Friday, November 13, 2009

Stuffed Bell Peppers

First, let me apologize for how horrible this picture is. I am a terribly food photographer. I’m working on it. If it means I need a fancy new camera, then so be it. That’s the lengths I will go to for you people. I’m just that generous.

College cafeterias are supposed to be miserable, right? Poor quality, high calorie, all seemingly designed to accelerate the addition of the Freshman 10 (or 15 or 20) to the fastest rate possible. Mine was no different. Although, I will admit, after a little awhile, I developed a sort of Stockholm syndrome and actually started liking the food. It is with a heavy heart (among other heavy things) that I make that admission.

One of my favorite meals was stuffed bell peppers. I’m sure they were just mass produced Stouffers numbers, but Stouffers knows how to make nicely edible comfort food, so points to the cafeteria for knowing what works.

I wanted to make this dish at home, but the versions I’ve always had included cooked rice, which I usually did not have on hand, and I didn’t want to add extra time to a dish that already needed a fair amount of oven time. By then, my husband’s beloved Giada (his foodie princess) showcase a recipe that didn’t use rice. Yay for no extra carbs! Plus, ketchup! I always have plenty of ketchup (say what you will about the carbs there, but I don’t care)! Win win!

So I’ve tweaked the plan a bit, and this is how I make it at home. Feel free to make a Mexican version with salsa as a topper (as said husband does even though I’ve already made it with slightly Italian leanings).

Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 large bell pepper
½ lb. lean ground sirloin or ground turkey (or ground chicken, it’s versatile)
1 egg
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup (or whatever good amount you like) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Dash of dried oregano and parsley, unless you have fresh, then go for it
Diced tomatoes or bruschetta topping

Cut the bell pepper in half and remove seeds and ribs to create a small pepper boat. Mix the remaining ingredients (expect for the tomato topping) gently until combined. Fill each pepper boat with stuffing and top with tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese. Arrange in a casserole dish and bake in a 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

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