There are always those recipes that stay with you from childhood, no matter how long it’s been. Comfort food is interesting that way. I’ll always remember enjoying my mom’s stuffed bell peppers, nachos, and corned beef and cabbage as long as I live. These memories are so heart-warming and familiar, it’s hard to believe we can go so long without them, yet the memory is so strong.
Since I live states away from my mom and the need for comfort food is strong nowadays, I wanted to create my own version of the stuffed bell peppers she used to make. While hers were pretty healthy, I made a few changes to add in some additional fiber and remove some processed foods.
My mom would use white rice, but I’m always partial to brown rice as a super easy and high-fiber, unrefined replacement. You could choose another grain or quinoa as well, but the rice does provide a real creamy, yummy texture for the stuffing.
It’s crazy how easy these bell peppers are to make, even just from memory. The whole recipe is quite forgiving so you can add an extra ingredient here or leave out another there and it’ll probably still be delicious. You could also use the filling to stuff tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash, or whatever you happen to have on hand, though I’m def partial to the bell peppers.
Plus – if you’re interested in meal prepping for the week, these stuffed bell peppers are also a great option, since they reheat perfectly and are great for 4-5 days in the fridge. In fact, I happened to use these babies in my $75 Whole Foods 5 Day Meal Plan in case you’d like to check it out. If you are reheating, a quick tip is to slice the whole pepper in half before heating as this will make it a lot faster to reheat.
I actually posted this recipe originally in a slightly different version on the blog back in November of 2010 if you can believe it. Seems like an entire lifetime ago – Jordan was just 2 and Savannah wasn’t even born yet. Now, I get to enjoy this comforting meal with three kiddos and think back on my own happy childhood memories at the same time.
What is it about comfort food from our childhood? Is it just a food we enjoyed that our mom or dad or grandma made for us? Is it just that is was familiar and so it became comforting? Or was there something so special about that moment in time where we were cared for and the food just created that memory?
I wonder what my kiddos will remember when they’re older – will it be something I hardly ever made? A routine weeknight dinner? Or – yikes – will they even remember me as a good cook? lol
I guess first thing’s first – all I can control is to provide a loving home for my family and share the best food and meals I can. Hopefully, this will instill a love and appreciation for food, cooking, and family in them as they grow up. It seems to be working so far…
Man! Stuffed Bell Peppers and some deep thoughts today, eh? That’s what comfort food will do to ya, I guess. 🙂
Anyhoo, I sure hope you enjoy these bell peppers – they’re simply delicious and a great weeknight dinner that can be used for lunches throughout the week as left-overs. Just one pepper is all you need for a meal, which makes it go far and cuts down on cost, too. So yay.
Maybe this could turn out to be one of those lovely memories for you and your family as well 🙂
What are your cherished comfort foods from your childhood?
Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1½ lbs. lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1⁄2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1½ cup brown rice, uncooked
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 14 1⁄2 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 8 oz. tomato sauce, low salt
- 6 medium bell peppers (red or green)
- 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated
- Italian parsley for topping
- Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a deep pot, heat the brown rice with low sodium chicken broth over medium-high heat. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until rice is mostly tender.
- Now, in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil and allow to heat up.
- Add the lean ground beef, diced yellow onion, minced garlic, sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, dried oregano, and paprika and stir to combine. Cook until the meat is well-browned and the onions are tender, about 6-8 minutes.
- Next, add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and cooked brown rice (should be approximately 3 cups) and stir to combine.
- To prep the bell peppers, carefully slice off the tops of each bell pepper, leaving as much of the pepper as possible. Then, clean out each pepper and wash thoroughly.
- Place each pepper in an oven-safe baking dish, cut side up. (NOTE: If you find the pepper wont stand up on its own, it may be necessary to slice off some of the bottom of the pepper to make it level.)
- Gently spoon mixture into hollowed-out peppers and top with shredded parmesan cheese.
- If there is extra stuffing, you can spread it around the peppers in the baking dish.
- Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.
This post was originally published on November 17, 2010 but has been updated to include new images and a recipe video.
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