Sunday, January 1, 2017

A New Year To Make a Healthy Change/Stuffed Peppers

A great big HAPPY NEW YEAR to you!!!

I spent the last afternoon of 2016 at a memorial service for a wonderful lady who had truly lived her life to the fullest. Her son commented that although he misses his mother, he really can't mourn as she saw her 91st birthday, lived a full life to the very end, and died peacefully at home. In fact, only about 6 months before she died, she traveled to New York with her family, and rather than they wait on her, she waited on them! Amazing!!! The service was truly a celebration of her life, a life well lived. 

I went back and forth on what I would post today. I do have an announcement about a new series on the blog that I am super excited about. But rather than announce that today, I thought I would start the new year out on a healthy note, keep with our regular recipe post, and make the announcement tomorrow, Monday.

A friend of mine was over for lunch one day. I made a tuna salad and a few other items to go with it. She asked me if I had posted the recipe. I told her that I wasn't going to post something as what I think to be a simple and basic tuna salad. Her response was that I should start posting more of the things that I think are rather mundane and ordinary, and she added..."because they are really good!" I have really nice friends :)

I'm not posting a tuna salad recipe today :) I love bell peppers, and for me, they are pretty basic food. I always try to make a big batch so that I have a few for the freezer, and a few for another meal later in the week. I posted a vegetarian version HERE that I enjoy. For those of you who enjoy a little meat, the one I'm posting today includes chicken sausage. The market where I shop makes a wonderful chicken sausage that is organic and has very little fat. If you decide to give the recipe a try, use whatever meat you would like...or leave the meat out all together and enjoy a vegetarian version.

If you would like a meat version, begin by browning 1 lb. of the meat of choice. I really recommend a good chicken sausage. Once browned and cooked through, remove from the pan and discard any fat that is left behind.

I begin by sauteing onion, celery, garlic, and bell pepper in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the vegetables are tender. 

I then add 2 shredded carrots, and continue to cook until the carrots are tender. Only takes a few minutes.

I then add 10 oz. of chopped spinach. It may seem like a lot, but it really isn't as the spinach will wither down to practically nothing.

Once the spinach has withered, I add a 25 oz. can of diced tomatoes. I like the fire roasted version. To cut down on the acidic taste of the tomatoes, add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. 

Once the tomatoes are combined into the mixture, add 2 tablespoons of fresh pesto. You can find my recipe HERE. Add 
1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano, and 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. Mix well and add meat if you are using. Add 2 cups of cooked brown rice and mix well. I also add maybe a teaspoon of crushed red pepper as I like a little spice :)

While the vegetables are cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling, add the seeded peppers. Reduce the heat and cook the peppers for 5 minutes. Remove from pot and drain well. 

Now here is where you do not need to follow my lead...

Stuff the peppers to the top with the mixture, place the caps on top, and fill the center with ketchup. Forgive me, I just really like ketchup on my stuffed peppers!

Add about 1/2" of water to the baking pan. The water will help to keep the peppers nice and moist while cooking. Cover the peppers with foil and bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove the foil and continue to bake another 15 minutes. 

If you have leftover stuffing, it makes a great lunch. Just top it over some left over rice. I like to add maybe 1/4th of a sliced avocado.

Cut up the avocado and combine. Dig in and enjoy!

If you would like to give the recipe a try, here's a list of the ingredients;

Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 lb. of chicken sausage or meat of choice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
1/2 bell pepper chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 large carrots shredded
10 oz. spinach chopped
1 25 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons prepared pesto
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme 
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups cooked brown rice
8 large bell peppers, seeded

This is a great recipe for packing in a bunch of vegetables into your meal.

Wishing you a year of abundant health!

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  1. This looks wonderful. I often mix everything, not cooked, and stuff the peppers. Then I cook them in the pressure cooker which does a great job. I get the ketchup thing. I pour tomato sauce on mine. Happy New Year, Rhonda!

    1. Happy anew Year Bunny!
      There's just something about ketchup on peppers that does it for me 😉

  2. Love all the veggies in this version. Will try this (in pressure cooker per Bunny).

    1. I must enjoy the long version of cooking 😉, as I don't own a pressure cooker. I need to see if I can borrow one and give it a try.

  3. This is a recipe I will try soon! Healthier eating is part of our new year, so this fits in perfectly. Thanks for sharing...keep 'em coming!

    1. The nice thing about it is that you'll never know that the peppers are so full of vegetables. Happy New Year!!!

  4. Will try this soon. I know my family will love it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Wow, boys who like peppers! You are a lucky woman 😉

  5. That lady sounds wonderful - I hope I'm as active at 91!
    A question about the peppers Rhonda. At what point in the recipe do you freeze your excess peppers? I quite understand the need for ketchup by the way 😀.
    Best wishes for 2017.
    Kim x

    1. I usually freeze them after they have been baked, and then just heat them to serve. But you could easily wrap up what you won't be needing prior to baking, and then take out and bake at a later date. Actually, I think that would be best as they would have that freshly baked taste.

  6. This sounds wonderful with all the vegetables! We make a similar version but we don't use all those veggies....we are going to have to try adding more to our recipe as they sound yummy. We cut our peppers fully in half lengthwise, add cumin, and chili powder for spices. We also use half brown rice and half quinoa. We top each pepper with a slice of swiss instead of meat.

  7. Wow, dang, ok, I like all the recipes you post but I have to go print this one *today* & go get the stuff, this just looks too good to wait for. I think this would lend itself well for potluck too (?) Thank you for this, new year new recipe! Yea! :-) Happy New Year to you!

    1. Now that is quite the compliment!!! And yes, it would be a great potluck dish.