Italian Style Beef Stuffed Peppers with Cauliflower Rice

stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers will never go out of style, they’re a special kind of comfort food, but not in the sense of the heavy, stick to your ribs kind. These beef stuffed peppers are a whole meal contained in a colorful pepper vessel with Italian flavors throughout each bite.

They can be served for lunch or dinner with a nice green salad on the side to complete the meal.

bell peppers

I often find the colorful, sweet bell peppers on sale and when I do I always grab a bunch.

raw bell peppers

In preparing this dish you can either cut each pepper in half or keep them whole as I did here, it’s amazing how much stuffing you can fit into each one.

ground beef stuffing

For this recipe I used a good quality, lean ground beef, 90 percent lean, 10 percent fat. In the past I’ve used Italian sausage featured in this post.

That’s what I like about stuffed peppers, they’re so versatile. You can use a favorite meat of your choice or even no meat at all. You can use a variety of different cheese and vegetable combinations as well as beans.

Also you can use cooked rice, white, brown, wild and even quinoa but I’m loving the lightness that riced cauliflower gives to the peppers, so that’s what I chose for this, plus it’s great if you’re watching carbs or on a keto diet.

prepped peppers

Of course my beef stuffed peppers are made with Italian flavors both in and out, they can be prepared ahead of time, which is a good thing and if you happen to have leftovers they’re just as delicious heated up the next day!

cooked peppers

I promise these will be a hit with your family, I stuck some artichoke hearts in mine, if you’re an artichoke lover put them in, if not you can even sub in some mushrooms, that would be delicious as well.

stuffed bell pepper

If someone you know needs a meal cooked for them, something they could easily heat up, this is the one to make and give to them.

cut open pepper

Next time you see those sweet, colorful peppers displayed in the grocery store, grab a few and make this!

Italian Style Beef Stuffed Peppers with Cauliflower Rice
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 colored bell peppers, left whole, tops cut off with seeds and membranes removed inside. Dice up some of the tops to place into the filling as well for added color and taste
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef, 90% lean 10% fat
  • 1 -12oz. bag of frozen cauliflower rice, defrosted
  • 1 -12 oz. bag frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
  • 1 -28 oz. can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, squished by hand leaving nice size chunks, 1 cup goes into the filling and the rest will be for the bottom of the baking dish, no need to cook it ahead of time
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, diced small
  • a handful of both parsley and basil
  • 1 cup of pecorino romano
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella, 1½ cups to go inside filling and reserving the ½ to sprinkle on the tops
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375F.
  2. Reserve a cup of the squished tomatoes for the filling and put the rest onto the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish that has been sprayed with olive oil.
  3. Place the 8 raw, cleaned peppers into the baking dish.
  4. Brown the beef in a large skillet until you no longer see pink, then remove and drain on paper towel if need be.
  5. Wipe out the pan and drizzle with olive oil and cook up the cauliflower rice until dry with no liquid in the "rice" doing the same with the artichoke hearts, doing one at a time if need be, set aside to cool.
  6. Quickly saute the onion and garlic and chopped pepper tops as well.
  7. When cool, transfer all the precooked ingredients into a large bowl, the beef, onions, garlic, chopped pepper tops, cauliflower rice and artichoke hearts ( chop the artichoke hearts up before adding).
  8. Now add in your basil, parsley, romano cheeese and a 1- ½ cups of shredded mozzarella and also a cup of the squished san marzano tomatoes.
  9. Gently mix everything together and add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Fill each raw pepper with the filling, packing it in.
  11. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
  12. Remove pan and foil, they should be nice and steamy.
  13. Sprinkle remaining shredded mozzarella on each pepper, a little romano and some of the tomato juice from the bottom of the pan and a drizzle of olive oil on each one.
  14. Bake into the oven for another 30 minutes or until the tip of a knife goes easily through the sides.
  15. Enjoy!

 

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Colorful Shrimp Pasta Salad

shrimp salad

This shrimp pasta salad has all the components of spring, it has bright colors and it’s light and fresh. This salad can be a stand alone lunch, a light dinner or the perfect side dish to have for spring and summer cookouts.

Colorful spring vegetables are incorporated into this salad and finished off with a creamy lemon dressing that clings to every bite.

farfalle pasta

This pasta salad looks pretty made with rainbow colored pasta, there are so many shapes and sizes available today and the different colors add to the vibrancy of the dish. You definitely want to choose ones that are healthy, the ones that are actually colored with natural foods, things like carrot, beet root, tumeric and spinach  which will also enhance the flavor as well.

I would encourage you to seek them out, I found this cute farfalle shape but again there are so many more!

 

grilled shrimp

You can poach the shrimp, roast the shrimp or grill it, either way will work, just have it done ahead of time.

spring pasta salad

Now that winter is behind us it’s time to tuck those comfort foods away and to brighten things up and this pasta salad is just the thing!

Colorful Shrimp Pasta Salad
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½. lb. cooked shrimp, roasted, grilled or poached, cooled down
  • ½ lb. colored pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed cold. Pat dry so no wetness sticks to the pasta
  • 1 lb of fresh asparagus, cut in half and blanched for 2 minutes in boiling water then plunged into ice water, then patted dry of water.
  • ½ cup of peas, if fresh pre-cook, if frozen, defrost
  • ½ of a red pepper and ½ yellow pepper, diced
  • ¼ red onion, small dice
  • 3 radishes, sliced thin
  • ½ of english cucumber, sliced thin
  • hand full or arugula or chopped romaine lettuce
  • tablespoon each of chopped parsley and chopped basil
  • LEMON CREAM DRESSING
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 3 parts olive oil
  • 1 small dollop of Dijon
  • 2 or 3 small chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons of full fat mayo
Instructions
  1. Add all the dressing components into a jar and whisk it up together. ( You'll have extra) set aside.
  2. Take all your components, the cooked pasta, shrimp, asparagus, peas, chopped peppers, onions, radishes, parsley, basil, arugula or romaine and place them into a nice big bowl.
  3. Toss gently together, evenly dispersed, then spoon in your lemon dressing, taste as you go adding salt and pepper, more herbs if you like.
  4. Be careful not to overload the dressing so as not to make it soggy.
  5. Place pasta salad into a nice platter and serve!

 

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Citrus Infused Ricotta Pie for Easter and Beyond

ricotta pie

Bright citrus flavors of lemon and orange infuse this sweet and creamy ricotta pie. Ricotta pie is a traditional Easter dessert which has so many variations according to individual family recipes. But if I’m to be honest it really isn’t just for Easter, this pie is welcomed any time of the year when you’re wanting a special dessert to serve.

citrus pie

I have another variation of ricotta pie that I make in my own family as well, it’s filled with mini chocolate chips, citron, zest and a hint of cinnamon with flavors like the inside of a cannoli.

pie

But this dreamy version lets the sweetened ricotta shine with hints of vanilla, lemon and orange. This pie is also topped with a lattice crust which reminds me of an Easter basket, and besides the more crust the better in my book!

coffee and pie

With Easter right around the corner this pie would be a perfect addition to your dessert table, Happy Easter!

Citrus Infused Ricotta Pie for Easter and Beyond
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Use a 9 inch deep dish pie pan
  • Pastry for a double crusted pie, either homemade or a good quality store bought one.
  • 2¾ cups of whole milk ricotta*** IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure you drain your ricotta really good, excess moisture will affect the cooking time and texture. You can drain it overnight in the fridge if it's the deli kind sitting in some water. Or you can look for a full fat supermarket version.
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • zest of 1 large lemon or 2 small
  • reserve a pinch of each to sprinkle on top
  • small pastel colored chocolate eggs for garnish presentation
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the drained ricotta with the sugar until very smooth.
  3. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Beat in the vanilla and lemon extract
  5. Fold in the lemon and orange zest to well combined.
  6. Place 1 half of your double pie crust into your pie plate, unbaked
  7. Pour all the filling into the pie shell.
  8. Place the whole plate onto a rimmed cookie sheet for easy in and out of the oven.
  9. Take the other piece of dough, roll it out and make 6 or 8 strips of dough and place them over the filling in a criss cross design.
  10. I usually brush some cream over the top of the crust to make a golden crust, you can do an egg wash as well, then sprinkle the pinch of zest you set aside all over the top.
  11. Bake the pie for around 45 minutes or until ricotta is set and a toothpick comes out clean and crust golden.
  12. Let it cool down then refrigerate before eating
  13. Garnish with a handful of pastel colored, small size chocolate eggs on top for presentation.

 

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