|These Stuffed Peppers with Turkey Italian Sausage, Ground Beef, and Mozzarella are great for Phase One|
If you watch the left sidebar where it shows the most visited recipes, you might have noticed that Stuffed Green Peppers with Brown Rice, Italian Sausage, and Parmesan have been in the top ten for weeks and weeks now. Who knew stuffed peppers were so popular? That recipe contains rice, but since we're doing the Month of Daily Phase One Recipes I thought this was a good time for me to update my favorite recipe for Phase One Stuffed Peppers. I made them with Jake and we each enjoyed one, and then today I had leftovers with my brother Mark, who also thought they were great. This recipe makes six peppers, and this is the type of thing I'd make ahead and keep in the freezer to take for lunch when I was teaching school, so even if you're only cooking for one or two people I recommend making the whole recipe and freezing some.
I know lots of people read my blog who aren't dieting, but for those might wonder, there are three things I did here to reduce the saturated fat: I used lower-fat turkey Italian sausage and lean ground beef, I rinsed the cooked ground beef and sausage with hot water to remove as much fat as I could, and I made sure to use a skim milk version of mozzarella cheese. If you follow those steps, this is a South Beach friendly recipe for any phase, but whether or not you're a South Beach fan, this is a great recipe for stuffed peppers.
Heat about 2 tsp. oil in a large frying pan and start browning the ground beef while you prepare the peppers. Cook the beef until it's cooked through and starting to brown, breaking it apart with a turner as it cooks.
I like to square off the bottom of the peppers to keep them standing up in the dish when they're cooking. (If there's a small hole in the bottom, that helps any excess fat to drain out while they cook.)
Cut the top off each pepper and save, then cut out the seeds from each one and discard. Choose a dish that will keep the peppers standing upright, and spray with non-stick spray or olive oil.
I rinse the ground beef with very hot water after it's browned, then let it drain while I cook the turkey sausage.
In the same pan, saute the turkey sausage until it's well browned, breaking apart with a turner. Put the turkey sausage into the colander with the ground beef and rinse with hot water.
Finely chop the reserved pepper tops and a medium onion and saute them in the same pan, adding a little more olive oil if needed.
Mix the rinsed and drained ground beef and sausage into the vegetables, then mix in enough tomato sauce to barely moisten the mixture, about 1 cup or slightly more.
Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool slightly; then mix in the Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. (Reserve about 1/4 cup Mozzarella for the tops of the peppers.)
Use a large spoon to fill the peppers with the mixture, packing it down so each is tightly filled. Put a generous pinch of Mozzarella on the top of each mixture.
Cover the pan loosely with foil, keeping it above the peppers so it won't stick to the cheese as they cook, and bake covered at 375F/190C for about 30 minutes.
Then remove the foil and bake about 20 minutes more, or until the cheese is nicely melted and the mixture is piping hot clear through.
And just for those who enjoy watching how my photography skills are evolving, here's the original photo of this recipe from back in 2007!
Phase One Stuffed Peppers with Turkey Italian Sausage, Ground Beef, and Mozzarella
(Makes six servings, recipe created by Kalyn)
6 red or green peppers, or a mixture of colors
1 pound extra lean ground beef (called beef mince outside of the U.S.)
1 pkg. (5 links/19.5 oz) turkey Italian sausage (hot or mild, but I prefer hot)
1 cup diced onion (1 medium onion)
1 cup diced red pepper (tops of peppers)
4-6 tsp. olive oil for browning meat and veggies
Vege-sal to season meat (or use salt)
fresh ground black pepper, to season meat
1 cup (or slightly more) spicy tomato sauce with basil (I use my own Marinara sauce from the freezer so I know it is sugar free. Bottled sauce is fine, but check the label to get the one that is lowest in sugar.)
2 cups grated low fat mozzarella cheese (I used skim milk mozzarella cheese with 5 grams fat per ounce)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (optional, you could use a little less mozzarella if adding this)
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Cut tops off peppers, making a deep enough cut that you have some pepper to chop for the filling. Square off the bottom of each pepper to make them stand up. (It's nice to have a small hole in the bottom so any extra fat can drain out, and cutting off the bottoms also accomplishes this.) Clean out inside of peppers and wash if needed. Choose a pan that will keep the peppers standing upright and spray with olive oil or nonstick spray.
In very large frying pan, heat a small amount of olive oil and cook hamburger until lightly browned. (I use my turner or a potato masher to break up the meat into smaller bits as it cooks.) Put the browned meat in a colander or fine-mesh strainer, rinse with very hot water to remove fat, and let drain. In same frying pan, add a tiny amount of olive oil, squeeze turkey sausage out of links, and cook until lightly brown. Add to hamburger in colander and rinse again.
Add a bit more oil to pan and cook chopped peppers and onions for about 3-4 minutes, until barely starting to soften. Turn off heat and put meat back into pan with peppers and onions. Add about 1 cup tomato sauce, just enough to barely moisten the mixture. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Let mixture cool slightly, then mix in cheeses, saving about 1/4 cup Mozzarella for the top of the peppers.
Put the peppers in the pan standing upright. Stuff each pepper with meat/veggie/cheese mixture, using a large spoon and pressing in tightly until you use all the filling. Put a pinch of Mozzarella cheese on the top of each pepper. Cover the dish loosely with foil, tenting it up so it doesn't touch the tops of the peppers.
Bake, covered with foil about 30 minutes. Take off foil and bake about 20 minutes more, until cheese is melted completely and top is slightly browned. Serve hot.
This freezes well, so even if you're only cooking for one or two I recommend making the full amount and stashing some in the freezer for lunches or easy dinners another time.
South Beach Suggestions:
This is a perfect dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. For phase one, serve with a nice green salad like Mary's Perfect Salad. For phase two or three, you could add something like Whole Wheat Couscous Side Dish with Green Onions and Parmesan.
More Delicious Ways to Stuff Peppers:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Stuffed Green Peppers with Brown Rice, Italian Sausage, and Parmesan from Kalyn's Kitchen
Stuffed Peppers with Cabbage from Kalyn's Kitchen
Southwestern Stuffed Pepper from Kalyn's Kitchen
Feta-Stuffed Peppers from Seriously Good
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers from Almost Turkish Recipes
Stuffed Bell Peppers from Taste and Tell
Red Peppers with Cumin Scented Halloumi Cubes from Nami Nami
Sweet Italian Sausage Stuffed Red Peppers from French Kitchen in America
Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers from Chez Megane
Bell Pepper Stuffed with Rice and Mushrooms from Dinner for One
(I find these recipes from other blogs from Food Blog Search.)