Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers…it’s what’s for dinner.

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1 pound ground beef, pork or turkey

4 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, orange or green…you choose)

1 T olive oil

1 medium onion diced

2 stalks of celery diced

pepper tops diced

2-3 cloves of garlic minced

1 cup cooked long grain white or brown rice

1 pint/can stewed tomatoes

1 14-oz can tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

1 T dried basil

1/2 cup shredded asiago or Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut off the tops of the peppers and remove the seeds. Par-boil the peppers in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes. Remove and put the peppers in a casserole lined with non-stick foil. Preheat oven to 350.

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Sauté diced onion, pepper, celery and garlic for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add meat of your choosing  and brown. Remove from heat. Stir in rice, seasonings, and asiago or Parmesan cheese.

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Combine tomatoes and tomato sauce and whisk together. Add approximately one cup of tomato sauce to meat and rice mixture. Fill peppers. Top with remaining tomato sauce.

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Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and top with shredded mozzarella and bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and peppers are thoroughly heated. Plate peppers and top with some of the tomato gravy.

Serve with crusty bread, apple sauce and a tossed salad.

Today someone posted a recipe for stuffed pepper soup. Maybe tomorrow I’ll use the leftover peppers and make them into soup.

Addendum:

Day two of stuffed peppers. I decided to reinvent the leftover peppers and make soup. I sliced a carrot, diced a medium onion, diced a couple stalks of celery, and shredded a cup or more of cabbage.   I put a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a heavy soup kettle and once it was hot sweated the vegetables for 3-4 minutes.  I added a pint of stewed tomatoes, 4 cups of chicken broth, and the leftover peppers that I had diced.  I also added a can of cannellini beans for a little extra protein.

I brought the the soup to a simmer and simmered it until the flavors were married.

I thought the soup was yummy served with some crusty bread and crackers. If you have family members who refuse to eat leftovers reinventing them is a perfect option.

Apple Slices in Cinnamon Red Hot Syrup

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It’s apple season!  I’ve been in a canning frenzy this month and I had to do apples. I got a bushel and a half of apples; a variety of apples because the combination of sweet/tart and textures makes the best apple sauce. I made several batches of apple sauce. I use minimal sugar…maybe a half cup of sugar for 7 pints worth of apples and a bit of cinnamon. Mostly I just want the bright, natural taste of apples in the sauce. Apple sauce is very easy to do. Peel, core and slice the apples, put them in a large kettle, add just enough water to keep the apples from burning and cook over medium high heat until the apples are tender. I like chunky apple sauce so I mash the apples with my potato masher or you can use an immersion blender.

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Ladle hot applesauce into hot, sterilized jars leaving a half inch of headspace. Use a wooden or plastic spatula remove air bubbles and put the two piece lids on the jar. Process pints in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Remove and put hot jars on a towel or wooden board to cool. Voila!  You have applesauce to enjoy all winter. Well I did a LOT of applesauce and wanted to try something different so I got out my Ball Blue Book and found a recipe for…

Apple Wedges in Cinnamon Red Hot Sauce

8-10 pounds of apples (use firm apples)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cinnamon red hot candies

2 cinnamon sticks broken into several pieces

2 tsp whole cloves

1 tsp ginger

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups white or cider vinegar

2/3 cup light corn syrup

More peeling, coring, and slicing!  You may want to treat your apples with fresh fruit produce protector or lemon juice to keep your apple slices from browning while you work.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large heavy kettle and slowly bring to a boil.

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Add apple wedges to syrup mixture, stir, cover and simmer 4-5 minutes. Pack hot apples into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Ladle hot syrup over apples leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove any air bubbles. Adjust caps and process in hot water bath for 15 minutes.

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They look beautiful!  They will be wonderful to serve as a side with pork or poultry. The red hots and ginger give them a little kick. Apples are all canned. Now I need to find space to store them all!

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