I’ve been having a hard time in the kitchen lately.
Not because I’m struggling with the cooking, but because I’m having a hard time with the meal planning.
(I know, you all feel so bad for me that I have to plan one whole meal each week. I don’t know how the rest of you do it.)
I can find a great main dish – and then have difficulties finding sides. Or vice versa. It’s so frustrating.
So, when I saw Greg’s original recipe for stuffed peppers – I was inspired. And then when I clicked on one of his attached links for other stuffed pepper ideas, I knew I’d found what I was looking for; a whole meal, in one very tasty dish.
Stuffed Red Peppers with Beef, Rice, and Romano, adapted from Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide
½ lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
4-6 large peppers, tops cut off (stems removed) and chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 ½ c white rice
2 c beef broth
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 t coriander
1 t turmeric
2 T fresh cilantro chopped
5 oz Romano cheese
mozzarella cheese to taste
Sauté onion in oil until softened, then add beef and brown. Add chopped tops of peppers, coriander, turmeric, garlic, celery and rice. Mix thoroughly. Pour in tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cilantro.
Place in oven at 365 degrees and bake until rice absorbs all the liquid, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, scoop out seeds and pith from bottoms of peppers. Place in a greased baking dish.
When rice is done add Romano cheese and mix well. Scoop into pepper halves. Top with a sprinkle of mozzarella and bake for about 10 minutes.
Let’s just get this out of the way right from the start. I got the wrong meat.
What? (You might ask.) How in the world could you have messed up getting ground beef?!
(In my defense, I was grocery shopping with two rather boisterous boys, hopped up on sugar from the bakery cookies, who were getting very bored rambling along with me.)
When I saw the ground beef section, all they had were huge mega-packs of meat (yes, our small town store often lacks some of the basics – but what they do have, they want us to get in bulk). Anyways, I looked over to my left and saw a section of what I thought was ground beef. It certainly looked like ground beef, so I got some. When I finally got to cooking away, I learned that instead I had purchased cube steak. (Only me.)
Hubs came to my rescue, mid onion-sauteeing, and chopped it up in the food processor. Apparently, it was then actual ground beef, and all was back on track.
Now, if you like your kitchen to smell warm and inviting with a little spice, this is the meal for you to cook. The sauce/filling smelled amazing.
After the sauce/filling cooked for a bit, and an ample amount of Romano was added, it was all ready for the peppers. I was a little worried about actually filling the peppers, but Hubs suggested using an ice cream scoop. It worked like a dream.
After adding a bit of mozzarella and another quick bake, this was the deliciousness that was revealed…
That we got to eat for several meals.
And when it’s just as good as leftovers, too, you know you’ve found a winner of a meal.