Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

I would like to say thanks to you all for the great words of encouragement and comments (on & off the blog). This has been a fun project for us and your feedback helps keep us inspired!  Please don't be afraid to comment here, that way everyone can benefit from your ideas and our Q&A. 
Okay, so here's tonights dinner...yummo!
These peppers are tasty and pretty. I added ground turkey to step this up to an entrée. It's a great way to use up all that zucchini we have, grating it is a fun and a fast way to incorporate into this dish. We are harvesting 2-3 zucchini from our garden every day! The only thing I may change for next time is to try adding a little grated Mozzarella cheese to the filling to make it more decadent, maybe 1/2 cup, try it and let me know!

Start with some beautiful bell peppers; 
red, orange or yellow work best as they are sweeter.

Recipe: (4-6 servings)
Ingredients:
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2-3 fresh from the vine tomatoes, diced (if you don't have fresh tomatoes, just add another 15oz can and drain them)
2 medium zucchini, grated (use your cheese grater)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup orzo pasta or other tiny pasta
1/2-3/4 pound lean ground turkey (*for vegetarian, omit the turkey, use 1 1/2cups of orzo and use vegetable broth!)
6 good-sized bell peppers (red, yellow or orange)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400'F
1. Combine tomatoes, zucchini, basil, cheese, olive oil, garlic and all spices in a large bowl, stir together.
2. Brown the turkey in a saucepan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until cooked through and no longer pink, set aside.
3. Partially cook the orzo in the chicken broth over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Save the broth! Drain the orzo, be sure to reserve the broth! Add the orzo and cooked turkey to the large bowl of vegetables and stir to combine, season to taste.
4. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by pouring the warm chicken broth in the bottom to allow the peppers to steam in the oven. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds being careful to keep them whole as they will be the vessels for our yummy stuffing. You can trim a small amount off the bottoms to help them stand up in the dish, don't cut all the way through.
5. Scoop the meat mix into the peppers and place them in the baking dish with the warm broth (~1/2inch of broth). Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Then uncover and sprinkle with cheese, continue baking until the cheese is melted, ~15 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish with basil and serve with a fresh green salad!

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