Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Stuffed Bell Peppers

This recipe is adapted from "Better Homes and Gardens Family Favorites Made Lighter" (although it looks like they have changed the cover of the book since my copy came out). It's great for those of us who are trying to trim our fat and fit in the previous sizes we have gathering dust in our closets. I got this book from my sister-in-law, Kristie.

I adore these stuffed peppers... and my kids, although HATING the peppers, love the stuffing. My husband usually eats two peppers when I make these... or sometimes we split the leftover one. You can use any color of bell pepper. It's fun to do all three - for the color and variety. It says to serve them with apple slices, and I usually always do. It just works, somehow. A nice glass of something sparkling would be nice, too... like sparkling pear or apple juice. This is nice and light, even though it is filling. In the winter time, I also like to serve this with pumkin bread.

"Stuffed Green Peppers"

2 large bell peppers (any color)
8 ounces 90% lean ground beef
1/3 cup chopped onion (1 small)
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into wedges (or cubed)
1/2 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or oregano (crushed)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded lower-fat natural cheddar cheese (2 oz)
Fresh basil leaves (optional)

Halve peppers lengthwise. Remove stems, ends, seeds and membranes to form a cup for the filling. Immerse peppers into boiling water for 3 minutes. Invert onto paper towels to drain well upside down.

In a large skillet, cook meat and onion until browned and tender. Drain fat. Stir in tomatoes, uncooked rice, water, Worcestershire sauce, basil or oregano, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in half of the cheese. Spoon meat mixture into peppers. Place peppers in an 8x8x2 inch baking dish (I've also used a cookie sheet for this). Spoon any remaining meat mixture into baking dish (or cookie sheet).

Bake uncovered at 375 degrees about 15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Let stand for 1-2 minutes or until cheese melts. If desired, garnish with fresh basil and serve with crisp apple wedges.

Serves 4

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