The other day, I bought some bell peppers – these were admittedly ‘value’ peppers, all in one bag, that were a LOT less expensive than the $2.99 (green) – 3.99 (yellow and red) PER BELL PEPPER that they wanted, otherwise (** side note, not sure what was going on there, I don’t recall ever seeing peppers that expensive before). The ‘value’ bag had one yellow bell pepper that was used for another recipe, the remainder were green. I mention the ‘value bag’ status of these peppers because, they are the funkiest shaped peppers I’ve ever seen in my life. That said, probably not the prettiest to use for stuffed peppers – but, you work with what you have!
One thing that I really don’t like, with regard to stuffed bell peppers, is when the pepper doesn’t seem to be cooked through fully – that said, I decided to ‘precook’ my peppers in the oven. I simply halved the peppers, tossed them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper – and cooked them in the oven for 20 minutes, sliced side down. At that length of time, they maintain their integrity, but cook long enough that they will be perfect after baking them stuffed!
While the peppers were cooking, I got started on the filling. This consisted of ground beef, onion, mushrooms, a can of Rotel tomatoes (I missed it in the picture below, but I’ve included a picture separately in case anyone doesn’t know what I’m talking about), cooked rice (I had some frozen, I used that), garlic, salt and pepper.
The filling started with a little bit of oil in a large skillet – once the oil was hot, I added in the onions, garlic and mushrooms. I cooked this mixture for about 10 minutes.
Once the vegetables were on their way, I added in the ground beef and cooked it through.
The next step was to add in the rice. As I was using frozen rice, there were some clumps – I just allowed the warm ground beef to break it apart and stirred until the rice was separated and warmed through.
Finally, I added in the can of Rotel tomatoes and mixed everything through. I reduced the heat to simmer, covered and allowed it to cook for about 10 minutes. This should be about the same time that the peppers are ready to come out of the oven.
While you’re letting the filling simmer, you can take that time to grate some cheese (use whatever cheese you like, I used monterey jack), if you’re not using pre-grated cheese.
Once the filling is completed and the peppers are out of the oven – it’s time to put things together! It couldn’t be easier – just flip the peppers over in the baking dish, fill with as much filling as you’d like – top with cheese and you’re ready to put it back in the oven!
Cover the baking dish, loosely, with foil (you want to try to avoid the foil touching the cheese, so you don’t ‘loose’ your cheese when you remove the foil) and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, you’ll want to remove the foil, return to the oven and cook for a final 10-15 minutes (until the cheese starts to brown).
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Total cooking time approx. 1 hour 15 minutes
4 Bell Peppers, halved
1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
2 cups cooked rice (I used frozen rice that I’d made earlier)
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1/2 onion, diced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper