These easy stuffed peppers can be made for dinner tonight, or prepped ahead and finished in the oven or crockpot. With few ingredients, paired with a simple side of cut up fruit, this meal comes together easily. Bonus in my household: all 3 children eat at least the stuffing – one refuses to eat the actual pepper….
6 large bell peppers (or 7-8 if they are small), tops and seeds removed, with a small slice carved off the bottom so they stand up in the baking dish or crockpot – or if using the oven method, you can also cut them in half lengthwise (use the tops and slices in the filling after dicing, if desired)
1 lb of 90% lean ground beef
1 tsp minced garlic
1 TB italian herb seasoning blend (like this one from Penzey’s, which is my favorite spice/seasoning store)
1/4-1/2 tsp of dried red pepper flakes (optional)
2 c of cooked brown rice (I like to use the frozen rice that cooks in the microwave in 3 minutes! You can also use white rice if you prefer)
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
Salt and pepper
4-6 oz Italian blend shredded cheese
- If preparing peppers to eat immediately, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Brown ground beef, garlic, and if desired, diced tops and bottoms of peppers in a large pan until beef is cooked through, stirring and breaking up frequently with a wooden spoon.
- Add Italian seasoning blend and, if using, red pepper flakes, and stir to mix evenly.
- Add cooked rice, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check seasoning and adjust as necessary. Adding salt and pepper if desired and/or more Italian blend.
- Fill peppers or pepper halves with beef mixture (packing tightly) and place in baking dish.
- If cooking immediately, top with cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until peppers are tender and cheese is melted and slightly browned.
- If preparing ahead, cover tightly and refrigerate. When ready to serve, allow to come to room temperature as oven is pre-heating. Bake covered for 30-35 minutes or until peppers and mixture are heated through. Top with cheese and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until it is melted and slightly browned. You can also prepare through step 5 and use your slow cooker to finish the peppers (use whole peppers, not halved for this method). Add peppers to slow cooker and cook on high for 2-3 hours. 30 minutes before serving, uncover and top with cheese.