Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

Hello faithful readers! I had a super fun time last week planning and making things for a friend's baby shower. We had such a great time together Saturday morning and I got some great baby snuggles in which always warms my heart! Needless to say I was a little tied up with those things and with making the cake for the shower so cooking and blogging took a back seat. I do a little cake decorating on the side and hadn't done a cake in quite sometime. I was a bit rusty I am afraid and so was my fondant! Time to order a new bucket. Here is the cake.
We had a little airplane theme going on. The sign says "Taking Flight." Please excuse the shadow in this picture. I took it late at night. You wouldn't think such a simple cake would cause me so much frustration! Like I said, time for new fondant!

So back to cooking right? Last night I made stuffed peppers for dinner and they turned out great. They are simple to make and I think you could make them several different ways so you didn't tire of them. I got out my mini food processor to save time and to save my eyes last night.

Chop up 1 large or 2 small onions by hand or in a food processor.
Cut off the tops of 6-8 peppers, remove any remaining seeds, and chop those up as well in a food processor. Add the chopped veggies along with a couple minced garlic cloves to a pan with a bit of olive oil.

Add a teaspoon of each of these spices to the pan and saute for about 5 minutes.

Clean the insides of the peppers out and give them a wash.

Place the peppers in a large pot and cover them with water. Boil them for 5 minutes then drain them and set them aside. This step really helps them soften up and cook to perfection in the oven later.

Last night before I sauteed the veggies I had cooked up my meat. I mixed half beef and half turkey to give these a bit more flavor this time. Usually I just opt for turkey.

While I was cooking my meat and getting all my other ingredients out and ready I had cooked a cup of brown rice also. Stir that in at this point.

Then you will need to stir in a large can of tomato sauce. And let this simmer together for 10 minutes or so.

I like to use this can of sauce because it has a fairly low sugar content. You could also choose your favorite spaghetti sauce as well.

Fill the peppers with the mixture and place some water in your baking dish. I added one cup of water to this 9 X 13. Again this just helps them soften and cook well so you can easily cut into them. Put them in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes take them out and top them with a little mozzarella cheese. Place back in the oven or under a broiler whatever you prefer until the cheese is melted. I put them back in the regular oven for about 7 more minutes.

I served them with some broccoli, salad, and fresh pineapple. A very veggie dinner indeed! My family loved these and even Evan who doesn't like peppers too much said he liked them. Faith on the other hand is sick again and she slept right through dinner. I am sure it didn't hurt her feelings that she missed this meal.

Suggestions: Next time I will add a little cayenne or Franks or chili powder. It just wasn't spicy enough for Miles. It was fine for me though!
Experiment with the filling and swap out the rice for some quinoa or leave out the meat all together and just have a vegetarian meal. Perhaps some couscous would be good in there as well.
Don't skip the cheese! The recipe I used didn't call for it but luckily I was thinking last night.
I had plenty of extra filling, which I will put to good use, but it would have been nice to have used 8 peppers instead of 6.

These were even better for lunch today after the flavors had time to meld together.

Now I am really sick of sick so I must get ready to take my daughter to the doctor. I think she might have some kind of intestinal infection that I am really hoping an antibiotic will take care of. I hate these words...."It's just a virus! Let it run its course."

Here is the recipe.

6-8 medium size green peppers
1 pound ground turkey or beef or a half/half mixture
1 large onion finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic minced
1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce
1½ cups cooked brown rice
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
Mozzarella cheese – enough to sprinkle on top of each pepper

1. Cut off the tops of the peppers. Remove and discard seeds and membranes. Cook pepper cups in boiling water to cover for 5 minutes. Drain peppers and set aside.
2. Finely chop pepper tops, discarding stems, and the onion. Mince garlic and add the veggies to a pan with a bit of olive oil. Add marjoram and oregano and sauté for about 5 minutes.
3.  In another pan brown the meat and drain. Then add to your veggies. Add the rice and tomato sauce and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 6 minutes, stirring often.
4. Spoon meat mixture into the pepper cups and place in a baking dish. Add hot water to the dish to depth of ½ inch. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and top with cheese. Place back in oven until cheese is melted and golden. About 5-7 minutes.

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