My husband loves stuffed bell peppers, but they can take a bit of time to make so I do things a little differently than most because if there is one thing that I just don’t have at this point in my life, it is TIME.
But, we think these peppers are great, and they can be made in about twenty minutes if I plan ahead. If not, they still take much less than an hour from start to finish.
About 1 Pound of Ground Round (I use 96% lean.)
1 Onion, chopped into small pieces
About 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (You may like less sweet)*
About 1/4 Cup Ketchup (Start with that and then adjust to your taste.)
Everyone that I know creates the meat mixture (many add rice to the mix) and stuff the peppers with raw meat. I prefer not to do that since it means that I have to cook my peppers so long that they lose their shape, texture, and color. If I wanted a collapsed pepper, there would be no reason to take the time to stuff, right? So…I do the following.
Combine meat and onions and cook over medium heat until done. Be sure to drain off any excess fat, but with 96% lean there will be little. Stir in sugar and ketchup. (I sometimes do this a couple of days ahead if I have some time and know that I am looking at a busy week.)
When I’m ready to cook, I preheat the oven to 350 degrees and core my peppers. I don’t slice them across the top as most people do because this makes it easier for the peppers to collapse. I just cut around the stem and pull. If the entire inside does not come out at once, I cut it out and shake out all of the seeds. Rinse them out if necessary.
Then, I simply pack the peppers. I say pack because the cored hole is small, and I have to add meat, pack down, and then add and pack again, continuing until each pepper is completely full
Put your pepper or peppers (The beauty is that I can cook only one pepper if that is all I need.) in a pan and bake for fifteen minutes.
Now…here’s where you have to decide. My pepper is done enough for me after only fifteen minutes. I like a little texture to the pepper, plus after fifteen minutes, the pepper will still look completely fresh.
Rickey likes a softer pepper so I cook his for twenty minutes. You can see from the photo that after twenty minutes the pepper will begin to “wrinkle.”
Stuffed peppers can be served by themselves or with basically anything else. On this evening, I had left over corn salad so I just made a slice of garlic toast and called it good!
*Obviously, you can season your meat with anything that your family prefers. If you don’t like the sweeter taste, you might want to use a spicier seasoning such as chili powder or taco seasoning.
Since I watch the carbs, I usually just stuff my pepper with the cooked meat and onion, sometimes adding a bit of cheese, but the sky is the limit!
You can also split your peppers lengthwise if you prefer, making “boats” out of them instead of whole peppers. Of course, if you cook too long, your boat will lose its shape.