Okay, so for those of you who have followed along for a while now, you know that I have worked on re-evaluating our grocery budget and trying to cut cost on grocery spending and meal prep (for those of you new here, now you know).
Yesterday morning, as I was cleaning out the fridge, I noticed a few leftover ingredients from meals/snacks that I had prepared around the end of last week. Ingredients like those slender, medium-sized, multicolored sweet peppers that I used in a veggie tray for Friday’s Family Game Night, 2 hot sausage links from a batch of chilli I had made, lean ground beef from a batch of spaghetti I had made, and some leftover spaghetti sauce from that same batch of spaghetti. I wanted to use these things up before they went bad and ended up just a waste. The first thing that immediately came to mind were Stuffed Bell Peppers. However, I didn’t have the green bell peppers traditionally used for this dish, so I improvised by creating a stuffed pepper casserole.
Wanna know what’s even better? I made it in the MICROWAVE.
It was delicious. Everybody enjoyed it. Supposedly it even made Hubby’s co-workers slightly jealous over lunch at work today. I promised all of you the recipe yesterday on Instagram, so here it is.
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup instant white rice (uncooked)
- 3/4 cup onion (chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning Mix (any combination of Oregano, Parsley, Basil, and the sorts will do)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 cups spaghetti sauce (divided)
- 2 links hot Italian sausage (about 8 oz., casings removed)
- 3/4 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
- 7 slender, medium-sized, multicolored, sweet peppers
- Combine 1/2 cup rice with your 1/2 cup boiling water in a large mixing bowl (large because you’ll be later incorporating all other ingredients into this). Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Add onions, pressed garlic, seasoning mix, salt, and black pepper to the rice.
- Add 3/4 cup of the spaghetti sauce to your rice mixture.
- Remove casings from your hot sausage and break into small chunks. Adding to the rice/sauce mixture.
- Add beef to the mixture, mixing gently but thoroughly.
- Rinse clean your peppers, remove stems and seeds (use a metal baby spoon to easily remove the seeds), and slice horizontally to create “O” rings.
- Using a 3 qt. oven-safe casserole dish* (please see note below), start with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of your casserole dish.
- Proceed with evenly distributing half of the rice/meat mixture across the casserole dish.
- Then sprinkle half your sliced peppers on top of the rice/meat mixture.
- Sprinkle 3/4 cup of your shredded mozzarella cheese across the top of the peppers.
- Repeat steps 8 and 9. Divide remaining sauce evenly over the peppers and sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.
*Here is where there are two variations to completing the recipe. If you have a Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker, you can complete it in the microwave without ever having to turn your oven on. If you don’t have a Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker, no worries. This recipe can be completed in the oven using a 3 qt. oven-safe casserole dish. I will offer instructions for both methods. But first, the microwave method.
Microwave Method (using Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker):
Microwave, covered, on HIGH 15-18 minutes. Checking at the end of cooking for an internal temperature of meat mixture that registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a preheated 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven, bake, covered for 1 hour (or until an internal temperature of meat mixture reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit).
I would recommend allowing the casserole to sit for 10 minutes before serving, to allow some of the juices from the peppers to be absorbed up by the rice and meat mixture …and enjoy!
What are some meals you’ve created with left-over ingredients found in your fridge or pantry?