Recipe excerpted from Fast and Easy Five-Ingredient Recipes: A Cookbook for Busy People by Philia Kelnhofer.
Stuffed peppers are one of my father’s favorite dishes. My mother didn’t make them because she thought they took too long, so whenever he saw them in delis, he would buy enough to have for dinner and more to freeze. When I was putting together this cookbook, I wanted to find a way to make stuffed peppers faster and easier, and I did just that—it’s all about finding a rice medley that takes less than two minutes to make. As soon as I started making these, I realized the genius of freezing them: They reheat oh so well. So, if you’re looking for a good make-ahead meal, this is it (they’re still really good straight out of the oven).
These peppers are good when made with homemade Marinara Sauce (page 219) or Alfredo Sauce (page 213) but I always like to use premade sauce because it keeps the prep time minimal. I like stuffed peppers with a little crunch to them. If you prefer your peppers on the softer side, you can put them in the oven as soon as you reheat it, while you’re prepping the filling ingredients, then when the filling is done, remove them from the oven, stuff them, and then return them to the oven.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and reserve, remove the seeds and innards carefully, and then run a knife across the bottom to take little pieces off (it’s as if you’re removing the “feet” of them) so that the peppers stand. Place the peppers upright in an 8-inch square baking dish (see notes). Cut the sides of the reserved bell pepper tops into little pieces.
3. In a medium skillet over high heat, combine the beef, salt, black pepper, and little pepper pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef browns, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain if there is liquid in the pan, and transfer to a big bowl.
4. Microwave the grain medley according to the package instructions and add to the cooked beef.
5. Add 3/4 cup of the cheese and the sauce. Stir until combined, then stuff each bell pepper with the rice mixture. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top of the filling.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
7. If freezing, allow the stuffed peppers to cool completely before wrapping each pepper individually in plastic wrap and then placing in a labeled resealable plastic freezerbag. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.