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
 
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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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Stuffed Rainbow Colored Peppers with Cauliflower Rice and Italian Sausage

stuffed pepper

Who doesn’t love stuffed peppers? It’s old school comfort food at it’s best. It’s a weeknight family meal that’s simple to make with flavorful fillings packed into a rainbow colored edible vessel. They can be stuffed with starches, meats, cheese, beans or all veggies showcasing even different ethnic cuisines.

Needless to say the combinations are endless and for that reason stuffed peppers will be around for a long long time.

raw peppers

I love using an assortment of rainbow colored bell peppers, they still maintain their color and sweetness after baking, and the different colors make for a pretty presentation.

 

stuffed peppers

Cutting the peppers lengthwise allows for more of the filling to be packed into them. These peppers are packed tightly with Italian sausage, onions, garlic, mushrooms, chopped kale and I swapped out of white rice ( which you don’t even miss) for healthier cauliflower rice.

stuffed peppers

Of course some cheese is involved along with marinara which gives these stuffed rainbow colored peppers a delicious depth of flavor with a nice Italian twist!

stuffed peppers

Did I mention how good the leftovers are? Be sure to make enough so you can heat one up for lunch the next day you’ll be happy you did.

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Stuffed Rainbow Colored Peppers with Cauliflower Rice and Italian Sausage
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 rainbow colored bell peppers, cut lengthwise in half, then scoop out seeds and membrane
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled into small pieces
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh chopped riced cauliflower
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 handful kale or spinach, chopped
  • 6 large cremini mushrooms chopped
  • a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella plus a little extra for garnishing the tops
  • ½ cup of grated pecorino
  • ½ cup marinara sauce for the filling and enough extra sauce to cover the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon each, chopped basil and parsley
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375
  2. Oil the bottom and sides of a 9x12 baking dish.
  3. Pour enough marinara sauce on the bottom of the baking dish to cover it all over.
  4. Place the 8 raw halves of the peppers into the baking dish.
  5. Brown the crumbled sausage in a pan until you see no pink at all, then remove and drain on paper towels.
  6. Wipe out pan of excess grease then add the onion, garlic and chopped mushrooms, riced cauliflower and cook til slightly soft then toss around and add the chopped kale to let it wilt.
  7. In a bowl add the drained sausage, cauliflower, cooked onion, garlic, mushrooms, kale, grated cheese, mozzarella, the sliced cherry tomatoes and the ½ cup of marinara sauce and herbs tossing well to incorporate everything.
  8. Fill each raw pepper with the filling, packing it in.
  9. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes then remove pan and change oven temp to 400
  10. Take the foil off, sprinkle the tops with a tablespoon or 2 of shredded mozzarella and some grated cheese.
  11. There will be a lot of moisture at the bottom of the pan from the foil being on but the higher temp will reduce it all.
  12. It's finished when you can say the peppers are nice and tender , test with the tip of a sharp knife and cheese is a little golden.
  13. Spoon some sauce on top of each and serve.

 

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Stuffed Peppers Italian Style with Sausage and Mozzarella

melrose peppers Normally when you see a recipe for stuffed peppers you’ll see the bell shaped variety being used but I look forward to this time of year because a very special pepper starts to show up in Italian markets around Chicagoland, they’re called Melrose Peppers. I’ve done posts on them in the past like this one.

They came to be called Melrose peppers because as the story goes, many years ago a family from Calabria, Italy eventually settled into a suburb of Chicago called Melrose Pk. They brought with them the seeds of this very special, delicious thinned skinned pepper.They quickly became popular among gardeners in the Italian community and then soon after that they started appearing in all the fruit and vegetable stands, and the rest is history.

stuffing peppers Even though I’m featuring and stuffing my favorite Melrose peppers for this recipe, you can honestly use any type of elongated pepper such as a cubanelle or the sweet and long red pepper variety.

All you’re going to do is cut off the top then take a knife and make a slit down one side but not all the way, you still want the pepper to remain in tact, then just scoop out the seeds.

Then buy the best Italian sausage available, mine always has fennel and red pepper flakes for a little heat. If you can buy it in bulk go ahead, if not just remove it from the casing. Place it into a bowl then add a good amount of shredded mozzarella and mix well, that’s your stuffing!

stuffed peppers Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then drizzle all over with olive oil and place your peppers onto it after you stuff them with the mixture.

stuffed peppers Then it’s a quick drizzle all over the top, add salt and pepper and place them into a 400 degree oven for about half an hour, depending on what type of pepper you’re using.

stuffed peppers You’re aiming for soft and tender and of course the sausage being fully cooked as well as seeing the cheese has melt.

stuffed peppersstuffed peppers When you’re ready to serve spoon some warm marinara over the top and onto the serving plate.

stuffed peppers The flavor combination is divine, this is stuffed peppers at it’s finest!

stuffed peppers

Add some crusty bread with a nice green salad and dinner is served!

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Baked Eggs in Pepper Cups with Mushrooms, Leeks and Kale and The Winner of my Giveaway

baked eggs in pepper cups  Good Morning! First off I want to express a huge Thank You to each and everyone of you that left comments on my 7th Blogiversary post, I was so touched by all your comments and I loved reading every single one of them. Thanks again for all your support, I honestly believe I have the best readers!

I wish I could give you all a gift card to Eataly but unfortunately I have only one.

The winner of my 7th Blogiversary Giveaway was picked randomly and that persons name is…. ANTOINETTE SPARANO!

Congratulations Antoinette, please contact me via email at prouditaliancook@hotmail.com and I’ll get that gift card out to you. Have fun shopping!

In case you’re hungry this morning I wanted to leave you with a little something for breakfast. Something easy to make especially if you just cleaned out your fridge like I did. I was left with one leek, a small bunch of kale, a handful of roasted tomatoes and mushrooms and a few colored peppers. So I decided to make baked eggs in pepper cups, and so can you.

Ingredients for baked eggs in pepper cups Grab some leftover veggies, whatever you have, you won’t need a lot, they can be sauteed, roasted or grilled it doesn’t matter, they’re all good. The main thing you will need is some good sized bell peppers, big enough to pour an egg into along with your veggies, any color pepper will do.

Cut your peppers in half, clean out the membranes so you have lots of room in there and scrape the seeds, then drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.

baked eggs in pepper cups Place your cleaned out pepper halves into a baking dish drizzled with olive oil then add some cheese on the bottom of each, whatever melts good, I used fontina.

Now take your veggies and place them into the pepper cup, on top of the cheese, leaving room enough to plop an egg in the middle. TIP: crack your egg into a small bowl first, like a ramekin, then gently pour the cracked egg into the pepper cup, the egg white will run so wait a second and let it settle into everything.   Bake at 375 degrees F. until peppers are tender and egg sets.

baked eggs in pepper cups Garnish with extra veggies on top and all around your baking dish, this is great for breakfast or brunch!

 

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Welcome to My New Home on WordPress!

Welcome everyone! I’m finally here and settling into my new home on the web. I’ll have lunch for you in a minute but first I want to tell you about my journey here.

I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, migrating my Blogger blog over to WordPress, but I never had the nerve, I heard horror stories in the past, pictures, posts, links being lost, etc. Not being a techie person at all this scared the heck out of me!

Even though Blogger was good to me in the beginning, as time went on many issues came up that weren’t getting fixed, things disappearing, problems with commenting and a ton of spam on a daily basis, and something that really bothered me was that you never really own your blog on Blogger, it’s free, they could delete it at any time.

I loved all the new features I was seeing on WordPress blogs, updated, modern, user friendly, I needed a new look, after 5 years I felt stale and old!

In comes my web designer, Jeni, The Blog Maven, who came highly recommended by Cathy of Wives with Knives, so I emailed her a couple of months ago and from the first time I spoke with her I knew I had the right person. I had a list of questions that she patiently answered one by one no matter how ridiculous some of them were, she even skyped me several times!  Jeni is very detailed and thorough, she considers all of your needs and finds the best way to incorporate them for you. The whole process went so smooth with no major glitches at all, I didn’t even stress once! I would highly recommend her for migration of your Blogger blog, design issues or any technical questions you might have.

I have to learn some new things to get around on the back end of my blog so I will most definitely be out of my comfort zone for a while so please bare with me, but honestly it’s already starting to feel like home here. Take a look around and let me know what you think so far, I’m loving my new visual recipe index!

Now, how about that lunch? I’m serving, Spaghetti Squash Stuffed Peppers!

Welcome to my new blog! (2)

Spaghetti squash, think of it as vegetable spaghetti, I know it’s not the real thing but when you roast it and rake up the strands with a fork it magically becomes a great substitute for the “white” stuff, and it tastes really good too! If you’re trying to lay off the carbs for a while replace this with any spaghetti dish you might be craving. I recently served it with mussels in a red sauce and it was delicious, the strands soaked up all the sauce, it was so good I’ll be making it again real soon.

Welcome to my new blog! (3)

This time I decided to stuff some peppers with it, making an all veggie meal. I roasted crimini mushrooms along with garlic and green onions and pre-roasted the peppers as well.

Welcome to my new blog! (4)

Then into a bowl I tossed the spaghetti squash, mushroom mixture, grated romano cheese, shredded asiago, parsley, basil, ( you could also add chopped fresh spinach or kale) a healthy drizzle of olive oil and a few tablespoons of roasted red pepper spread, courtesy of Trader Joe’s, but marinara sauce would work just as well.

Welcome to my new blog! (5)

Stuff your peppers, put them back in the oven until the cheese melts inside and they are warmed through.

Welcome to my new blog! (6)

Serve along side a green salad and you’ll have the perfect lunch or dinner. Thanks for stopping by my new digs!

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Vegetable and Barley Stuffed Peppers

A New Years resolution is a goal that someone sets out to accomplish in the coming year.
I have many goals for 2011 food related and otherwise which I won’t bore you with right now but one thing I will continue to do is to eat more meatless meals. I have to admit I really enjoy cooking with vegetables the possibilities are endless and besides all that color on my plate just makes me happy!
Mixing vegetables with your favorite grains and pastas result in a very hearty and satisfying meal, such is the case with my vegetable and barley stuffed peppers.

Roasted artichoke hearts and portobello mushrooms are the two key ingredients here tossed into the barley, and then of course all that goodness gets stuffed into an edible sweet roasted red pepper. Yes, you could use rice, but I urge you make this with barley, it’s a welcome change. Oh, and did I mention that barley is a nutritional powerhouse? It’s packed with fiber and it even helps lower cholesterol so it’s a win win situation all around!

I served a nice Italian salad along side my stuffed peppers and the husband and myself were very happy and contented!

Prepare your barley just like you do rice using three times as much water as barley. When it’s finished I like to cool it down on a sheet pan so it doesn’t keep cooking and become mushy, you want to retain that nice chewy texture that barley is know for.

The vegetables I used and tossed into my barley were;

Frozen artichoke hearts drizzled with olive oil and roasted in a 400F oven as well as large diced portobello mushroom pieces, diced zucchini is another option as well.
Chopped red onion
Sliced cherry tomatoes
Feta cheese
Fresh basil and parsley
Lemon zest and juice
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Toss all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste
To prepare the peppers slice the top off, scoop out the seeds, brush inside and out with olive oil and roast in oven or under the broiler just until knife tender but watch so they do not colapse, the pepper will be your vessel for the stuffing.
This can be served room temperature or slightly warmed.
Buon Appetito!
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Keeping Up the Detox

I’m still on my healthy eating quest, eating soups and salads for over a week now. I think I used up every single vegetable in my house except for a bunch of peppers I still had. I finally feel detoxed!

I have my husband detoxing along with me, and fortunately for me he will eat anything I put before him so having a Stuffed Pepper for dinner was just fine with him.

I had some leftover cooked brown rice that I sauteed up with onion and garlic, added a dollop of leftover marinara, parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and basil. I also added and sliced up a spicy chicken sausage link that I had, and then stuffed it all into a red peppers that were cored and precooked on my indoor grill. Place your stuffed peppers in a casserole dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with more cheese and bake at 375degrees until peppers are knife tender. Serve with your favorite Italian salad of course!

It’s very cold here today, I feel like I’m in the artic! More snow is due tonight, Gee I hope their wrong!

I had a little kitchen helper today, I propped her right on my counter in her Bumbo chair and she watched me the whole time I was cooking. I think she liked all the colors. We had a nice conversation about how good vegetables are for you!

This is a delicious and hearty Barley Salad that I made for lunch today, very healthy and good for you. . Cook your barley according to directions then let it cool. In the meantime, roast in a 450 degree oven, red, green and yellow peppers along with red onion, chopped eggplant and cook until caramelized and tender. When cooled add to barley along with garbanzo beans, sliced green or kalamata olives, fresh chopped parsley and basil, and a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts.
The Homemade Dressing is made by whisking up 1 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, the juice of 1/2 of a lemon, a teaspoon of Dijon, 1 minced garlic clove, salt, pepper and dried oregano. I only used a couple of tablespoons, you’ll have plenty leftover for other salads, just place in a jar and refrigerate!
Buon Appetito!
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STUFFED PEPPERS WITH SAUSAGE AND FONTINA

My Hubby called from work the other day and with much excitement he said,”Guess what I got today?”so I’m thinking WOW!, maybe he got a raise or something! Instead he said, ” A gigantic bag of Melrose peppers!! I could see how happy he was so I said, “Great!!” It just so happens, my Hubby did a favor for some nice Italian man who grows tons of them in his backyard, and to say Thanks, he brought him a huge bag.

I previously wrote a post on Melrose Peppers a while back just because my Hubby loves them so much, and as I said before, he would just eat that for dinner with some good Italian bread. I normally just saute them in a pan with olive oil, a little garlic and salt and pepper, then add a little red sauce at the end. So, because there were so many, I did a bunch like that, and the ones that were really big, I decided to stuff them. I happen to have a big hunk of Fontina cheese in the frig, and some Italian sausage in bulk. So all I did was cook up the sausage, cube up the cheese, and stuffed the peppers, I also had some leftover marinara, that I layered in also.

There were pans of peppers everywhere!!! So I made a quick call to my Son,( who’s taking after his Dad in the Melrose Pepper department) to stop by on his way home from work for a care package to take home. And without hesitation he said, “I’ll be there”!! So ,as you can see , although they are a very simple dish they are one of my family’s favorite!!

For those of you who never heard of Melrose Peppers, they look like a Cubanelle, banana shaped, very sweet and tender. I wonder if any of you heard of them, or is it just a Chicago thing? I hope my pictures do them justice!!

Buon Appetito!!
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