Monday, September 24, 2012

Gluten-Free Stuffed Bell Pepper Boats

Last year I went on a two-week long back packing trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
It was an amazing trip, and if the opportunity arose, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Though, after two weeks with below-freezing lakes for showers, beef jerky for dinner, and non-scented deodorant (black bears will scavenge for anything scented), one starts to miss the simple comforts of home.
In standard feminine fashion, we girls started fantasizing about pedicures, shaving our legs, and dinners that required more than just adding water to prepare.

Understandably, I was in heaven when I returned home and my mom had prepared stuffed bell peppers for dinner. That meal still holds a solid standing in my "top five favorite meals of all-time" list.
Since last summer, I've been meaning to re-create the recipe with my own twist.
Tonight provided the perfect opportunity!

You will need:

4 large bell peppers, green or red
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 lb ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 cup kale, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sauteed and halved
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Unfortunately, my camera ran out of battery right before I started preparing the dinner, so I don't have step-by-step pictures, but I'll talk you through the process!

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2) Wash and cut bell peppers length-wise (like little boats!) and empty the seeds and white membranous portions.  Set aside.

3)  Combine onion and garlic in large pot and cook until caramelized.  Next, add turkey and cook with onion and garlic until browned.  If needed, drain excess grease from pot when finished cooking.  I like food with a little kick, so at this point I added about one Tbs. of sriracha sauce, but this step is not necessary.  You may want to add some salt and pepper for flavor though!

4)  Add rice, kale, tomatoes, mushrooms, and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese to turkey mixture.

5)  Cover the bottom of your casserole dish with tomato sauce (about 1/2 cup), load up the peppers with the turkey filling, place peppers in casserole dish, cover with aluminum foil.

6)  Bake for 30 minutes, remove aluminum foil, add remaining 1/2 paremasan cheese to tops of peppers, and place dish in oven for an additional 5 minutes.

7)  Remove dish and let peppers rest for 5 minutes.

8)  Enjoy!

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