Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Creole Stuffed Bell Peppers

Sweet bell peppers stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, Italian sausage, rice & a Creole tomato sauce, topped with cheddar cheese, slices of Velveeta or your favorite.
Sweet bell peppers stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, Italian sausage, rice & a Creole tomato sauce, topped with cheddar cheese, slices of Velveeta or your favorite.

Creole Stuffed Bell Peppers

I absolutely adore stuffed bell peppers. The Cajun? Not so much.

Remember his aversion to veggies?  Well, the poor bell pepper falls right into that category of any other whole veggie that is stuffed - even though most often the very veggie he is rejecting whole, is mixed in the stuffing anyway! So, as with any stuffed vegetable, he will just eat the stuffing from a stuffed bell pepper, and throw away the pepper. Silly man. I mean, he eats green bell pepper a lot. How many recipes do y'all see here that contain The Trinity - onion, celery, and ... hello ... green bell pepper? Lots. Sigh.

Needless to say I don't make these nearly as often as I'd like to. The thing is, all veggie hatred aside, I don't think a lot of people make stuffed peppers much anymore. Sad, because as far as I'm concerned, they really are good and not at all hard to make. I mean you've got your meat, a little starch and veggies, all rolled into one, right?

You'll notice that I like to cut my peppers in half lengthwise, cutting from the stem to stern, rather than cutting off the top of a whole pepper and stuffing it that way, so that it is standing up. It's just easier for me to cook them this way, and it stretches out the peppers.

Certainly though, if you prefer them made with the tops cut off, do them that way. Just cut off the upper part, just under the stem and then remove the spines and seeds. Either way, you'll want to parcook the cleaned peppers by dropping them into boiling water or microwaving them. I do mine for about 6 minutes.

I also like to use a blend of ground beef with some Italian sausage. Sometimes I'll even start with some bacon.

To that I add creole tomato sauce - which is basically tomato sauce cooked down with onion, celery and green bell pepper.

Speaking of veggies.... this handheld Food Saver is how I keep things like deli meats and cheeses, as well as blocks of hard and soft cheeses and all of the bits and pieces of onion, celery and bell pepper fresh for the next time I need them. I love, love, love this little gadget.

Because of the cost of food these days, I mostly buy the large family packs of meats or sale meat these days, so I've graduated to a countertop vertical Food Saver too for those meats because the handheld bags aren't recommended for freezing. The handheld unit is perfect for those things that you are in and out of often, so I'm still using this pretty much everyday on something.

Mix in some rice, most often just leftover rice, some seasonings, and some of the sauce, then evenly divide the mixture between all of the peppers. I add some Rotel tomatoes with the remaining sauce and top the peppers off with it.

Add a light sprinkling of bread crumbs if you like - I like the Italian seasoned kind but I've used plain and panko, or no bread crumbs at all if I'm using cheese, which I add at the end, a light sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese or thin slices of Velveeta, whatever you like.

I asked The Cajun to pick me up some sharp cheddar on the way home one day, and he showed up with this.

I needed some shredded cheddar for something that day so it didn't work for the purpose in which I had intended, but, y'all know I love my Velveeta, so I wasn't exactly angry either! I shoved it in the fridge until something came up where I could use it and this seemed right as rain!

By the way, stuffed peppers freeze pretty well, so some of those extra baked peppers above, went into the freezer for a quick flash freeze, after which they were bagged up and will become a quick lunch or dinner for those occasions that I am dining alone in the near future. Defrost and then heat up in the microwave and you've got one speedy meal! You can also prepare these in advance unbaked and freeze them. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or in the microwave on defrost first, before baking.

For more of my favorite Cajun and Creole recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!

Recipe: Creole Stuffed Bell Peppers

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish 
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40 min

Total time: 1 hour
Yield: About 4 servings


For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup each chopped onion, celery and bell pepper
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans regular tomato sauce
For the Peppers:
  • 4 large sweet bell peppers, green, red or yellow
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 or 2 links spicy Italian sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (like Creole or Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 can of Rotel tomatoes (original or mild), drained
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh, dry or panko bread crumbs
  • Freshly shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack or your favorite) or thin slices Velveeta

Prepare sauce by melting butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the peppers lengthwise, stem to bottom, and scrape out seeds and ribs. Bring a large pot of water to boil and drop the pepper halves in, reduce heat, allowing peppers to parboil at a simmer for only 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a separate skillet, saute the onion in olive oil until tender. Remove the sausage from the casing and add it and the ground beef to the skillet; cooking until browned, and breaking up into small pieces. Drain well. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add 1/2 cup of the prepared tomato sauce, reserve the remaining sauce. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until sauce is heated through. Stir in rice, salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Pour 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and place peppers in the dish. Loosely scoop the beef and rice mixture evenly into each pepper half, topping each off until you use all of the filling.

Mix the Rotel tomatoes with the remaining tomato sauce, and spoon evenly over the tops of each pepper and sprinkle each with bread crumbs. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until peppers are tender and filling is heated through. Remove, add cheese to top, and return to oven until cheese melts.

Cook's Notes: Peppers may also be cut standing. Simply cut off right under the top stem and remove the ribs and seeds, standing peppers up to stuff and cook. I prefer to microwave the raw peppers, about 6 minutes, rather than boil them. May also substitute approximately 2 cups of homemade creole tomato sauce, divided. Cheese topping may also be omitted. Peppers may be assembled for freezing or leftovers may be frozen.

Dirty Rice Stuffed Peppers: Prepare a recipe of dirty rice for the filling in original recipe.

Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers: Omit ground beef and sausage. Wrap a boneless ribeye or sirloin steak in plastic wrap and place into freezer for 20 minutes. Remove, unwrap and thinly slice against the grain. Whisk together 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons each balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon onion and garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes. Place meat in a plastic bag or bowl and toss with marinade. Let rest 1 hour. Add marinade and meat to saucepan and cook until no longer pink. May omit or include the sauce. Saute onion and pepper blend in skillet until softened. Drain meat and add vegetables along with 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese. Omit rice. Meanwhile, prepare peppers as above. Layer in peppers, cheese and meat, ending with cheese. Bake as above.

Seafood Stuffed Peppers: Substitute 1 pound small shrimp, crawfish and/or crabmeat, or any combination of the three, omitting the meats and adding after the sauce is warmed through. Add one teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning and 2 teaspoons dried parsley.

Shortcut Shrimp Sauce: Loosen one can condensed cream of shrimp soup with about 1/2 cup of water or to desired consistency. Add 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay. Heat and spoon over peppers before serving, omitting cheese.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on March 9, 2010
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  1. Crazy great sounding... Love every ingredient (and the pepper)!

    Like the extra za za zing with the sausage

  2. They sound super good to me. I believe the Cajun is missing out here.

  3. I made stuffed pepper last week. Like the Rotel and cheese topping idea, will have to try that next time Mary

  4. veyr nice delious sounding...will try only substituting the beef with chicken

  5. My husband has been wanting me to cook stuffed peppers. I keep telling him I've never made them and don't have a recipe. I guess I don't have any excuses now.

  6. Gosh...am I honngrrry !!! As usual, its all YOUR fault !! *back to chewing my sugarless gum...blek*

  7. Yum. This made my tummy growl.

  8. This looks yummy. Made your Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe for a dinner party at a friend's home this past weekend. Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious, so much so that my friend asked for the recipe. Along with the recipe I sent her your Deep South Dish website link.

  9. These look delicious, Mary. I'm going to make these just as soon as peppers become less expensive. In my area, they are quite pricey.

  10. I love stuffed bell peppers, but I hated them when I was little. Maybe the Cajun needs to grow up.

  11. Sigh, stuffed peppers make me a happy dude! I just realized I haven't made them since November when I roasted them on the egg. Like you I added sausage to mine (Chorizo in my case).

    You cut yours just like my mom did (lengthwise).

  12. Here I am again right after you on the SITS comments line! Lucky me. OMGosh these peppers look wonderful. I have never made them probably because no recipe ever really appealed to me but your recipe sounds like a winner. I am definitely trying them. :)

  13. looks amazing...i love stuffed peppers too. yum!
    stopping by from sits

  14. Do you drain the liquid from the Rotel? What size can?

  15. Hi Omnivore! Undrained on the Rotel and that brand of diced tomatoes only come in one size - 10 ounce. Enjoy!

  16. has anyone ever cut up bell peppers and made a casserole of this instead of stuffing the peppers.I have small grandkids and also older folks with artritis hands ,that casserole would be easier for them to eat.

      Add to menu
      Create new
      Check out how many calories in Kroger Unstuffed Pepper Bake. Get answers to all your nutrition facts questions at FitClick.
      Posted by BeckyB83
      Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 2:03pm filed under Main Dishes

      Recipe category: Main Dishes
      Prep time: 20 min
      Cook time: 20 min
      Difficulty: Easy
      Calories: 278 (14% DV)
      Fat: 11g (18% DV)
      Carbohydrates: 18g (6% DV)
      Protein: 28g (56% DV)
      Ingredients: Makes 6 servings
      1 lb.

      Ground Beef
      10 oz.

      Chopped Green Peppers

      Garlic Cloves,s minced
      1/2 tsp.

      1/4 tsp.

      Ground Black Pepper
      14-1/2 oz.

      Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained
      1 cup

      Instant Brown Rice
      1 tsp.

      Worcestershire Sauce
      1 tsp.

      Italian Seasoning
      8 oz.

      Finely Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
      15 oz.

      Tomato Sauce

      Tip: For nutritional information on all the ingredients in Kroger Unstuffed Pepper Bake just click on each ingredient name. Then adjust the serving size for any Kroger Unstuffed Pepper Bake ingredient with the serving size tool in the nutrition facts area to the right to see how you can save calories, carbs and more.
      Preheat oven to 375F.
      In a large sauce pan, saute ground beef and onions, green peppers and garlic for 5 minutes, or until beef is browned. Drain off excess fat, and season with salt and pepper.
      Stir in the tomatoes, rice, Worcestershire sauce and Italian seasoning. Remove from heat, and stir in 1 cup cheese.
      Spread mixture evenly into a 13x9 baking dish and top with tomato sauce and remaining cheese.
      Bake for 20 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly.

  17. Yes, absolutely! I haven't done it here on the website yet, but essentially you simply take these ingredients and layer them into a casserole dish. I'd do the meats first, then the peppers, rice, etc. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes or till everything is heated through. For children and elders I would eliminate the Cajun seasoning and use plain diced tomatoes instead of Rotel.

  18. Mary,
    If you have an Aldi's in your area you can get the 3-pack mixed (red,yellow,green) for anywhere between 99¢ to $1.49. A great deal! I buy all my basic groceries at Aldis and only go to the other stores for meats and ingredients I can't get there.
    I consider them my stock ingredient store and I have saved a mint over the years.

    I have made this recipe and my hubs raved!!! And I almost cried it was so perfect. Keep up the good work!
    Best, Teresa

    1. No Aldi's here either. That's a bargain too especially for the mixed! I'm so glad that you enjoyed the peppers - wish I could get my husband to eat them. His mama spoiled him on meat and potatoes!!

    2. I agree Theresa....Aldi's is super! Their products and prices are great. I buy a lot there and save tons of money that my family can use for other things.

  19. do you have to cut them in half? i always remember my mama leaving them whole and because of that i always want them that way.

    1. Absolutely not Dominque! Cut those peppers the way that you love them - enjoy!!

  20. What do you think of adding shrimp to this?

    1. Shrimp would be an excellent addition! Use about a pound of smaller sized shrimp, peeled & deveined and add them in after you brown the sausage when you add the tomato sauce.

  21. These look fabulous, Mary! I've never made them like this before, but I'm going to have to try this recipe! I think I may add some chili powder and cumin to the mix, to give it a Southwestern flair, and use fresh pork sausage, instead of Italian, since I don't think the mixture of the anise with the chili powder and cumin would work. I also like a sweet tomato sauce, so I'll add some sugar to it to cut the acid, as I have problems with acid reflux. Your site it truly my favorite when it comes to getting great recipes! Thanks for all the work you do to share them with us all! :)

    1. Sounds great to me Bonnie & thank you so much. I appreciate that!

  22. I've been enjoying trying out your recipes and this one is no exception. It really kicked my tried and true stuffed pepper recipe up a notch. It had more flavor and a lot more spice and my husband was very pleased!! Thanks for sharing your great recipes. I made your Mimi's Sticky Chicken the other day and also used my leftover New Year's ham bone in your Ham Bone Soup. I love to try new recipes and every one of yours has been a hit with my family.

    1. I'm thrilled you're enjoying everything - thanks so much for coming back by to let me know. That means a lot!!

  23. I made these last night and they were so much better than my tried and true bell pepper recipe. A lot more flavor and spice and my husband was very pleased. Thanks for offering these great recipes!! I made Mimi's Sticky Chicken the other night and used my New Year's ham bone in your Ham Bone Beans. I love to try new recipes and yours never fail to please!!

  24. I made these tonight and they were AWESOME! Husband LOVED them too! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. You're so welcome Charlcie & thanks so much for stopping back by to let me know!

  25. how large is the can of tomatoes? We don't have Rotel (if that's a brand name) up here in BC, but... what I figured I'd do is get a can (whichever size it needs to be) of regular tomatoes (chopped tomatoes?) and add a small can of green chilis.

    1. The Rotel tomatoes are in a slightly smaller can at 10 ounces, but it's fine to use plain diced tomatoes which are usually found in 14 to 15 ounce size. Just drain off the excess liquid.

  26. Cutting them in half is such a brilliant idea! I'm doing it like that from here on out. I love stuffed peppers and you're recipe looks yummy!
    Thanks for sharing doll.


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