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Sausage Stuffed Peppers

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Bell peppers and I have had a tumultuous past.  As a kid I hated all of them, but someone once told me that every 7 years your taste buds change.  In my case this is definitely true.  I still don’t care much for the green bell peppers, but the red, orange and yellow ones are super sweet and really lovely.  I think one of the reasons for my aversion to bell peppers started when I would try to eat the traditional stuffed bell pepper, over cooked mushy green bell pepper with some pretty bland ground beef, rice and tomato sauce… Now that I have an appreciation for this fine vegetable and we are in the time of year that they are popping out of people’s gardens across the nation, I decided to give the bell pepper the status it deserves.  So, I created the Sausage Stuffed Pepper!

In this beautiful little pepper you will find not only lean ground beef, but hot Italian sausage, brown rice, onions, tomato sauce and my secret ingredient… Swiss cheese.  I decided to keep the ingredients super simple and let the sausage do most of the work for me.  It’s a super simple and delicious dinner to get on the table to spice things up.  And as a mom, I have to tell ya, I love it when a fully balanced meal is all in one tidy package like this.

Now, my husband is still at odds with the poor little bell pepper, so I simply took some of the filling and placed it in an individual casserole dish for him.  If you have pepper haters in your life or just want to try something different, this filling can be placed in a hollowed out zucchini, eggplant or ooooo spaghetti squash, yum.  It’s super versatile and easy to work with.  Give it a try!

The recipe I am going to go through with you is for my small family, so I am only making three peppers and a small casserole as I mentioned… but, you can absolutely double or triple without a problem… You could even double and freeze half if you like…

Start with some lean ground beef, the sausage will provide plenty of fat. I use half a pound. Start this sauteing in a large skillet over medium heat.

Then I used three hot Italian sausages… If you don’t care for spicy food, you could certainly use mild, it will be super yummy too!

I cut down the side to remove the casing.

Give one medium onion a medium dice.

This is a small can of plain tomato sauce. You will use half now and half when you bake and serve.

You’ll want to shred up about a cup for the filling.

then you’ll want to shred up some more for the topping.

Brown up your ground beef while breaking up and browning your sausage meat.

Add your onions right in while you are doing this.

Let them get all nice and brown and lovely in the pan.

Add in about a cup and a half of cooked brown rice. (this is great to do when you have left over rice from dinner the night before… you might even cook a bit extra if you know this is your plan… saves you a step)

Once all combined, I like to transfer to a bowl to cool it a bit. If you want to stick to the pan, that's fine too, less dishes.

Once all combined, I like to transfer to a bowl to cool it a bit. If you want to stick to the pan, that’s fine too, less dishes.

Add in half a small can of tomato sauce.

Combine.

Then add in your cup of cheese and mix in… if your mixture is super hot, you will have to work quickly here so that the cheese doesn’t all clump together.

Once combined, just taste for salt and add a pinch of salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Here are my peppers, aren’t they pretty? Notice, I left out the green :)

You’ll want to cut off the top and remove the seeds from both top and bottom. I try and cut just the very top so there is lots of room for stuffing.

They are all ready, you don’t need to do anything to the insides other than remove those seeds.

Now to prepare the baking dish, I put in some olive oil. (This baking dish I am using is stone, if you are using a metal baking dish, be sure to really coat with a non-stick cooking spray or a bit more oil)

And about half of what is remaining in that small can of tomato sauce… I like to reserve some for serving.

Place the peppers in the pan standing up.

Fill each one evenly.

It’s great if you over stuff a bit.

Then top with your remaining cheese. Pile it on, don’t be shy.

Pop the top back on and it’s ready to go into your preheated 350°F oven for about half an hour. (I like my pepper a bit on the firm side and the filling is fully cooked so that’s just really getting heated through. If you like a softer pepper, go for 45 minutes, etc, until you get the pepper to the consistency you like)

And this is what you get when they come out of the oven… Still firm enough to stand up and hold the filling and heated to perfection.

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Recipe for Sausage Stuffed Peppers:

(serves 3-4)

1/2 lb. lean ground beef

3 Hot Italian Sausage links, removed from casing

1 medium onion, diced

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

1 small can tomato sauce, divided

1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded

3 bell peppers, seeded

kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

1 Tbs. olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a skillet brown the ground beef, sausage and onion over medium heat.  Once fully browned and onions are soft, add in cooked brown rice. Combine and transfer to a mixing bowl for easier handling.  Add in 1/2 can of tomato sauce.  Combine.  Add in 1 cup of shredded cheese.  Combine.

Prepare peppers by cutting off the top and removing the seeds from the top and bottom.  Prepare a baking dish by adding in the olive oil and 1/2 of the remaining tomato sauce.  Spread.

Add filling to each pepper, overstuffing if possible.  Top with remaining cheese.  Add on the top of each pepper.  Bake for 30-45 minutes uncovered.

Serve with remaining tomato sauce, Enjoy!

*This is a gluten-free recipe.