Stuffed Peppers

Whenever I think of the meals I ate growing up, stuffed peppers is a meal that takes one of the top spots.  It was one of the few things that my entire family loved and looked forward to.  My mom always baked half of the filling in a separate dish (aka NOT stuffed in a pepper) for me and my sisters (we weren’t too keen on cooked peppers… but she snuck some cooked ones in the filling!).  So we liked it that much more. 🙂

Since I have been obsessing over the sauce I made for the Chicken Parmesan the other night, I decided to incorporate some of that delectable flavor into a stuffed pepper – what could be better?  I used 85% lean ground beef to keep this dish flavorful.  I also cut down cooking time by making a quick batch of Minute rice – no need to wait 45 minutes for that brown rice to cook in the rice cooker!  These keep best when stored in an air-tight container for 2-3 days.

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Stuffed Peppers

Active Prep: 25 min
Cook time: 25 min
TOTAL: 50 min

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • 8 medium green bell peppers, tops and seeds removed
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Rice Mixture

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 c cooked rice (white or brown)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ c shredded mozzarella, plus extra for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil.  Boil peppers for 5-6 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and let sit with peppers for an additional 5 minutes until peppers are tender.  Remove peppers from pot and place upright in a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add tomatoes and remaining sauce ingredients; stir well.  Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. While sauce is simmering, heat oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add ground beef, chopping into smaller pieces and cooking until beef is browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.  Add rice and sauce and mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce temperature to low and simmer until mixture has thickened, about 6-7 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in mozzarella cheese. Fill each pepper with stuffing and top with additional mozzarella cheese.
  5. Add ½ c water to baking dish so peppers are sitting in ½ inch of water. Bake peppers until heated through, about 25 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Makes 8 stuffed peppers.