When I told my Mom about the overwhelming number of green peppers that had been harvested from Grandma's garden, she immediately suggested making stuffed green peppers. In fact, she suggested making enough to freeze, so that when she came to stay with Grandma in mid-November, there were some for her!
My Mom used to make stuffed green peppers when I was little, and I didn't care for them. The ground beef/rice/tomato sauce stuffing was ok, but the flavor of the cooked green peppers was off putting. I don't think I've eaten one in 20 years. But I couldn't think of a better use for the green peppers (yes, you can chop and freeze them, but I couldn't envision the people who are staying with Grandma after me actually using them). So I thought I'd start with a traditional recipe and taste and tinker until I found it palatable.
I started by cutting off the tops of the green peppers to make cups, the way Mom had always done. I cut up the usable part of the tops and put that in a frying pan with chopped onions, ground beef, and ground turkey. Once that was good and cooked, I added the rice and tomato sauce, and recognized the "eh" flavor from my childhood. That's when I started adding various things from Grandma's fridge and cupboards until the flavor was perked up a bit.
Once I stuffed the peppers that were suitable for being cut into "cups," I had some stuffing left over. I cut one narrow pepper that was too skinny to stand up as "cups" into two "boats." Then I divided the rest of my homemade tomato sauce over all of the peppers.
I cooked the two "boats" for Grandma's and my dinner. The rest went into the freezer for Grandma's future visitors (one, at Mom's request, with her name on it).
Grandma thought I should parcook the peppers, because she likes them "really soft," but I told her I thought the peppers would be fine without doing that (and crossed my fingers that I was right). I cooked them for 45 minutes, covered, then uncovered them, topped them with cheese, and baked for 15 more minutes.
"These are delicious," said Grandma. "They are better than Stouffer's and Stouffer's are pretty good!"
I actually liked them, too. I liked the "boats" because there was a greater stuffing to pepper ratio. If I ever did them again, I'd do "boats." But Grandma's future visitors will have to be content with cups!
(A note I added later: Grandma's company who ate the peppers out of the freezer after I was there said that the peppers were tough and hard to eat. If you are going to freeze the stuffed green peppers, I recommend that you parcook the peppers first.)
Stuffed Green Peppers
Rah Cha Chow recipe
9-12 medium green peppers (boil for a couple of minutes if you are going to freeze them)
1 lb ground round
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used white because that's what Grandma had on hand, but brown would be healthier and maybe even tastier)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
A lot of good tomato sauce -- 6 cups or so
Italian blend cheese (or a cheese of your choice)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut off the tops of green peppers to make "cups," or cut in half lengthwise to make "boats." Discard stems, seeds, and membranes. If there are any usuable bits of green pepper, chop them up and reserve. Arrange hollowed peppers in a baking dish, cut sides up. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright. It helps to have the peppers fit snugly in the baking dish to help them stand up.)
Combine reserved chopped peppers, chopped onion, ground beef and ground turkey in a large skillet. Brown on medium-high heat until the onions are soft and the beef and turkey are cooked thoroughly. Drain if necessary. Add rice, Parmesan, Worcestershire, soy sauce, seasonings, and 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce. Stir together until warm and well combined. Spoon into the peppers. Divide the remaining tomato sauce among the bottoms of the pans and on top of the peppers. Cover and bake 45 minutes. Uncover and top with cheese. Cook for 15 more minutes, until cheese is melted.