.

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