I wish everyday in Michigan could be just like yesterday. It was one of those beautiful days that changed moods and made people smile. It was the perfect day for running errands, taking a walk or reading on the patio. I did all three!
Yesterday was also a good day to take a little detour from my weekly menu planner. Originally I planned Jalapeno Cream Cheese Chicken Enchilada’s but our garden produced several very pretty green peppers over the last few days and I just didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to use them. I love fresh green peppers from the garden, this is going to sound funny but they have an amazing green pepper taste….very subtle but it’s there. It’s what I imagine a green crayon would taste like if a green crayon had a flavor.
Here comes the admission…..in well over 40 years of cooking I have never made stuffed peppers. The last time I tried them was probably when I was still at home in my teens and I didn’t like them which is the answer right there. I was a kid and we all know kids, especially teenagers, can be very picky about what they eat or will try.
Walt on the other hand loves stuffed peppers almost as much as he loves stuffed cabbage. A few years ago we tried a new deli in our neighborhood the “Soup of the Day” was “Stuffed Pepper Soup” Walt tried a bowl and loved it. I reluctantly accepted his offer to try a little taste and found it to be delicious…SURPRISE! I immediately went on a mission to find a recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup” searching old cookbooks and the internet especially Bed and Breakfast sites because I think they have amazing recipes. I finally found a recipe that appealed to me and now the soup is a regular in our fall/winter menu line-up.
Yesterday was not a soup kind of day….it was just too nice out to serve soup. I always think that a great bowl of soup or stew is perfect on cold, winter days but not on a sunny gorgeous day like yesterday. With an open mind and wanting to surprise Walt I decided to make stuffed peppers for him.
After a few phone calls to my mom and a few internet searches I was ready to begin…..well sort of. My mom made her stuffed peppers a little differently than the recipe I wanted to try. The recipe I wanted to try didn’t have things in it that I thought would improve it. So I fused….ok so that’s another word for tweak. I took a little bit from my mom, a little bit from the recipe I found on-line and added my own little touches.
The stuffed peppers turned out really well, in fact they were delicious. They got a thumb up from Walt which is a big deal…he loves my mom’s so when he said mine were tasty and a keeper I knew that I had found a recipe that I will gladly make again.
I was able to make 14 half stuffed peppers because I had seven small peppers. In the recipe I marked it as 3 large which should easily use up the meat mixture because two of my little ones were probably equal to one large pepper.
My mom freezes leftovers so I did the same. I made up a little lunch tuppeware for Walt with two, I took the two smallest for myself for lunch and froze the other 6 for another dinner in the near future. Hopefully mine will freeze as well as mom’s do.
Here is my version of stuffed peppers……..
Nancy’s Tweaked Stuffed Peppers
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked white rice
3 large green bell peppers, halved and seeded (my peppers were smaller so I had more)
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic – grated
3/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 tbsp. brown sugar
Salt and ground pepper to taste 2
3 – (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees
- Cook rice according to package directions and let cool completely
- Mix/whisk one can of tomato sauce and 2 tbsp. brown sugar together and set aside
- Cut peppers in half, seed and wash
- Mix hamburger, rice, grated garlic, onion, salt, pepper and cheese.
- Add tomato sauce/brown sugar to meat mixture – mix well
- Fill peppers with meat mixture making sure that you push the meat mixture into the pepper to fill it
- Place peppers in baking dish
- Mix/whisk the other two 15 oz tomato sauce and 4 tbsp. of sugar – pour over peppers
- Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes – add mozzarella to tops of peppers bake an additional 15 minutes
Some recipes call for cooking the meat and boiling/blanching the peppers:
- I don’t cook the meat mixture
- I don’t boil or blanch my peppers, if you use bigger peppers you may want to bake a little longer.