Friday, October 04, 2013

Low Carb Stuffed Peppers with Turkey Italian Sausage, Ground Beef, and Mozzarella (Phase One, Gluten-Free)

These Stuffed Peppers with Turkey Italian Sausage, Ground Beef, and Mozzarella are great for Phase One

(For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites, and this recipe for Low Carb Stuffed Peppers with Turkey Italian Sausage, Ground Beef, and Mozzarella is something I love to make and freeze individually for quick meals later.  This recipe was featured in January 2012 for a Month of Daily Phase One Recipes, and it's been a big hit ever since.)

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 are almost always there as one of the most-visited recipes.  Who knew stuffed peppers were so popular?  That recipe contains rice, but I also love this version of Phase One Stuffed Peppers and I recently made it again with Jake to update the photos.  We each enjoyed one, and then 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.

Red Peppers Stuffed with Italian Sausage, Ground Beef, and Mozzarella
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)

Ingredients:
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)

Instructions:
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.

Click Here for Printer Friendly Recipe

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.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Delicious Ways to Stuff Peppers:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Sweet Italian Sausage Stuffed Red Peppers from French Kitchen in America
Stuffed Green Peppers with Brown Rice, Italian Sausage, and Parmesan from Kalyn's Kitchen
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers from Almost Turkish Recipes
Stuffed Peppers with Cabbagefrom Kalyn's Kitchen
Stuffed Bell Peppers from Taste and Tell
Southwestern Stuffed Pepper from Kalyn's Kitchen
Red Peppers with Cumin Scented Halloumi Cubes from Nami Nami
(I find these recipes from other blogs from Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosures:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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56 comments:

  1. My partner is going to love these! Thanks. :)

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  2. I love the Hot Italian Turkey Sausage I get at Whole Foods and mix it with 96% fat free ground beef for my meat loaf!
    This looks wonderfully good . . . fun to know the green peppers are from your garden! I don't have any peppers big like this only little ones right now.

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  3. Kalyn, I am so honoured that you've visited my blog! Shame on me, I have been meaning to come see your place for a long time now, especially with that wonderful event you started: weekend herb blogging. There are no excuses... anyway, better late than never. I look forward to seeing more of you and am happy that I finally made it here, in your wonderful kitchen.

    I wanted you to know also that the link to enlarge the graphic spreadsheet about the graters has been fixed. I know you may not have the time to revisit so you can go directly to the spreadsheet link: http://tasteslikehome.googlepages.com/Bloggraters.mht

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  4. This is one for the recipe file! Good, quick dinner food. Thanks, Kalyn.

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  5. YUM! Turkey with beef....that sounds like one heck of a combination. Btw, I should thank you for putting me on Calendula and Conceret's blog....it gave me a beautiful tomato sauce!

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  6. I love stuffed peppers! Looks like I'm going to have to make them one more time this autumn.... poor me!
    They do freeze wonderfully well, don't they? And make great lunches!

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  7. Those looks delicious and I'm surprised it can be made so healthfully.

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  8. I just froze twenty pounds of peppers before our first frost. Now I have lots of new recipes to make throughout the winter.

    You are a great resource.

    Cherri

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  9. Those look pretty good. Stuffed vegetables are so versatile. You can do many things with the stuffing and you can stuff different vegetables. I just made some stuffed zucchini.

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  10. Hi Everyone,
    Nice to know that people think this looks good. I've taken this for my lunch twice and really enjoyed it. Cheri, wow, twenty pounds of peppers!

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  11. Hola, Kalyn! As always- your stuffed peppers look amazingly comforting and delicious.

    I stopped by to see if you might have some beef stew recipe ideas- Steve is talking about making some kind of beef stew in the Crock Pot.

    xoxo

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  12. Hooray Karina! Great to hear from you. I hope you are writing these comments in bed, off the leg! That is an order, stay in bed! Hope you found a stew recipe, I do have a couple of them.

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  13. Oh my goodness, these look so delicious! I wish Slovakia was into meats other than pork, pork, pork so I could try this out sooner rather than next year. I think the photos look great, too - totally drool-worthy. I will be saving this recipe.

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  14. This recipe is Awesome! My family loved it! My son & nephew asked for seconds. Thumbs up for another awesome Kalyn recipe :o)

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  15. Lely thanks so much for letting me know you liked the stuffed peppers. I need to make those again soon myself!

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  16. Hi Kalyn. My husband and I are just starting out on this and gave these a try. Sadly, I was trying to remember the recipe and bought ground turkey and regular sausage instead so I am sure that accounts for the fat but oh my they were wonderful. It is a keeper - but we will try to do it right next time. Thanks for this site!

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  17. Anonymous, how I wish I had some peppers in my garden so I could make this. Not yet though. Do try again with the turkey Italian Sausage, it's wonderful.

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  18. I know that nobody has commented since last year, but I just found this recipe. I just had to comment that I made these and they were the best stuffed peppers I have ever had. I have tried to make many different ways. This is by far the best!

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  19. Anonymous, I love getting comments on older posts like this. Thanks so much for letting me know you liked the recipe.

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  20. Kalyn,
    Thanks for a delicious recipes. I use only the turkey sausage and add basmati rice instead of the beef. Tried it both ways and it is so yummy. I do blanch the peppers though on stovetop. How do you blanch them in microwave? Thanks so much for such delicious and healthy recipes.
    ...Gerrie

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  21. Gerrie, just microwave the peppers for a few minutes, similar to blanching them.

    Your version sounds good.

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  22. I love this recipe! I've made it several times and the last time I made it I made it as a casserole instead of stuffed peppers and I think that's probably the way I'll make it from now on. I chopped and sauteed the peppers first in order to get some of the moisure out of them. It wasn't that much easier, but my husband and I both like it better.

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  23. I'm intrigued by the idea of making this as a casserole; bet I would like that too!

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  24. I'm a big fan of stuffed peppers! Such a great way to get in a veggie serving without even realizing it. That stuffing sounds delicious!

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  25. Thanks Joanne. This was one of my favorite things to have in the freezer when I was teaching school!

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  26. I love this version without the rice. Much leaner and, for me, the kind of dish I could eat often. I will definitely make the whole batch and freeze them individually, so I can pop one at a time into the microwave for lunch.

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  27. Hubby had recently made a comment about having stuffed peppers but no rice - I really like this recipe - thanks for sharing I think this will be on the menu this week

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  28. I love stuffed peppers, and I love your hints for making these lower fat!

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  29. Lydia, the perfect lunch to pop in the microwave at work or home!

    Kat, hope you enjoy it.

    Deborah, the rinsing really takes off a lot of fat but doesn't affect the flavor.

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  30. Hubby and I finally purchased a range this week-end, so no more cooking only with small appliances. I hit your site yesterday looking for the recipe for the kale lasagna, but when I saw this recipe I knew I was changing plans. I didn't feel like making marinara, but happened to find a sugar free sauce at the grocery store. Of course it was almost twice as much as the brands with sugar. I will never understand that.

    We purchased a convection oven, so I was curious to see how the first recipe I made in my new oven would turn out. These were fantastic, and the peppers browned nicely the last twenty minutes. This was delicious! It is definitely going on my rotation list.

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  31. Cee Jay, congrats on the new stove. Glad you enjoyed the recipe.

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  32. Thank you! These were really tasty and easy to make. Easy to make after work.

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  33. Maureen, glad you enjoy them!

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  34. Do you think this will work in a crockpot? I'm currently making your basalmic onion potroast and my mouth is watering when I catch a whiff of it cooking.

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  35. Amanda, I haven't tried it in a crockpot. I think it would work, but the cheese wouldn't brown so they might not look quite as good.

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  36. I put the peppers in an large muffin pan. Works out perfect!!! Yummmm!!!

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  37. I cant wait to try this recipe! Looks amazing! Quick question though, my boyfriend and I work nights, so I think this would be the perfect dish to make and have waiting in the freezer when we get home but how do you reheat it and for how long? Thanks so much!

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  38. Katherine, you could definitely make ahead and freeze. I would thaw them in the fridge while you're at work, then reheat in a casserole dish that's covered with foil at about 375F. I could only guess at how long it would take, but probably at least 30 minutes if they're cold from the fridge. (Start checking after 20 minutes and check every 10 minutes or so until they're hot.)

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  39. They microwave well between 2 glass plates. My son loved them so much he ate both of his in 1 sitting, my husband and I had our 2nds for lunch today. They are really good. I did half the cheese though. I have been trying to stay away from overdoing dairy. The only suggestion I have is if you are wanting to serve many people use small bell peppers so that you have enough filling for them all. This made enough to fill 6 large or 8 small (I think) peppers. Yum Yum!

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  40. I don't cook what I don't like - peppers being on that list - so my husband has suffered greatly. I knew this would delight him, and of course it did (he suggested I make this often). Next time I'll probably chop up more of the peppers and do more of a casserole style for me & the kids while hubby gets the actual stuffed peppers. My only question...I put one pepper in the freezer. How do you usually reheat? Do you thaw first and then microwave?

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  41. Oh - and we used 2 red, 2 green, and 2 yellow peppers...it made for a beautiful dish!

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  42. Yes, I would thaw and then microwave.

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  43. This easily became a meal on our regular rotating menu - and I always make a little extra so my hubby can take a pepper with him on his weekly out-of-town job. I just bought some ground hot Italian CHICKEN sausage...but I don't know how to use it. Would that work fine in here?

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  44. Cristin, glad you are enjoying it, and I think chicken sausage would be just fine.

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  45. I just made these and the flavor was so good. I had some leftover roasted cauliflower that I didn't want to go to waste, so I chopped it up like "rice" and stirred it in. Yum. I did find that I had way too much filling for the six peppers (even if I had left out the cauliflower, it only ended up being about a cup). The filling is really good on its own, so I enjoyed it that way. I just don't ever want anything to go to waste! Thank you so much for your incredible site. It's such a great resource!

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  46. If I want to freeze some of the peppers do I go ahead and cook them first and then just reheat?

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  47. Lee Ann, yes cook the peppers as per the recipe, then freeze. Thaw in the fridge if you can and reheat in a microwave. You can cook a few of them for a slightly shorter time if you want them a little crisper after they've been frozen.

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  48. Do you have a meatless recipe for stuffed peppers?

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  49. PennyAnn, I guess I don't, but the filling from this recipe for Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini would be delicious in peppers.

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  50. THIs is one of my all time favorite KK recipes - and stuffed peppers has a history in our family: I made these all the time when I was first married. My hubby was so sweet he ate them and complimented me. The, my mother in law told me he HATES bell peppers. He was just too sweet to tell me!

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  51. Donna, what a fun story. This is one of my personal faves too!

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  52. Can you recommend an alternative to turkey sausages? I can't find turkey sausages here in Holland, they only seem to have beef and pork sausages!

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  53. Hi Michael,
    I'm recommending the turkey sausage as a lower-fat option, but for flavor I think traditional Italian sausage made with pork would taste great here. Hope you enjoy!

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