Sunday, September 25, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

Notice I did NOT call them stuffed GREEN peppers. They don't have to be green! So many people like red, yellow, and orange peppers but not green. We made a trip to the farmer's market and scored some nice "stuffable" peppers ($.50 each). What I mean by "stuffable" is, they need to have a flat enough bottom that they can sit up all by themselves. They were all different colors but I didn't mind. My husband and daughter love the green ones, but I kind of like the less bitter taste of the other colors.  

Time: about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 min from prep to table 
2 1/2 lbs hamburger
2 med-large onions diced
8 peppers
1/3 cup chili powder
salt & pepper
1-2 cups instant rice
5 cans of diced tomatoes 
(I'm a Red Gold fan. It's a fairly local brand, your favorite brand will do) I mix up my varieties, like diced and petite diced. I also use italian flavored or chili ready sometimes too. If you use pre-flavored tomatoes you may need to adjust your spices.

Preheat your oven to 350.
Cut the tops off of all of your peppers and clean out the veins and seeds. Throw the stems away off the tops, but chop up the tops of the peppers that are around the stems.

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Once the water is to a full boil you need to put in the peppers for 5 minutes. My pot will hold 4 peppers at a time. When 5 minutes is done take them out and turn them upside down to drain. See the picture below. I use a cooling rack balanced over my sink so it's let mess to clean up.

Draining peppers. This is a pampered chef cooling rack-fits perfect over a standard sink.

In a LARGE skillet/pan brown your hamburger, onions, & chopped pepper tops with salt & pepper. (The pan I use is 12" around and 3" tall and it was FULL when I was done)
Drain your grease. 
Then put all back into the same pan and add all the tomatoes and chili powder. Let simmer for a short bit.
Then add your instant rice and cover for about 5 minutes. If your tomatoes didn't have very much juice you might need to add a little bit of the boiled water when you add the rice. It doesn't take much. You don't want this to be liquidy when you fill the peppers. 
Once the rice is cooked (about 5 minutes for my instant rice), TASTE your filling. You may need more seasoning for your liking. I like cayenne pepper in it, but one of my children gets an upset stomach with spicy foods so I add a little to my own plate once it's cooked.
Fill each pepper full with the filling. You should be able to get 8 peppers into a 9x13 pan. Some people like cheese on their peppers, if you do put it on before you put them in the oven. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. 
This amount of filling is WAY more than you need for 8 peppers. I would probably do at least 12. We love to eat just the filling and my son does not like the whole pepper. So he gets just the filling (and a lot of times picks out the chopped peppers). The filling is ready to eat even if you don't bake it.

**Time saving Tip** multitask! Have your water boiling and do your peppers at the same time as your meat is cooking.

A lot of recipes have you just mix all of your ingredients and bake it all from raw. I like to cook my filling first so I can drain as much of the grease as I can. If you bake it from raw all of that grease from the hamburger is all baked into your pepper and probably leaked all over you pan as well. 
Sometimes I'll mix sausage and hamburger and sometimes I'll use ground turkey...ALL versions taste good!
Sometimes I throw in fresh chopped garlic, but I forgot this time! Garlic Garlic is a great substitute for fresh garlic-but I forgot! If you remember and have fresh garlic or Garlic Garlic-put it in when your meat is cooking.

These are filled and ready to be baked. (I ate the pretty yellow one!)
Baked peppers-after we ate. We were all hungry and dug in before I remembered to take a picture!

This is one dish I don't usually serve a side dish with. Once you start cutting open that pepper it's going to take over your whole plate and man it's A LOT of food! 
We LOVE the farmer's market. Fresher product, grown locally, and you're helping the local economy as well! I'm sad that the green beans are now done for the season and most other vegetables are getting there too. We'll keep going until it closes for the winter, and then wait as patiently as possible until next May when it will open again! I wasn't planning to make stuffed peppers or even looking for peppers when I got to the market, but couldn't resist when I saw all the beautiful peppers!! Have you visited your local market lately?


  1. Those look yummy! I LOVE stuffed peppers! It's been forever since I've had any though.

  2. My daughter requests them a couple of times per year. I hate when she begs for them when peppers are $1+ each. I hate telling her no. I need to do better about making extra when peppers are cheap and freezing some.