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Beef Stuffed Rainbow Peppers

By Lindsey Hinken from October 2014 Issue

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Beef Stuffed Rainbow Peppers

Winner of the Ready, Set, Sizzle!
Beef Recipe Contest

Sponsored by Kentucky Beef Council

Lindsey Hinken got the judges' attention with her Beef Stuffed Rainbow Peppers, garnering her the top prize: a $2,000 Scholarship. Lindsey is a junior at Western Kentucky University working toward a degree in Nutrition.

Take this pepper and stuff it

1. Blanching peppers in boiling water before stuffing and baking them allows the peppers to cook more evenly. If you prefer to start with raw peppers, lower the heat in the oven to 325°, add 1/4 cup water to the dish, and then cover the dish tightly with foil or a lid. Bake 60 minutes.

2. Change the seasoning in the pepper stuffing to fit your mood. Instead of celery salt and onion soup mix, you can use a teaspoon each of ground cumin, oregano, chili powder, and salt to make a Tex-Mex style stuffing. Use a teaspoon each of basil, oregano, salt, and fennel (if you like it) to make an Italian-sausage style stuffing.

3. The rice in the bell pepper stuffing is an old-fashioned technique of making a little go a long way. But the rice also helps tenderize the meat, which would otherwise bake together in a hard, tough lump. You can substitute breadcrumbs, couscous, or orzo for the rice. 

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Ingredients

4 large bell peppers (green, yellow, red, and/or orange)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 C minced onion
16 oz lean ground sirloin
1/8 tsp celery salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 C instant brown rice
1 envelope beefy onion soup mix
3/4 tsp dried mustard
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
½ C shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Servings 4

Preheat oven: 350

Cut off tops of bell peppers. Discard tops, seeds, and membranes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and submerge peppers for 3-5 minutes. Remove peppers, place them upside down to drain excess water, and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil and onion in a large skillet. Add ground sirloin, celery salt, and pepper and cook until meat is browned, stirring to break it up.

Cook rice according to package directions.

Combine beef, cooked rice, soup mix, mustard, and about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce in large bowl. Mix well, but gently. Coat large casserole dish with cooking spray. Stuff peppers with beef mixture and place them upright in baking dish. Spoon remaining tomato sauce over the tops of peppers. (If tomato sauce appears to be burning in the pan, add a little water.)

Bake for 30 minutes. If desired, top peppers with shredded cheese for the last 5 minutes. These peppers freeze well.