Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pizza Stuffed Bell Peppers

The last two weeks we've been trying to do some menu planning around here. It's not my normal way of cooking, but things have gotten so busy this summer that it really has helped to at least scratch out a semblance of a menu on a scrap of paper before heading to the grocery store. (I also rarely use a grocery list.) I just normally buy what looks good and then come home to "create." Well this week I had "stuffed bell pepper" on the menu. I normally make these with green bell peppers because they are cheaper but the red ones were on mega sale and they are so pretty. I also normally make stuffed bell peppers with rice, mushrooms and sausage. But this time I decided to make them "pizza" style. Although I did forget to add the olives which bummed me out when I remembered as we were eating! The good thing was that I had leftover stuffing. You can serve it on the side or freeze it to make a quick spaghetti dinner another night, which is what I did.

Pizza Stuffed Bell Peppers

4-5 bell peppers - look for ones with pretty flat bottoms
1 lb of hamburger meat
2-3 cloves garlic
1.5 cups of your favorite Italian seasoned tomato sauce- I had some leftover that I'd made for pizzas.
Block of mozzarella, cubed up in 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 onion
8-10 button mushrooms
basil, oregano, salt and pepper

Cut the tops off the bell peppers and scoop out the insides. Rub with oil and set either on a cookie sheet or in a casserole dish.

Saute onions in a bit of bacon drippings. Let them get really good and caramelized and then remove from the skillet. Add in hamburger meat and some seasonings. Cook about halfway and then add garlic and mushrooms. When meat is almost cooked through add the tomato sauce.

Add a few cubes of mozzarella in the bottom of each bell pepper. Fill each bell pepper half way with the meat mixture. Add more mozzarella. Then fill to the top with the meat. Add a few more pieces of mozzarella to the tops of each one. Put the "lids" back on the bell peppers and cook at 375 for about an hour. Scoot the tops off and cook a bit longer until cheese browns. (We didn't have the patience for that!)

**Olives, diced (nitrate free) pepperoni or any other favorite pizza topping would be great in this!

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