Italian Stuffed Peppers


stuffedpeppers

This recipe includes my touches to the recipe found on the blog Barbells and Bellinis. Really, you need to take a look at that blog. Anyway, I’m always looking for new paleo friendly recipes to try. The man friend works crazy off hours in his line of work and usually doesn’t have time to cook. I’m always doubling recipes and making sure there is a good amount leftover for him to take to work. This one is a favorite and fairly easy to make. Although, there’s a lot of chopping/prep involved. Also, keep in mind, if you follow this recipe you will probably have leftover filling mixture. Either grab some more peppers and another casserole dish or eat the leftover filling like chili, or on top of spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles…whatever…Enjoy and let me know what you think!

 

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs ground beef or ground turkey. They both work well in this recipe. A mix of both works well too.

3 carrots, diced and/or half of a cauliflower, chopped. I use cauliflower every time because the man friend hates cooked carrots.

3 celery stalks, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 large zucchini, diced

1 10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained. I squeezed the water out of it by hand.

1 bunch of basil, chopped. If I don’t have fresh basil, I add more Italian seasoning or dried basil.

1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon of dried oregano (I substituted this with another tablespoon of Italian seasoning)

1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon of salt. Be careful and check if your canned tomatoes have salt added to them already. If they do, only add ½ tablespoon or none at all.

1/4-1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Depending on how spicy you like it. 

3 cloves of garlic, minced 

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes. Save a little less than a third of it to put in the bottom of the casserole dish.

1 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained

1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, saving some for bottom of the dish

8-10 assorted bell peppers, tops and seeds removed. I also slice a little off the bottoms so they sit upright in the baking dish. You could also cut the peppers in half and stuff them that way too.

1 cup Peccorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, shredded

2-4 tablespoons of olive oil. I added a little more when I used ground turkey, since turkey tends to be a little more dry than beef.

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over high heat.  Add celery, carrots and/or chopped cauliflower, garlic, and onion and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. I also diced the tops of the peppers and threw that in too. Why waste it?

3. Add zucchini, thawed and drained spinach, basil, nutmeg, oregano, Italian seasoning, salt, red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  These veggies are going to be cooking again in the oven, so make sure they don’t get too soft. Add ground beef or ground turkey or mix of both and cook until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add crushed tomatoes (saving a little for the bottom of the dish), drained diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce (reserving 1/4 for bottom of casserole dish) and stir to combine.  Pour remainder of tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes in the bottom of a casserole dish with raised edges large enough to accommodate the peppers.

5. Fill bell peppers with meat and veggie filling (reeeaally pack the filling into each pepper) and place in the casserole dish.  Bake for 35 minutes.  In last 5 minutes of cooking, top peppers with the shredded Peccorino Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Like they say in the original post, this is a great recipe to double the portions and freeze. I’m the most impatient person ever, so I eat the leftover filling like a bowl of chili before the peppers finish cooking.

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