Monday, January 30, 2012

Italian Stuffed Peppers


 There are about 4,000 recipes out there for stuffed peppers. But I was in the mood to make the more traditional, Italian-style variety. At my bridal shower, I received a Betty Crocker cookbook as a gift. When I was flipping through my cookbooks a couple of weeks ago, I remember how everytime we had peppers, my mom always mentioned how the Betty Crocker recipe was the best she had ever had. So of course, I had to make it.

Stuffed peppers aren't exactly the most healthy food. Yes, you're eating a whole pepper, but you're also eating ground beef, a lot of rice and cheese. To make this a little more figure friendly, I used extra lean ground sirloin, low fat mozzarella cheese and brown rice instead of white. I've never really liked brown rice, but I've been using it more and more lately, and it's actually growing on me. In the peppers you couldn't tell a difference.

Stuffed Peppers
(Recipe adapted from this one.)

Ingredients:
  • 4 decent sized green bell peppers
  • 1 lb. of lean ground sirloin (Italian sausage would be great here too!)
  • 1/4 of an onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 15 ounce can of tomato sauce (or homemade marinara)
  • Mozzarella Cheese 
  • Olive Oil

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook rice. If you use brown, be aware that brown takes about 40 minutes to cook, so plan ahead.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut the tops of of the peppers and scoop out the seeds & membranes. If your peppers will not stand on their own, cut a tiny slice off of the bottom to make them steady. Drop the peppers (gently!) into the water and let them cook for about 5 minutes. Remove and let drain when finished.
  4. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender. Add garlic and cook for just a minute or until fragrant. Add the meat, mix together and let brown.
  5. Stir in rice and one cup of the tomato sauce. When mixed well, spoon the mixture into each pepper.
  6. Stand each pepper up in a 8x8 baking dish, cover tightly with foil and cook for 45 minutes.
  7. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes. When the peppers have 5 minutes remaining, remove from the oven, cover with cheese and then put back in until the cheese is melted.

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