Stuffed peppers were a meal I can remember my mom making quite frequently growing up. For the most part I really enjoyed eating them, especially the filling and that ooey gooey cheese melted on top. The only problem was, I remember always wishing there was more filling and melted cheese. Well now that I’m an adult I can make stuffed peppers however I please, and so I decided to make Stuffed Pepper Casserole.
Stuffed Pepper Casserole has all the familiar flavors of stuffed peppers, but with more filling and a lot less work. This entire meal, with the exception of cooking the rice, can be made in one skillet or two if you prefer to bake it off in a casserole dish. When I was deciding what kind of stuffed pepper casserole to make, I chose to stick with the classic version that I grew up with. I know that there are Mexican and Italian versions you can make to jazz it up, but it had been so long since I had made the original recipe. Anyways, sometimes the classic version is best, don’t you agree?
I made a couple of healthy substitutions such as replacing white rice with brown rice and using extra lean ground beef. Since this is a casserole and there is quite a bit of moisture in it thanks to the tomato sauce, I knew that using an extra lean meat wouldn’t make a big difference. Plus, this way I could also add a little extra cheese on top! I found that I prefer the casserole version of this dish over the original way it’s prepared (stuffing the filling in the peppers). By making this a casserole the peppers are dispersed evenly throughout the filling and you get the perfect bite with lots of filling and a couple small pieces of peppers.
To make the casserole I started by cooking my rice. If you wanted to you could make a big batch of rice ahead of time and freeze it for whenever you need cooked rice, it’s a great time saver. In a large skillet I browned the ground beef, then once the meat was almost cooked through I added in some diced onion and a minced clove of garlic. I cooked them just until the onion started to soften then added in the diced peppers. After a couple more minutes of cooking I poured in two cans of tomato sauce and seasoned everything with Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, worsteshire, and balsamic vinegar. Then after everything was heated through, it was time for the glorious cheddar cheese topping. I sprinkled a good 1/2 cup of cheddar all over the top of the casserole, then stuck it in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt. This casserole is a great dinner to make when you don’t have a lot of time and you don’t feel like doing a bunch of dishes. It is also a meal kids will enjoy thanks to the familiar flavors of the peppers, rice, beef, and plenty of cheese. Give this Stuffed Pepper Casserole a try and save yourself the step of actually having to stuff all those peppers!
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