Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stuffed Bell Peppers

I feel good about posting this recipe since it has many healthy ingredients. Its got plenty of vegetables that are chopped and blended in, brown rice for whole grains, and beef for protein. I also found it easy to prepare, and got some house work done while they baked. If you are short on time, you could chop and prepare the veggies on the day before. This  makes the  total cooking time much shorter.
I also found that what gave this meal a great taste was seasoning and browning/carmelizing the ingredients before stuffing the peppers.
For those who would like a meat-free version, simply saute veggies with some chopped portabella mushrooms for protein(5 grams in 1 cup) and mix with the cooked rice. Baking time may be shorter without meat, watch until golden brown.

Cooked brown rice- made with 1 cup rice and 1 cup water, 1 cup beef broth-use all natural/organic
10 bell peppers in various colors- 9 seeded and tops removed, 1 chopped
5 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 lb carrots, finely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
1 diced tomato
1 cup finely chopped spinach
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
pepper and salt
Optional- about 1/2 cup of tomato ketchup or tomato sauce to top peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add bell peppers and about 2 tsp salt. Boil for around 3 minutes. Stir with a spoon, making sure they are completely submerged. Flesh should be slightly softened and colors bright. Depending on how big the pot is, you may have to do a couple of batches if they do not all fit. Drain and set aside to cool.
Heat a large skillet at medium high heat. Add oil and onions and saute until tender. Add the one chopped bell pepper, carrots and garlic and continue cooking until tender. Remove from skillet and add to a large bowl.  
Season beef with salt and pepper. Put the beef in the skillet at medium high heat and brown until almost cooked through. Set aside to cool.
Add spinach, parsley, tomatoes, and cooked rice to bowl with onions and carrots. Gently mix. Season with oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.  Next  add in beef.  Now, all ingredients are in one bowl. It may be easier to put on gloves and mix with your hands at this point.
Once all ingredients are mixed, drizzle about 1 tsp of olive oil inside peppers and fill peppers with beef mixture. Add 1/4 cup of water to a baking dish and arrange peppers in it( you may need more than one dish). Optional- you may put 1-2 tsp of tomato ketchup or tomato sauce on top of each stuffed pepper. Bake 40 to 50 minutes until the internal temperature reaches about 160 degrees.

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