This photo is nowhere near as bad as what my mother used to make on a weekly basis. She used only hamburger and rice and put it in the green bell pepper. The gook from the hamburger sat on top and it was hard to look at, let alone eat. To this day, the thought of it takes away my appetite.
Here is the problem. My husband loves it and has fond memories of eating it when younger.
So I thought about it and came up with my own version of Stuffed Bell Peppers
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the tops off the peppers. Remove and discard the stems, then finely chop the tops; set aside. Scoop out the seeds and as much of the membrane as you can. Place the peppers cut-side up in a baking dish just large enough to hold them upright.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, season with salt and pepper and cook, breaking up the lumps, until the meat is cooked through and just beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of the fat.
Wipe out the skillet and add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions and chopped peppers and cook until beginning to soften (3 to 4 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and a pinch or 2 of red pepper flakes. Cook until everything is heated through, then stir in the beef and rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in 4 oz of the cheese.
Fill the peppers with the rice mixture and top each with a sprinkle of the remaining cheese. Pour a small amount of water into the bottom of the baking dish and drizzle the peppers with a little olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until the peppers are soft and the cheese is melted and lightly browned, another 15 to 20 minutes.
Since I still could not get my head around the “bell pepper” part of this, I put a little in miniature pie plates and just baked. I actually liked it. It is not as pretty, but it was yummy.
The other thing that I actually did, was use leftovers. I had made mushroom and onion risotto the previous night so I just used it in place of the rice, onion, and garlic. The risotto was a good way to use a bottle of white wine that I did not like the taste, but if you added a bit of butter to the risotto, it was DELICIOUS! I used Romano cheese, so the risotto was dairy free. But the pepper jack was not. It is amazing how much different Pepper Jack cheese tastes when cooked, as it is not one of the cheeses I would normally buy.
The original recipe was from Lee Drummond, but she added zucchini, and even though I have it over-growing in my garden, it did not appeal to me in this dish.
BTW my husband loved it. I served it with baby carrots, so he was a happy husband.