Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mama's Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers are one of those simple recipes that many of us have grown up with. What the peppers were stuffed with varied depending on where you are from. They might be filled with rice, meat, grains meat, veggies, etc. Below is a typical Italian American version of Stuffed Bell Peppers created by my husband's Aunt - Mama D - and modified a bit by me. I've done the nutrition facts for you at Calorie Count.

What to assemble in advance of the creation of great deliciousness:
major league deliciousness

8 medium bell peppers - Mama D used green peppers, but you can make them with any of the other colors as you prefer.
1 pound extra lean ground beef - preferably grass fed organic beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/4 t pepper
1 t oregano
1 handful fresh basil, rinse and torn (or 1 t dried basil)
4 slices day old or stale bread (preferably a nice Italian bread), torn into pieces, moistened with water and gently squeezed
2 organic free range eggs
2 cups (plus if you like) marinara (your favorite from a jar or homemade)

Optional But Worthy of Consideration:

Mama D would add salt, I don't. If you are used to salt, you may want to add some good sea salt.

Several dashes of Tabasco Sauce or hot red pepper flakes are great in place salt as they serves the same function of accenting the seasonings. Yes, there's some sodium in the Tabasco, but far less than you would use with even just a few turns of the grinder. If you are super sensitive to salt, use the hot red pepper flakes - start with a pinch or two depending on how much you enjoy spicy flavors.

Try adding about 1 cup cooked farro to the meat in place of the bread.

If you want to reduce the calories, sub in a cup (or more) of chopped sauteed mushrooms for some of the ground beef. I want to thank a friend of mine at Calorie Count, Marydomingue, for this wonderfully mindful idea!

How to Finish the Entire Dish and Fill your Home with Wonderful Aromas:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Brown the ground beef and drain the grease. Stir in the garlic, parsley, pepper, oregano, and basil and saute another minute. Add about half of the marinara to the ground beef.

Slice of the top of the rinsed peppers and remove the seeds.

Combine the meat mixture, bread, and eggs in a large bowl.

Mama D's favorite kind of bell pepper
Stand the peppers in a greased or non-stick sprayed large baking dish.

Spoon the meat mix into the peppers.

Top each pepper with the remaining sauce (allow to dribble down the side) and bake for 45 minutes or until the peppers are tender. You can add some extra sauce to the dish around the base of the peppers if you like, but not too much as some will exude from the peppers.

For a jaunty appearance, you can put the "hats" back on top of each pepper. Kids think it's fun to remove the food's hat before eating.


As these are being served, take a moment to think about the family food memories you hold most dear. Then inhale the wonderful aroma and dig in. Enjoy each and every mindful bite.

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