by Tammy Taylor
I love bell peppers and usually plant several bell pepper plants in my garden. I love to use bell peppers in a steamed veggie medley, dehydrate them for winter use and of course you have to have chopped bell peppers in meatloaf and many other recipes. But one of my favorite meals with bell peppers is making stuffed peppers. Since I utilize the cook-once-eat-twice method of cooking, I’ll fill the oven full of stuffed peppers so that I can freeze them and enjoy them later as a quick heat-n-eat supper.
Here are the simple ingredients I use to make stuffed bell peppers: Onion, Garlic, Rice, Italian Stewed Tomatoes, Worcestershire Sauce and Italian Seasoning along with my ground meat and broth. I like to use brown rice instead of white, and since I have a talented hunter husband I typically use ground pork instead of purchased meats.
I usually make the brown rice first, oftentimes by making twice as much as I needed for a recipe the day before so it’ll already be in the to streamline things at supper time. (remember I like to use the cook-once-eat-twice method of cooking) But if I’m starting fresh I’ll saute the onions and peppers and the brown rice in a little olive oil until the onions are translucent. Then I’ll add the water or broth and bring to a boil. After it comes to a boil I’ll stir it only once, cover the pan and simmer the rice for 20 minutes. Then without lifting the lid I’ll turn off the heat and allow the rice to absorb the rest of the liquid for another 20-25 minutes. After that time I can fluff the rice with a fork and it’s ready to go.
Now on to the meat filling. I brown the meat with chopped onion, pepper, italian seasonings and stewed tomatoes. When the meat is browned I drain the fat from the meat, if I’m using wild hog it’s already very lean so there’s not much fat to drain.
Then I mix the meat mixture with the rice until I get the ratio that I like. Typically for me it’s 2 parts meat mixture to 1 part rice, but if you want more protein and less grain, or vice versa, do what works best for you. (The recipe calls for me to add cheese at this point and sometimes I do, but tonight I skipped the cheese in the filling and opted instead to just add a little mozzarella on top when they came out of the oven.)
Now I prepare the peppers. I like to slice them in half longways, de-seed them and microwave them for 3 minutes. Then I place them in my favorite casserole dish, a vintage set of Corning Ware that belonged to my grandmother.
After I get the peppers into the dishes I fill each half with the meat/rice filling, place them in the oven and bake them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. As I mentioned, I’m making enough stuffed peppers to fill that oven up so it’s not pumping heat into the house this summer when I’m in the mood for this delicious main dish. Since each half is a serving for us I’m making 12 servings here. After supper tonight I’ll freeze the others.
When they’re cooked I sprinkle a little shredded mozzarella cheese on top and allow the cheese to melt and they’re ready to go. I’ll pair them with a couple of veggie sides and dinner is served. If I make the rice the day before, making this dish is simply browning the meat, adding the tomatoes, microwaving the peppers & stuffing them and putting them in the oven. While they’re baking I’ll steam a couple of veggies and dinner comes together in a snap. If you think you’d like to try this recipe for yourself, I’m including the recipe below. Enjoy!
TMR Stuffed Bell Pepper – uses 6 peppers for 12 servings
- 6 green bell peppers cut in half lengthways, seeds removed
- 1 pound ground meat
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup brown rice
- 3 cups water or broth
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 1.5 cup shredded cheese
Chop enough reserved green pepper to equal about 1/4 cup; Set chopped pepper aside.
In a pan combine 1 cup brown rice with 3 cups water (or broth) – bring to boiling, stir once and cover pot. Simmer without stirring for 20 minutes, then without lifting lid turn off heat and leave covered 20 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and set aside.
Cook ground meat in a skillet with reserved chopped pepper, minced garlic and chopped onion over medium heat stirring until meat is browned, the juices run clear, and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes; drain excess grease. Pour in drained diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper; bring to a boil and turn off heat. Stir in enough cooked rice to get the rice/meat mixture you desire. Stir cheese into ground meat/rice mixture
Place hollowed-out green peppers in a microwave-safe dish; cover and cook in microwave until bright green and steaming, about 3 minutes. Set peppers upright in a baking dish and spoon meat/rice mixture into precooked peppers.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake peppers until cheese is melted and the peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.
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