The holidays are usually a time when there are lots of parties and visiting friends and family, basically never ending holiday parties all month long, fun, right? (NOT… well it does get old after a few events, but in the spirit of the holidays we do it.) Now my question is, what to make if someone is coming by one afternoon (or evening) for a gift exchange or holiday visit? You want to make something special, but you really don’t have tons of time to make an elaborate meal, right? Stuffed peppers are a great meal, that looks like you spent hours in the kitchen but didn’t.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make this recipe quick, great shortcut item that I swear by when cooking, that I will share in the recipe below.
Here is what you’ll need:
- 1 lb. ground chicken (I used ground breast)
- 1 small onion diced*
- 1 cartoon of button mushrooms chopped*
- ½ pkg of frozen chopped spinach*
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp Trader Joe’s 21 Season Salute
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1tsp Mrs. Dash Chicken
- 1 tsp Mrs. Dash Italian Medley
- 2 tsps. Garlic powder
- 2 cups brown rice (cooked)*
- 6 peppers (I prefer red, orange, and yellow because they have the best flavor when cooked)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ cup of your favorite tomato sauce about (optional)
*The starred items are my shortcuts, and here is what I do/get:
- Diced Onions: Check your supermarkets frozen veggie section, trust me, you will find a bag of frozen chopped onions, easy peasy.
- Button Mushrooms: Most supermarkets have cartons of sliced mushrooms, just take your best knife to it for 30 seconds to chop it up even further.
- Rice: Trader Joe’s (and I bet most supermarkets) carry precooked rice in their freezer section, just measure out two cups, voila!
- Spinach: Why use fresh spinach that you have to clean, chop, and sauté, when you can use the frozen already chopped spinach found in the freezer section. My favorite is actually from the wholesale club I go to, the spinach comes in ice cube size portions. I love these and I put it in everything I can, because I love sneaking extra veggies in my food.
To start, set your oven to 350 degrees and get a pan that will fit your 6 peppers. Cut the tops off of the peppers and clean the insides to get rid of the veining and seeds. Grease the bottom of the pan with EVOO and place your peppers in it and set aside.
Now grab a large frying pan and cook your ground chicken. Once cooked throw in the onions, spinach, mushrooms, and seasonings; add about 1 tablespoon of EVOO and ½ cup water, mix well and set to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Next step is to toss in the two cups of rice, mix well and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Test out a spoon of this mixture and adjust seasoning to your liking.
Sorry, going to go off on another tangent here, LOL… the way my grandma used to make this dish was with ground beef, tomato sauce, and breadcrumbs. I am trying to keep it a bit healthy, so I nixed the breadcrumbs, and switched beef to ground chicken breast. Not everyone likes tomato sauce on their stuffed peppers, but to pay homage to the flavors I loved so much from my childhood, I added about 1/3 cup of sauce to the meat mixture, and a spoon of sauce into the bottom of each pepper. Totally optional.
Ok, so guess what? You are just about done, just fill each pepper to the top with the meat and rice mixture, cover the pan and cook in the oven for one hour, just turn the pan once half way. Quick and easy, right?!
Look at them! Doesn’t it look amazing?!
Make sure you check out our past recipes, and if you whip any of them up, share them with us below or on social media by using the hashtag #nerdandlace.
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THANK YOU and good luck!