October 28, 2008

Jen's Stuffed Peppers

I decided I needed a no-brainer for tonight's dinner; especially after last night's steak fiasco. Yes, my ego is a bit deflated. This recipe is always a great, easy meal to prepare. I am just going to re-post my original recipe, with mention of one fluky little change. I was daydreaming when I was mixing the meat, and I grabbed the wrong jar. I accidentally put a handful of homemade breadcrumbs in the mix. Oops. I don't know what my deal is...first the charcoal-like steak...now breadcrumbs in the stuffed peppers. That really should not be a big deal, and I fixed it by adding less rice than I normally would, to balance out the difference. I figure it will work itself out. Maybe the breadcrumbs will make it new and exciting! I will let you know how my blunder tastes in my 'result' post, later.
I am preparing these in the slow cooker again. It is my favorite way to cook these stuffed peppers. I think I will serve this meal with some fresh steamed cauliflower and call it an evening. With all the extra breadcrumbs/rice in the meat I really don't need to add an extra starch component to this meal.

Jen's Stuffed Peppers

2 green bell peppers, seeded and halved
1 medium onion, diced
1 lb. of ground beef
1/2 cup of instant white rice
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste (very important...don't skimp!)
1 large can of tomato juice, undiluted
1 teaspoon of dried minced onion (optional)
1 clove minced garlic (optional)

1) Cut peppers in half to form cups and remove ribs and seeds. Set pepper halves aside. I always cut the peppers in half vertically, but it does not matter.

2) In a slow cooker insert pot or a large stock pot mix hamburger, diced onion, rice, egg, salt, and pepper WITH YOUR CLEAN HANDS (I don't know why, but it tastes much better if you hand mix it).

3) Take a palm full of meat mixture and press into pepper cups, packing firmly. Arrange filled pepper cups at the bottom of slow cooker or stock pot.

4) Take any leftover meat and form into meatballs, and place in between pepper cups (if no space is left just sit meatballs on top of pepper cups).

5) Sprinkle garlic, minced dried onion, and additional salt and pepper (if needed) on tops of meatballs and pepper cups.

6) Pour entire large can of tomato juice on top of meatballs and pepper cups. All ingredients should be submerged, or close to submerged.

7) Cover and cook in slow cooker on high for 2-3 hours OR low for 4-5 hours. When finished, let cool for 10 minutes and serve.
***************************OR*******************************Alternate method for stove top preparation: Place large stock pot on stove top and cook on high for 1 hour, with lid partially on (liquid should be boiling). Check periodically for evaporation...add more tomato juice if liquid evaporates by more than half). Let cool and serve.

Jen's Notes:
I use the same pot that I am going to cook this dish in for the mixing bowl. This way, I don't dirty an extra bowl and it is much easier to clean up.

This recipe can easily be adjusted for increased quantity (i.e. more people) by doubling all ingredients.

The Result:
These were really good. You could not taste the breadcrumbs, but there was a textural difference. Not bad by any means, just different than usual. I would even venture to say that the breadcrumbs absorbed the cooking liquid and kept the meatballs moist (I hate that word...moist...it just sounds weird). Anyway, I think I will stick to my original method and not accidentally use breadcrumbs again. Why mess with what works?!?!

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