Occasionally on Tuesday, I like to share something that I make that's yummy, preferably healthy, and easy to make during a long day of writing. Today I'm featuring what has to be the world's best stuffed bell peppers. Now, I know stuffed peppers usually aren't anything to get very excited about, but these are, for one reason: bacon.
Yes, these stuffed
peppers have bacon in them. And almost everything is better with bacon.
These aren't necessarily easy, though since I'm only feeding the two of
us (or three of us, when our younger son is home from college), I use my
trick of cooking half the batch the day I make it and freezing the
other half for another day. And even if it isn't easy, it's totally
Here's the original recipe, from AllRecipes Magazine. Go look at it, then come back and I'll tell you what I do differently. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/77194/bolognese-stuffed-bell-peppers/
you're back. First off, I found that the filling works for 4 whole
medium-size bell peppers, or 8 half peppers sliced lengthwise, not 6
whole/12 half. When I'm dividing the batch, I put half the filling into 4
pepper halves, or 2 peppers, and freeze the other half of the filling
in a freezer zipper bag. (When you freeze and cook another time, the
rice does get a little mushy, but let's be honest. You're not eating
this for the rice, you're eating it for the bacon.) I don't stuff the
other peppers until the day of cooking. I like to get a combination of
different color peppers; red and gold or orange are my favorites,
because they're tasty and it makes a pretty and colorful presentation.
Blanch the pepper halves in boiling water for about 30 - 60 seconds;
this will help them cook better in the oven.
Also, the original
recipe says you can use pancetta or bacon. I skip the fancy stuff and
just use bacon. I figure one bacon strip per whole pepper (or four
strips for the whole batch, to make filling for four peppers/8 halves).
Of course, it probably wouldn't hurt anything if you throw in an extra
On to the vegetables: I increase the minced carrots to
about 1/4 c., skip the celery because gross, and also add about 1/4 cup
finely diced bell peppers (green or red is my preference) and the same
amount of finely diced zucchini. So along with the pepper halves that
hold the whole thing, you're getting a bunch of good veggies. You could
also add finely chopped spinach if you're into that sort of thing. I'm
not, but if you are, that's ok. I won't judge you.
marinara sauce: I just get the Kroger store brand. It's good. You could
get fancy and expensive here, but there's really no need to.
recipe also calls for red wine, which I skip because I don't usually
cook with it, and for heavy cream, which honestly seems like overkill
when you're also using bacon and parmesan cheese in the filling. This
recipe is rich enough without it (I can usually only eat one pepper
half, or maybe one and a half, but not two) and it adds about a zillion
calories. Use it if you want, but I don't.
Like I said, this is
kind of a lot of work, but you can divide the recipe (or double it) and
freeze half, so it's two meals for only a little more work than one.
With so many vegetables, you don't need to make an extra salad or
anything. I just get some bake-at-home french bread and throw it in the
oven while the peppers bake, and there's dinner.