In our first house, we did what any new homeowner with a backyard does- we over extended ourselves and planted a vegetable garden. We planted tomatoes, peppers, jalapeños, and herbs.
My dad helped us section off the area, prepare the soil, and plant the plants. By “help”, I mean that he did it all. My only job was to water, and I fell short at the task. My one year old son had no intention of letting me water the plants. He wouldn’t let up until the both of us were soaked by the garden hose. Needless to say, I prayed for rain.
Everything seemed to be growing ok. Unfortunately, by the time a tomato was ready to pick, a squirrel had already taken a bite and ruined it. I simply don’t understand this. Why don’t they ever remember that they don’t like tomatoes? If they would eat more than a few bites it wouldn’t be so annoying, but one bite is just obnoxious.
The tomato crop was a total failure. However, the green peppers were hearty and plentiful by the end of summer. I didn’t really think this whole vegetable garden thing out. Now that I had all of Peter Piper’s Peppers, what was I going to do?
My mom gave me my grandma’s recipe for stuffed peppers and I spent the day in the kitchen. It was quite complex and time consuming. Green peppers stuffed with white rice and ground beef in a homemade tomato sauce is a classic, but I just don’t have the time.
Subbing brown rice for white rice boosts the fiber value. Lean ground turkey instead of ground beef lowers the fat content. A splash of wine livens up canned tomatoes.
These days, all of my vegetables and herbs are store bought. I couldn’t even get basil to grow here because something ate the entire plant the first night. I’m not even going to imagine what kind of creature did that, as nothing like that has ever happened to me in Chicago or PA.
Most steps can be done in advance, with the sauce just being added before baking. Dinner in the oven makes everyone think Mom’s got her act together. Little do they know that my prep time was less than 30 minutes. It’s an updated classic on a cold(ish) winter night.
Extra filling? Place in small baking dish and drizzle with some sauce. Cover and bake 20-25 minutes.
- 4 green peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded with stem removed
- 1 lb ground turkey (at least 93% lean)
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1 cup diced tomato
- 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, mozzarella)
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white wine (or stock/broth)
- Cover peppers with a damp paper towel and place on microwave safe dish.
- Microwave peppers a couple minutes on medium to slightly soften. Let cool.
- Brown turkey and add dried basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.
- In a large bowl, combine turkey, rice, green onion, chopped tomato, Parmesan, egg, and cheese.
- Fill each halved pepper with mixture and place in large baking dish.
- Pulse crushed tomatoes in food processor with wine. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Top each pepper half with 1 Tbsp sauce.
- Pour remaining sauce in bottom of dish.
- Cover with foil and bake 45 minute.
- Remove foil and bake additional 10 minutes.
- Serve with additional cheese as desired.