Yet in this interim between the time we’ve run out of the chopped, frozen ones that we put away last fall and the time we’re waiting for the summer crop to arrive, I found a dandy recipe that capitalizes on the (made-healthy) stuffing and makes the green part nonessential.
Thanks to the periodic Kroger grocery circular for being the source for this delightful meal. After browning ground beef (we substitute ground turkey, of course) and onion, the recipe adds 1 1/2 cups diced yellow and red Bell peppers, so Bell peppers actually are stirred into the recipe rather than being the outside container for the stuffing.
Tomatoes, instant white or brown rice, seasonings, and cheddar cheese are added; the mixture is spread into a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish, to be topped with tomato sauce and the remaining cheese. Cooking time in the oven is only 20 minutes (compared to one hour with traditional stuffed peppers); the mixture stands 5 minutes before serving.
Instead of piling everything into the large 13-by-9 glass dish, I divided mine into a 11-inch-by-7-inch pan and then a small casserole, so I could save the small portion for a later dinner. The Kroger circular billed this dish as kid-friendly and a good way for parents to sneak bunches of healthy peppers past the unsuspecting. The grownup kid at my house (about to celebrate his 65, remember?) was pretty fond of it, too.
Unstuffed Pepper Bake
1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)
1/3 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cups diced red and yellow Bell peppers (about 1 1/2 peppers)
2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes (no-salt-added), drained
1 1/2 cups instant white or brown rice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 (8-ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sauté ground turkey, onions, peppers, and garlic for 10 minutes or until beef is browned and vegetables are tender. Drain off excess fat and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian seasoning. Remove from heat; stir in 1 cup cheese. Spread mixture evenly into prepared 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish; top with tomato sauce and remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until dish is heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Serves 4-6.