Stuffed Peppers

Growing up my mother made THE best stuffed peppers (she still does).  She makes them the way my grandmother made them which also means they’re a family favorite. I’ve since learned how to make them and since becoming a Weight Watcher I’ve changed the recipe up just a tad (really only changing the ground beef and the choice of sauce) to make it a bit more point friendly.  The flavor is still there, it’s still reminiscent of my mother’s stuffed peppers and better yet she has even given them the stamp of approval!
As I got older, I realized that stuffed peppers can and are made in a wide range of ways. Bake, boil, par-boil, etc. Ingredients are plentiful and widely different.  You name it, it’s done.  But I will say, I’ve tried stuffed pepper recipes which are baked and par-boiled … but this way has always stolen my heart and taste buds. Perhaps that’s just because of how I’m used to having them but they’re perfect.
These can be eaten plain, as they are … but I do enjoy them with a little bit of ketchup on them. Again, childhood thing and it’s something I’ve never outgrown.  Another great thing about these is you can increase or shrink the recipe to however many peppers you’re aiming to make.  I’ve made 6 which was dinner for 3 individuals back-to-back, and then I’ve made 12 because we were having dinner guests.
I will point out my favorite way to have the peppers is with a tried and true green bell pepper. I feel it brings out more of the meat flavor and holds up during the boiling process a bit better.  I’ve also switched out my choice of pasta sauce using either canned (when making a smaller batch) or jarred when making more than 6.
Serves 6. Serving size 1 stuffed pepper. 10 points plus values.
          6 Medium Bell Peppers (red or green – just try to keep them around the same size)
          1 large onion, chopped
          1 ½ lbs 93% lean ground beef, raw
          1 ½ cups uncooked white rice (I prefer Goya Golden Canilla I find the rice keeps shape and doesn’t mush up but any white rice will do)
          1 can Hunts Pasta Sauce – Chunky Vegetable
          1 ½ tsp salt
          1 1/2 tsp black pepper
Wash peppers and cut to remove the stems and inner seeds. You can either take off the whole top, or cut a hole into it. Make sure to leave the pepper intact – like a bowl.
In a large bowl combine raw ground beef, rice, onion, salt and black pepper. Mix to combine (I use my hands).  Add in about ½ can of sauce and combine until well incorporated throughout the meat and rice mixture.
Stuff each pepper with equal amounts of meat. It’s okay if the peppers have a rounded top to them. Place the peppers into a deep pan that has a matching lid.
Fill the pan with water so the peppers are covered roughly ½ way up the sides.  Pour remaining sauce over the top of the peppers and into the water.
Place the pan over a medium flame until water begins a mild boil.  Cover, lower flame to medium-low.  Cook for approximately 40-45 minutes.  You can test if it’s done by making sure the rice granules are cooked through. If not done after 45 minutes, cook for 5-minutes longer.

Hamburger Steaks with Onion Gravy

I had been craving this meal for over a week and finally decided to make it for Sunday dinner.  Tasty, healthy, comfort food at its finest.  It may not be the prettiest dish, but the flavors are so prominent and layered perfectly. It’s a hats off to Salisbury steak with a slight twist.  This can be paired alongside any side dish – I chose to do yellow skinned mashed potatoes with frozen green beans.
Serves 8 – 4 Points Plus per serving.
          1 ½ pounds 93% lean ground beef
          1 egg
          ¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
          2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
          ~1 teaspoon black pepper
          ~1 teaspoon salt
          1 tablespoon garlic powder
          2 teaspoons McCormick Onion & Herb seasoning
          1 tablespoon McCormick Hamburger seasoning
          1 medium/large sweet onion, sliced
          1 tablespoon olive oil
          2 tablespoons white flour
          1 ½ cups low sodium beef broth
Mix hamburger, bread crumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion & herb seasoning, and hamburger seasoning in a large bowl. Mix until well combined, then section off hamburgers into 8 equal pieces.  Roll into balls, then flatten slightly into hamburger shape – roughly 1 to 1 ½ inches thick.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add in the tablespoon of olive oil and swirl in the pan to evenly coat.  When the oil is heated, add in the hamburger patties and let them begin to cook.  Do not move the patties as they will fall apart.  Cooking times may vary but cook roughly 5 minutes on the first side before flipping.  You are looking to have a nice browned outside.
After flipping add in the sliced onions on top of the browned side of the burgers.  Let the burgers get a bit of a crust before moving around in the pan to incorporate the onions.
Sprinkle in the 2 tablespoons of flour and let the flour cook for a minute with the onions to get rid of any harsh flavoring.
Add in half of the beef broth into the pan, stirring to combine.  The sauce will begin to thicken – as it thickens add in the remaining beef broth and stir all to combine.  Let simmer for a few minutes then remove from the flame.

Homemade Beef Stew w/ Jamaican Dumplings

This is my first-ever homemade beef stew.  Growing up I used to watch my mother make beef stew so I had a general gist of what to do – so I went to the grocery store, picked up my veggies, my beef and I got a jar of beef stock (it’s like a really thick jelly consistency of flavored stock that you add to water).  I’d been craving beef stew because the weather had changed and all I wanted was something warm and something to make the kitchen smell “homey.”
One thing I will say is I like my stews thick.  I’m not really a soup person so stews are right up my alley.  I know everyone varies with thickness but thankfully my boyfriend also likes a moderately thick stew so I didn’t have to make this on the watery side.  This cooked for a fair while on the stove (a little over 3 hours) so it’s definitely not one of those meals you can just throw together in a flash – but undoubtedly it was delicious!
I used 2 tablespoons of olive oil to brown my beef, and then added 2 pounds of lean stew beef and let it brown up stirring it around in the pot.  I then added in my minced garlic.  When it was almost completely browned I threw in my large diced onion.  When done, I added in water (just eyeballing since I was making a big pot).  I added in my beef starter stock – covered and let simmer for an hour and a half.  After that I uncovered the pot, added in 2 pounds of chopped potatoes and a large bag of baby carrots.  While that came back up to simmer I made my Jamaican dumplings (flour, salt and water where you knead it into a harder rough – then rolled the pieces out in the bowl and then added them into the stew.  I covered it and let it cook for another near hour.
Ten minutes before serving I added in 1/3 cup cornstarch (mixed with cold water) and stirred it to have it thicken up to a delicious and perfect consistency.
Overall TWO thumbs up!  This was SO good!  What’s funny is my boyfriend didn’t know I was going to add Jamaican dumplings to the dish so when he was served his bowl and he spotted the dumplings he went “Awe, yeah!” HAHA.  We ate it for a few days, then frozen up the remainder into separate containers for quick dinners/lunches when we don’t have any idea as to what to eat.