recipe: ground chicken stuffed peppers

Monday, October 30, 2017
I post a lot about how I am always on the search for easy and affordable dinner recipes that don't require a thousand ingredients or call for anything that isn't likely to be used again. The spice shop where I get most of my spices from is 45 minutes away, too, so if I don't already have a spice that a recipe calls for, I tend to nix it from the running. And the ingredients can't go bad in the fridge too quickly, because we need our dinner plans to be flexible – this week, we planned to eat at home on Monday and Tuesday but things completely flipped on end and we ended up making dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday, and that's a dull week compared to our usual.

Patrick's schedule is heavy on evening events – football practice, soccer games, you name it. So, I like to have a recipe that I can start at the end of my workday – which is around 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., depending on the day – and have it ready to eat by the time he gets home or not too long after – which is usually between 6:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

And I also was feeling very nostalgic for stuffed peppers, which was a recipe my parents made when I was a little kid all the time. My stepdad, Jake, made stuffed green peppers in the crockpot, with a delicious, spicy, tomato-y sauce and a lot of rice. I was picky and annoying, though, so I didn't appreciate the green peppers then. Well, now I love bell peppers and I was ready for stuffed peppers again.

I found this ground turkey stuffed peppers recipe and decided to recreate it to work for me and Patrick.

Ingredients

• 6 large bell peppers (I did two yellow, two orange and two red because they're pretty that way)
• 1 bag of Trader Joe's frozen brown rice 
• 1 lb. of ground chicken
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1/2 half of a white onion
• 1 16 oz. can crushed tomatoes
• 1 teaspoon Penzey's Italian herb seasoning (or your preferred Italian seasoning)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
• 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions


1. Cut off the tops of the peppers and remove the seeds. You may need to trim the bottoms. (I overtrimmed, so mine were leaking in the pan, but I wanted them to sit nice and even on the pan!) In a large pan, heat water to a rolling boil and boil the peppers for 5 minutes. Remove from the water with tongs (be really careful!) and turn them upside down on a paper towel to dry. 

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. While the oven is preheating and your peppers are boiling, mince the garlic and dice your onion. I used half of a white onion (the original recipe said a whole small onion) but when recipes say "small onion" I don't know what small is to them and I can't take cutting an entire onion, so I just used half of one and that was plenty.

4. Add the olive oil, garlic and onion to a large skillet and saute until tender. If, like me, you struggle with sauteeing and other basic cooking instructions, this means you should put your stove on medium heat and cook the onion and garlic until soft/see-through. 


5. Add the ground chicken to the skillet (be careful, you're going to make a mess) and cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165ยบ or there is no more pink left.

6. Add the crushed tomatoes, rice, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and 1/2 cup of the cheese. I stirred between each ingredient to minimize mess and still made a mess. If you think you have a large enough skillet, you don't.


7. Fill the peppers evenly with the mixture and place in a lightly greased baking dish of your choice. 

8. Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes. Mine were fine with 25, but every oven is different

9. Remove and add the remaining cheese to the tops of the pepper (you are going to make a mess, again) and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Cost breakdown

I usually do a cost breakdown of my recipes but, as usual, I forgot and threw away the receipt before I could write this post. But I'm going to try to recreate it as best as possible using Harris Teeter/Trader Joe's flyers and also just some guestimation.

• 6 large bell peppers = $3.99 for 3 = $7.98
• 1 bag of Trader Joe's frozen brown rice = $2.99 for three bags = $0.99 
• 1 lb. of ground chicken = $3.49
• 2 cloves garlic = $0.25
• 1/2 half of a white onion = $0.25
• 1 16 oz. can crushed tomatoes = $1.59 for 28 oz jar = $0.80
• 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese = $3.99 for one 12 oz. bag = $1.99

This comes out to $15.75, which is actually a lot by my usual standards for cooking – but 6 peppers = 6 meals. Pat did eat two peppers because I didn't make a side, but I ate one and was plenty full, and had enough for leftovers, too. 

Cost per serving = $2.63



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