Greek Stuffed Peppers Are EXTRA Delish

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While we won’t be spending time in Santorini, Greece this summer – we can cook something Greek.

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It’s SUMMERTIME and it’s HOT in Tampa!  At my house right now, we are looking for crisp vegetables on the dinner table instead of comfort food. I overbought on the Trader Joe’s peppers and thought about making stuffed peppers. My husband told me he thought they tasted mushy when I made them in the crock pot previously.

Well, ok.  So, I scrolled around the internet for a new recipe. I found this recipe for Greek Stuffed Peppers from Mashed.com. Mashed.com has an amazing selection. The cool kids would call it EXTRA in terms of recipes.

For the recipe and directions, scroll down to the bottom. For my blog, I’m going to give you a few alternatives.

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Start by preheating the oven to 375.  Cut the peppers in half. I used red, green, yellow, and orange.  FYI: there was a rumor a couple of years ago that pepper’s colors come from when they are picked (their ripeness).  Not true: check this out.

I washed the peppers and cleaned out the seeds. I then added them to the shallow glass dish, added a bit of water and crushed some salt across the two pans before putting the foil on the baking dishes.

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I popped the two pans of peppers into the hot oven for about 20 minutes. While they baked, I started the meat.

IMG_2079They suggest you use lamb or ground beef. I used a pound of pasture raised beef and a pound of Trader’s Joes ground turkey.

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To give the meat some extra flavor, I also threw a few cloves of minced garlic into the pan with a tablespoon of good olive oil before I sauteed the purple onion.

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Once the onion was soft, I put the beef and the turkey in the pan to cook.  After I strained it all, I added it back to the pan.  I poured a can of Trader Joe’s fire roasted diced tomatoes into the mix. 

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I pulled another audible and added a can of black beans and grated the zucchini into the meat instead of cooking it in diced chunks. It made the meat super juicy.

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Once it was cooked, I added more than enough oregano, a dash of red pepper and salt and pepper.  Of course I wanted to make sure it was done right — so I taste-tested it.  Trust me — it was so good!   

Once the peppers were done, it was time to add the mixture to the peppers.  I added a bit of the mixture; and then a small sprinkle of grated mexican cheese (again, not on the recipe).  I added a bit more of the mixture and topped it with bit of feta cheese.

I popped them back into the oven for the finishing touch. 

IMG_2109Oh no, you caught me – I forgot to add the rice you are thinking? Nope – I used Trader Joe’s organic brown rice.  It comes frozen.  You pop the 10 oz. bag into the microwave when it’s go time.  I wanted to make extra servings and we would prefer the rice on the side.

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In about 10 minutes, I took the stuffed peppers out.  They looked and tasted amazing.  The peppers weren’t mushy and were almost crisp, but cooked to perfection.

I bet we’ll be eating these again!  

Ingredients
4 bell peppers
1¼ teaspoon salt, divided
½ cup long-grain white rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 small zucchini, finely diced
1 pound lean ground beef or ground lamb (or protein of your choosing)
1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
⅔ cup feta, crumbled


Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut the bell peppers in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Place the peppers, cut side up, in a 13×9 inch oven-safe dish, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Pour ¼ cup of water in the bottom of the dish and cover the dish with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the peppers are almost tender.

Carefully lift the foil off the top of the dish—there will be steam! Drain the water from the dish and from the peppers.

While the peppers are cooking, place the rice and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes. Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork.


While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and ground beef or lamb. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is almost cooked through and the onion is translucent, about 3–4 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for 3–4 minutes more.

Add the diced tomatoes and their liquid, oregano, and remaining ¾ teaspoon salt. Then, add the rice and stir to combine.

Divide the mixture evenly among the bell peppers. Top with feta, and bake for 8–10 minutes, or until the feta is golden and the peppers are hot throughout. Serve immediately.

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