I am absolutely amazed at how easy it is to make a stuffed pepper.
I don't know exactly why, but for some reason I always thought of stuffed foods as very difficult. Granted, this is probably because I don't like the idea of cleaning out the insides of things so that there's room to stuff things in, but Mike did that part for me so I didn't have to worry about it. I found the recipe on Recipezaar, which, I swear, is the only recipe website anyone ever needs. I generally stick to recipes that have been rated highly by a lot of people--those ones were almost guaranteed to be good--but in this case, I decided to trust my instincts when looking over the ingredients of a new recipe that hadn't been rated yet. I'm glad I did.
The first step in this was to fry rice. I don't usually fry rice, I am happy with my rice being white, but in this case it was fried with onions which probably changed the flavor a bit (of course, I wouldn't know, because everything ended up in the same pepper in the end.)
Half cup of rice and two small yellow onions in the frying pan. (I wish I'd had my onion goggles with me; these things BURNED.) This was eventually added to a mixture of a half pound of ground beef and altogether too much seasoning. (Well, the recipe called for too much. I like lots of seasoning, and I had to cut the amounts in half in order to not explode--two tablespoons of chili powder would have been a leetle much for my tastes.) It called for a tablespoon (well, two tablespoons) of black pepper, and I know that it's pretty much impossible to measure from a pepper grinder, so I used a mortar and pestle to grind it up by hand, which was really fun and would probably be a good way to work off steam after a stressful day.
This was thrown in with all the other spices, and I think I got pretty accurate in going for a tablespoon. There was also a can of diced tomatoes involved.
That's everything together--isn't it pretty? I was so worried at this point about it being overspiced--it had five (really large) cloves of garlic, which of course wouldn't be a problem, but that was in addition to a tablespoon of chili powder, a tablespoon of paprika, and two tablespoons each of oregano and basil (and the pepper, of course). This whole mess went into the peppers, layered with cheese:
The peppers were HUGE. At first I thought we wouldn't have enough stuffing, but once I started stuffing them I thought I'd have too much--instead, it worked out perfectly and filled them all without overflowing. They got covered up and went into the oven for a while.
And that's when they came out!
I think this was the least cheesy of all of them; the one I had as leftovers the next day had a visible line of cheese in the middle. They were absolutely delicious, and surprisingly healthy--each pepper is under 400 calories, pretty filling, and well-rounded enough to be a complete meal. I expected them to be heavy, in the way that some foods hit your stomach and feel like you just ate a block of cheese or something, but this was nice and light. It was still plenty to fill both of us up, though, and I know I'd have an awfully hard time eating two of them.
I think my favorite thing about this recipe is that it's pretty much based in one of my essential food groups--peppers, tomatoes and onions. This is my vegetable trifecta that I revert to whenever I have no idea what to make, and you can give it any sort of flair you want with seasonings. Nothing doesn't go well with this group.
The recipe can be found here, and I highly recommend making some yourself, but use your discretion when it comes to the spices--mine came out great with about half the amount, and they were still bordering on overseasoned. I'll definitely be toying with this recipe (and other things I can stuff) in the future--it's really easy, and even though it's not a quick recipe, the time that you actually spend working on it is pretty minimal for such a great meal.