Cooking with Bell Peppers
The Wonderful World of Bell Peppers
In rural Upstate NY, Bell Peppers LOVE our garden, and grow in abundance. While the following is by no means a complete list of Bell Pepper recipes, it is an overview of the recipes with which I’ve had the best success cooking with Bell Peppers and felt compelled to share! Let me know in the comments below if you have had success with another bell pepper recipe!
Stuffed Peppers: Slice the tops off of 4 bell peppers, remove core/seeds. Add peppers to a large pot of boiling water, boil 3 minutes until peppers are slightly softened. Drain, cool. Heat 5 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Cook 1 yellow onion (chopped) and 1 tsp minced garlic for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 pound lean ground beef, 1 ½ cup cooked rice, 1 cup chopped tomatoes, and 1 tbsp fresh (or 1 tsp dried) oregano. Arrange peppers cut-side up in an 8”x8” baking dish. Stuff peppers with the meat mixture. In a separate bowl, mix ½ cup ketchup, ½ teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, ¼ cup water, and a dash of tobacco sauce. Spread over the tops of the meat-filled peppers, as if you were making meatloaf. Bake (uncovered) at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, or until meat is cooked. (I have also made these with cooked Quinoa instead of rice, and it was delicious!)
Cottage Wedges: Slice peppers into wedges (size depends on the size of the peppers, cut into quarters forming bowl-like wedges). Fill wedges with cottage cheese, and sprinkle with paprika. This is a great appetizer or side dish on a hot summer day!
Un-stuffed pepper soup: In a large pot, cook 2 pounds ground beef over medium heat, until done. Drain. Stir in 2 quarts water, 5 cups tomato sauce, 4 cups diced tomatoes, 2 cups cooked rice, 2 cups chopped bell peppers, ¼ cup brown sugar (packed), 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp beef bouillon, and 1 tsp black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 40 minutes until peppers are tender.
Pepper Relish: Toss 2 cups chopped red bell pepper, 2 cups chopped green bell pepper, 1 cup white vinegar, ½ cup vegetable oil, ¼ cup white sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon dried basil. Chill overnight before serving. Keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Great topper for hotdogs, burgers, or chicken sandwiches. I once hosted a wine tasting at which I served toasted baguette, spread with a layer of cream cheese and a dollop of this relish on top, and it was a big hit!
Breakfast “Muffins:” Cook ½ pound of pork sausage, drain. Beat 12 eggs, and mix in sausage, ½ cup chopped onion, ½ cup chopped bell pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, and ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (I’ve also used pepper-jack cheese and loved the extra kick!). Spoon by 1/3 cupfulls into greased muffin pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until knife comes out clean. (I like to make a batch of these on Sunday evenings, to keep in the fridge and have as a quick breakfast on the go for work days, as they reheat quickly in the microwave!)
Pita Pockets: Mix 1 green bell pepper (finely chopped), 1 tsp minced garlic, ½ tablespoon olive oil, 1 can (rinsed and drained) garbanzo beans, ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, Juice of half of a lemon, and ¼ ounce feta cheese (crumbled). Spoon mixture into mini wheat pitas for a great lunch for a hot summer day!
Recipe Helpers: I like to add finely chopped bell peppers to pizza before baking, or pasta with tomato sauce just before serving. I add finely chopped bell pepper to scrambled eggs or omelets, or when making home fries. I add finely chopped bell pepper to biscuit dough with a little shredded cheddar to make breakfast sandwiches or when using biscuit dough to top casseroles. When my garden peppers are ready in abundance, I finely chop and freeze them in 1-cup portioned sizes for quick use throughout the year when I want them. I like to sprinkle a slice of pepper-jack cheese with some thinly sliced bell peppers when making grilled cheese sandwiches if I am in the mood for something with a little more heat. I also add finely chopped bell pepper when making pork burgers, meatloaf, sweet and sour meatballs, and crab cakes.