One of my favorite meals my mom cooked when I was a kid was stuffed peppers. The peppers have now become my 22-month-old twin boys’ favorite meal as well. Every time I make them, they gobble them up and ask for more!
This meal can be made with red or green bell peppers. I usually use both for variety. The stuffing will fill six to eight peppers, depending on the size of the peppers. With average-sized peppers, you’ll generally get a full eight. With larger peppers, you’ll usually get six. Use your best judgment when buying the peppers.
For adults and older kids, you can serve the peppers whole, or cut them in half and serve them “open-faced.” For younger kids, it’s best to let the pepper cool and then cut it into small pieces. Cut up the filling as well!
Note: When I first started serving these peppers to my boys, they would eat the filling and refuse to touch the actual peppers. Then I started cutting the peppers into tinier pieces and offering them a forkful of stuffing combined with a tiny piece of pepper. It didn’t take long for the boys to realize that the pepper was actually really yummy. Now they willingly eat the pepper along with the stuffing.
Here is the recipe for my mom’s stuffed peppers. I hope this hearty meal becomes a favorite in your family as well!
1 lb. lean ground beef (I use 93% lean beef.)
6 to 8 red and/or green bell peppers
1 ½ cups white rice
12 oz. part-skim mozzarella
½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 cups, or one 29-0z. can, tomato sauce
salt to taste
1. Cook the rice according to package directions or in a rice cooker.
2. While the rice is cooking, wash the peppers, cut the tops off, and hollow them out.
3. Cut the mozzarella into small cubes.
4. Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain the liquid and add a dash of salt.
5. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, rice, mozzarella cubes, Parmesan or Romano cheese, tomato sauce, and salt.
6. Fill each pepper with the mixture.
7. Place the peppers in large pots with about two inches of water. Cover the pots and cook on medium flame about 35 minutes. (Check the peppers periodically and replace the water in the pots if needed.)
8. The peppers are ready when a knife slides easily through the sides.