Tawny LOVES Stuffed Peppers. Whenever she has them at school, she always sends me a text message about it. And she loves that Stuffed Pepper Soup will always be on the menu the next day.
I only made them once, a long time ago, in the crockpot. And I used Poblanos instead of Bell Peppers... but I have NO idea what I stuffed them with.
I think the reason I've never really made them is because Jon hates peppers. He loves the smell and even likes the flavor. It's a texture thing with him.
I decided to make Stuffed Peppers. I also planned to make a big enough batch to have leftovers, so I could do a follow-up with Stuffed Pepper Soup!
6 bell peppers
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 small cans V8
2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 C long grain white rice
1 1/2 C water
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cook rice in water according to direction on rice package.
While the rice is cooking, slice the tops off of the peppers. Discard stems & seeds. Place peppers into a casserole dish, cut side up, so you have pepper cups. Dice pepper tops and saute in a large skillet with a little olive oil and diced onions and minced garlic. Add ground beef, and continue cooking. Stir in cooked rice. Add a few shakes of worcestershire sauce, one can of V8, one can of tomato sauce, a big pinch of Italian herbs and some salt & pepper to taste. In a separate bowl combine remaining tomato sauce & V8, a big squirt of tomato paste, a big pinch of Italian herbs and some pepper. Spoon meat & rice mixture into bell pepper cups. Pour sauce over filled peppers. Bake at 350F for about an hour. Baste occasionally with sauce.
Preheat the oven and cook the rice according to directions.
Gosh darnit!! This was a perfect chance to use brown rice without my family knowing it and I totally forgot! Actually... Tawny would happily eat brown rice... my non (limited)-veg eaters tend to be my less adventurous eaters in general. Not that brown rice should be considered adventurous... but dealing with picky eaters can definitely be an adventure...
Anyway... preheat oven... cook rice...
Then start with a pile of peppers.
Slice off the tops.
Set the pepper cups aside in your casserole dish.
Chop the pepper tops.
I saved some of these to add to the soup... but diced up about 3/4C to add to the stuffed pepper filling.
Saute the diced peppers, onions and garlic in a large skillet.
When they start to get soft...
Add ground beef.
When that's mostly cooked, add cooked rice.
Then stir in 1 can V8, 1 can tomato sauce, a few good shakes of worcestershire sauce, Italian herbs and salt and pepper.
See how easy it would have been to hide brown rice in there??
Now fill your pepper cups.
Mix up the remains cans of V8 & tomato sauce with a big squirt of tomato paste, a big pinch of Italian herbs, salt & pepper.
Pour the sauce over the peppers and bake for an hour.
It doesn't look as pretty sitting all alone like that
It looked happier, all warm and cozy in the dish with it's oven-mates.
However, they were wicked tasty!
Tawny said the ones at school are cooked in more sauce. She loved these, but I think I would prefer the 'more sauce' version! I'm definitely a gravy kinda girl.
I knew only Tawny, Ryan and I would be eating these. I made 6 because I wanted two left over for soup and one for my co-worker Ed.
Ed really liked his pepper too. He made mashed potatoes to go with it! Why didn't I think of that?? I wanted to make them again right away, just to serve them with mashed potatoes and more sauce!!
But Tawny's back at school, so I'd be stuck eating them all myself! Although when Ed returned my containers, he did say I could refill them and bring them back! hehe
Ok... now on to the soup!
I didn't really ask what the soup was like that Tawny enjoys at school. If it was thin or thick... What else might be in it. I just kinda winged it from the leftovers. There are no measurements for this. But I'll give estimations as I go.
So I started with my two Stuffed Peppers that I saved.
Actually... I started with some of the leftover pepper tops. I cut them into strips and sauteed them with some diced onion.
When those were a little soft, I squeezed the filling out of the peppers into the pot and added 6 cups of veggie stock.
Then I sliced my empty pepper cups.
Oh yeah, Tawny did say there was lots of rice in the soup. Since the filling didn't seem like it would make the soup particularly ricey, I added a quarter cup of uncooked rice. (if you happen to have some cooked rice, you could totally add that instead... or maybe you don't like a lot of rice and it's just fine the way it is!)
My soup was pretty thick, kind of more like a chili consistency... so I added some more veggie stock to thin it out a bit.
I also added a palm full of crushed red pepper flakes to give it a little heat.
So when she tried it, Tawny said she liked it to be thicker. Since it's soup... I purposely tried to make it thinner than it was at the start. So I would have been ok without adding the extra stock.
This didn't feel like a homemade croutons on top kinda soup... so I just served with no topping, because I couldn't think of anything else. But at school, Tawny enjoys oyster crackers with her thick stuffed pepper soup. Oyster crackers would have been good, if I'd had any!
Even though it was thin and lacking in oyster crackers, she loved that I added the crushed red pepper for heat (hmmm... maybe Pitt Greensburg can take a lesson... hehehe)
While it was cooking, Jon thought it smelled great and wanted to try some. He only has a spoonful; but he enjoyed it! He was surprised that the peppers didn't offend him as much as he expected.
I also brought some soup to work for Ed. He liked that too! He was surprised by the heat, but liked it. It was just mild and not in any way over-powering.
So these two meals were made specifically with Tawny in mind, but I'm sure she won't read this post.
So there ya go!
Stuffed Peppers two ways!
Oh yeah and Go Steelers!!
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