Pick a Pepper

My peppers, beautiful peppers came in. Yet the sad thing is, I can never get anything but green ones. No matter what I do, it’s always, always green!
 I planted mixed bell peppers seeds, red, orange, yellow. Did I get those? No. Just Green!10 Plants, all Green. Go figure. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love green peppers, but I really love the red ones. It would be wonderful to have yellow and orange as well. There’s so many things you can do with peppers. As I’ve said before I seed them and chop them up to freeze. Whenever I need them I just take them out and put them in whatever I’m making.
  The store sells a bag of frozen chopped or julienned bell peppers which I used all the time. Now with my own peppers, or at least even from the store when mine aren’t growing, I cut them and lay them out on a baking sheet to freeze. Once frozen I can easily put them into a zip lock bag or container and use whenever. You’ll never have to buy another bag of pre cut peppers again! You’d be surprised how often you reach for them when you have them around.

Last week I had my first stuffed pepper! Really can’t remember ever having them before, but I’ve seen them, and my husband had asked the moment I told him the peppers in the garden were getting big. So this was a great first for me. This recipe came from Cooking Light.
   It was a great recipe for me to start with, but I do think the seasonings need adjusting. I added both extra chopped peppers to the beef mixture, as well as minced garlic and some fresh chopped basil. I didn’t add all the allspice either which is a good thing, as I’m not a fan of it.
  A good thing to start doing is (with any recipe), add a little at a time, taste it, add more if you want, or leave the rest out. If your adding it all at once, you can’t change that. Taste it as you go, and adjust to your likings.

See, doesn’t red just look pretty 🙂
Stuffed Peppers

1 (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice ( I used 1cup long grain brown rice, that was done on the stove. )
4 medium red bell peppers ( used green too!)
3/4 pound ground sirloin
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups bottled tomato-and-basil pasta sauce divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry red wine (I skipped the red wine)
I added minced garlic as well as chopped peppers to the beef mixture for extra flavor
Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 450°.

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Set aside.

While rice cooks, cut tops off bell peppers; reserve tops. Discard seeds and membranes. Place peppers, cut sides down, in an 8-inch square baking dish; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at high 2 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender. Cool.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and the next 5 ingredients (beef through allspice); cook 4 minutes or until beef is lightly browned, stirring to crumble. Remove from heat. Add rice, 1/2 cup pasta sauce, and cheese to beef mixture, stirring to combine.

While beef cooks, combine 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce and wine in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. **Taste the mixture before you put into the peppers, adjust to your taste as I added minced garlic as well as extra peppers at this point for more flavor**

Spoon about 3/4 cup beef mixture into each pepper. Place peppers in a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray; add wine mixture to pan. Cover with foil.

Bake at 450° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake an additional 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve peppers with sauce. Garnish with pepper tops.

These were really good, but I didn’t taste the cheese at all. Think next time I’ll add sharp cheddar, and try it out with ground turkey instead of the beef.  My kids loved adding salsa on it! One of my kids didn’t like it at all until I scooped the filling out and put it on a bun like a sloppy joe. Hey whatever gets them to eat, I’m perfectly fine with it!

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