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I love stuffed peppers. Four chubby, laughing, Italian ladies - my grandfather's sisters - played an important part in my life helping to bring me up in my younger years, and 3 of them were great cooks, and Aunt Mary, who lived for 99 years, made the most fantastic stuffed peppers.

None of her recipes were passed down through the ages, and I can only guess how she made hers. The only thing that I know for sure is that she used sweet bell peppers, ripe red tomatoes, ground beef, and white rice. Over the years I have tried several different recipes, and the one that follows suits me best.

Instead of ground beef, I use turkey sausage; Hot Italian Turkey Sausage! I also use Quinoa instead of rice, although you can certainly make yours with rice; just try not to use White Rice. Brown rice, especially long grain brown rice, has less calories and less carbs than white rice, and over 3 x's the amount of fiber. Since the husks have not been removed (or only partially removed) from the brown rice, it also has more nutrients.

I do hope that you will enjoy the recipe that follows.

Step 1: INGREDIENTS

FOR 2 SERVINGS, THE BASIC INGREDIENTS ARE:

  1. 10 oz Turkey Sausage, casings removed (and I prefer hot turkey sausage)
  2. 1 TBS Coconut Oil or Olive Oil
  3. 1/4 Cup Red Onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 14.5 oz Can Basil, Garlic & Oregano Diced Tomatoes, no salt added.
  5. 2 TBS fresh Basil or Parsley, chopped
  6. 3 or 4 gloves Garlic, crushed and finely chopped (optional)
  7. 1/2 Cup Sharp Provolone Cheese, shredded
  8. 1/4 tsp Ground Chipotle (optional)
  9. 1/2 tsp sea salt (use iodizedsea salt; it's much better for you)
  10. 1 to 1/2 Cup cooked Quinoa, (Red Quinoa preferred) (follow package directions; about 3/4 cup dry)
  11. 2 "Good-sized" Sweet Bell Peppers (medium size or slightly bigger); tops removed, cored, and seeded. Red, Green, or Yellow - whatever colors please you. (Save the tops; set them aside for later use)

Step 2: DIRECTIONS

  1. *Cook the Quinoa according to the package directions and set aside
  2. Saute the decased sausage in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat
  3. Crumble the sausage as it cooks and stir frequently until it is nicely brown and no longer pink, breaking up any large pieces (I have discovered that an old-fashioned potato masher works great here); about 7 - 10 minutes (no need to overcook). When done, remove the sausage to a plate and set aside.
  4. While the sausage is cooking, finely chop the bell pepper tops that you set aside earlier.
  5. In the same skillet, heat the 1 TBS of oil over medium-high heat. Saute the chopped onion and bell pepper tops for a few minutes, or until slightly softened.
  6. Add 1 cup of the diced tomatoes to the pan and cook for a few more minutes, or just until the mixture begins to bubble. Reserve the remaining diced tomatoes and set aside.
  7. Remove the skillet from the heat, then add the chopped Basil, Quinoa, ground Chipotle if using, sausage and cheese. Stir to combine, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  8. Preheat oven to 350f.
  9. While the oven is heating, stuff the bell peppers with the sausage mixture, dividing equally and gently packing the mixture down. Arrange upright in a suitably sized baking dish (IE., keep them upright. You may have to flatten the bottom of the pepper(s) by carefully slicing off a very thin sliver of pepper for this purpose, but be careful; try not to cut through the bottom of the bell peppers).
  10. Spread the remaining diced tomatoes over the tops of the stuffed peppers (it's OK if some of the mixture flows into the bottom of the baking dish); cover, and bake for about 1 hour, or until the peppers are just about tender when pierced with a kitchen fork. (I like mine a little on the firm side so I start checking after they have baked for about 45 minutes)

*I have to be honest here; I cheated! Instead of making a fresh batch of Quinoa, I used some left-over Quinoa Mediterranean Salad in this recipe. A couple of days earlier, I made the salad using a Hunts recipe that contains Quinoa, black olives, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped cucumbers, and a little feta cheese (and of course, I added several cloves of crushed and chopped garlic, and oregano). I made far too much, so I used a cup of it here; if anything, it added additional flavor to this recipe!

Step 3: NUTRITION

Since I mixed two recipes together, I am a bit uncertain about the calories and carbohydrates in this recipe. I can only estimate that this entree has between 350 - 400 calories and 40 - 50 carbs.

ENJOY YOUR DINNER!

A glass of good red wine compliments this meal. A nice Chianti or - in this case - a Frontera Concha Y Toro Malbec from Argentina.

One stuffed pepper is more than filling for one person; additional peppers can be refrigerated for a day or two, or frozen and reheated at a later date.

Step 4:

I made it a little differently but it still tastes amazing. Looks better too lol jk
You're right; your version does look better than mine. Probably due to all that cheese and tomato topping. I have been able to achieve the same effect by topping another batch with slices of munster, shredded cheddar, and petite diced tomatoes. lol2.ero
<p>These look delicious, and your place setting is beautiful with that hibiscus flower. The family anecdote makes the recipe even more special.</p><p>Thanks for sharing, and buon appetito!</p>
<p>I'm part of that family, and echo the appreciation for our awesome aunts' stuffed peppers! They were amazing, and so are these! :-) (Great Instructable, Dad!)</p>

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Bio: I am a 80-year-old self-proclaimed Chef who has spent most of his life in the hotel/resort tourism industry. I have traveled up and down ... More »
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