Last weekend I got a 23 pound box of red bell peppers for $18. They came in all different shapes and sizes, so I had to purpose them differently. I sliced, diced, and chopped some for the freezer. I roasted many of them, and flash froze for another day. I employed the biggest, most choice peppers, as vessels for a main dish.
I remember my mom making stuffed green bell peppers when I was little – – I think it was a popular 1970’s and 1980’s cuisine. She never used sweet peppers, and I don’t even remember seeing them until I grew up. Either they were wildly expensive, thought to be exotic, or simply weren’t available. I don’t know, since the only shopping I did in that era involved a Fisher Price shopping cart. Sweet bell peppers are indeed expensive even today, so I’m always on the hunt for a good deal, and buying in bulk at a lower price allows me to cook with them all year long.
I made stuffed sweet peppers for the freezer, and vacuum sealed them up to prevent freezer burn. I made smaller ones for the kids, medium sized ones for me, and a large ones for my husband. Sort of the Three Bears approach – – Poppa Bear, Momma Bear, and Baby Bear portions. There are two meals and one extra pepper in the picture.
This isn’t really a recipe, but a technique. Here’s what you will need:
red, orange, or yellow bell peppers
ground beef cooked with onion and garlic (don’t forget salt and pepper)
crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce
First, cut around the opening of the peppers, and clean them out.
Cook in boiling water for one minute. Drain and let cool while you make the filling. You do this to soften the pepper, so it’s not like eating a hot, raw pepper when you plate it all up.
Decide for yourself what proportions to meat, rice and veggies you want. Mix with tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, according to how saucy you want your mixture. Add salt and pepper. I made waaayyyy too much filling, so with the extra, I added chopped bell peppers, scooped them in pans and froze for Spanish rice meals.
Now, stuff the peppers.
If you are eating right away, sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top, and bake at 400 until heated through and cheese is melted. If freezing, put stuffed peppers on a tray and flash freeze. Once frozen, store in freezer bags, or better yet, seal with your vacuum sealer.
Anticipating a busy homeschool school year, I’m trying to get meals in the freezer.
Bye, bye delicious peppers – – see you on a busy, chilly fall night!