I just can't do it. No matter how hard I've tried with Photoshop, I can't make this picture of my stuffed peppers look as good as they tasted. I've tried for over an hour, but there is only so much a chick can do with her little point and click camera (Cannon or Nikon fairy,if you are out there, please pay me a visit with one of your beautiful camera's...... I promise to love it, care for it, and put it to good use.)
My husband said, "quit obsessing, no one eats the photo, just post your recipe." So as hard as it is for me, I will do just that.
Tonight was my husbands birthday and he requested stuffed peppers. We already did the night out on the town this past weekend so tonight he wanted some homemade comfort food. These are one of his favorites and I rarely make them. Maybe it's because the little GP's only eat the inside and leave the poor lonely pepper on the plate, maybe it's because they are pretty labor intensive, or maybe I am so busy finding new recipes to try that I've over looked them. What ever the case, these are worth the steps involved, at least my hubby thinks so. And now that I've reminded him how good they are, I can bet I'll be making them a lot more often.
Melissa's Stuffed Peppers
6 green bell peppers
1 can tomato paste -- (6 oz)
6 oz water (I use the tomato paste can and stir the water to get the last bits of paste)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups cooked long or medium-grain white rice
2 cans stewed tomatoes (I prefer DelMonte and I whirl them in my food processor to make them smooth) or you can use 2 1/2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded mild flavored cheese like mozzarella -- monterey jack/colby, or a mild cheddar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Rinse peppers under cold water. Slice the top 1/4 inch off each pepper; remove seeds and membranes. Chop edible part of tops to equal 1 cup chopped peppers, and set aside. If the peppers won't stand up straight, take a small slice off the bottom with a paring knife to make a flat surface, try to remove as little as possible. In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on either a wire rack or paper towels. If you don't have your rice already cooked, you could use this pepper water to cook your rice in. I've used it for instant rice when I didn't want to dirty another pot.
Combine tomato paste, water, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and chopped bell pepper tops, cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the beef, garlic, salt, black pepper, and cook until the meat is browned, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon to break up the lumps, about 6 minutes. *Very important, remove pan from heat and drain any visible fat from the pan, then return it to the heat. Otherwise you will have greasy peppers. Add the rice, parmesan cheese, and tomato paste mixture, stir well. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Depending on your cheese and tomato paste you may need a bit more salt.
Spray with a casserole or baking dish with Pam or lightly oil, then pour in stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce. Depending on the size of you pan, you may not need all of it. Pour in enough sauce so that it comes up to the bottom of the pepper about a half of an inch. Set the parboiled peppers into the prepared pan so they are evenly spaced and surrounded by sauce.. Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture. Spread a spoonful of the sauce over the top of each pepper. Bake until the peppers are very tender and the filling is heated through, about 30 to 35 minutes. Spoon a little tomato sauce over each stuffed pepper and sprinkle with shredded cheese; bake 8 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Serve the peppers with spoonfuls of tomato sauce from pan. Makes 6 servings.