Thursday, May 17, 2012

Anything Goes Stuffed Bell Pepper Recipe

I always accidently over buy fresh vegetables and then I'm scrambling to get it all used up before it goes off.  One of my favorite go to recipes to solve this problem is 'Anything Goes Stuffed Bell Peppers'.  With this recipe as its titled, really anything goes... you're an adult, you know what tastes good together.  With this recipe, of course, wash your bell peppers and cut them in halves.  Poke a few holes into the bottom of each bell pepper bowl so that any extra juices can drain out.  Arrange the bell pepper bowls on a foil tray.
Coarsely chop all of the fresh vegetables that you want to use.  In this case, I had loads of mushrooms, a little bit of onion and added one chopped bell pepper.  Not pictured but included in this batch was also cherry tomatoes.
Pull out that food processor that you haven't used since you were making your toddler's baby food.  Yah, that dusty old thing kept in the very back of that cabinet that's just out of reach.  Mince down all of the veg.
You should have a mostly dry mixture like shown here when finished.  Add any spices that you want to include.  In this round, I used two teaspoons of garlic salt, some ground peppercorn, and one Oxo beef bullion cube.  Stir these dry-ish ingredients all together.
Take some pre-bagged rice and follow the instructions for making the rice, but cut the cook time in half so that the rice is 'al dente'.  This rice is going to be added to the mixture to help soak up extra juices and retain some nice flavor.  In this case, I used Uncle Ben's quick rice cooked for 5 minutes rather than the 10 minutes recommended in the instructions.
Add one egg and then ground beef to the mixture.  Egg helps bind it and lends some flavor.  In place of beef, almost any meat can be used really.  Then really get in there with your hands and mush it all together until its homogeneous.  Stir in the partially cooked rice until its all an even mix.  Then stuff your bell pepper bowls.  Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and set the tray in for 20-30 minutes, depending on how much crisp on top you want on your stuffed bells.  Definitely cook it to the point where it passes the fork test and the juices are running clear.
Chances are, you'll have some stuffing left over.  These can be made into meatballs and pan fried.  Or you can make a meat loaf out of the extra easily.
In this case, I made a meat loaf with the extra stuffing.  Rather than boring old ketchup, I used a little bit of BBQ Sauce and a little bit of HP Sauce-- I planned on giving this meat loaf to the grandparents as a huge thank you for watching my son yesterday while I showered, napped, and cooked this dinner, and grandpa's a big fan of HP Sauce. 
And here's what hubby had waiting for him when he got home!  A delight for the senses!  And all of the extra veg I bought got used before it went off!  What I also really like about this recipe is that beef is really expensive in England. With this recipe, I used 4 premade hamburger patties (they were on summertime sale and pound for pound were cheaper) and stretched the meat with the veg and rice to two meals for two adults and a child.

What are your go-to recipes when you've accidently over-bought on something?

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