When it comes to vegetables, bell peppers epitomize summertime. Their fresh, crisp flesh tastes like sunshine. I also found out that my father-in-law, who is very much a carnivore, actually enjoys peppers, so stuffed peppers sounded like the perfect Try It Tuesday meal for this hot June evening.
I looked through a number of recipes and picked the Betty Crocker version for the simplicity of the ingredients. You can check it out here:
Since it’s me, I did have to make a few modifications. First, I added a little extra rice and sauce to make six servings instead of four. Second, because of the simplicity of the recipe, I was also worried that it might be bland, so I cooked my rice in beef bouillon instead of water. That meant that I reduced the salt from 1 teaspoon to ½ teaspoon. I also added a second garlic clove to intensify the flavor. Finally, I generally prefer a little life in my veggies, so I decided not to boil the peppers like the recipe directed. If you don’t boil your peppers, you’ll have to experiment with the baking times and temperatures based on the texture you want and whether you prep and cook or, like me, prep in advance and refrigerate until dinnertime. As a starting point, I baked mine at 375 for 20 minutes, then increased the temperature to 400, added the cheese, and baked them for another 15 minutes. The peppers were hot, but still firm and crisp.
The verdict? Perfect! The dish was fresh, flavorful, and light enough for a 90-degree Floridian – read: humid – evening. My mother-in-law suggested mixing some sausage in with the ground beef, which I think would add a nice a kick. I’m curious to see how it holds up as leftovers tomorrow. My son had to eat earlier than I was able to bake the peppers, so I’ll get his reaction tomorrow as well.
I’m always looking for new recipes, so feel free to let me know what your favorite summer recipes are!