One of the blessings of being trapped in your home due to the coronavirus is that everyone is bored enough to want to cook dinner, like these delicious Stuffed Peppers my daughter, Sophie and au pair, Brenda have been making for us. Its a great way to get your veggies and protein in one dish, and this particular recipe allows you to still enjoy a relatively low carb dinner….if you are still even trying to follow that sort of diet.
This Stuffed Peppers Recipe is a very flexible coronavirus lockdown dinner provided you can find some kind of pepper at the grocery store. We have swapped sausage or ground turkey for the ground beef or a mozzarella or cheddar for the Monterey Jack cheese. You can replace shallots for onions and use whatever Italian spices you have on hand. If you don’t have cauliflower rice use regular cooked rice of any variety (wild, brown, basmati).
This recipe is also pretty easy to execute. Brown the meat in a skillet along with the spices (use basil or thyme if you don’t have oregano), and then add onion and garlic to the mix. Next comes some tomato paste and tomatoes along with the cauliflower rice. Finally, you divide the meat, onion and rice mixture among the peppers and top with cheese and cook in the oven until nicely browned on top.
Note that the cauliflower rice does take a food processor (alternatively you can use a cheese grater). Simply cut the cauliflower into small pieces and use the grater attachment to grate the cauliflower into “rice.” Then heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the cauliflower rice. Cover with a lid so the cauliflower steams and becomes more tender, cooking for 5-8 minutes. Then season with salt and pepper and add to the recipe per the directions.
On this cold Saturday, I think we are all at that point where we are asking when will this end. Will we ever go back to just commuting to the office, flying on airplanes, having parties, or just shaking people’s hands or greeting one another with a kiss? The reality that it is going to be awhile before normal life returns (as in a year to 18 months), but I am still trying to be somewhat optimistic for the future. And I won’t be sad if I don’t have to kiss people when I greet them because I have always not been one for greeting kisses (its just so awkward…).
I do believe that there are small silver linings in all of this craziness. I have already accomplished more “projects” in the past month than I have in the past year. Work stress is still there, but not off the charts. I work out every day as a necessity for my sanity (hitting peloton personal record rides on a weekly basis). I’ve discovered bottles of liquor that did not know I had. Perhaps it will be my opportunity to fully understand what my kids are doing on tiktok or (gasp!) open my own account?
As cases begin to level off and hospitalizations decline, I hope we can slowly and gradually begin to reopen this country. I hope that my family miraculously has already been exposed to the virus and has an immunity (although I have no reason to suspect that this is true). I hope that the private sector can work with our government to ramp up the widespread testing that we need to slowly begin the steps back to normalcy. And I pray that my family and friends will make it through this long fight.
I feel a resilience in myself and a need to remain optimistic because I don’t feel I have a choice right now. I force myself to read at least one positive, optimistic article a day because there are plenty to read that are quite the opposite. And for those that have bothered to read this blog post about Stuffed Peppers, let this be your daily dose of optimism that I think we all need. Cheers!
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1.5 cups cauliflower rice
- 6 bell peppers tops and cores removed
- 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
- Freshly chopped parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Heat the oil in a large 10.5” skillet over medium high heat. Add the beef and spices to the skillet and brown for 5-7 minutes before adding in the onion and garlic. Cook another 4-5 minutes until the onion starts to soften.
- Add in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and cauliflower rice. Cook 5 minutes, then divide the mixture between the peppers and top with cheese.
- Wipe out the skillet then place the filled peppers in the skillet, cover and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake another 10 until the cheese is bubbly.
- Top with parsley and serve.