Stuff bell peppers with a variety of ingredients

  • Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 1:19 a.m.
    UPDATED: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 1:48 a.m.
Stuffed peppers piping hot from the oven make for a fun meal that is quick and tasty.
Stuffed peppers piping hot from the oven make for a fun meal that is quick and tasty.

I've been a fan of stuffed bell peppers for as long as I can remember, but I had never made them myself until about a month ago.

Fact Box

6 bell peppers

1 pound ground beef.

1 chopped onion.

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2-cup of water

1 15-ounce can of tomatoes

1 cup uncooked long grain rice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the ground beef and chopped onion on the stove and drain it. Add salt and pepper.

Add the water, tomatoes, long grain rice and Worcestershire sauce.

Simmer until rice is tender, typically about 15 minutes.

Add the cheese and cook until melted.

Stuff the peppers and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.


Connie's stuffed bell peppers


In an attempt to eat out less and cook more, I've spent more time in the kitchen this summer.

Fact Box

6 bell peppers

1 medium onion,

chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 tablespoon ground

cumin

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and

chopped

1 15-ounce can diced

tomatoes, drained,

liquid reserved

1 15-ounce can black

beans, rinsed, drained

3/4 cup quinoa

11/2 cups water

1 cup Pepper jack cheese

Salt and pepper

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion, celery and jalapeno for about 5 minutes, until soft, then add cumin and garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Stir in drained tomatoes (reserving liquid) and cook for 5 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in black beans, quinoa and 11/2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender.

Stir in 1 cup of cheese and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and pour reserved liquid from tomatoes in the bottom of baking dish.

Fill each halved bell pepper with 3/4 cup quinoa mixture and place in baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes.

Transfer stuffed bell peppers onto serving dish and drizzle pan juices over top.


Quinoa stuffed bell peppers


After making the same dishes over and over again, I decided to try my hand at a new recipe.

Fact Box

4 bell peppers

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 pound ground chicken or turkey

1/2 cup cilantro, plus more for garnish

1/2 onion, diced

1/3 cup egg whites

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup red enchilada sauce, plus more

for topping (I typically use 1 can)

1/2 cup reduced fat cheese of your choice

(I like colby jack)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, quinoa, egg whites, onion, cilantro, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper and enchilada sauce. Mix well.

Stuff each pepper half with the mixture. Top pepper with 1 tablespoon of enchilada sauce and 1 tablespoon of cheese. Bake for 45 minutes.

Garnish with extra cilantro if desired.


Enchilada chicken stuffed peppers


Stuffed bell peppers was the first thing that came to mind, so I emailed my friend, Cat, for a recipe. I had seen her post about the deliciousness of them on Facebook in the past.

Fact Box

4 bell peppers

1 pound Italian turkey sausage

1 head cauliflower

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

1 package spaghetti sauce seasoning

1 tablespoon crushed red chili flakes

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pan, brown the turkey sausage.

Finely chop cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles the consistency of rice. Once the sausage is fully cooked, add the last six ingredients and saute another 5 minutes.

While sauteing, wash, half, and seed the bell peppers.

Spray a large glass baking dish and place bell peppers in it.

Fill each bell pepper with the mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.


Italian turkey sausage stuffed bell peppers


She sent back a recipe she received from her mother, Connie.

Fact Box

One cup of cooked quinoa has 220 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein, which is almost 50 percent more than an equal portion of brown rice.

The superfood also includes hefty doses of thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, zinc, potassium, magnesium and selenium, along with 15 percent of daily iron needs.

Quinoa is unusual because it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs.

It's also gluten-free, so folks with gluten allergies can also enjoy this fluffy, grain-like seed.


What is quinoa?


It only took about an hour to make the peppers. They actually turned out to be much more delicious than I expected.

They have become a regular in the rotation of meals, so I thought I'd try to find some more recipes for stuffed peppers that included different ingredients.

Monday, I tried out a recipe that included peppers stuffed with quinoa, which is touted as a super food because of its high protein content.

Even without meat, the peppers were incredibly filling because of the combination of black beans and quinoa.

The cumin and garlic gave the dish an extra burst of flavor. I'd definitely make this dish again.

While scouring Pinterest for recipes, I came across two others that I found interesting. The first is Italian turkey sausage stuffed bell peppers. Instead of using quinoa or rice, the recipe calls for cauliflower.

The second recipe was for enchilada-chicken stuffed peppers. Instead of using beef, this recipe includes either ground chicken or turkey.

Any colored bell peppers can be used for all of these recipes. I prefer to use yellow and red ones because of their sweetness, but green peppers are fine, too.

The tops of the peppers can be cut off and the insides removed or they can be sliced in half.

I've tried both methods and can't tell any difference in taste. Cutting them in half does seem to make a more appealing presentation, so that might be a good option if you're serving these to guests.

Connie suggests boiling the peppers for a few minutes after scooping out the insides. This step isn't included in any of the recipes here, but I would definitely do it. Boiling the peppers softens them up, so they are easier to chew.

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