Recipe: Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers

I mentioned that this was one of the first recipes that I had tried out in my initial introduction post. I figured that I bragged them up enough that I should probably share them with you!

One thing that I should point out before I jump into step by step instructions is that I very rarely measure ingredients. I have also made these so many times that I don’t use a specific recipe. I tend to just wing it and throw together what I think tastes good. I will, however, try to give as much detail as possible in case you want try it out! Which, by the way, you definitely should! Anyone that has ever tried this dish has LOVED it.

When making this dish, I typically get six to eight peppers. You can do any color (I just used green this time) and can even use Poblano or Cubanelle if you want some to have slightly more spiciness. I used six green bell peppers and one Poblano and one Cubanelle. Chop off the tops and remove the insides! Save the tops for later. I then place these peppers into a huge pot of boiling water. This helps to soften them up a bit before stuffing them, which tastes better when eating! You don’t necessarily have to boil the peppers. You could stuff them raw, as I have tried before, but they will stay more solid/crunchy that way. It is really up to you on which you prefer, but I really like the softer ones.

Oh, and I almost always have a drink when cooking! I’m a big fan of beer. This one matches my peppers!

While the peppers are boiling, get your rice boiling, as well. Cook this however the instructions tell you to. You could use brown or white rice. I typically choose white rice and I just use the simple “boil-in-a-bag” variety. Usually 2 cups cooked does the trick but if you have really large peppers or make more than the 6-8, you might need to use more!

The peppers are starting to soften and the rice is boiling, so now you should focus on the rest of the stuffing. I love using SWEET Italian sausage for this recipe. Again, you could use mild or hot if you prefer. Something about the sweetness of the sweet sausage just blends really well with the other flavors , in my opinion. And everyone that has tried mine seems to agree! I usually start off by throwing the sausage into a large hot pan and then using a spatula to “chop” the sausage into smaller pieces. Remember those tops I had you save for later? Chop them up and put them in with the sausage! Next, do the same with a large onion. Any onion is fine. Whichever you prefer will work great, but I usually go with a red one. I am of the opinion that there is no such thing as too much garlic, so go ahead and chop up as many cloves as you’d like. Toss them in with the diced peppers, onions, and sausage. Let that cook a bit, until the peppers and onions are starting to get soft and the sausage is browned. I’d probably have the radio going so this is where you would probably find me singing and dancing around the kitchen.

I think I took this before I put the sausage in because I did things a little backwards this time. It still worked fine!

After the veggies and sausage are starting to cook down a bit, I like to add mushrooms. I am a mushroom freak. I add mushrooms to pretty much everything. This is optional. If you don’t like mushrooms (I will think you’re crazy) then leave ’em out! I try too dice mine into small pieces. I used Portobello here.

This is a similar picture to the previous one, but you can see the mushrooms that were added! Yum!

I totally forgot to mention something that I LOVE to do when I am using vegetables in my meals! You know the insides of the peppers that you took out? What about the skin and ends you cut off of the onion? Put all of the “waste” into a freezer bag. Even the skin from the garlic can go in! I do this with almost every veggie that I have to cut something off of – potatoes, asparagus, zucchini, squash, green beans, peppers, onions, etc. You put it all into a freezer bag and then, you guessed it – put it in the freezer! This is a great and inexpensive way to use your food waste to produce something else. You can dump all of the contents of the freezer bags into a pot full of water and boil them into a stock! You can find more details on doing something like this here.

One of my veggie scrap bags that will be used for stock another time!

Now you want to start putting in the spices! Like I said before, I don’t really ever measure my ingredients, especially spices. For this recipe, you want to add these directly into the pot with the veggies and sausage. I use chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and oregano. I think I even had some crushed rosemary (which I LOVE the flavor of) on hand so I added some of that in there, too. I then add some tomato sauce (usually 2 smaller cans or one larger can will work) and a can of Rotel diced tomatoes (or any generic version because that is honestly probably what I used). Sprinkle in some salt and pepper to taste. Stir all of that greatness up and then dump your rice right in with the saucy mixture.

Carefully take your softened peppers and place them in a baking dish, with the open side up. You then want to start spooning the saucy sausage, rice, and veggie mixture into the peppers. Make sure to fill them up nice and full! If you have left over filling, you can either freeze it for another time or do what I like to do – just add it all around the top and sides of the peppers! This basically makes it a stuffed pepper casserole, I guess. Still delicious.

I then like to cover the peppers in cheese! I usually use shredded sharp cheddar, but feel free to choose your favorite!
This is when you place the dish into the oven. I usually put it on 400 degrees until the cheese melts and then starts to crisp up a bit. Usually around 15 minutes. Once the cheese is nice and delicious looking, pull out the baking dish and drizzle a little bit of tomato sauce on top and then bake for another 5 minutes.

*Drools*

Let it cool a bit and then it’s time to dig in! These are very flavorful as is, but I know others have enjoyed adding sour cream on top. If you like spicy (which anyone that knows me knows i love spicy) you could add crushed red peppers or diced up jalapenos to the stuffing mixture. Feel free to tweak the recipe a bit; Lord knows I do all the time! Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments below!

ENJOY!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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