Simple twist on a theme.  How many ways can you prepare ground beef or poultry? Let me go a little Forrest Gump: Hamburgers, meatballs, tacos, spaghetti bolognese, sausages, stuffed zucchini, chili, meatloaf, burritos, lasagna, shepherds pie….the list could go on and on. Ground meat is versatile, relatively inexpensive and if you buy the lean ground beef, ground meats are a good source of lean protein.  What I did for a quick dinner the other night was to take my meatball recipe and pop it into a half of a raw pepper.  A bag of green peppers at Sam’s costs about 6$ and resulted in 12 pepper halves.  Bake, top with a spaghetti sauce of your choosing and a slice of provolone cheese and voila!  Throw a salad down with it or another vegetable of your choice and you have a filling, healthy meal plus leftovers.  I cleaned out my pepper halves without taking out the stem, I chose to leave that on during cooking to help hold in more meat and just cut it out during the meal instead. Cutting it out ahead of time is fine too, whichever works best for you! Let’s get to it!

Messy Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/3 cup dried minced onion (or 1/2 a finely minced fresh onion)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 – 1/4 black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 white pepper (to taste)
  • 0.5 – 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • 0.5 – 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
  • 5-6 large bell peppers – any color will do!
  • spaghetti sauce
  • sliced cheese (I used provolone)

Wash and slice the peppers in halves, cleaning out the insides of their seeds and membranes and place them on a cookie sheet lined with tin-foil. Mix all the but last three ingredients in a bowl well. Place a small handful of the meat into each pepper being sure to press the meat down into the bowl of the pepper.  Repeat this process until the meat has been distributed evenly through the peppers. (it is OK if the meat is rounded up a little higher than the sides of the pepper).  Bake at 350°F for 45-60 minutes or until the beef is cooked well.  Plate the peppers you will be serving that meal, top them with the spaghetti sauce and cheese and microwave them a minute until the cheese is melted and the sauce is warmed.  I did it this way so that the leftovers could be packed and prepared at work without being messy and so that the cheese didn’t over-cook being melted more than once.  The sliced cheese was sent with work lunches wrapped separately because re-warming the pepper requires more time and the cheese will get crusty when nuked that long. Warm the meat up partially in the microwave, then add the sauce and cheese if having as these as leftovers.

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