Thursday, October 31, 2013

Italian Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers

You'd think I'd be prepared.

We're having guests tomorrow.  Well, technically, it's my family, which can hardly constitute as guests, but we're having people coming to stay with us in our home, sleep in our beds, eat our food, use our toilet.  I'm not complaining.  It's what guests do.  And I'm thrilled to share our space and our toilet paper with the ones I love.

Linens have been laundered, activities have been planned, a belated birthday gift has been wrapped. 

But I'm in a bit of a pickle.  They arrive tomorrow night and I'm stumped on dinner.  I've been thinking and overthinking about it all darn day.  You see, I've been making these stuffed bell peppers a lot for Nathan and me, and they're mighty delicious, but they're just not something I would serve to my family on the night of their Texas arrival.  They're more of a meat and potatoes kind of family (no, we're not farm people, but I actually had someone at work the other day tell me he could see me growing up on a farm.  Um no.  If you know me at all this is as far from my personality as you can get.  I don't do farms.  I don't do camping.  I don't do dirty, sweaty things.  I'm very much a girl).  But my parents like meals with a piece of meat (and a side of wine)- like a filet of steak or a breast of chicken.  That sort of thing.  And for some reason it's tearing me up inside.

Nathan wasn't much help when I phoned him in Austin this evening (yes, I'm greeting the trick-or-treaters solo tonight), and the fact that he is expected to mow the yard and clean up the unfinished bathroom upon his arrival tomorrow morning is really all I can ask of him.  Dinner is up to me.  And dinner I shall serve.

oh, and the best part of this little visit?  i'm gonna get to see this guy and this girl.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serves 2

1/2 cup uncooked instant brown rice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 cup ground italian sausage crumbles (I use Jimmy Dean Fully Cooked Sausage Crumbles)
1/8 cup grated parmesan
2 green bell peppers

Cook rice according to package directions.  Set aside.

Cut top off peppers 1/2 inch from the stem end and remove seeds (reserve and chop up the top of the pepper around the stem to add to the filling mixture).  Place standing up in baking dish (for two peppers I used a 9x5-inch loaf pan).  Set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and chopped bell pepper; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Stir often, until soft and translucent.  Add garlic, and cook for one minute.  Add oregano, fennel seeds, sausage, and rice.  Toss and cook until warmed through.  Divide mixture between each bell pepper, pressing down with the back of a spoon until full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with parmesan and cook for 10 minutes more, until cheese is melted.


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