Cook beef in a large pot over medium high heat until no longer pink, about 3 minutes, stir to crumble beef.
Place beef in a strainer and rinse under hot water to remove extra grease and fat; drain well.
Wipe pan clean with a paper towel, return to stove and add beef back in.
Stir in the beans, corn, picante sauce, water, sugar, and cumin. Place bell pepper halves, cut side down on top of meat mixture and raise heat to high, bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until peppers are tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove peppers and place on a serving dish cut side up. Add the cornmeal and salt (if using) into the pot and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Spoon 1 cup of mixture over each pepper and sprinkle 2 tablespoons shredded cheese over each.