Perfect Cold Weather Dinner: Cooking Up Hooley

Cooking Up a Hooley In the Kitchen
By Katie Gagne

~~ Perfect Cold Weather Dinner~~
Tasty, Colorful, Homey, and so Versatile.  Stuffed Peppers were one of my favorite meals growing up. It was simple but so yummy. Mom always paired it with mashed potatoes. Even though so much has changed in the food world with so many new and robust flavors everywhere, my favorite version of these peppers is still very much the old-school, traditional one from my childhood. So, here is that delicious, basic recipe, but with some ideas for how you could change them up a bit.

Mom’s Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 cups uncooked instant white rice
2 lbs. ground beef
8 green bell peppers
1 envelope onion soup mix
2 cans tomato soup
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoon black pepper

Prepare rice according to package directions, adding the salt to the water.
Crumble the ground meat into a skillet, sprinkle with the granulated garlic and pepper and cook until browned.
Place cooked rice and meat in a large bowl and toss with onion soup mix.
Cut tops off the peppers and remove the seeds and membranes.
Blanch in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, just to soften slightly. Drain and cool so you can handle them.
Spread one can of the tomato soup in the bottom of a casserole dish (9×13)
Fill each pepper with the meat and rice mixture.
Place each pepper open side up in the casserole dish.
Spoon remaining can of soup over top of the peppers.
Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the peppers are soft and everything is hot.
Placed two on a plate and serve with mashed potatoes. The soup makes a great gravy to ladle over the mashed potatoes.

Variations
Use brown or jasmine rice. Use orzo pasta or quinoa instead of rice.
Substitute ground turkey or chicken or any variety of sausage for the ground beef.
Top the peppers with salsa instead of the soup.
Top the peppers with cheese.
Use poblano, or red, yellow, and orange bell peppers.

Enjoy!!

*Katie Gagne teaches English at Trinity High School in Garfield Heights. She is also the owner of her in-home bakery Sassy’s Sweets and Oh So Much More. You can contact her at (440) 773-4459 or at mkbluebows@aol.com.

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