Gwen McTaggart

Peppers UNstuffed!

I suck at food photography and, to be perfectly honest, all photography, and my kid is cute, so I'm using a picture of her instead of a picture of this recipe.  And I use too many commas in inappropriate ways.  I were a homeskooler.

When I was canning tomatoes all the time this past summer and had more peppers than we knew what to do with, we ate this meal at least once a week or more.  Dad (Steve) dubbed it "Pepper Surprise".  As in, surprise, we're having peppers again!   [Laughing]  I prefer "Peppers Unstuffed" or "Unstuffed Peppers" or "You Know, That Pepper Stuff We Have ALL The Time".  It's quite nutritious and -in the winter when you're using canned tomatoes and frozen peppers and onions- it's insanely easy as well.  I also tried it with a quinoa variation.  (I love quinoa!)

First, decide whether you will use rice or quinoa.  They are both very good.  The quinoa version ended up a bit drier than the rice despite my adding an extra quart of tomatoes.  It was still good though and cooked up in 20 minutes vs the hour it takes rice to cook.

Once you've decided, stick it in a pot with your tomatoes and simmer until done, checking occasionally to make sure it's not sticking.  Please do not cook like my mother this lady I know and leave it on high to burn, thank you.  Remove from heat, cover.

While your rice/quinoa is cooking... plop some yummy coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet and add the peppers and onions and, if you can take the heat, jalapenos.  If your family is split on the heat tolerance like mine, omit the jalapenos and just set out a bottle of hot sauce for the fire-breathers among you.  You may have to cook the veggies in two batches if you don't own a mondo huge skillet that weighs a ton.  Now, saute all that organic goodness until it's tender or, if you prefer to retain more of it's nutritional content you can just cook it until the colors brighten.  Dump the veggies in with your rice or quinoa, give it a good stir and recover.  By recover I mean put the lid back on, don't relax with some herbal tea just yet, we still have a bit to go, my amigo.

Now, using the same skillet (unless you just enjoy washing dishes) brown the ground beef, adding more coconut oil if necessary or desired.  Stick the beefiness in the pot with the veggie rice/quinoa mixture.  Stir.  Add sea-salt (I like celtic, it makes me feel more like a McTaggart), pepper, and garlic powder to taste.  Stir.  Recover.  hehe

Now, you can either dig in as is, serve with shredded cheese, or layer in a casserole dish with sliced cheese and broil until cheese is melted.  You might not have to do the broil thing if your mixture is still hot.

Some notes:

If you're using fresh ingredients it's going to be drier.  Is that the right word?  Drier.  Dryer.  hmm.  So you may need to add some broth or tomato juice to suit your tastes.  If using frozen ingredients there's going to be more liquid, you can cook the peppers and onions longer to allow some of it to evaporate or you can just go with it.  The extra liquid is nice if you're planning on sticking it in the oven with cheese.

This is a fantastic way to use up all that tomato juice you end up with when making salsa and it's great for using that extra bit of tomato that won't fit in the last canning jar.  You know what I'm talking about, right?  While I'm canning I just peel and smash some extra tomatoes and fix this for dinner.  You can eat this a surprising number of times before getting especially sick of it.

This is gluten-free.  It can be vegetarian and/or vegan if you omit the beef and cheese.  It still tastes good that way.

Enjoy!

Click here for printable recipe

Peppers Unstuffed

Serves: 8
Gluten-free, can be modified for vegetarians or vegans

Ingredients:
3 C. organic rice or quinoa
2 or 3 quarts canned organic tomatoes or juice or fresh, peeled, smashed tomatoes and juice
4 tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil
3 quarts frozen or fresh organic sweet peppers, diced
1 quart frozen or 3 fresh organic onions, diced
3 - 6 organic jalapenos, minced (optional)
2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef (omit for vegetarian version)
sea-salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
shredded or sliced cheese (optional) (omit for vegan version)
hot sauce (optional)

Instructions:

Cook rice or quinoa in tomato according to package directions.  2 qts. if using rice, 3 if using quinoa.  Set aside.

Saute vegetables in coconut oil.  Add to rice/quinoa.

In the skillet used for the veggies, brown the beef, adding coconut oil if necessary.  Add to vegetable,  rice/quinoa mixture.

Season to taste.

Serve either as is, with shredded cheese and hot sauce, or layer in a casserole dish with sliced cheese and broil until cheese is bubbly.

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