Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

Growing up, I hated bell peppers. Hated them with a firey passion. So much so that on stuffed pepper night I would hide the pieces of pepper under my placemat so that I could avoid eating them. Eventually my parents stopped fighting me and allowed me to just eat the rice mixture, which made dinner much easier.

At some point after getting married, I read some study that suggests that your tastebuds regenerate every 7 years, so as you get older, your tastes can change dramatically. At this point I decided to give green peppers another shot. Needless to say, I loved them. Then I decided I loved red peppers and yellow peppers and orange peppers. Now peppers are staple in my house and when I visit my mom, she buys me a pepper for stuffing.

The way I make stuffed peppers is different each and every time - here is tonight's variation. It might be my favorite so far!

Stuffed Peppers

1lb lean ground turkey breast
1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
1 cup brown rice
4 carrots, peeled, and chopped into small pieces
1 onion, diced
6 small cloves of garlic, minced
8oz baby bella mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
8 sweet mini peppers, any color
1 quart + 1 pint vegetable stock (or water)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Ground pepper to taste
4 tbsp dried parsley
3/4 bunch cilantro, chopped (stems removed)
1 cup shredded cheese (we used sharp cheddar) + extra for the top of the peppers
3+ bell peppers (we used green), tops cut off and seeds removed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off the peppers. Remove seeds. Rinse peppers and set aside.

Rinse rice and quinoa. Cook in a rice cooker or a large saucepan with stock (or water). If you use a saucepan, cook until the rice and quinoa is soft and cooked through and nearly all of the water is absorbed.

Add oil to a 12 inch non stick skillet and heat over medium. Add garlic, onions, carrots, mini peppers, and mushrooms. Sautee until onions are translucent and vegetables are done to your liking. Season with black pepper to taste. (I prefer ours to be pretty tender, so I sauteed them for about 12 minutes.)

Once vegetables are done, put them in a large bowl and set aside. You'll mix the rice/quinoa mixture and the meat in later, so make it a big bowl.

Using the same skillet, brown the ground turkey. Season with dried parsley. Once meat is cooked through, add it to the bowl with the vegetables.

When the rice/quinoa mixture is cooked, add to the bowl with everything else. Add cheese and combine thoroughly. 

Fill peppers with the rice/veggie/meat mixture and top with more cheese. Put about an inch of water in an 8x8 baking dish, carefully add peppers, and cook at 350 for 25+ minutes. 25 minutes will give you a warm, but crisp pepper. Cook the peppers longer if you want your peppers softer.

Serve immediately with extra rice or cheese if desired.

Note: this recipe will make A LOT of leftover rice. You can make the same amount if you are making more than 3 peppers (I probably could have filled 6-8 additional peppers) or you could use less rice/quinoa/meat. I like to eat the rice by itself for leftovers, which is why I made so much.

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