Until my 20’s, bell peppers and I were far, far, far from fast friends.
I viewed the crunchy, green orbital vegetables with a look of disdain whenever they appeared on pizzas or veggie platter plates and as a kid, wrinkled my nose and plotted how to ditch every single bite in a napkin when my mom served them up for dinner.
But just like taking leisurely car rides on a Sunday afternoon, reading novels with long words you finally understand but now need readers to see, and taking hot baths (give me a tub every night of the week!), eating the food you hated as a kid suddenly becomes not. that. bad. as an adult. And sometimes, even really, really good.
Bell peppers are now a vegetable I enjoy, and even crave and while I’m a fan of the good old standard green bell pepper, it’s the sweet reds, yellows, oranges and purples that really get my goat.
Today’s selection of peppers comes from a mix of big box Costco varieties (red, yellow and orange) and ultra local farmer’s market (more yellows and purple) for a rainbow of sweetness begging to be stuffed with nary a gnarly green pepper in site.
Ever since I was a starry eyed pre-teen, I’ve been a fan of drawing rainbows. Now I eat them.
When the talk of stuffed peppers comes up at our house, my husband and I usually go straight to our favorite pepper comfort food stand by of Chicken and Mushrooms Stuffed Peppers.
We must have both been feeling the twang of comfort food because when we did our daily exchange of, “what do you want for dinner?,” we both had the same craving for stuffed peppers, but this time a little more hearty, a little more basic but just as comforting.
So I went back to the memory of my mom’s recipe of stuffed bell peppers with ground beef and rice in a tomato based sauce, and my man embellished it with chunks of mushroom and fresh cut corn and a sprinkle of herbs and red pepper flakes.
I added some grated fontina, but you could use monterey jack or mozzarella or whatever’s on hand.
About the recipe:
If you prefer green bell peppers, certainly use them instead of or in addition to this bevy of colorful beauties.
We cut the tops off of the peppers to stuff the whole thing with beefy goodness. If you prefer smaller portions, cut the peppers in half and serve open faced.
A simple sprinkle of kosher salt to the interior of the peppers and then a 5 minute blast in the microwave pre-cooks these peppers and cuts your baking time in half.
This is one of those throw what you have in the fridge type of recipes. Use my portions as guidelines but definitely put on your experimental hat.
- 1 pound lean ground beef, 90% lean
- 4 mushrooms, chopped
- 3 ears of fresh corn kernals, or 1½ cups frozen corn
- 2 ribs of celery, chopped thinly
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 14.5 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons basil
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1½ cups cooked long grain ric
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
- 6 bell peppers
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese or monterey jack cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Brown the ground beef in a large fry pan over medium high heat for 5 minutes or until cooked almost through. Add the mushrooms, corn kernals, chopped celery, onion and garlic and cook until vegetables are softened. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Season with kosher salt and ground pepper to taste and cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir in cooked rice and chopped parsley and cook for another 5 minutes or until the rice is warmed through.
- Meanwhile, cut off the tops of the peppers and spoon out the ribs and seeds, then rinse. Lightly sprinkle the inside of the peppers with kosher salt and place in a microwave safe dish with ¼ cup water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes or until they start to soften.
- Transfer to a 3 quart baking dish and fill the peppers with the hot meat and rice mixture. Sprinkle the tops with cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until peppers are tender and cheese is browned. Serve hot.
Thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. As always, all opinions are my own.