Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cajun Stuffed Bell Peppers

ItshereitshereitsfinallyHEEEERE!

…okay.  I got that out of my system.  But yes, my free copy of the cookbook that my recipes were published in finally arrived at my house!

image (It gets the place of honor on the kitchen easel for a while.)

See?  My name & stuff!  (well, my maiden name.  I submitted these recipes over a year before the wedding.

image (Note: if you’re interested in getting a copy of this book, see the bottom of this blog post.)

 

So I figured it was only appropriate to make a recipe from my new cookbook! 

Not one of my recipes, mind you, because the ones that were selected for the book were already done on this blog back in 2008-2009.

I’ve been craving stuffed bell peppers, so I flipped through the book & sure enough, a lovely lady named Jill from Baton Rouge had submitted her recipe for that very dish.

Jill’s recipe doesn’t use tomatoes, which a lot of recipes do.  I personally like to have tomatoes in my dishes because a) canned tomatoes are an inexpensive way to add some nutrition to dishes, and b) I love tomatoes.  However, I really wanted to be true to the original recipe & give it a whirl.

 

Ingredients:

4 large red or green bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise & cored

1 lb 93% lean ground beef or turkey

2 slices bacon (optional) – we didn’t have any bacon on hand, so I used 1.5 tbsp bacon grease, which we ALWAYS have on hand

2 stalks celery, diced

1/2 large onion, diced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp Cajun seasoning

1 tsp Louisiana Gold hot sauce (not in the original recipe—I added this for more heat & flavor)

1/3 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese

1/4 cup skim milk (original calls for half & half, but we didn’t have that)

1/2 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup cooked rice (we like to use brown rice)

 

Directions:

Okay, the prep for this dish can be a little labor intensive, so you may want to enlist some help, otherwise there’s a lot of pots to balance.  I had my wonderful husband prep the peppers & do the dicing for me.

image (We didn’t use all that celery, he was just cutting up the rest for me to take to work as snacks.)

 

Once your prep work is done:

First: Cook your rice. Also, preheat your oven to 350.

Second: In a separate pot, boil water & then drop in your bell pepper halves.  Boil for about 4-6 minutes. Afterward remove them w/tongs and place them on a paper towel covered plate, upside down to drain out the excess water.

 

image

 

Third: In a skillet, brown your meat.  Because the beef (or turkey if you choose to use it) is so lean, the addition of the bacon (or bacon grease, in our case) really helps add flavor and a little bit of fat which this dish needs to cook everything without scalding or burning the veggies.  And you’re going to end up with 8 servings, so it’s a pretty piddly amount of fat when it gets portioned out.

Then add the onions & celery & cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. Remove from heat, then add the remaining ingredients, including the rice, and stir until well combined.  Taste for seasoning and add more spices if needed.

image

Fourth: Put the peppers into a lightly sprayed glass baking dish (9x13 should work if you’re using 4 peppers—if you only make a half batch, an 8x8 square should probably do) with the hollow sides up, and scoop the filling mix into the peppers.  Portion it out evenly between the peppers, if it mounds up a bit from the top, that’s okay.

Then sprinkle a little bit of extra grated cheese across the tops.

image

Finally: Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.

image

One half is a serving.  Makes 8 servings.  Serve with a side salad or steamed veggie, and a hot roll.

This recipe turned out REALLY well.  The peppers were perfectly tender and the meat was really well seasoned.  As you can probably tell from the pics, we only had 3 peppers on had, so we actually had leftover filling.  So I mixed some leftover pasta sauce (So I got my tomatoes after all!) into that for meals later on this week.  It was really tasty both ways.  I might like to try it again some time with the pasta sauce or tomato paste mixed in, as I think it would help as a binder.

 

Nutrition facts:

Calories 202.8

Total Fat 10.1 g

Saturated Fat 2.1 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g

  Monounsaturated Fat 1.6 g

  Cholesterol 7.2 mg

  Sodium 288.5 mg

  Potassium 187.7 mg

  Total Carbohydrate 10.6 g

  Dietary Fiber 1.2 g

  Sugars 1.0 g

  Protein 19.1 g

 

COOKBOOK INFO! The cookbook is currently on sale on Amazon for $18.95; however-- the publisher offers a discount to the recipe authors, so if you are interested in purchasing a copy of this book, please leave a comment here.  The amount of the discount is based on how many I order, so if enough people are interested, I can get them as cheap as $11/each plus media mail shipping.  Once I see what the response looks like, I’ll make a follow up post about payment, etc.

Thanks for reading guys!  And happy cooking!

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