Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers - Mexican or Italian Style

Looking back it seems like a hazy dream.
I can picture the kitchen of our home that we lived in back then.
I can feel the fascination and anticipation for the moment.
I can sense the warmth spreading through my body until it envelopes me like a hug.The warmth of a lovingly made home cooked meal.

Maybe it is my Italian heritage coming through, but food has always been a language of love for me.

When my grandma served stuffed peppers for the first time, I was fascinated by them. I think the idea of eating food out of an edible bowl seemed undeniably fancy. And yet, the contents of that fancy meal were ordinary and called for all the goodness that makes up comfort food. Fancy comfort food - the paradox excited me and I held stuffed green peppers in the highest of esteem, reserving them in my mind for special occasions.

As with most recipes for special occasions, I automatically associated stuffed peppers with complicated recipes, long hours of toil in the kitchen, and mounds of clean up. This couldn't be much further from the truth. You can get by with the bare essentials of your kitchen and the recipe offers a variety of options with which it's hard to go wrong.

Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers - Mexican or Italian Style
Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of my grandma's recipe written down, so this is an adaptation of this recipe to recreate it, as well as offer some variety.

6 peppers (any color - I'm using green because that's what Grandma did)
1 lb ground beef, chicken, or turkey
1 can (14 ounce) black or white beans, drained (you could substitute any kind of bean you like or skip them all together for a more authentic Italian style)
1 can (14 ounce) diced tomatoes (you can use ones with seasoning already for variety)
1 cup uncooked quinoa or cooked rice (optional, but I think it helps balance the texture and lighten the meal from the heaviness of the ground meat, I didn't have either when I made this recipe last)
Mexican Style: 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1 teaspoon cumin
Italian Style: 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice

Mexican Style: avocado, cilantro, salsa, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, and/or lime juice
Italian Style: Parmesan or Romano cheeses, marinara sauce, pasta (if you skipped the rice and quinoa), and/or your favorite bread to wipe your plate clean (as all good little Italians do)

Wash then slice the tops off the peppers as closely to the top as possible. Remove the seeds and set aside.

In a bowl combine the desired meat, beans, quinoa, spices and cheese of your choice.

Then scoop the filling into the peppers, placing the stuffed peppers into the crock pot. 
Note: Depending on the size of the peppers you may not be able to fit all 6. If you have extra stuffing you could cook in a saucepan until the meat is browned to be served on the side or eaten at another time.

Pour 1/2 cup of water into the base of the crock pot.

Cover and heat on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Towards the end, place some more shredded cheese on top of each pepper to melt it.

Serve with the desired toppings and sides and enjoy!

And while we're speaking of meals...efficient meal planning is one of the areas I want to work on for 2017. It is perfect timing that my friend, Keri, is offering a 7 day challenge starting later this month; will you join me? Sign up below!

 Are you tired of trying to decide what is for dinner at 4pm? Do you find yourself running to the grocery store every other day? Have you tried meal planning before but it just didn't work? Well friends, I have a challenge for you! Join me for 7 days starting January 15th as I share a series via email for how you can start meal planning! http://eepurl.com/cwOjbr

Waltzing In Beauty

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1 comment:

  1. These look amazing, and I love reading about the memories that go with them!


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