Stellar Stuffed Bell Peppers
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Stellar Stuffed Bell Peppers

Everyone knows stuffed peppers, practically everyone has made stuffed peppers. This is just the way I've made them my own. Using condensed tomato soup versus simply tomato sauce really brightens the flavors. It brings in a sweetness that I've always thought was missing before, but you could always go with the old standard. I would just leave the heat on and simmer with all ingredients except the rice for about 5 minutes to cook out some of that "raw tomato" flavor tomato sauce tends to have. I began par-boiling because it seemed the peppers would never cook quite as much as we liked especially if they had thicker walls, which meant we'd have to bake for too long and then they'd end up mushy. It has an added benefit of reducing potential shrinkage of peppers during cooking which means no filling spills out. You can certainly skip this step of you like a crisper pepper or want to save time.

StephieCanCook

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup dry instant rice (2 cups when prepared)
  2. 3 large bell peppers - any color, we like red for these
  3. 1 lb lean ground beef (lighter option: ground turkey)
  4. 1 tbsp olive oil
  5. 1 small yellow onion - finely chopped
  6. 2 tbsp finely chopped bell pepper
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  9. 1 tsp dry oregano
  10. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  11. 1 can condensed tomato soup
  12. 1 dash cayenne pepper
  13. 3 slice cheese of your choice (we like Colby Jack or pepper jack)

Steps

  1. Prepare instant rice to package directions. When done set aside for later.

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  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, make sure water is deep enough to cover peppers. This is to parboil your peppers which helps get them nice and soft in the oven, without becoming mushy or overcooking the filling.

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  3. While waiting on water to boil cut tops off peppers. Use tops (without stems) to chop and reserve 2tbs for later. Remove seeds and clean up insides of peppers. If your peppers can't "stand up straight" trim the bottoms just enough to create a flat surface without cutting a hole through the bottom. Then, fill a large bowl with ice and water (this is their "ice bath").

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  4. Gently place peppers in boiling water, submerging completely. Let boil for 1-2 minutes. Gently use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove peppers from boiling water, allowing excess water to drain back into pot, and transfer to the prepared ice bath immediately, submerging completely, to stop the cooking process.

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  5. Remove peppers from ice bath. Set aside upside down on paper towels to drain. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 375°F and make your filling.

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  6. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat (to save dishes I just use the pot I boil the peppers in even though it's a little bigger than needed). Add 1 tablespoon oil, chopped peppers and chopped onion. Cook until just tender, about 2 minutes.

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  7. Add ground beef, salt and pepper to pot. Brown ground beef, breaking up into fine pieces while cooking. When cooked through, turn off heat, drain in colander (do not rinse) and return to pan.

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  8. Stir into meat the dry oregano, garlic powder, can of tomato soup and cayenne pepper. Mix until incorporated then gently fold in cooked rice. Taste mixture and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

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  9. Place bell peppers in a casserole dish open end up. Fill each to "heaping" with meat and rice mixture, packing it into the cavity as you go.

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  10. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, place one slice of cheese on top of each pepper and return to oven for 5-10 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

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  11. Alteration: Swap the cheese for a swirl of ketchup covering the tops for a dairy free option! Put this on BEFORE baking and extend time to 25-30 minutes (the total time you would bake when using cheese).

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