Cheesy Italian Stuffed Peppers

22 Feb

Do you have that one meal you continuously come back to?  The one where, when you finally make it, (and if you’re me, that usually means around 10pm on a Sunday night) you always say, “Now, why don’t we have this more often?”

For me, these Cheesy Italian Stuffed Peppers are it.

Generally, stuffed peppers have some sort of grain in them — brown rice, quinoa, etc. — however, that takes away some additional space for the meat.  Plus, you know, it’s less calories/points if you omit the grains.  I don’t think this recipe needs any grains.  The flavors stand alone.

I stuff these peppers with Italian turkey sausage (if I cannot find that, I season some ground chicken or ground turkey crazy well) and some vegetables — whatever I have on hand.   I love spinach and zucchini in this dish.  Sadly, I did not have either of those on hand pre-grocery shopping this weekend.  A lot of times, I make this recipe with less cheese (think, 1/4 of a cup of cheese instead of one whole cup).  I wanted something that tastes decadent, so this is what I decided to go with.  Clearly, this recipe is very versatile.

Cheesy Italian Stuffed Peppers

makes 4 servings; 7 points per serving

Ingredients:

  • 4 uncooked bell peppers (I used green this week because they are usually cheaper)
  • 3 baby carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb of Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (I use Gianelli turkey sausage)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium uncooked onion, diced
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme*
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano*
  • 1 tsp of hot paprika paprika*
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup of shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese**

* I honestly am approximating here… I almost always guess at my spices.

** Again, I usually use 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, which would bring the points plus value down to 5 points per pepper.

bubbling pepper stuffing!  

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Take the 4 bell peppers, and cut the tops off.  Remove the seeds from the peppers and set aside.
  3. Take the cut-off pepper heads and chop finely, omitting the inedible ends.  Add this to the rest of your chopped veggies (here we are looking at carrots, garlic, onions, and chopped up pepper bits as our vegetable component)
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil to the pan.
  5. Toss in your chopped vegetables and let them simmer for a minute.
  6. Add crumbled sausage and break everything apart as it cooks down.
  7. After a few minutes, add in spices.   Everything should be mixed together, so give those veggies/sausage a stir.
  8. OPTIONAL STEP: if you are using fresh baby spinach, add this in now with only a few minutes left to go.
  9. After a few minutes of melding the spices, add in the tomato sauce and mix together.
  10. Continue to stir until everything is all melded and cooked together. This should take only a couple more minutes.  The sausage should be completely cooked.
  11. Take skillet off heat and set aside.  Put peppers in a baking dish standing up, and fill peppers evenly with the mixture. (And if you happen to take your finger and grab any leftover scraps from the skillet after everything is cool, don’t worry — this is a judgment free zone. And honestly, those little chopped veggies that didn’t make it into their pepper friends need some loving too!)
  12. Pop into oven and let bake for 12 minutes.
  13. Take peppers out, top evenly with cheese, and return to oven for about 3 minutes, or until everything is all bubbly and cheesy and delightful.
  14. Remove from oven, resist the urge to eat immediately before everything has cooled.

finished pepper, about to be devoured.

In other news, I’ve been non-stop craving bacon this week. And I’m thinking about posting a bacon recipe soon… with points values attached.

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