Monday, January 28, 2013

Stuffed Bell Peppers

I discovered stuffed bell peppers about 2 years ago, and have regularly added them to my menu since.  My recipe has grown and adapted over the years.  I love this recipe because you can really add anything into it that you want, and it can go really far for big groups.  These pictures are from a large batch I made this week for our church dinner.  For a family dinner, just scale back the ingredients (4-5 bell peppers and 1 lb of ground beef is a good base for our family of 5).  These freeze well, so you can make a large batch and freeze the extras or even just make a bunch of the stuffing and freeze that into meal sizes.  

For a big batch (18-20 peppers total), you will need:

18-20 bell peppers, any color
3.5-4 pounds ground beef or turkey
3 jars pasta sauce (or make your own)
2-2 1/2 cups cooked rice
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Optional ingredients:
Chopped mushrooms
1 can corn
1 can black beans
Chopped onions
Chopped garlic

You can cut your bell peppers in one of two ways.  You can either cut the stem out of the top, leaving a bowl shaped bell pepper.  Or, you can cut the bell peppers in half down the middle.  If you have any excess bell pepper, cut it up and use it in the stuffing.

In a large skillet, cook the ground beef (saute onions and garlic in oil first if you are using them).  Add in chopped mushrooms and excess chopped bell peppers.  Mix together.

Add in 2 jars of pasta sauce and cooked rice.  Mix thoroughly.

Add in corn, black beans, and any other ingredients you'd like to use.  Mix well.

Finally, stuff your bell peppers.  You can see that I cut these bell peppers down the middle.  Top each bell pepper with a spoonful of pasta sauce, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 40-50 minutes or until bell peppers are desired doneness.

After these are done, you can allow any extras to cool, individually wrap in plastic wrap, and then bag in a ziploc to freeze.  Defrost before heating through in the oven for another meal time.

OR, just cook and bag the extra insides for freezing.  This will save space in your freezer, and keep your bell peppers fresher.  Just defrost the insides, stuff into a fresh bell pepper, and heat at 375 for 40-50 minutes.

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