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.
Ingredients:
          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
          Water
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.

Dinner: Homemade Chicken Chow Mein!

 
 

For the past few weeks I have dying for some Chicken Chow Mein.  I figured instead of being tempted by all the foods that I used to love at my local Chinese restaurant that I was going to give a try in making my own homemade chicken chow mein for the first time.  Then again since I’ve been getting more and more into cooking, I enjoy trying to make dishes which are “foreign” to me and out of my normal comfort zone.
I was surprised with how simple this really was and how delicious it tuned out.  I actually ended up using rotisserie chicken meat for my chicken because I didn’t want to boil chicken/bake it/ etc.  I looked up how to make chow mein on allrecipes.com and kind of winged my vegetables and the measurements of my liquids.
I put 2 tablespoons of margarine in the bottom of a pan and put in my sliced onions, minced garlic, celery and red peppers.  I seasoned my veggies with black pepper, a dash of sea salt, ground ginger, and garlic powder.  I put them into the pan and let them sweat out, but I didn’t allow them to cook all the way ‘til they were soft.  I then added in my mushrooms and fresh bean sprouts.  I let them cook for a few minutes so the bean sprouts were more pliable.  I then put in some canned drained baby corn, water chestnuts and sliced bamboo shoots.  I then added in 3 ½ cups of fat free low sodium chicken broth and 1/3 cup water.  I mixed to combine, and then added in 1/4c low sodium soy sauce.  When all set I then took my chopped rotisserie chicken and added that in and stirred in.  I let it heat and added in some cornstarch to thicken.  Once everything was nice and hot (my chicken was cold since I cut it up the night before) I served with the hard chow mein noodles on top of the mixture.
I served with plain white rice and since I didn’t feel like making eggrolls, I took out a pack of Lean Cuisine Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls and microwaved them per package instruction and served.
Overall the meal was absolutely delicious!  The chow mein wasn’t as thick as it generally is at restaurants, but I didn’t want to overkill with the cornstarch – but I didn’t mind the consistency, I actually find I enjoy it more.  Better yet, it definitely cured the Chinese food bug.