February 28, 2009

Jen's Stuffed Peppers

I am re-posting this recipe, because I am not crazy about my original photo. It is a little ugly, so I thought I would try again. Hopefully, I will have better photographic results this time around.

This recipe is another family favorite that was passed down from my grandma, on my dad's side. It is serious comfort food in our house...we love it. My little boy is sick, so I thought a homey meal would be good for our dinner tonight. It is very simple to put together, and I made it even easier by adapting it for the slow cooker. I am not sure what or if we are going to have a side item with this meal. The husband really likes baked potatoes with it, so I may indulge him. This dish was one of my favorites as a child, and I hope to pass that sentimentality off to my son. I love recreating meals that I grew up with, for my family!

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.


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:
I think this photo is slightly better than the original post. I wanted to show my stuffed peppers in all of their glory...simmering away in the slow cooker. This meal was so good, it was everything I had anticipated. Homey, yummy, comfort food. I added quite a bit of rice this time, so the meatballs were very firm. I had less than one pound of ground beef to use, so I stretched it by adding the additional rice. The husband said he actually preferred the firmer texture, so I may keep the larger quantity of rice (which I did not measure exactly) in the recipe. Also, I added 1/2 of a jar of leftover marinara and some already-diced tomatoes. I needed to use them up, so I just threw 'em in for good measure. It certainly added an extra chunky component that was very nice. I did end up pairing this dish with some baked (microwaved) potatoes. I really didn't mind the extra starch, but it definitely made the whole meal more filling than usual. This was an awesome stick-to-your-ribs family dinner!

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